Victorian London - Women - In Public - In trains



Sir, - Will you allow me a short space to mention a subject which will interest a large portion of the travelling public. I allude to the absence of ladies' compartments in railway trains.
    I have within the last few weeks travelling by train some 400 miles in England, Wales and Ireland, with my wife, two children under two years old, and a nurse. We travelled first-class express the whole way, but, except on the broad gauge, I could not obtain a ladies' compartment for the women and children. At Bristol (Midland Station) I was laughed at for requesting such a thing as a ladies' compartment; at Liverpool I was almost insulted for the same request; at Chester they were more polite, but would not promise to keep a compartment for ladies only; at Dublin it was useless to mention the subject, and so on at many other stations.
    Now, Sir, anyone who has travelled far with children knows the trouble and annoyance they cause to everyone in the carriage, especially to those in charge; and surely it would be the greatest boon to mothers and nurses to be sure of having a compartment to themselves, or, at least, with only other children and females as companions.
    I would therefore respectfully inquire whether railway companies could not, without either expense or trouble, order their stationmasters and guards to have a compartment, or compartments, kept for ladies only, both first and second class, with every train, and thus benefit a large number of their passengers.
    Beseeching you earnestly to give publicity to this subject, I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
Oct. 28                                 PATERFAMILIAS

Times, January 29th, 1861