Chronology:    Bargery Number | Main Themes:
1860-69  314; 590 |  Incompetence of porters
1870-79   |  Low wages and reliance on tips
1880-89 339  |  
1890-99   |  
1900-09   |  
1910-19 005 |  
Uncertain   |  


Historical Background:

Porters are usually portrayed as genial but dull-witted. This may be because railway companies liked to recruit countrymen whom they believed were more amenable than townies to the military style of discipline that the companies insisted upon. An Oldham railwayman observed that

"...the excessive supply of labour ...from ... agricultural districts ... enables ... companies to readily replace servants agitating for wage increases.
I have worked with agricultural labourers...to whom the wages of a goods porter…mean prosperity."

Tips were a vital source of income to porters but the companies did not like tipping and implemented regulations against it.

Once it had taken a man into its service, a railway company might switch him from one part of the system to another regardless of his wishes. The careers of some railway servants involved repeated transfers sometimes over substantial distances.