Denaby Girl killed at Cleethorpes

July 1900

Mexborough & Swinton Times, July 6, 1900

A Denaby Girl Killed At Cleethorpes

A sad accident occurred at Cleethorpes on Monday evening, which resulted in the death of a little girl named Lizzie Williams, 11 years of age, who lived with her parents at No. 94, Thrybergh Street, Denaby Main.

Deceased was one of a large number of Sunday School children who visited Cleethorpes on an excursion, and just as the train was about to return she was pushed off the platform by the pressing crowd. She was severely crushed between the train and the platform, and from the effects of her injuries she succumbed about half-past one on Tuesday morning at the Grimsby Hospital

A coroner´s court was held at half-past four on Wednesday afternoon, being conducted at the hospital by Mr. A. Mountain, Deputy Borough Coroner, after the jury had viewed the girls body in the mortuary, the listened to the following evidence :-

Robert Williams, father of the girl, was first called. He said the deceased lived with him at 94 Thrybergh Street, Denaby Main, and he identified the body viewed by the jury as that of his daughter. On Monday she visited Cleethorpes with a large number of other school children, the occasion being the annual Sunday school trip. The train by which the children travelled was due to depart from Cleethorpes at 7-20 in the evening. Deceased was 11 years of age, was with her sister, thirteen years of age, and both were on the station platform with a crowd of other children and adults. While they were waiting for the train there came a heavy shower, and as soon as they saw the train being backed into the station they made a rush for it. Deceased was carried with the crowd to a position from which she fell between the platform and the train. He did not see what occurred, but that much had been told to him. His daughter was badly hurt, and they took her to the hospital.

The Coroner : Do you attach any blame to anyone ?

Witness : No, I cannot blame anyone, I was not there.

By the Coroner : The people were anxious to get into the train out of the rain.

Tom Justice, a goods guard in the employ of the Great Central Railway, and living at Mexborough, was the next witness. He deposed to being assistant guard on the train in question. The train had drawn out of one of the sidings in the direction of Grimsby for the purpose of backing into the station to get into the position for departure. He was standing on the step of the rear brake, and as the train came alongside No. 4 platform he tried to keep the people clear. At the end of the platform Inspector Mitchell told him not to tell the passengers that it was the Conisbrough train until it had come to a standstill. He continued to call out to the passengers “stand back” and ” keep clear “. Then he alighted from the brake step onto the platform, still continuing in his endeavours to keep the children clear of the train. Suddenly he heard a scream, and saw the girl fall between the platform and the train. He immediately called out ” Stop the train at once,” and the driver pulled up within the length of two coaches. Witness went without delay to the assistance of the child, whom he found lying between the wall and the metals.

The Coroner : Can you account for the accident ?

Witness : I cannot say whether the girl was pushed or whether she slipped accidentally over the side of the platform.

The Coroner : Could you see whether she was trying to get into the train or not ?

Witness replied that he could not. In reply to further questions by the Coroner, he said the accident occurred halfway down the train, and halfway down the platform, and the train was moving at the rate of four miles per hour, not more. The train had about 50 yards more to go to get into the proper position when it was pulled up.

The Coroner : Were there any grown-up people on the platform ?

Witness replied that there were several adults near the child.

The Coroner : Were there any teachers ?

Witness : Yes, but we don´t rely on teachers. We look after the children our selves when they are on the platform, and the teachers ought to look after them.

The Coroner : Were there any porters about ?

Witness : There were half a score of porters on the platform at the time and two or three of them were near at hand. All the porters were trying to keep the people back.

Witness, continuing, said there was a big rush for the train, and the platform was crowded.

By the Jury : It was almost impossible to keep the passengers from the train.

Mr. Lee, a member of the jury, expressed the opinion that passengers out not to go onto the platform until the train was actually ready for starting.

Charles Robert Broughton, porter for the G.C.R. Co., stationed at Cleethorpes, and living at 42 Albert Street, Cleethorpes, said the Conisbrough train had backed into the station to get the passengers on board, when he heard a shout. He was three or four coaches off the spot where the accident happened, being the nearest of the porters to the child. He did not see the occurrence, as he was walking along the platform in the opposite direction. Witness, like the other porters, was busy keeping the passengers from the train. About the same time as he heard a cry the train stopped. On turning round he saw the child lying between the metals and platform..

By the Jury : The accident occurred behind him.

Mr. Harry Hewitt, station master at Cleethorpes, stated that he did not see any thing of the accident, but he saw the child afterwards. She was being lifted from the line on to the platform. On the platform at the time were Porters Foster, Wass and Broughton, Inspector Mitchell, Guard Justice and himself. They were spread from one end of the platform to the other.

The Coroner : Would it be practical to keep the gates closed so that the passengers were not allowed on to the platform until the train was ready ?

Witness, No sir, and the objection is that with the gates closed the people would rush into the station all at once as soon as they were opened. It would be a dangerous practice, and I have seen children trampled on when we have had the gates closed.

Mr. F. Barton, District Superintendent for the Railway Company, who was present in an official capacity to watch the case for the company, here inter -posed with the remark that it was the first fatality there had been at Cleethorpes for twenty-four years, and they had dealt with thousands of day-trippers. He also estimated that there would be about 5,500 excursionists in Cleethorpes on the Monday.

Dr. Champion, house-surgeon at the Hospital, stated that the child was brought to the Hospital on Monday evening, and he at once examined her. He found her to be very much collapsed, suffering from shock, had a lacerated wound on her leg, and another under her knee, and several bruises. Amputation was out of the question, for it would have killed the child at once. She was too weak to undergo an operation. The only thing to do was to stimulate her and this they did. The poor girl, however, died about 1-30 the next morning.

The Coroner : Would it have been possible to save the girl´s life under any circumstances ?

Dr. Champion : No. The wounds were too severe. The large blood vessels behind the leg were exposed.

The Coroner observed that Dr. Savery, of Cleethorpes, was in attendance upon the girl within ten minutes or so after the accident, and he also assisted at the Hospital. He remarked upon the fact that that was the first fatality in twenty-four years, and that it was a record which spoke well for the management of the station.

Several members of the Jury expressed the opinion that passengers should not be allowed on the platform until the train was ready.

They also thought that had the train been standing instead of moving on Monday, this fatality would not have happened.

The Jury found a verdict of ” Accidental death,” attaching no blame to anyone.