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Single or Return - Foreword

Richard RosserEvery union has its history, but not every union has it recorded in a readily available and easily readable form. The TSSA now joins the ranks of those unions that do, thanks to a labour of love by Malcolm Wallace, a prominent and well known member of the Association, who has spent nearly three years writing this valuable and lucid book.

During those three years, Malcolm has spent many hours poring over the Associaton's historical records and documents, visiting academic, political and trade union organisations to examine relevant material, interviewing long-standing members of the Association and reading old newspapers and magazines in his successful quest to uncover a veritable gold mine of information about the Association's past, which until now has been almost entirely unknown.

When Malcolm Wallace started it was intended that he should write a political history of the TSSA, but such was his enthusiasm and dedication that his research extended well beyond the confines of political activity and involvement to encompass all key aspects of the Association's history.

It is particularly appropriate that a history of the TSSA should have been written to coincide with our Centenary in 1997 when we shall be recalling our proud record over the last one hundred years as well as looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead. As you read the book, you will realise it is not only a history of achievements and successes, disappointments and setbacks, and of the reasons why decisions were made and their effects, but also a commentary on the aspirations and working conditions of railway staff since the birth of the Association.

Writing a book such as this normally involves considerable expense. An unexpected donation to the Association by the late John Seabridge of the Liverpool Street Branch, who left £10,000 in his Will, enabled the Executive Committee to invite Malcolm Wallace to embark on the project. This fascinating and informative history of the TSSA would never have been written had it not been for Mr Seabridge's generosity and Malcolm Wallaces's insistence that he wanted no financial reward for his years of work.

This book is one that is genuinely impossible to put down until read in its entirety. It is certainly not a dull and turgid presentation of facts and figures. Malcolm Wallace recounts the Association's history by highlighting the role of those members and officials whose thoughts, decisions and actions since 1897 have determined not only the policies, direction and development of the TSSA but also had a crucial impact on the lives of the many hundreds of thousands of people who have, at some stage, been in membership of the Association over the last one hundred years.

Richard Rosser
General Secretary TSSA (1989-2004)