Contemporary Account of SCR Construction: Lancaster Guardian - 1872, December 14th

The following contemporary account relating to the construction of the Settle - Carlisle railway appeared on page 3 (column 3) of the December 14th, 1872 edition of the Lancaster Guardian.


SUDDEN DEATH OF Mr. JOB HIRST. - The late Mr. Hirst was sub-contractor for Batty Moss Viaduct, the aqueduct, and all the bridges and mason work as far as the entrance to Blea Moor Tunnel. He employed 150 men at the viaduct and 28 at the aqueduct. He was a man who stood high with his workmen, and he was highly respected by all the men on the Blea Moor works, and at Batty Green. His unvarying cheerfulness, good temper, and kindly behaviour to all men secured him general respect. When the news spread on Saturday morning, that Job Hirst was dead, the people far and near were seized with painful surprise, and many mourned as for the loss of as true a friend as ever breathed. By his men he was looked upon more as a father than a master, and as a navvy quaintly expressed it "He was respected by natives and foreigners." A general gloom spread over the people, for his sudden death was considered a calamity far beyond the circle of his own family. The Saturday previous to his death, he treated at Batty Green all his workpeople and his friends with a dinner, in honour of his son Walter attaining his majority. Mr. Hirst left home on the 4th inst. for Carnforth, where he had a contract for building several cottages under the superintendence of his son, Charles Hirst. On Friday 6th inst., he returned by train due at Ingleton station at 6 29 p.m. On his arrival at home, he complained of being rather unwell, but there was nothing apparently in his case to cause alarm to his wife and family. About five a.m. on Saturday, he awoke, got up, and drank a glass of water, and lay down again. As he spoke Mrs Hirst did not apprehend any danger. Shortly after, feeling that he was cold, and as he spoke not when he was spoken to, Mrs. Hirst called some of her family, when it was discovered that their kind bread-winner had without a struggle or groan succumbed to death. Dr. Griffith, who was the first medical man on the spot, pronounced the cause of death to be heart disease. The funeral of Mr. Hirst took place at the Chapel-le-Dale, at 11 a.m., on Wednesday the 11th inst., when about 130 persons were in attendance, in addition to two mourning coaches and six other vehicles. The first carriage contained Mr. Ashwell; second, Dr. Hatton and Mrs. Price; third, Mr Holland; fourth, Mrs Overman; fifth, Mrs Beck; sixth, Mr Garlick. All the shops at Batty Green were closed, and the blinds of every window drawn down. Great was the sorrow of the mourners, and long will they remember the kindly deeds of their departed friend.

FIRE AT JERICHO. - Just as the sad obsequies of Mr. Hirst's funeral were closing, a mounted messenger came in alarming haste to inform Mr. Ashwell that the huts at Jericho were on fire. Mr. Ashwell made al haste to the scene of the fire to direct operations. Three huts were burnt to the ground and another hut had to be taken down to check the progress of the fire.


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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