Overview of the Songs and Poems in this Category:

Most of the items in this category are from the Music_Hall¹ repertoire

Main Themes and Motifs

- Incompetent porters
- Low wages and reliance on tips


1860-69 314; 590
1880-89 339
1910-19 005

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." [i]

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.



[i] McKenna, Frank - The Railway Workers 1840-1970 (London, Faber and Faber, 1980) p

3 across Articles in this Category: click a link

Porter's Christmas Eve, The

bar314: Dates 1868~1868|

A porter gets drunk; dreams he is at work, and shouts announcements in his sleep

Railway Porter

bar590: Dates ----~1868|

A porter inveigles wealthy passengers into tipping him.

Railway Porter Dan

bar339: Dates ----~1884|

A porter complains of low wages.

All Change for LLanfairfechan

bar005: Dates ----~1911|

A Porter moved to Wales has difficulties with the language

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