Monday, August 8, 2016

Edwin Thomas Brittain

Our next guided walk at Radnor Street Cemetery takes place next Sunday, August 14 meet at the chapel at 2pm.

And for those of you who missed the Swindon Heritage History Day and the GWR themed walks, I will be publishing a selected few during the upcoming week.

As you can see, this is one of the many memorials in Radnor Street Cemetery that was paid for by colleagues.

The inscription reads:-
In memorium E.T. Brittain 30 years foreman R Shop Loco Dept GWR
Erected by present and past employees and personal friends as a token of affectionate esteem.

I find this an incredibly generous act when you think how little the men earned, how hard they worked and how large their families were. It must be an indication of the character of the person buried.

Edwin Thomas Brittain was born in the parish of St Pancras on November 21, 1829, the eldest son of Henry James Brittain, an undertaker, and his wife Charlotte, and is another of the early New Swindon residents.

He married Louisa Elizabeth Hooker at Trinity Church, St Marylebone on January 11, 1852 and the couple soon move to Wolverton in Buckinghamshire where Edwin was employed at the London & North Western engine works. Their son Thomas is born in Wolverton but by 1853 the family have moved to Swindon.

I’ve been able to find comprehensive details about Edwin’s employment using the UK Railway Employment Records 1833-1956 available on the Ancestry website.

He entered the GWR Service on July 26, 1853 working as a Fitter in the Loco factory. He was made Assistant Foreman on October 7,1865 and Foreman on January 12, 1867.

At the time of the 1861 census he was living at No 6 King Street with Louisa and their five children. The couple had nine children in all, moving to Wellington Street where they lived at No 18 and No. 39 at various times over the next twenty year period.

Like most of the railwaymen’s families Edwin’s sons followed him into the Works.

Thomas and Edwin became fitters, Charles began his working career as a clerk and Henry became a pattern maker.

Edwin died at his home at 39 Wellington Street on June 27, 1895. He left effects to the value of £181 5s 2d. Louisa survived him by eighteen years and is buried here with him.

Photo of Wellington Street published courtesy of Local Studies

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