1949: They saved expresses

Two railway linesmen who were called out in the middle of the night to do some electrical repairs, found one of the lines over the 100ft.-high Lambrigg Viaduct, Westmorland, on the main Euston-Carlisle route was broken.

By their action in halting expresses while temporary repairs were carried out, they probably averted a disaster.

This was stated at Oxenholme, near Kendal, yesterday, when cheques were presented to the men – Herbert Stephenson, of Seven Hill Place, Oxenholme, and his assistant, Richard Haythornthwaite – by British Railways.

Yorkshire Post, Friday 16 December 1949

1910: Oxenholme Tragedy – Lytham man’s terrible death on the line

Verdict of “suicide whilst temporarily insane”

The inquest was held at Oxenholme Railway Station, last evening, on the body of Thomas Grimshaw (41), insurance agent, 4, Queen-street, Lytham.

Deceased’s wife stated that her husband had complained of pains in his head and stomach for some time. The insurance company had written her stating that there was nothing wrong with his books. They had been at Endmoor for a little time, and she supposed him to have left to go back to Lytham. He was found dead on the line near Oxenholme on Saturday.

Evidence as to the finding of the body was given, but as to the train that passed over him it was impossible to trace it. The body was quite out of the way of any pathway.

A letter was read by the Coroner, which deceased probably wrote just before his death with the fountain pen found on him. It read:-

Mother also grumbling. Cannot help it. Hope you will get a better husband next time. Been good pals. Hope to meet [soon]. God bless baby and Tom. Hope got home all right.

The Coroner said there was no doubt the poor fellow was in a fit of temporary insanity and threw himself on the line.

A verdict of “Suicide whilst temporarily insane” was returned by the jury.

Lancashire Evening Post, Tuesday 9 August 1910

1925: Kendal man killed – Fatal accident on railway at Oxenholme

A railway fatality occurred at Oxenholme Junction, near Kendal, about 9.20 this morning, when Ernest Nevinson, porter-guard, employed on the London, Midland, and Scottish Railway, was in the shunting yard. He was knocked down and run over by a light engine returning to the sheds. His body was badly mutilated, and Nevinson was dead when admitted to the Westmorland County Hospital at Kendal. He was a married man, living at Stramongate, Kendal.

Lancashire Evening Post, 20 August 1925

1926: Fatal thorn scratch – Oxenholme engine driver’s death

Mr. G. E. Cartmel (Coroner for South Westmorland) held an inquest on the body of William Duckett (67) of 15, Helmside, Oxenholme, an engine driver employed by the L.M.S. Railway Company.

Duckett, it was stated, was a widower and lived with his daughter, Mary Jane Duckett. On Friday night, the 12th inst., he was walking home from Oxenholme railway station, having been on a visit with his daughter to Lancaster. It appears that a motor car came along, and Duckett stepped in to the side of the road behind his daughter, catching his face in a rose bush which was hanging over the  wall. At the time he entertained the fear that his eye had been injured, but when he arrived home it was found that only the flesh at the corner of his eye had been lacerated. Miss Duckett attended to the wound, and next morning at 4 45 her father went to work feeling better. He retired to bed that night about nine o’clock, but at 12 30 Miss Duckett was disturbed by her father’s laboured and heavy breathing. She gave him some milk and bathed his eye with hot fomentations, later calling in Dr. Edgcumbe from Kendal. The doctor attended him up to the time of his death, which occurred at 6 45 p.m. on the 20th inst.

At the inquest, which was held at the deceased’s home, the Coroner returned a verdict that death was due to heart failure following blood poisoning accidentally received from a scratch by a rose thorn.

Lancashire Evening Post, 26 November 1926

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

2013: Oxenholme’s only shop and post office up for sale

Bill Riddell: “I want to stop here.”

Oxenholme’s only shop and post office is up for sale after its owner decided he could no longer afford to cover its losses.

Bill Riddell, 63, ploughed thousands of pounds of retirement savings into Oxenholme Stores but says not enough customers use it. He has now taken up another job and daughter Dawn is running the Helmside Road business until it sells. Mr Riddell re-opened the shop in March 2010 after it been closed for more than a year and re-introduced a vital Post Office service. As well as pensions, letters and parcel postage, he introduced cash withdrawal and bank deposit facilities to encourage shoppers.

An upset Mr Riddell said: “It’s a venture I tried and it hasn’t worked. I’m not making any money here so I’ve got another job. I want to stop here. I’ve ploughed so much into it – cash wise and time. I’ve been doing 100 hour weeks but I enjoy it. The customers are good and we have a good laugh. The children in the village that come in for sweets are fantastic – well-mannered and well-behaved.”

The time-served joiner said the shop’s stock is reducing as he cannot afford to continue filling shelves as before. During their time, the father and daughter team tried new initiatives like hot pies, the National Lottery and over-the-counter Euros as well as stocking old corner shop necessities like safety pins, cotton reels, pegs and puncture repair kits. During the heavy snows and icy conditions of recent winters, Mr Riddell doorstep delivered to many of Oxenholme’s elderly residents when bus services stopped running and village roads and pavements were covered by drifts or sheet ice.

“Unfortunately, when the Post Office goes they [customers] will be back to where they were three-and-half years ago – having to go into town [Kendal],” explained Mr Riddell. “People do want a local shop and post office but don’t use it enough.”

Oxenholme resident and former councillor, John Bateson, said: “It’s very disappointing and naturally I hope someone’s takes it on. It’s very important to have a post office in the village.”

Commercial sales company, Hilton Smythe, described the shop as “the hub of the community” and said the leasehold business has seven years remaining on the 10-year-lease with rent at £14,500-a-year reviewed annually.

Oxenholme is also served by a Texaco garage.

Reporter: Ellis Butcher

Published by: Westmorland Gazette, 22 August 2013

1920: Accident at Oxenholme – Trucks Derailed – Traffic Delayed

An accident to a goods train near Oxenholme station on Thursday evening dislocated the main line traffic on the London and North Western Co`s system for many hours. A goods train left Carlisle at 1.25 on Thursday afternoon bound for Bushbury near Crewe. When it arrived at Oxenholme about four o`clock it had to be shunted to make way for passenger traffic. When the 4.20 p.m. from Kendal for the south had departed from Oxenholme the goods train was signalled to come from the loop to the main up line , the goods engine was pulling about 42 wagons. The loop line does not finally join the main line until near Oxenholme No 1 signal box at Helmside. Signalman George Mattocks saw a portion of the train pass his box , when thirty-three of the wagons had passed he noticed one of them leaving the rails to be immediately followed by four others , he at once put the advance signal against the train and the driver pulled up. Two of the wagons turned over when under the bridge but fortunately they fell to the outside and traffic on the down line was not seriously impeded. The front portion of the train was sent to Milnthorpe and a gang of men at Oxenholme shed did what they could with jacks to get the trucks back on the rails. The weight of the trucks was too much so the breakdown gang with a steam crane was summoned from Tebay this arrived about seven o`clock , but was not sufficiently heavy for the task , consequently the Preston gang was telephoned for and arrived shortly before 9 o`clock with a fifty ton steam crane. Four of the trucks which were ordinary ten-tonners were easily accounted for, but a six wheel Caledonian truck which was loaded with heavy sheet steel for ship building created greater difficulty, the load having to be removed before the truck could be lifted , by 11.30 the four lighter trucks had been placed in the sidings. About mid-night when all the mail trains had passed through the men were able to work without interruption and the local platelayers were soon at work replacing the 100 yards of permanent way which had been torn up. The damage to the line was considerable but it was hoped the dislocation of traffic would cease today. Nobody was injured , trains were delayed considerably, some being more than an hour late. The cause of the accident is not known but is believed to be due to journal on a wagon breaking as it left the loop line points. Mr Raffles the Oxenholme stationmaster and the local staff worked with the help of Mr Knights the Carnforth stationmaster ( late of Oxenholme ). The officials in charge of the Preston Gang included Mr Dingley (Crewe) Inspector Hall (Lancaster) and Mr Chatwood (Preston).

Westmorland Gazette 16 October  1920

1898: Accident at Oxenholme

This afternoon Joseph Dixon, porter at Oxenholme station, was wheeling a truck of luggage down the north end of the platform, in order to cross the line, when it ran away from him. Dixon fell on the line and broke his left thigh. He was conveyed to the Kendal Hospital.

Westmorland Gazette, Saturday 16 July 1898

1889: Application to take over road

WESTMORLAND COUNTY COUNCIL

The quarterly meeting of this body was held on Wednesday, at the Town Hall, Kendal. The Chairman, Mr. James Cropper, presided, and there was a large attendance of members.

– An application was made by the promoters and subscribers of a road adjoining Oxenholme Junction with Helmside cottages to take over the road as a main road. A generally favourable view was expressed as to the convenience of the new road, but as the preliminary steps had not been taken the matter was allowed to stand over. – The main roads committee stated that an arrangement had been come to with the Kendal Corporation that the latter should be paid at the rate of £120 per mile for the maintenance of about two miles of road in the borough. –Mr. W. H. Wakefield opposed the confirmation of this on the ground that it was excessive, pointing out that the contribution should be in proportion to the wear and tear caused by traffic to the railway station from outsiders. –The Mayor of Kendal (Ald. Baron) contended that Kendal was receiving too little instead of too much, referred to the committee as being the most penurious in the matter. Kendal last year contributed £3,141 to the rates of the county, and did not get back half. They only wanted what was fair, and would be satisfied with no less. –The minutes of the committee were confirmed, there being only two dissentients (Mr. W. H. Wakefield and Mr. W. Wakefield).

Lancaster Gazette, 28 September 1889