First Aid Kits were developed commercially by Johnson and Johnson for use on the American Railroad. On both sides of the Atlantic, accidents resulting in injury and death were common on the railways. There was demand for a quick treatment that could be administered by anyone and the First Aid Kit was developed with advice from Railway Surgeons.
First Aid Kit used at North Road Station open, showing a range of original materials still inside. Image courtesy Head of Steam – Darlington Railway Museum.
First aid had played a key role in the North Eastern Railway Company (NER) since 1894 when General Manager Sir George Gibb set about organising a system wide ambulance instruction class, with the help of Surgeon Major G.A. Hutton. By 1911, 6,000 employees had St Johns Ambulance Association certificates in First Aid. The classes were hugely popular, and this common knowledge saved countless lives.
The NER was divided into six districts, Darlington, Hull, Leeds, Middlesbrough, Newcastle and York. Each district competed for their own ambulance shield and the winners from each went on to compete for the Lloyd Wharton shield. Regional winners then represented the NER and competed for the National Railway Shield.