Contemporary Account of SCR Construction: Lancaster Guardian - 1871, July 8th

The following contemporary account relating to the construction of the Settle - Carlisle railway appeared on page 1 (column 1) of the July 8th, 1871 edition of the Lancaster Guardian.


THE SMALL-POX. – Though there are many cases in the hospital, still none of them have proved fatal during the last week. No doubt if more attention was paid to the sanitary condition of the huts and the habits of the people, that it would have a good effect towards the rooting out f a disease which has so many victims lying in the quiet burial ground at Chapel-le-Dale.

ACCIDENTS TO HORSES. – On Thursday week, at Mr. Holden’s Cutting Ashes, Batty Green, a fine horse, worth forty guineas, met with an accident which rendered it necessary to take its life. In consequence of a “tip horse” losing its shoe the horse mentioned, which was a straight road horse, was employed in its place. There were six loaded wagons to tip and the horse had managed without any mishap to tip four of them. The fifth wagon ran over one of its legs and cut it off, on which account the horse had to be killed. On Wednesday, the 6th inst., a horse while at work got its legs entangled in a rope, which caused it to fall, when a wagon ran over it and caused such injury that it had to be killed.

THE ADVENTURE OF A SETTLE LADY. – On account of the small-pox many persons have a dread of going near Batty Green or the railway works. There is no intention in this paragraph to cry down prudence and caution when a contagious disease exists in a locality, but there is no necessity for cherishing a worse than childish fear which prepares a person for the infection he so much dreads. On Tuesday, a party of gentlemen and ladies from Settle visited the railway works for the purpose of viewing the tunnelling operations which are going on. One young lady with less fear than the rest and with a love for adventure, in spite of loving and fervent entreaties from her lady companions mounted the locomotive and started on the tramway for the tunnel. This feat, which was considered too daring for the rest of the party, was only the prelude to further deeds of adventure. After being properly attired for the feat she had undertaken, she descended in succession the three shafts of the tunnel. She appeared to take great interest in the operations which were going on so far beneath the summit of Bleamoor, and the workmen were much pleased with the conduct of their lady visitor.

BATTLES AMONGST THE NAVVIES. – There has been no proper record of the fights which from time to time have taken place at the railway works within the last fifteen months, or the number would be surprisingly large. Drink, which flows almost like a river in the neighbourhood, is the great fomenter of these desperate fights. The navvies appear when maddened by drink to set all law and all law officers at deviance, so that when alcohol and passion rage it becomes dangerous for some one to interfere. Surely it is time for some one to interfere and put an end to so much Sunday drinking and fighting. If the police force is not strong enough to quell such doings, let their number be increased. On Saturday night the 1st inst., there was a fight and as one of the contestants was so drunk that he could not scientifically do the work of a pugilist, his backers decided that the battle should be adjourned until Sunday morning. On Sunday morning the champions of Bleamoor and their backers were up betimes, so that the fight was over by 5.30 a.m. During the week there has been terrible fighting. On Tuesday, in a desperate battle, one of the contestants was so beaten that he had to desist and go to bed. Do not suppose that he went to bed because a craven spirit had come over him for the fighting spirit unsubdued and his lying down was only to [regain]1 strength for further contest. After he had nursed his war spirit and [regained][1] his strength, he rose from his bed and resumed the fight.


[1] The two grammatical variants of this word were impossible to decipher, but in each case the substituted word in square brackets seems to be convey the intended message.


The text quoted above was manually transcribed from a 35mm microfilm copy of the newspaper by Mark R. Harvey during a visit to Lancaster Library on July 10th, 2007.

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