William McGee

(Ticket Collector, ex PBI)

Peter Bloomfield with help from Chris Heather at a critical point and Matt Stribley

William McGee was born at 12.30pm on 4th January 1858 to John McGee (labourer) and Julia (née Foley) at 6 Regent Road, St Hellier, Jersey. [No 910 in extract of register of births for St Hellier] Julia is recorded as being born in Ireland on the 1861 census [RG 09/4394, folio 60, page 3].

Army service [Army Docs]
1st Bn Worcestershires
Home 29 Feb 1876 28 Jan 1879
East Indies 29 Jan 1879 27 Mar 1882
Home 28 Mar 1882 8 Apr 1882
Reserve 9 Apr 1882 1 Aug 1882
Home 2 Aug 1882 23 Aug 1882
Cyprus 24 Aug 1882 17 Oct 1882
Egypt 18 Oct 1882 15 Feb 1883
Home 16 Feb 1883 2 Apr 1883
Reserve 3 Apr 1883 28 Feb 1888
NLR Service

Porter. Age 25. Appt 27 Mar 1883. [RAIL 529/134/260 Folio 83 (Staff Register).]
Pay 18s. [RAIL 529/51, 3 Apr 1883, Loco Com Min Min 5055.]
Porter to collector. Pay 18s to 20s. 24 Nov 1890. [RAIL 529/55 3 Dec 1890, Loco Com Min 7896.] Collector, Dalston. Pay 20s to 21s. 24 Nov 1891. [RAIL 529/56 2 Dec 1891, Loco Com Min 8263.] Collector, Dalston. Pay 21s to 22s. 24 Nov 1892. [RAIL 529/56 30 Nov 1892, Loco Com Min 8674.] Collector, Dalston. Pay 22s to 23s. 24 Nov 1893. [RAIL 529/57, 29 Nov 1893, Loco Com Min 9050.] Collector, Dalston. Pay 23s Services dispensed with. [RAIL 529/59 3 Aug 1898, Loco Com Min 10570.]

Seen by Supt and services dispensed with and paid a fortnight’s wages in lieu of notice. 27 Jul 1898 [RAIL 529/134 Folio 83.] Unfortunately no reason is given. See Arthur George Davey who was also a collector at Dalston who had his services dispensed with at the same time. [RAIL 529/134 Folio 144.] (Report numbers 84016 and 84014). The Traffic Superintendent at the time was Frederick Dunn.

Personal details

Marriage 27 May 1884 in Hackney. William McGee and Catherine Cook. [GRO Apr-Jun 1884, Hackney, 1b, 838; Army docs.]

Died 3 Nov 1898 in the Hackney Union Infirmary, High Street, Hoxton, aged 40, of pulmonary tuberculosis, cirrhosis of the liver and dropsy-cum-oedema. Lived at 4 Maclaren Street, Clapton Park. His widow registered his death (present at death and signed with a cross). [GRO Oct-Dec 1898, Hackney, 1b, 331.]

Widow, Mrs C McGee, aged 32, four children, 14 [William J], 12 [Bridget], 6 [Thomas J] and 4 [Arthur J P] years. Received 3s a week from the Parish. RBI granted £10 from the Special Benevolent Fund Dec 1898. [Case 701, RAIL 1166/82, f114.]

Children: by using data in the 1891 Census [RG 12/200; folio 23; page 40.] and Matt Stribley’s family tree [http://trees.ancestry.co.uk/tree/65192814/person/38129889228?ssrc=]. There were five children: four shown in the RIB minute, and Stephen J, born in 1888 in Homerton.


Half way through 2014 Chris Heather introduced me to RAIL 1166, The Railway Benevolent Institute. This sent me wading through their ledgers noting anything that mentioned North London Railway. One was the case of Catherine McGee. When I entered the details into my database I noticed that her late husband had been sacked about four or five months previously. This resulted in me checking the relevant committee meeting minute that I had it right and that is when I discovered that Arthur Davey, another ticket collector at Dalston, had also had his services dispensed with at the same time.

My first reaction was that McGee and Davey were in cahoots fiddling tickets but in that case they would have been sacked without notice and probably wheeled in front of the local magistrate. As McGee died of cirrhosis of the liver, a possible cause of which being too much to alcohol over a long period, had they come on duty having drunk a bit too much? That also would have been instant dismissal (see ‘Another William McGee’ below). It must have been one of the lesser offences for which sacking was the order of the day otherwise they would not have received two weeks’ pay in lieu of notice: being discourteous to passengers, insubordinate to one or both of the station inspectors at the time (David Bunday, ex-signalman, at Dalston from 1889 to 1904 and William Henry Smith, ex-guard, at Dalston 1896 to 1900). All this can only remain supposition unless someone can find report numbers 84014 and 84016 which would show the reason for dismissal.

Despite suffering from three rather nasty illnesses which I would have thought must have been present when he was dismissed the service, there is no mention of any absences through sickness. The Traffic Dept were pretty good at recording such absences in the Locomotive, etc, Committee minutes, as half pay was granted.

Just over two years later (1901 census) his widow had managed to get a job as a domestic servant to a coffee house keeper and his wife in Tottenham but Catherine did not have any of her children with her. [1901 Census RG 13/1250, folio 32, page 12]

Another William McGee, an ex-soldier (this time a gunner), a porter also at Dalston, was dismissed for being drunk on duty less than three months before (4 May 1898) with no mention of notice. [RAIL 529/130/125 folio 82.]

1891 Census [RG 12/200; Folio 23; Page 40]
Registration district: Hackney Parish: Hackney Address: 64 Oswald Street
William McGee Head Married M 33 1858 Railway Collector St Helier, Jersey
Catherine McGee Wife Married F 26 1865 Whitechapel
William J McGee Son M 6 1885 Homerton
Bridget McGee Daughter F 5 1886 Homerton
Stephen J McGee Son M 3 1888 Homerton
Thomas J McGee Son M 0 1891 Homerton
1901 Census [RG 13/1250, Folio 32, Page 12]
Registration district: Edmonton Parish: Tottenham Address: Philip Lane Stanley Terrace
Alfred G Perring Head Married M 44 1857 Coffee House Keeper St Pancras,
Annie Perring Wife Married F 45 1856 Dalston
Bernard J A Perring Son Single M 18 1883 Carpenter London
Catherine McGee Servant Widow F 36 1865 General Servant Domestic Whitechapel
Frederick Leigh Servant Single M 21 1880 Waiter Southampton

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