Kevin Jones in “Steam Index” lists “Williams, Charles. Died at Crewe on 28 January 1970, on his 87th birthday. Lived in Crewe all his life and was an expert on Crewe locomotives produced from 1860. He produced lists of LNWR locomotives. [Ottley 6594 and 6595]. Rly Mag., 1970, 116, 169.” If he was 87 in 1970, that would place his date of birth as 1883. The 1911 census lists amongst the occupants of 15 Peel Street, Crewe “Charles Williams, single, aged 28, Shop Assistant, Bakery, CO-OP Society” which is a bit of a surprise – one would have expected employment in some capacity on the LNWR. However, his father Michael, aged 59 is listed as “Fitter’s Labourer, Loco Dept, Rly Co.”, while brothers Arthur, 24, Coppersmith, and Richard William, 17, Apprentice Fitter, are also Loco. Dept. employees. Going back to the 1901 census, father Michael is listed as “Engine/tender cleaner”, at 49, rather old for that job, one would have thought. Arthur, 14 is “Apprentice to Coppersmith” while Charles, 18, is listed as “Coal Yard Labourer”. I have tried to trace the family in the 1891 census, with no success. Given his employment, one wonders where Charles obtained his information. Perhaps there were records available in the Crewe Mechanic’s Institute? It was very unusual pre Great War for this kind of detailed information, including shed allocations to be published.
One wonders how Charles sold his book, as at 1/- a copy it was not cheap, but there could have been a local market amongst keener LNWR employees. There must have been some kind of official recognition, or at least a “blind eye” being turned, for more than one edition to appear. One imagines C.J. Bowen-Cook at least tolerating it; I doubt somehow if F.W, Webb would have done so! This is a rare little item