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

1861: Natland

This township is an instance of special circumstances, producing a considerable proportionate change. The establishment of the Railway Station (Oxenholme) and its houses, with one or two other dwellings, adds 25 per cent. to the population of 1851.

Superintendent Registrar, Kendal

Kendal Mercury, 15 June 1861

1860: Fatal Railway Accident – William Simpson

Snip from Kendal Mercury 24 November 1860

An accident on the Lancaster and Carlisle Railway, near the Oxenholme Station, resulting, we regret to say, in the death of the unfortunate sufferer, occurred on Wednesday afternoon. The name of the deceased was Wm. Simpson, and he had been employed as a labourer on the line about seven or eight years. He was working at Jenkin Crag, and was carrying some tools in a northerly direction, when he was met by Joseph Thornber, a railway inspector, who directed him to lay them down, and return to Oxenholme. He did so, and shortly after that, the third class passenger train, proceeding southward, passed by Mr Thornber, who was at the time himself walking on the line towards Oxenholme, and when the train had got about 100 yards before him, he heard the whistle very loudly blown, and the train stop. It was very stormy at the time, and getting dusk, and when he got up to the train, he found it had passed over the body of the deceased and killed him, and the driver and some of the passengers were standing near the body. The driver, John Bradshaw, stated that when about two miles from Oxenholme, he saw Simpson before him walking on the “six foot” along the line, and when he was within 100 yards of him, he imagined, from the way in which he was going along, that he was not aware of the approach of the train. He immediately applied the whistle, but the warning seemed utterly to unnerve the man, and when within a very short distance of him, he stepped between the metals on which the train was proceeding, and was immediately knocked down, and it was utterly impossible to prevent the accident. The driver signalled to the guard to apply the break, and the train was stooped. They went back and found the body, which was much mutilated. Death must have been instantaneous. Deceased was 64 years of age. The coroner, R. Wilson, Esq., held an inquest on the body, at the Duke Charles Inn, on the following day, when a verdict was returned of “Accidentally killed by a railway train”.

Kendal Mercury 24 November 1860

1853: The Queen at Oxenholme Station

The disappointment which was felt by the lieges of Kendal, when the Queen did not stop at Oxenholme on her journey to her Highland Home, was amply compensated yesterday, by the opportunity which was afforded them to testify their loyalty, on her return to Buckingham Palace.

The intelligence reached Kendal on Monday evening that it was intended that the royal train should stop for a few minutes at that station to take in water, and every preparation was forthwith made to do fitting honor, such as the time and occasion required.

The Mayor convened a meeting of the Corporation, and it was resolved that the body should be in attendance to pay their respects to royalty.

The preparations at the station were altogether under the management of the Lancaster and Carlisle Railway Company, to whose line the station belongs, and they appear to have been made with much judgment and ability. Platforms were erected on the up-line of the station, to which admission was given by ticket and though the space was ample, it was by no means sufficient for the numbers that presented themselves. Each member of the Corporation had a ticket for himself, and also one for two ladies; and the other tickets were entrusted to gentlemen, directors and otherwise connected with the Lancaster and Carlisle Railway, for distribution.

The down-side of the station, to which access was free to all comers, was also crowded with spectators; and the tops of the carriages which brought up the throng, and which remained on the line to take them back again were also covered with spectators, whose point of view was by no means the worst.

There was a numerous body of police in attendance, but the order that was observed was, upon the whole, admirable, and redounded greatly to the credit of the people. A special train was in waiting for the Mayor and Corporation of Kendal, which left the Kendal Station shortly after eleven o’clock, and on its arrival at Oxenholme, the municipal body took their appointed station, where they were joined by the High Sheriff, and Mr Ald. Thompson, M.P. for the County.

The royal train, contrary to its wonted punctuality, was nearly 20 minutes behind time. Its arrival was anxiously waited for, and on its drawing up at the watering spot, a burst of enthusiastic cheering took place, with a waving of handkerchiefs, hats &c., which must have convinced her majesty and her escort that the sentiment of loyalty glows as ardently in the bosoms of the people of Kendal, as it does in the bosoms of the denizens of any other of her towns.

The train staid not more than five minutes, but a very good opportunity was afforded for a sight of the Queen. The only drawback was from the reflection of the glass windows, which acted more as a mirror for reflecting the features of the spectators, than to enable them to gain a distinct glimpse of the royal travellers.

Thusfar, however, we were enabled to note, that in the royal saloon carriage were the Queen and her Consort, together with the Prince of Wales and the Princess Royal. Her Majesty, who bowed repeatedly in gracious acknowledgment to the acclamations sent forth from both sides of the station, looked remarkably well. She had on a Paisley tartan plaid shawl, and a bonnet with tartan ribbons. The Prince also most affably acknowledged the greetings with which he was received.

The Mayor and the Corporation were ranged alongside the carriage, and it was expected that her Majesty would have interchanged a few words of courtesy with his Worship. But, as we understand, the Duke of Newcastle, the Lord in Waiting, was precluded, by the prescribed etiquette, from introducing either the Mayor or the High Sheriff, from the circumstance that no previous arrangement had been made for such a ceremony.

The requisite supply of water having been taken in, the train was again put in motion, and slowly left the station, amid the united plaudits of the assembled throng. It is computed that between two and three thousand persons were present, and hardly had the carriages disappeared from view, then they were on their return home.

At two o’clock, on the invitation of the Mayor, a number of gentlemen met together at the Commercial Inn, to lunch. The party comprised about 30 guests, including the members of the corporation. The Mayor was supported on his right and left hand by Mr Hilton Halhead, of Liverpool; the Rev. W. Chaplin, the curate of the parish church; Lieut. Stuart, Dr Proudfoot, Rev. J.W, Black, master of the grammar school, Mr. Cropper, Mr. J.J. Wilson, &c. Mr R. Wilson acted as vice-chairman. After the company had done justice to the repast which was set before them, and which was highly creditable to the purveyor, Mr Barrow, whether as regards the elegance of its details or its more substantial requisites. The cloth was drawn, and the Mayor gave a few appropriate toasts. In proposing the health of The Queen, he alluded with much gracefulness to the visit which she had that day paid, and expressed a hope that she might be induced, at some future time, to pass through the town on her way to the Lakes. We have not space, on the eve of our going to press, to enumerate the different toast which were proposed, but we must take the opportunity of putting before our readers the announcement made by the Mayor of the offer of Mr Hilton Halhead to replace the great East window in the Parish Church, with stained glass. This window he proposed to make partly a memorial window to his father; but in case the Vicar should object, the matter would be left altogether in his hands, The party broke up about five o’clock, and the day will be long remembered in Kendal.

We have only to add that the weather was “the Queen’s own.” Had the day been bespoken for the occasion, it could not have been more propitious. The next stoppage was to be at Preston, where preparations were made for the royal reception on a very grand scale,

Kendal Mercury, Saturday 15 October 1853

1853: Shocking and Fatal Accident to a Railway Porter

Shocking and fatal accident to railway porter William Dawson 1853
Snip from Westmorland Gazette article

On Thursday morning a melancholy accident occurred by which William Dawson, a night porter employed in the Lancaster and Carlisle Railway, at Oxenholme, lost his life. The unfortunate man, who was returning home from duty at the time the accident occurred, was standing upright in a waggon coming down the incline from Oxenholme to Kendal, the Kendal and Windermere mail train being just behind the waggon. From the chains being slack, the waggon received a jerk which threw Dawson out, and before he could recover himself the mail train had run over him. Both legs were dreadfully broken and lacerated, the right one near the top of the thigh and the other below the knee. He was brought to his home in Longpool, and Mr. Longmire, surgeon, was presently on the spot, but the frame of the unfortunate sufferer was in a complete state of collapse. Recourse was had to the necessary stimulants, but without success, and it was impossible to perform amputation with any prospect of other but a fatal result. The poor fellow gradually sank, and died within about five hours of the accident. If amputation had been advisable, it would have had to be performed very near the trunk of one limb and below the knee on the other. He has, we believe, left a wife and four children.

An inquest was held yesterday (Friday) at the Railway Tavern, before R. Wilson, Esq., when the following evidence was adduced: –

George Wells, of this town, breaksman, employed on the Kendal and Windermere Railway, examined. – The deceased, William Dawson, was a police officer or gateman employed on the Lancaster and Carlisle Railway, and up to the time of his death he was on night duty. Yesterday morning I left Oxenholme station about five minutes past seven o’clock, accompanying a train of nine goods waggons, a van, and passengers’ conveyance. Robert Middlemoor was the driver. I was in the last waggon, which was loaden with bricks. The deceased was at Oxenholme station, and about leaving his duty when we started, and he came and got upon the waggon on which I was. The waggon was stationary when we got upon it, and we started in a few minutes after. The deceased was standing upon the bricks, near the hinder part of the waggon, and I was standing close to him. The train started quietly, and we were not either us moved from our places by the starting of the train. The driver whistled before starting the engine, and we proceeded at a slow pace for about one hundred yards, when the driver threw the steam off and partially stopped the train to enable me to unhook the waggons from the van and passengers’ carriage, and I descended from the hindermost waggon and did so, leaving a van and our passengers’ carriage behind. We intended to bring the luggage waggons down the line to Kendal with the engine, and to leave the van and passengers’ carriage to descend the incline without an engine. And when I detached them I ascended the waggon laden with bricks, and took my place near the deceased, where I had been before standing. The deceased had two bags of straw upon the bricks, and he was standing between them, about a yard from the hindmost part of the waggon. I cautioned him to take care that he did not fall from the waggon. He stepped forward, took up my lamp, which was lying beside me, and inquired if that lamp belonged to me. I signalled to the driver, after cautioning the deceased, and he put on the steam, and the train proceeded. The chains were rather slack, and in consequence there was a slight jerk, and the deceased fell backwards upon the rails, and the van and passengers’ carriage both passed over him. The jerk which threw the deceased off was so slight that it did not move me; I therefore think he had disregarded my warning, and been off his guard when the steam was put on. We did not entirely pull up, but mere slackened our pace, and the van and passengers carriages were in motion behind us, and came upon the deceased before he could get out of the way. I was not touching the deceased when he fell off, and he fell off so unexpectedly that I had no chance to save him. The driver turned the steam off immediately after the accident, and we went back to his assistance, and found that the wheels had passed over the legs of the deceased and one thigh, and mangled him shockingly. We came off for medical assistance immediately, and left the deceased with some porters and others connected with the railway. I have been about ten months employed as breaksman on this line, and the deceased has been in the habit of coming down with me frequently on top of a luggage waggon. He might have gone in the passenger carriage if he had chosen. The deceased was, I believe, 39 years of age. His death was entirely caused by accident, as I have described.

Ann Livesey, the wife of James Livesey, innkeeper, examined.  – I attended the deceased after the accident, and was present when he died, about one o’clock yesterday. His legs were both broken, and the left thigh. I saw him shake hands with George Wells, and heard him say that no blame attached to any one.

A verdict of “Accidental death” was returned.

Westmorland Gazette, Saturday 5 March 1853

1852: Melancholy Case of Suicide – Robert Bateman

An inquest was held on Thursday, by R. Wilson, Esq., at the Castle Inn, in Castle-street, n the body of Robert Bateman, an old man in his 73rd year, who was well known to all travellers on the Kendal and Windermere Line, as a vendor of newspapers, periodicals, and all kinds of railway literature. He was highly respected by all who knew him, and from his constant and punctual attendance, seemed to be as much identified with the line as any of the railway servants themselves. He had been for a long time in a very ailing state, and at time was in great pain from a distressing ailment with which he was afflicted; and it is conjectured that illness, with its attendant depression of spirits, a depression aggravated by the very scanty earnings of a laborious calling, led him to the rash act which prematurely terminated a life which could not, in all probability, have been prolonged, in the ordinary course of nature, many weeks. The verdict of the jury was “Found drowned.”

Snip from Kendal Mercury, 6 November 1852

We subjoin the evidence:-

Henry Rudd, of Kendal, porter on the Windermere Railway, examined.- The deceased was my father-in-law, and resided with me in the township of Nethergraveship. He was formerly a weaver, but latterly he has been employed selling periodicals to the passengers on the Lancaster and Carlisle and Windermere Railways. He was an old man about 73 years of age. About a quarter-past four o’clock yesterday morning he came into my room and asked me if I would have a light; I had one, and he left the house soon afterwards, as I suppose, to go to the station, and I never saw him again alive. I went to the station about twenty minutes to six, and I expected to find him at the refreshment-room, but he was not there. He had been there in the morning, and had opened the door and locked it again, and left the key in the waiting room, where he was accustomed to leave it, when there was only one key to the room. He had left some silver and copper money, a key, his pocket knife, and pencil, upon a table in th refreshment-room, and I then began to suspect that he had not gone up to Oxenholme, and commenced a search for him about the station; not finding him there, I returned home and went to his bed, thinking he might have returned there, as he had been some time unwell. He was afflicted with gravel, and appeared childish at times and changed, after the Dr. said he would not be able to work again. His spirits were affected, and he was desponding and in a despairing mood. The search was kept up for him all yesterday until evening, and I was told that he was found at four o’clock, drowned in the reservoir at Oxenholme.

James Anderson, of Oxenholme Station, examined.- Robert Bateman was missing all day yesterday, and I inquired for him throughout the day of any one likely to give information. About for o’clock in the afternoon I went to the reservoir at Oxenholme, formed for supplying the tank on the railway with water, and I found the deceased in the reservoir quite dead. He was about the middle of that part of the reservoir between the clue and the field on the Kendal side. He appeared to have been drowned. The body was all under water when I found it. I found his hat under water pressed under a rail by the side of the reservoir. I think this must have been done by the deceased or some other person; it could not have floated there. There was nothing on the side of the reservoir to lead to the supposition that any one had put deceased in the water, nor do I know how he came there. I don’t think any one had been at the reservoir after deceased was drowned until I went. There are no marks of violence about the body that I observed.

Kendal Mercury, 6 November 1852

1851: Coroner’s Inquests … Death by Drowning

On Saturday morning last the body of a young woman, named Eleanor Hayhurst, was found in the canal, close to the Highgate Settings Bridge.  An inquest was held the same day at Oxenholme, before R. Wilson, Esq., when the following circumstances were given in evidence:-

James Cleasby, of Oxenholme, in the township of Kendal, farmer, deposed – Eleanor Hayhurst, the deceased was my servant. She has served me since last Martinmas and was intending to leave my house at Whitsuntide. Some wearing apparel had been misplaced a short time ago, and I named it to the deceased last night about ten o’clock. The doors of my house were then bolted and made fast for the night, and we were about going to bed. We had no high words, and I told deceased that if she would take the things to their proper places nothing more should be said about them. He was then standing in the passage on her way to bed.  She made no reply to what I said, but stood still about five minutes. She then moved to the out-kitchen, extinguished the candle, placed it and the stick upon a table as she passed, and unbolted the doors and hastened out of the house. She did not add anything to her dress, nor did she speak to any one. I hastened after, and ran into the garden calling her by name, and I looked about for her but could not find her. I therefore returned and called my men-servants, and we searched all the outbuildings, but we could not find her there. It was then so dark we thought it useless to search the fields. We sat up to daylight, and the recommenced the search. Having searched various other places, we went to the canal, and, after searching there some time, I found a knife which one of my servants identified as her property. We then returned home and took drags with us. We very soon found the body of the deceased. She was in the canal, quite dead, and had apparently been drowned. We found the body under the Highgate Settings Bridge, in this township, and we removed it here. There are some very steep steps down to the canal bank from the road, and it was very dark when she left my house. If she had been intending to go on the canal banks to Kendal, these steps would be her direct road. The deceased was about twenty years of age.

James Parkinson, of Oxenholme, farm-servant, said- The deceased was a fellow-servant of mine. I assisted to search for her after she was missing yesterday night, and was there when her body was found. My master asked me to name to her that some clothes were missing, and I did so whilst we were milking yesterday. She denied that she had taken them, and desired me to go and search her boxes, which she said were open. She said she wished she was dead, and appeared very much distressed in mind.  She said such stories were enough to drive anyone mad. I believe I was the first to name the missing clothes to her and she at once desired her boxes to be searched.

Verdict – Found drowned.

Westmorland Gazette, Saturday 31 May 1851