In the 1865 the Society was formed as "Midland Railway Enginemen and Firemen's Life Assurance and Permanent Incapacitation Fund" under the patronage of the Midland Railway Board of Directors.
At the time there was no welfare state and the railway companies, as private enterprises, offered little or no financial support to their employees and dependents in times of loss and distress. This situation provided the basis for the formation of the Society at the Locomotive Department, Midland Railway, Saltley, Birmingham.
The railway industry at that time was predominantly made up of the "big four" being The Midland, The London, The Scottish and the Western companies. The Society initially served the Midland region and its General Committee comprised representatives of 10 districts, elected from within its geographical spread. Membership was limited to footplate crew — engine drivers and firemen — and at the end of its first year it had affected 146 policies and had assets of £36. By the end of 1873 the membership had grown to 460 with assets of £1,377.
The initial aim was to provide financial support to its members and their families in situations of death or of permanent incapacitation from carrying out their normal duties and its ethos is summed up by an extract from the minutes of the Annual Meeting of 1880:
"…several Members gave instances within their own Districts of families of Non-members being left in destitute circumstances, and where appeals for voluntary assistance had been tried, but had met with little success. It was well known that in some of these cases the husband and father, whose death had brought such distress upon their families, had often been invited, when in health and strength, to join this Society, but they had delayed doing this until it was too late. On the other hand, numerous instances were given of homes of mourning and sorrow being brightened and cheered by the visit of the Society's District Secretary with the much needed and substantial assistance which the deceased Member's prudence and forethought had secured to them."
Although we have seen the subsequent introduction of the welfare state, provision of employer schemes and the abundance of other private financial planning opportunities, "the Enginemen's" has continued to this day to remain true to the philosophy of its original concept, aims and purpose, offering savings and protection to you, your family and friends.
We have proudly served the railway industry exclusively since our foundation in 1865, however we're now pleased to welcome anyone.