Railway engine driver: Charles HAMSON (1871 - 1945)

  Eight Late Victorian Families ©2010-2017 Rosemary & Stan Rodliffe

Born at Thrussington, Leicestershire

Charles was one of seven children born to Edward HAMSON and Jane nee HARDSTAFF at Thrussington. His father was a general labourer and his mother had been a servant at the time of their marriage in the Parish Church at Thrussington in 1856. By 1881 Edward was a widower living at The Hollow Thrussington with sons Amos, Charles and Tom.

Thrussington is a picturesque village in beautiful surroundings, in many ways unchanged from the description by Samuel Lewis in A Topographical Dictionary of England published by S. Lewis and Company in 1831:

"The ancient Watling-street first touches Leicestershire at Dove bridge, on the Avon, whence it proceeds in a north-easterly direction to the Anker, near Mancetter, not far from Atherstone, where it wholly quits the county for Warwickshire, after having formed the south-western boundary of Leicestershire for a distance of upwards of twenty miles. The Fosse-road, from Lincolnshire, enters this county near the Roman station Vernometum, whence it proceeds by Segg's hill, over Thrussington Wolds, across the Wreke near Syston, and through Thurmaston to Leicester, whence it is continued over King Richard's bridge, having passed which, it turns to the left, over the second branch of the Soar, to the Narborough turnpike-road, along which it continues to the fourth milestone; then leaving it and the town and church of Narborough on the left, it continues to High Cross on the Watling-street. The Via Devana, from Colchester to Chester, enters this county near Cottingham, and, crossing the Welland, passes Medbourne, near Slanston Mill, whence it is continued between the two Strettons to Leicester, where it joins the Fosse, which, however, it soon leaves to proceed to Grooby, whence it is carried by Ashby to Burton upon Trent. ..."

" Thrussington , a parish in the eastern division of the hundred of Goscote, county of Leicester, 8¼ miles (N.N.E.) from Leicester, containing 466 inhabitants. The living is a discharged vicarage, in the archdeaconry of Leicester, and diocese of Lincoln, rated in the king's books at £6, endowed with £200 private benefaction, and £200 royal bounty ,and in the patronage of — Heycock, Esq. The church is dedicated to the Holy Trinity. Thomas Hayne, in 1640, bequeathed an annuity of about £7 for teaching poor children."

Working for the Midland Railway at Kettering

Charles Hamson

Charles and his brother Amos worked on the railway at Kettering. In 1891 Charles was working as an engine cleaner and boarding with William J FREESTONE, a railway fireman, and his wife Rose at 35 Bayes Street Kettering. It looks as if he may have been promoted to fireman by 1896 and probably served regularly on the line to Cambridge because banns were called at St Andrew the Less in late 1896 for him and Rosa COWELL although no marriage resulted. He was certainly a fireman for the Midland Railway when he was admitted as a member of the Associated Society of Railway Servants, Kettering Branch in February 1897. Later that year he married Alice.

"At retirement my father was the senior locomotive driver for LMS in Kettering. Several times on the northern route going through Leicester father drove the Prince of Wales (the one who abdicated - Edward) who would have been on his way to the Quorn Hunt. Father used to work shifts. As a man my Father was wonderful. He was loving caring and just a good father." [HDR]

In early 1891 Charles' older brother, Amos, was working as a railway engine fireman, and lodging at 11 Bowling Green Road Kettering with Joseph BELL, 33, railway engine driver, his wife Eliza (32) and children George (11), Anne (8), Florence (5), Nellie (2) & Frank (3 months). Later that year he married Agnes LORD at Cambridge.

"He worked for the LMS Railway in the office at Kettering Railway Station preparing timetables. He married Agnes and had two children: a son Reginald, who was a lovely pianist, self-taught, played by ear; and daughter Lily." [HDR]

Charles' younger brother "Tom worked as a Locomotive Driver for LMS at Nottingham." [HDR]

First across!

First across rebuilt Thrapston Viaduct

The Kettering Evening Telegraph carried this picture on 15 June 1983. It shows engine 3262, the first loco to cross the Midland Railway's Thrapston viaduct around 1920 after the original structure had been replaced with brickwork. The driver was Charles HAMSON and the fireman was Arthur BELLAMY of Rothwell.
[Thanks to Charles' grand-daughter Marie WHITE and great grandson Philip WHITE for finding this cutting..... no,it's a viaduct.]

Engine 3262 was a Johnson class 0-6-0 design and was built by Neilson & Co at Glasgow around 1890, one of over 935 goods tender engines of this class built for the Midland Railway between 1875 and 1908 by a variety of suppliers. Some were still in service in 1964 but none survive into the 21st century.

Johnson 0-6-0 locomotive 3167 photo by F.Dean

Shown above is engine 3167 which was built at Derby in 1887 to virtually the same design as 3262 although with slightly smaller diameter driving wheels; it is seen here at Walton-on-the-Hill in 1927 still wearing Midland livery (photo by F. Dean), a few years after Charles drove 3262 over the rebuilt Thrapston viaduct.