William “Inspector” Aitken 1851 – 1931

William "Inspector" Aitken

William Aitken

William Aitken was known as the Railway Poet.
Born in Sorn in Ayrshire in 1851 where his father was the village shoe maker.   He rose in rank during his work with the railways, he lived and worked in Greenock staying at 25 Brougham Street with his wife Jean and family. Founder member of the Greenock branch of the Railwaymen’s Christian Association Mission which began in 1885.  He was a member of the Congregational church where he was the Sunday School Superintendent.  His minister, the Rev. Dr. Rankine recognised his talent and encouraged him in his writing and helped promote it.   Author of many books of poetry and readings for children and adults, a mixture of serious and humourous many about everyday events and observations during his work on the railway.  Some of  his books were, “Songs from the South-West and Bits for the Bairns”, “Echoes from the Iron Road”, “Lays of the Line”, “Rhymes and Readings” and many more. 

He is buried in Sorn Kirkyard



Information from:

William Aitken’s grand daughter

Dane Love’s “Ayrshire’s Lost villages”

Greenock Telegraph 6 June 2023