Photos hidden for 50 years in an attic bring the dockers' umbrella back to life; Last manager Harry Rostron's archives found in son's loft.
Byline: Mark Hookham
AT the turn of the century it was a unique feat of engineering that made Liverpool docks the envy of the world.
Now, 46 years after its demolition, an archive of photos and documents has been found that brings to life the dockside overhead railway line affectionately known as the "dockers' umbrella".
Two suitcases full of photos, engineering blueprints, staff ledgers and letters have been donated to the Liverpool Record Office by David Rostron, the son of the last manager of the Liverpool Overhead Railway The Liverpool Overhead Railway (known locally as the Dockers' Umbrella) in Liverpool, England, opened on February 4 1893. It had first been proposed in 1852, and construction began in 1889. It ran from Seaforth Carriage Shed to Herculaneum Dock, a distance of six miles. Company, Harry Maxwell Rostron.
The records have lain hidden in the loft of Mr Rostron's house in Crosby for nearly half a century Archivists at the record office in the Central Library, on William Brown Street William Brown Street in Liverpool, England is a road that gives its name to the William Brown Street conservation area. It is remarkable for its concentration of public buildings. , have described the find as "an absolute gem".
Built at the peak of Liverpool's economic growth, it was the first elevated electrical railway in the world.
The first section of the line was built between the Alexandra Dock The Alexandra Dock is a dock, on the River Mersey and part of the Port of Liverpool. It is situated in the northern end of the dock system, connected to Hornby Dock to the north and Langton Dock to the south. It opened in 1881. External links
At the railway's peak in 1919 it was estimated that there were more than 22m passenger journeys a year and trains ran once every six minutes at peak time.
It was used to transport freight to and from the docks and as a service for commuting dockers
Dockers is a brand of Levi Strauss & Co.
Levi Strauss & Co. and office workers.
On an average day in the the 1920s, it was estimated that 57,000 people would use the service, 12,000 of them dockers.
Harry Rostron took over the managing of the railway in 1943, at a crisis point in its history. It had sustained severe damage during German bombing and it was Rostron's task to get the trains running again.
David Rostron, 82, has clear memories of the family's move from Southampton when his father took up his new job.
He said: "My father had a big job when he started. A lot of the railway had been heavily bombed and a lot of repair work was needed on it.
"Part of the records describe the damage and outline the costs of repairs, along with the amount of labour used and the cost of the new railway coaches, which my father introduced after the war.
"The overhead railway company was never particularly wealthy and my father had to struggle to find enough money to keep it going.
"It was a rickety rick·et·y
adj. rick·et·i·er, rick·et·i·est
1. Likely to break or fall apart; shaky.
2. Feeble with age; infirm.
3. Of, having, or resembling rickets. old thing but he really loved working on it and I can distinctly remember using it to take me to the docks when I first went to sea in 1946 as an apprentice on a Cunard liner."
Archivist ARCHIVIST. One to whose care the archives have been confided. Carol Tanner said: "The collection includes more than 50 photos of the railway. There are some great aerial views and a number of pctures showing the extensive bomb damage.
"We also have a staff log of the people who used to work on the railway. There is a full detail of all the young men who decided to leave their jobs and join the Army at the start of World War I in 1914.
"This is an absolute dream for people wanting to trace their family history."
The archive includes a number of letters written to Mr Rostron from the owners of kiosks that sold goods on the stairs that led to the railway platforms.
One letter was from a kiosk owner who sold stockings, telling Mr Rostron that the stocking trade had taken a down-turn and appealing for a concession on her rent.
Another letter, dated June 30, 1947, is from the owner of McLachlane's tobacco kiosk under Brunswick Station Brunswick Station may refer to:
Pat Moran Patrick Joseph Moran (February 7, 1876 – March 7, 1924) was an American catcher and manager in Major League Baseball. As a manager, he led two teams to their first-ever modern-era National League championships: the 1915 Philadelphia Phillies and the 1919 Cincinnati Reds. , chairman of Merseyside Civic Society, said: "The actual construction of the railway was fascinating because they basically built the line while dangling it in mid-air.
"A large jig jig, dance of English origin that is performed also in Ireland and Scotland. It is usually a lively dance, performed by one or more persons, with quick and irregular steps. When the jig was introduced to the United States, it was often danced in minstrel shows. was used as a platform to build the 20ft high line and this jig moved along the intended route slowly constructing the elevation as it moved." Perhaps one of the most interesting parts of the archive is a series of letters between Harry Rostron and engineering consultants about the infrastructural decay that eventually led to the closure of the railway in 1956. Since it had been repaired in 1943, the line had suffered serious corrosion and, in the early 1950s, it was found that the decking on which the lines lay was also severely damaged. "The letters reveal that engineers had valued the cost of repairs at more than pounds 2m, " said David Rostron. In post-war Britain this simply wasn't affordable. The Government would not have paid such a large sum to keep the overhead railway in existence. "It is such a shame because an overhead railway would have been a brilliant asset and tourist attraction Noun 1. tourist attraction - a characteristic that attracts tourists
attractive feature, magnet, attractor, attracter, attraction - a characteristic that provides pleasure and attracts; "flowers are an attractor for bees" in modern Liverpool." When the railway closed, Harry Rostron formed his own engineering firm H M Rostron to oversee the demolition of the railway. He then bought out engineering consultancy firm Sloan Lloyd Barnes Lloyd Barnes (born in 1944 in Jamaica), popularly known as Bullwackie, is the founder of the independent record label Wackies specialized in Jamaican music. who built the second runway at Liverpool airport Liverpool Airport may refer to:
The overhead railway in its hey day stretched all along the docks The interior of a first class carriage Third class was a little more austere Archivist Carol Tanner with a poster David Rostron looking at old pictures of the railway and Cunard liners