Home » The Blog » The prevalence of ‘ladies only compartments’ on British railways, 1887

The prevalence of ‘ladies only compartments’ on British railways, 1887

In light of discussions yesterday, I have worked out as best I can the prevalence of “ladies’ only compartments” on British railways in 1887 using returns given to the Board of Trade. The Board issued a circular asking whether the railways provided special provision for ‘ladies travelling alone.’ This was because of a ‘recent outrage’.

The tables show the total route mileage and passenger train mileage in 1887 of the companies that responded to the circular. Their responses fell into four categories. There were companies that had ‘ladies only’ accommodation on all trains, had it on some trains, arranged ‘ladies’ only’ accommodation when requested, and some did not provide it. Also shown in the tables is the route mileage and passenger train mileage of companies who stated that – based on their experiences – when such accommodation was offered it was underused or not used at all.

It should be noted that where railway companies offered accommodation on ‘some trains’ for the most part this was on a very limited number.

RM

PTM

Also included in the Board of Trade’s return are figures from the London & South Western Railway – who provided ‘ladies only’ accommodation when requested – for the number of seats used in such compartments over a six day period in October 1887. It was the Charles Scotter’s (General Manager) opinion that they were underused:dds

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6 Comments

  1. bitternline says:

    It is doubtful that this will ever happen as it would fall foul of several bits of EU law on equality. The Labour candidate did not specifically say he was going to introduce it – just the blind wide eye media sensationalists love a non story!

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  2. Ros Hext says:

    Just watching the TV BBC2 programme on Mumbai VT where there are Ladies only Carriages. Where are the Railway Children and station residents on these programmes? Is it deliberately sanitised?
    Seem to remember in the early 1970’s that there were Ladies Only carriages the Watford to Euston trains. What goes round, comes round..

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  3. Ros Hext says:

    Think there used to be “Ladies Only” carriages in the trains running from Watford to Euston in the 1960’s/early 70’s. I used to travel in them sometimes.

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  4. Phil Eakins says:

    Are we talking here about ‘ladies only’ carriages or ‘ladies only’ compartments in carriages. Much easier to do in the earlier stock.

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  5. Phil Eakins says:

    Are we talking here about ‘Ladies Only’ carriages or ‘Ladies Only’ compartments in a carriage. Much easier to do in the older rolling stock.

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  6. Ian watson says:

    And of course there were ‘Ladies Waiting Rooms’ on stations as well. Bedford (Midland Road) had one until the demolition of the original Midland Railway buildings in the 1980s.

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