The evidence for this was plain to see and indisputable. Despite the fact both his parents were dead, their son, John William Musgrove (Jack), when he got married in 1925, put that his father was a "locomotive engine driver" on the marriage certificate (see above). Everyone believed it ..... and I suggest Jack did as well and had probably been told of his father's interesting job by his mother, after his father's death, when he was just fifteen months old. To lose a father when so young is bad enough but you wouldn't want to be told he was a cleaner on the smelly railways, would you ? Much better to be told he was an engine driver !
Sadly, the truth is not as romantic. William was born in Marylebone, London in 1860. His father had been a shoe and boot maker. By the time he was 20 in 1881 he was working at Paddington Station as an "engine cleaner" and living in a house as a boarder close by. Four years later he was living at 38 Tiverton Street when he married Hannah Wild, who lived next door at number 36. He was now a "railway porter" although three weeks later on the birth of their son, another William John Musgrove (Bill), he was back again as an "engine cleaner". By the time of the 1891 census, William was a "railway labourer" living in the less than salubrious Southam Street, of which more in a future blog. Knowing that William died relatively young, aged just 41, of acute bronchitis shortly after the 1901 census, it would have been nice to find he had risen through the ranks and become an engine driver. Sadly not ! The census described him as an "engine boiler washer railway". His death certificate six months later just says, "Labourer on Great Western Railway".
The above photo was taken when the last broad gauge train left Paddington on 20th May 1892. I like to think that maybe those employees with a long service may have been invited to the ceremony and William is among those posing by the locomotive.
Having worked as some form of labourer for GWR all his working life, William's was not quite the story 'Casey Jones of Paddington' everyone had hoped for.