In response to the two-part article by Merv Russen* on the two railway stations in our town’s history, retired Ipswich railwayman Ken Lightfoot got in touch and offered the Society a chance to view this pocket-book, dated 20th December 1846. It was given to him by Mr Cyril Peartree who writes on a slip of paper inside: 'Born 1903, 27 Commercial Rd [now Grafton Way] Ipswich. Left school at 14. Great Eastern pension, retired at 65, was £4.50 a month’.               [*Issues 221 and 222]

The Eastern Counties Railway (ECR) was a company incorporated in 1836 intended to link London with Ipswich via Colchester, and then extend to Norwich and Yarmouth. ECR became the largest of the East Anglian railways but, in 1862, it was merged with a number of other companies to form the Great Eastern Railway (GER).

Redolent of another age, the line illustrations of a railway employee with top hat and tail coat show that 1846 was a little like 1746 – or what we imagine it might have been. Railwaymen had evolved from coachmen and perhaps this is reflected in the uniform, with all the polished buttons.

You can view the full contents of this historical – and probably quite rare – document at:

Sample spreads from the 1846 rule book.


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