1871: Lightning

On Friday afternoon … a thunderstorm of great violence burst over Kendal and the district. It commenced about 2.30, and continued till six o’clock. It culminated about 4 in a terrific flash of lightning., accompanied by an almost instantaneous peal of deafening thunder. Another flash and thunder clap fully as violent followed at six o’clock, after which the storm gradually rolled away. At the Kendal railway station the electric fluid entered the room where the telegraph instrument was placed, passed into an adjoining room, and again through another door on to the platform. At Oxenholme Junction it struck the telegraph instrument, burst a gaspipe, and fired the gas, which in turn set fire to some woodwork and the wall paper. At Staveley, about four miles from Kendal, the lightning set fire to a barn, destroying a quantity of hay, and also the roof of the building.

Bedfordshire Mercury, 26 August 1871

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