The directors of the West Midland Railway took a deep interest in the wefare of the workmen. A remarkable organisation, in the nature of a friendly society provided for sickness, fetes and excursions for families and friends. A Railway Institute was housed in the large rooms beneath the driveway to Shrub Hill Station, which later degenerated into storerooms. Then however, they were handsome rooms, and the carraige sweep in front was kept in neat order with flowering shrubs, which justified the name Shrub Hill, for the gardens were things of beauty.
The Institute included a well selective library. It contained about 3,000 or so volumes, but was very selective. There was at that time a tremendous enthusiasm for self-education, and the works of Thackeray and Dickens were appearing in parts, and were eagerly awaited.