Sewing Machine Research
ISMACS International
International Sewing Machine Collectors' Society

British Rail

Issue 60

NOWADAYS, I'm told, British Rail (or whatever its called) takes a dim view of those who do not purchase a ticket before boarding a train. It was little different in 1888 when one Sarah Harvey traveled to New Malden station without a ticket.

She did, however, have her Singer with her and offered this to the station master as surety and promised to return the next day, pay for a ticket and recoup the machine.

Needless to say she did not. The action then moved to Kingston County Court where the Singer Company took suit against the London and South Western Railway Company.

Court records unfortunately do not reveal how Singer discovered that one of its machines was doing duty as a surety in a railway station but claimed that it belonged to the company as Sarah had defaulted on her hire-purchase agreement.

The railway was not keen to hand it over just in case the elusive Miss Harvey turned up with her one shilling and demanded the machine back. His honour Judge Lushington, with all the wisdom of Solomon, suggested that Singer Should indemnify the railway company against action from Sarah.

This was agreed and Singer was awarded the machine plus the costs of the action.