Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mr Blott blots his copybook

Alfred Blott was Wolverton's first Station Master. That is not quite true because the original appointee was G. Kendall, but he was dismissed after a few weeks. Blott, who was about 20 at the time, took up his post on September 29th 1838, two weeks after the London to Birmingham line fully opened
He appears to have been quite successful in what was a brand new job. He took lodgings at Old Wolverton and when the Villas were built in 1841 moved into one of them, which thereafter became the Station Masters's house. He married in 1843 and started his family. His starting salary was £100 and by 1850 he was earning £200 a year - a big salary in those days.
So all was well with the world and he may well have seen out his career at Wolverton but for the fact that he appears to have lost his head, and perhaps his heart too, to a "young lady" whose name is probably unrecorded.
I discovered this tidbit of Victorian scandal yesterday while looking through some records at the National Archives in Kew. The year is 1851 and apparently Blott eloped with this young lady. Lter he seems to have repented this action and returned home to face the consequences. Wolverton was a small community and in 1851 this was a big scandal. His employers reprimanded him and decided to move him to another station. There was then an intervention by various worthies of the district to try to retain Mr Blott, who appears to be well thought of. The Board changed its mind and reinstated him at Wolverton. Then there was a further change of mind, possibly prompted by Blott himself, and he was transferred to Oxford where another Station Master had been sacked for fiddling the books.
Unmentioned in any of these accounts is his wife Cornelia, but she stayed with him, so one must assume that he was forgiven, even though the adventure might not be forgotten.
Blott stayed with the L&NWR for a few more years and then found a job as Deputy Bursar of an Oxford College. He died in 1868 at the comparatively young age of 50.

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