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  1. #11
    A very furry Feen! Feen's Avatar
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    Default Wigan railway accident

    Yep, well thanks to Peggy for posting the initial list. Peggy, could you please check your mailbox? Many thanks, J x

  2. #12
    A very furry Feen! Feen's Avatar
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    Very belated apologies for disrupting this thread somewhat by deleting a post I wrote about two years ago: I asked for it to be deleted because I had a bad scare involving personal security online and felt I'd revealed too much about myself and my immediate family... but I've calmed down now (about time really).

    Meanwhile I've been researching this accident and have found many contemporary reports, mostly from the British Library, some from local archives. My primary intention is to find out as much as I possibly can about my relatives, the Wark family. Sadly very little original material from the Warks has survived the years (and a criminal throwing out of old family papers etc during a house move in the 50s), just a handful of photographs and belongings. The contemporary accident reports make grim and often repetitive reading but are worth persevering with as they sometimes include nuggets of detail that help build a picture of what life was like for the people caught up in it before disaster struck: e.g. the information apparent from evidence given by Andrew Wark at the inquest, that he used to travel to work on the Metropolitan Line. I could have deduced this from the location of his home and his office during the 1860s but first hand confirmation that he was indeed a commuter on London's earliest underground railway is much more satisfying.

    As ever there isn't the level of helpful info that a family historian would ideally want to find: reports mention a governess travelling with the family but I haven't managed to find her name. She survived the accident uninjured but who was she, and what did she do after losing her job so suddenly in such terrible circumstances?

    The reports raise other questions. The rescue efforts seem to have been piecemeal with people living near the station and workers from Walker's foundry rushing in to the station and cutting people free from the wreckage with their own axes etc. A minimal police presence and at least one theft from a victim of the crash. The injured were taken to hotels, not to Wigan's brand new hospital. It makes me wonder when coordinated responses to disasters really got underway with police, firemen and medical experts working together (I don't think the ambulance service actually started until the very late C19 early C20).

    Railway accidents are obviously unpredictable in terms of timing and location. Had places like Wigan with long histories of mining accidents developed more streamlined approaches to handling disaster underground?

  3. #13
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    Hi
    Are you sure there was a governess?
    There is mention in the list of those killed of a Nurse to the Wark children.

    MINETTE. Alice Minette, abt. 23, nurse to WARK children, relatives in Newington Causeway, London.

  4. #14
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    Hi SL,

    Yes, there was a governess - Andrew Wark mentioned her in his evidence at the inquest. She was travelling in the same compartment as Andrew and Margaret Wark and their eldest son David. The three youngest children travelled with their nurse, Alice Minnitt (Minette is a mis-spelling which seems to crop up in most reports), in the next compartment along and it was this compartment that took the full impact when the saloon carriage hit from behind after the derailment.

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