Saturday, August 11, 2012

A virtual walk through Radnor Street Cemetery - Samuel Carlton

Welcome everyone to our last virtual walk of the week - it's good to see so many of you, and a lot of new faces as well.  Today we are visiting the grave of one of the longest serving managers at the railway works, Samuel Carlton. 

I particularly like these pink granite monuments; (I’ve already put in my request with my family!) they seem resilient to the elements and seldom suffer any damage to their fabric. 

The only damage I’ve seen so far to a pink granite memorial is at Arnos Vale Cemetery in Bristol.  The cemetery was bombed during the Bristol Blitz in WWII and the Nonconformist Chapel and a number of the memorials opposite it received shrapnel damage, including a very tall pink granite obelisk.

This one has obviously suffered from subsidence but the memorial itself is in perfect condition.

As I mentioned on one of our earlier walks this week, the obelisk was a particularly popular memorial during the Victorian period when all things Egyptian were extremely fashionable.  The obelisk is associated with the Sun God Ra who held the power to recreate. 

This memorial, as you can read, was erected by Officials and Workmen of the Great Western Railway and other Friends to Mark the esteem in which Samuel Carlton was held during the 32 years he was manager of the Locomotive Works at Swindon.

Samuel Carlton was born in Manchester on December 15, 1829.  He trained as an engineer and in the 1861 census he was living in Wolverhampton.  He had moved around the large railway centres during his early career as can be seen from the birthplaces of his children in 1861.  The eldest was born in Crewe, the next in Liverpool and the two younger ones in Wolverhampton.

Samuel Carlton joined the GWR and worked under Joseph Armstrong at Wolverhampton.  He came down to Swindon with Armstrong soon after the 1861 census.  At the time of the following census ten years later Samuel was living at a house called Elm Villa, a former inn, on Wellington Street.  He describes himself as a Civil Engineer and Manager of the Railway Works.

Samuel retired in 1895 and died the following year after what appears to be a very short illness.  His death notice in Berrow’s Worcester Journal reports:

“It is supposed that Mr Carlton took a chill last week.  He was only confined to his bed for three or four days.”

Buried here with Samuel is his wife Adelaide and his daughter Alma.  There is also a dedication to his son Thomas William Carlton, Captain of the Honourable Artillery Company who died on a voyage to South Africa and was buried at sea.

Samuel had a street named after him which has sadly disappeared beneath the 1960s town centre redevelopment.  It used to run between Wellington Street and Manchester Road somewhere beneath the Zurich Tricentre complex.


  1. Thank you for taking the time to write all these walks. It is fascinating to learn about the people.

  2. Glad you enjoyed the virtual walks. I have plenty more material for further walks and plan to write an Autumn and a Remembrance Day walk.

  3. Many thanks Johannes - keep checking for the next virtual walk.