1878: Fatal accident to a mail driver

On the morning of Christmas Day, William Phillipson, engaged as driver of the mail cart from Windermere to Oxenholme, was about to return with his bags from Oxenholme railway station, when a quick goods train for Liverpool passed. The unfortunate man appears to have been struck by the train, his dead body being thrown  on to the platform, shockingly disfigured about the face and head. One of his shoes was torn off and thrown a few yards away, and the bags he was carrying were damaged.

Liverpool Mercury, 27 September 1878

1875: Painful accident at Oxenholme Station

An accident of a very painful and serious nature occurred at Oxenholme railway station on Tuesday morning, by which a head porter named Thompson Holmes sustained such injuries as to render his case one of a very critical nature. From what we can learn it appears that at about a quarter past two in the morning a goods train, proceeding northwards, stopped at the station, and, for the purpose of giving some instructions to the driver, Holmes got on to the engine. Immediately afterwards a train from the south, due at 2.17, entered the station, and Holmes jumped into a six-foot way for the purpose of crossing to the platform. By some means, however, the unfortunate man was caught by the moving train, and one of his arms was torn completely out from the socket, as, on assistance being procured, it was found to be hanging by a small portion of flesh and skin. As speedily as possible, the necessary steps were taken and Holmes was brought to Kendal, and at once taken to the hospital, where, on his injuries being examined, amputation of the injured limb was pronounced necessary. The pain from the injuries appeared for some time to be but little felt by the sufferer, the shock having produced a numbness of sensation, though he was perfectly conscious, and repeatedly much distress on account of the condition of his mother, with whom, being a single man, he had lived, and to whose support he had contributed. He is regarded as a faithful and useful servant of the Company, and has been much liked by all with whom his avocation has brought him into contact.

Lancaster Gazette, 6 March 1875

2001: Committee rejects Oxenholme name change

Plans to change the name of Oxenholme Station to ‘Kendal – The Lake District’, have been rejected by South Lakeland District Council’s economic development committee.

Kendal Tourism Group, a think tank of Kendal hoteliers, traders and South Lakeland District Council officers charged with boosting the town’s tourist traffic, has proposed the change for Oxenholme and asked the committee to give its blessing.

The group believes that changing the station’s name to link Kendal more closely with the Lake District would persuade more tourists to see the town as a holiday destination in its own right.
But Coun. Philip Ball, SLDC member for Oxenholme, appeared before the committee to make an impassioned plea to reject the proposal.

Mr Ball said: “When I first read of this in the Gazette I was most upset, because Oxenholme had had no consultation.

“I have since consulted people in Oxenholme and nobody wants it changing.

Kendal Town Council is upset, the Lakes Line action group is totally opposed and both Conservative and Labour prospective parliamentary candidates are totally opposed to it.

I have yet to come across anybody who is happy with a change of name,” he said, “Oxenholme has its own identity.”

Many councillors voiced their opposition to the move and the committee voted unanimously to reject the name change.

Westmorland Gazette, Tuesday 5 June 2001

1941: Inquest adjourned

The inquest on James Arthur Knight, electrician, of Hillcrest, Oxenholme, Kendal, who was killed when the motor-cycle he was riding and a motor vehicle were in collision at Appleton, was adjourned till May 14 at Warrington today.

Liverpool Evening Express, 28 April 1941

1887: Struggle on an engine

A serious affair has just occurred between an engine-driver and fireman on one of the passenger trains running on the loop line between Oxenholme and Windermere. A dispute took place with regard to the work, and the driver, pouncing upon the fireman, gripped him savagely by the throat and knocked him down. The driver then produced a pocket knife, but owing to the greater strength of the fireman, his purpose was averted. On reaching the first station, Staveley, the fireman acquainted the station-master and guard of what had taken place, and at Oxenholme he left the engine and proceeded to a doctor to have his injuries attended to. The fireman’s neck was much injured, the wind-pipe being affected. An inquiry was held by the officials of the London and North-Western Railway Company at Oxenholme, with the result that the driver was dismissed the services of the company.

Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald 20 August 1887

1868: Frightful accident at Oxenholme

Between ten and eleven o’clock on Thursday morning, a fatal accident occurred just outside Oxenholme Railway Junction, Westmorland. A platelayer, named John Cross, was at work on the line, and near him was an overlooker, Joseph Beard. Suddenly an engine was observed running towards the men, and the driver was heard blowing his whistle with great vehemence. Beard called to the platelayer to get out of the way, and then he himself moved aside. The next moment he was horrified to see Cross pass over the line; at the same instant the locomotive dashed on to the unfortunate fellow, lifting him from his feet, and causing him to turn a complete somersault in the air. When picked up the body was fearfully mutilated; life was extinct. On the same night C. G. Thomson, Esq., Coroner held an inquest on the body, when the jury returned the verdict, “Accidentally killed by an engine on the Kendal and Windermere Railway about half-a-mile from Oxenholme Station.”

Kendal Mercury, 4 January 1868

1890: Shocking accident at the Oxenholme railway station

On the evening of New Year’s Day a terrible accident happened at Oxenholme Railway Station to John Pears, the foreman porter, causing his death. The deceased was married but had no family, and resided at Helmside, a row of cottages a little south of the railway station. When coming on duty about six o’clock it would appear that the deceased crossed the line, and was run into by the London express and literally cut to pieces. The deceased was a steady, quiet man, and much respected by his fellow workmen and the travelling public. An inquest was held on the body on Thursday evening by Mr. F. W. Watson, deputy coroner, when the following evidence was adduced:-

Sarah Pears, of Helmside, deposed: I am the widow of John Pears, the deceased. I last saw him alive last evening, about twenty minutes to six o’clock. My husband was foreman porter at Oxenholme Railway Station. He was due on duty at six o’clock. Before leaving home he was in his usual health and spirits. I had not the slightest reason to think that deceased contemplated any rash act. I am quite satisfied on this point. I attribute his death purely to accident. The deceased was 42 last March.

Henry Paine, brakesman, living at 8, Black Hall Yard, Kendal, deposed: I am in the employ of the London and North-Western Railway Company . I have known the deceased, John Pears, since I commenced work at Oxenholme nine years ago. He was a sober, steady man, and thoroughly acquainted with his duties. When I was coming off duty last evening, about six o’clock, I crossed the shunting yard to get to the platform. I walked along the six-foot way. When near Oxenholme Station I found a can and basket; the can had the deceased’s name stamped upon it. The evening was rather foggy and wet. I suspected that an accident had happened. On proceeding to search a little further south I found a human foot lying on the up loop line, on the shunting side. I then came to the office and told the station master what I had found. The station master and I proceeded back to the place, where we found the trunk of the deceased’s body lying in the four foot of the up main line. The trunk was mangled into a heap. Another person found some other portions of the body further south. I could not identify John Pears from his clothing, nor from any portion of the body that had been found. I cannot account for how the deceased got on to the line. The remains were found about forty yards from the southern end of the platform. I am not aware that the deceased had any duty which required him to cross the rails, but it is commonly done by the railway officials instead of using the sub way.

Thomas Moffat, station master at Oxenholme deposed: I have known the deceased, John Pears, nine years. He was a steady, trustworthy official, and acted as foreman porter. The deceased was due on duty at six o’clock last evening. I did not see him come on duty. A few minutes after six o’clock, the last witness came and reported to me the finding of the can and basket and a human foot. We returned together to continue the search. I corroborate what Paine has said as to the result of the search. Deceased might have been crossing the rails in the ordinary course of his duty. He had continually to do this when on duty. The London express is due to pass Oxenholme at 5-33 p.m., not stopping. Last night the express was late, passing through the station at 5-49. It was proceeding at a high rate of speed. I have no doubt the deceased was killed by that train. It is quite probable that he would think the express had passed and that the line was clear. By a juryman: A lamp underneath the bridge was not lighted; it was moonlight. There was no fog at the time. The platform lamps were all lighted. The lights from the signal box gives a good light where the remains were found. I could identify the deceased by the clothing and can.

Thomas Rumney, of Crewe, deposed: I am an engine-driver, and was in charge of the London express las evening due to pass through Oxenholme at 5-33. I passed through at 5-50. I neither saw, heard or felt anything in passing through Oxenholme, which we did at a rate of about 45 miles an hour. We ran through to Preston without a stop, and on arriving there I found portions of brains scattered against the side frame of the engine. I also observed the peak of a railway cap on the smoke box on the same side. The right buffer lamp was missing when we arrived at Preston. The lamp would be 4ft. or 5ft. from the ground, and this might probably cause death of deceased. The evening was a little hazy, but not so bad at Oxenholme as it was about Hayfell.

Inspector Shepherd, of Lancaster, here stated that there was another train on the down line being shunted when the express went through Oxenholme.

The Deputy-Coroner, however, did not think it was necessary to encumber the dispositions with this.

The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death.”

Westmorland Gazette, 4 January 1890

1938: Injured on Railway

Hearing cries from the railway line near Oxenholme signal box, Signalman W. Swarbrick found Richard Hill (60), railway messenger, of Fellside, Kendal, lying near the line with his left foot and hand badly crushed.

It appears that Hill was run down by a light engine, although the driver was unaware of any accident. Hill was taken to the County Hospital, Kendal, where his foot and hand were amputated.

Sunderland Daily Echo, 1 July 1938

1950: End of a famous pack

The Oxenholme Hunt, which for 80 years has played a colourful part in the country life of South Westmorland, was wound up on Saturday when the last hound left the Gatebeck kennels for a North-country pack. A few days ago nine hounds were sent to join the drag-hound pack of which Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands is Master. Now for the first time for 72 years the Gatebeck kennels are empty of horse and hound. The district is also covered by the Lunesdale pack of fell foxhounds, and lack of funds has compelled the keen band of Oxenholme followers, who have kept the pack going in recent years, to wind it up.

The Oxenholme saw its greatest days under the late Mr. Charles H. Wilson, who was Master from 1878 to 1918. From his time the pack hunted red deer but this quarry largely disappeared from the South Westmorland countryside during the Second World War, and there had to be a change to fox hunting with an occasional “find” of deer in the many noted coverts. The most famous servant of the pack was “Hunty Dick” Jackson who spent half a century as its kennel huntsman.

Yorkshire Post, 26 June 1950