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Memories: Thomas J Morgan

Mr Thomas J Morgan kindly met with our trustees to take a trip down memory lane and recall his experiences working at the Goods Shed.

Mr Thomas Morgan (pictured front far right) in the Goods Shed with Nia Griffith MP and former employee John Ellis Thomas. Also pictured, Goods Shed Trust Secretary Richard Roper and Paul Barrett, Heritage Officer.

I started in the Commercial Department of British Railways in the Llanelli Goods Office on the 26th October 1948 as I approached my 16th birthday. The appointment was for the position of General Clerk at an annual salary of £120.00.

The office was situated adjacent to the main railway line and at the north-western end of the main Goods Shed about half a mile to the east of Llanelli station. The office was a substantial two storey building of masonry construction with direct internal access to the Goods Shed. A railway track for the loading and unloading of goods traffic passed through the Shed which was also equipped with several vehicle loading bays.

The Goods Shed complex included a Cartage office of timber construction, situated about 100 yards to the east of the main Goods Shed. Also, a number of sidings for the handling of heavy goods traffic such as coal, steel and containers.

The office building had a “Dickensian” layout with long runs of high desks and high stools. The lighting at the initial stage was by gas light. The telephones were of the vertical standard type with a mouthpiece and a separate earpiece on a cord.

Deliveries usually were by horse-drawn drays to the town-centre; lorries being used for deliveries to outlying districts such as Pontyates and Pontyberem. Subsequently horse-drawn deliveries were withdrawn, and all deliveries made by articulated lorries.

I worked in several sections of the office including invoicing, delivery notification, the tracing and expediting of goods, and general liaison with the public. The office dealt with all aspects of the receipt and dispatch from the local area for all types of goods traffic - small parcels for private and commercial parties to entire truck loads for industry. I continued to work in the office until December 1954.

The social side for staff included annual trips by rail to various places including Waterford, Dublin, Taunton and Malvern. I have photographs from two of the trips which show staff and their partners; also, a photograph of Cartage office staff at that time.

The office staff totalled some 40 to 50 personnel both male and female, plus approximately 10 in the Cartage office. The office staff comprised a Goods Agent with the title subsequently changed to Commercial Manager in his own office, a Chief Clerk with a Secretary in a glass-partitioned office on the ground floor, general accounts, invoicing and junior clerks. In addition, there was a representative who liaised with customers on claims for delayed, lost or damaged goods. There were four female junior clerks - Maureen, Linda, Norma and Hilda - and one female accounts clerk.

The office was a basis for romance and Linda married a clerk named Bernard Phillips. Maureen Ellery married Ken Bevan who after initially moving from Llanelli returned as Area Manager for all the British Railways Departments in Llanelli.

The basic salary structure for staff was in 5 grades. The starting grade was Grade 5 within which there were annual increments to a maximum salary at the age of 28. Most staff were either Grade 4 or 5 with promotion either by “dead man’s shoes”, by transferring to another location or a different and specialist branch of the organisation.

Central heating was only installed in the late 1940’s.

The ground floor was for general clerical work including invoicing, and tracing missing items. The accounts department was on the upper floor. The Cartage office was responsible for the receipt of invoices, preparation of delivery notes and organising delivery to various districts. It had a staff of about 8 clerks and was based in a timber building about 100 yards to the east of the main office and just north of the delivery bays of the Goods Shed.


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