Doing Time Inside
A new book from Rosa Matheson chronicling apprenticeships and training in GWR's Swindon Works
The Great Western Railway's Swindon Works was the largest employer in the area, even during the early British Railway years.
For well over a hundred years thousands of apprentices and 'trainees' passed through its doors to learn the trades of the railways.
Throughout its lifetime the apprenticeship process was hard work with many constraints, particularly in the early periods when even marriage was forbidden.
However, alongside the hard work of 'doing time' (a colloquial term for apprenticeship), there were undoubtedly good times as the young boys were absorbed into the 'family' of workers 'Inside' (as Swindon Works was known locally).
Doing Time Inside chronicles the changes of the apprenticeship process from its earliest times during the Industrial Revolution; through the varied work of two world war periods; the changes of thinking and policy in the post-war era; the significant developments of the 1960s; and the decline of apprenticeship until the closure of the Works in 1986.
Apprentices at the Swindon Works through the years:
from the early days to the last to qualify
Full of fascinating photographs and documents, many previously unpublished, as well as numerous engaging first-hand accounts of the different 'apprenticeships' on offer, the books presents an in-depth study of apprenticeship in the railway world.
A prolific writer and lecturer, Rosa Matheson is Swindon's best-known railway author, and has published several other books on the subject.
The book is available to buy at WHSmith in Swindon town centre and online.