Source: The Ipswich Journal, 8,972
Date: 2 February 1888
RAILWAY SERVANTS’ DINNER. - Those in the employ of the Great Eastern Railway at Beccles station who, by reason of their duties, were unable to attend the dinner at the King’s Head Hotel last week were present at the dinner provided at the White Lion Hotel on Tuesday evening .The party numbered about 50. It had been arranged that Mr. Councillor Woods should preside, but by a mistake of the date, as was afterwards explained, he was not present, and the chair was taken by Mr. J. L. Wilkinson, the stationmaster. Mr. Isaac Mann, senior engine driver on the Beccles staff, occupied the vice-chair. An excellent dinner was provided by the host, Mr. James Miles, and after this had been comfortably enjoyed the evening was devoted to toasts and some capital songs contributed by Messrs. Gibbard, Mulliner, T. Holmes, Latin, Chambers, Burgess, F. Hall, Whittaker, J. Ward, Griffiths, and others. Following upon “The health of the Queen and Royal Family,” proposed by the Chairman, Mr. Councillor Buck invited the company to drink to the prosperity of the Great Eastern Railway Company, in conjunction with the toast of “The Chairman and Board of Directors,” remarking that it must be a source of pride and satisfaction to all of them to be connected with a railway so well managed and increasingly prosperous as the Great Eastern. In proposing “The District Superintendents,” coupled with the Chairman’s name, he commented on the fact that the traffic returns of the Company now amounted yearly to about four millions sterling, every shilling of which was the result of careful and well-planned arrangements for serving the districts through which the line passed. The district of which Beccles formed a part, including such places as Norwich, Yarmouth, and Lowestoft, with their great fishing interests, contributed very largely to swell the traffic, and it was owing to the watchful oversight of the officials, who were the eyes and ears of the Directors, coupled with the hearty co-operation of the general staff, that things were managed so smoothly that the public scarcely ever heard of any hitch whatever. - Mr. Wilkinson responded to both the toasts. He little thought, when he began railway life 40 years ago, he should have such a numerous staff under him. Things were very different now to what they were then. Everybody used to do very much as he liked; but now they had to do what other people chose, and he was glad to be able to say that the staff at Beccles station did their duty very honestly and very worthily. - Mr. Griffiths proposed “The Donors of the Dinner Fund,” remarking that the sum of money collected was marvellous, not only at this station, but at nearly every station of any note on the line. The public seemed to take the railway men under their special protection, and it behoved them in return for such generosity to use their greatest endeavours to assist the public whenever they might need their help, and in every way seek to merit their liberality. - Mr. Buck having responded, the Chairman next proposed “The Staff in general,” coupled with Mr. Hammond, chief goods clerk, and the foreman, Mr. Pluck. The other toasts were - “The Press,” proposed by the Chairman; “the Host and Hostess,” by Mr. Griffiths, who spoke very highly of the spread provided by them; and “The Ladies,” given by the Vice-Chairman, who coupled Mr. J. Mead’s name therewith. The evening was greatly enjoyed, and the party did not break up till twelve o’clock. Mr. Latin, of Yarmouth, very ably officiated as accompanist.