A number of men living in Ashchurch were identified as carpenters and painters with the Midland Railway. They were a mixture of locals and men from elsewhere and lived for long periods in Ashchurch. They have not been found in the available lists of railmen at Ashchurch. However, two (Charles Trapp, Percy Rossell, see below) appear in Midland Railway Registers of Accidents, showing them working in/for the Way and Works Department of the railway. They were working at the time at nearby stations rather than at Ashchurch itself, and it is clear that their remit extended beyond Ashchurch station.
Raymond Edgar Allchin was a local Gloucestershire man who spent most of his life in the Ashchurch area and probably all his working life as a carpenter on the railway. He was born and baptised in Gloucester in 1892, his father a railway clerk, later a carpenter. The family had moved to Ashchurch by 1901, living in Aston-on-Carrant. In 1911 Raymond, age 19, was at home in Northway, a carpenter with the railway and working from home. In 1912 he married Violet May Rossell, daughter of William Rossell, a sub-inspector on the railway at Ashchurch. During World War 1 Raymond served in Salonika as a sapper with the Royal Engineers, details here,continuing his civilian occupation as a carpenter with the Railway Troops. He returned to Ashchurch in 1919 to his pre-war address, 11 Northway Cottages, and would continue here with his wife and children until 1935, when he moved to an address in High Street, Tewkesbury. At the marriage of his daughter Elsie May in Ashchurch in 1934 he was still employed as a carpenter with the railway, as he was in Tewkesbury in 1939. His death was registered in Cheltenham, the registration district for Tewkesbury, in 1966. He was 75. He had three daughters.
George Capper was born in Ashchurch in 1863 and lived most of his life in the village. He married in nearby Bishop's Cleeve in 1886 and then lived in Aston. He is shown once in connection with the railway, in the 1911 census when he describes himself as a Midland Railway carpenter's labourer. Other than that he is a labourer (unspecified) in 1886, 1891 and 1911 (seven months after the census) and a painter in 1901. Perhaps he was a railway employee thoughout, for in 1939, in Tewkesbury, he was living as a retired permanent way labourer. He died in 1942 at the age of 78.
Charles James Hutchings was in Ashchurch from about 1891 to his death in 1919. There is a single reference to his working with the railway. He was the younger brother of Jon John Hutchins, carpenter, see below. He was born in Aldershot in about 1865, his father a soldier, and as with his brother he travelled in his early years. The family was at two addresses in Wales in 1871 and 1881, his father an instructor of (army) volunteers. On the latter date Charles was working as a Carvers and Gilders Apprentice. By 1891 he was in Homedowns, Fiddington Hamlet in Ashchurch, married and with a baby son and working as a painter. Similarly in 1901, and in 1911 in Aston-on-Carrant, Ashchurch, a painter with the railway. He continued to live in Ashchurch after the war and was still working as a painter when his daughter Jessie married there in 1919. He died in late 1919 at the age of 55.
Charles's first two sons, those old enough for employment, were living in Ashchurch and working on the railway in 1911 as labourers.
Ion John Hutchings, also recorded as Jon John or just John, was a railway carpenter, then a shopkeeper in Ashchurch from around 1890. He was the brother of Charles James, painter, see above. He was born in Windsor, Berkshire, in 1857 and in 1861 was in barracks in Aldershot, his father an army sergeant-major. His was a peripatetic family, presumably reflecting army postings. During his early years he lived in Dublin, Aldershot, Woolhampton (Berks|), Barnwood (Gloucester) and Taibach (Glamorgan).
From at least 1879 he was working as a carpenter. Family records (marriage and birth of children) as well as public records (census and electoral register) show that he moved around the country after marriage: married in 1879 and child born in early 1881 in Gloucester, in Alcester, Worcs, in 1881, three children born in Redditch, Worcs between 1883 and 1887. In 1891 he was in Aston, Ashchurch, where he would settle, carpenter, and working for the railway in at least 1911. By 1914 there was a change of career, when he was the shopkeeper at Aston-on-Carrant in Ashchurch (source Kelly). Perhaps related to this was his change of status for electoral purposes in 1912 from standard household voter to (house) ownership voter. He was still shopkeeper after the war. He died in 1934 at the age of 67.
Percy Edward Rossell was in Ashchurch from about 1906 to 1914, working as a Midland Railway painter. He was the son of William Rossell, a sub-inspector on the railway. He was born in Ashby de la Zouch, Leicestershire in 1888 and was still living with his family, unmarried, when the family moved to Ashchurch in about 1906. In 1911 he was still at home, working as a painter for Midland Railway. In August 1914 he "sprained his back by overlifting" while working for/with the Way and Works Department of Midland Railway. The accident occurred in Cheltenham. He will have probably have been living in Ashchurch (Cheltenham was two stations along the rail line) for he was resident there when he married in Ashchurch the following year.
He may be the Percy E Rossell who served in World War 1 first as a private with the Worcestershire Regiment, then transferring to the Air Force in April 1916. He served abroad, but not before 1916 and was awarded the usual two medals, British War and Victory. Details here. After the war he lived at addresses in Tewkesbury until 1933, where a son Albert Edward was born in 1923; and in Mangotsfierld near Bristol in 1938-39, when he was working in the Railway-engine Department of the LMS railway. He died in the Frenchay Hospital in Bristol in 1965 at the age of 77. His wife Kate had died in 1965. On her probate documents Percy is referred to as a retired railwayman.
Charles Trapp was an Ashchurch man who, apart from a short time in nearby Bredon, lived his life in the parish. Initially a labourer he became a carpenter working for the railway, a job he kept until at least the beginning of the 1914 war and probably beyond. He lost a son in the war.
Charles was born in Aston-on-Carrant, Ashchurch, in 1857, his father an agricultural labourer. In 1871 he was a servant at a local farm. He married in 1880 and in 1881 was living in Bredon, Worcestershire, three miles from Ashchurch, a labourer. Bredon was his wife's birthplace. Children were born there in 1883 and 1885. He then moved back to Aschurch where a child was born in 1888. Thereafter his employment was with the railways, in 1891 a "railway servant" living in Ashchurch, in 1901 a railway carpenter in Beckford, in 1911 again a railway carpenter living in Newtown, Ashchurch. After the war he was still in Aston-on-Carrant, also in 1939 as a retired railway carpenter. He died in 1939 at the age of 81.
His oldest son William Arthur also had employment with the railway, but not in Ashchurch. In 1901, still at home, he was working as a carriage cleaner in Beckford. In 1911, married and living in Nottingham, he was a carriage-cleaner foreman. A younger son Joseph Albert, was also employed by the railway, in Gloucester in 1911. He enlisted in the army in 1914 and lost his life in action in France. Details here
Charles may be the person of his name who appears twice in Midland Railway registers of accidents suffered by those working for their Way and Works Department. On 20th July 1900 at Evesham, Charles Trapp, a carpenter, suffered back-strain. On 16th June 1915, also at Evesham, Charles Trapp, carpenter, had his arm "poisoned by a splinter". He resumed work on 12th July and a payment of eight shillings was made as a casualty fund grant. Evesham is ten miles by road from Ashchurch and just five stops from Ashchurch on the branch railway. No other Charles Trapp, carpenter, has been found in the area at these times.
This data has been researched and produced by Brian Harringman. Comments, additions, and especially corrections would be gratefully received.