Metropolitan Railway pensions

The Metropolitan Railway Company was first established in 1852/3 as the Bayswater, Paddington and Holborn Bridge Company. Between 1860 and 1863 the company constructed the first section of the London Underground, between Paddington and Farringdon, with the first passengers travelling on the Metropolitan line in January 1863.

The archives of the Metropolitan Railway Company are held at London Metropolitan Archives, and they contain a number of records relating to the company’s pension schemes which have been covered in PAT’s Research Guide Project. Further records for the company are held at the Transport for London archives.

The Metropolitan Railway Company had joined the Railway Clearing System Superannuation Fund in 1893, but this was only open to its salaried staff. In 1903 staff made proposals to the company’s General Manager A.C. Ellis for the establishment of a pension fund for uniformed and waged staff. A Pension Fund Committee was formed, with John Biggs, Under Guard at Aldgate station, acting as the committee’s Honorary Secretary.

The proposals were passed to the company’s directors, and were investigated by one of the directors, Sir William Birt. At a staff meeting in 1906 Ellis announced that this proposal would be put to the shareholders if there was sufficient support from the men. Sufficient support was found and the Act of Parliament necessary to authorise the Company to establish and regulate a pension scheme was sought. The Metropolitan Railway (Pension Fund) Act was duly passed in 1907 and the scheme established.

The archive collection for the fund includes papers relating to the establishment of the fund, forms of application for membership, copies of rules booklets for the fund, and the General Manager’s files on the fund, which include copies of the fund’s accounts. The material covers 1903–1933 and can be viewed at London Metropolitan Archives (reference numbers ACC/1297/MET/10/113 – ACC/1297/MET/10/117).


Poster advertising a meeting of Metropolitan Railway Company staff to consider a pension scheme (part of ACC/1297/MET/10/113)