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1841: Another melancholy accident at Clayton Tunnel

Updated: Dec 4, 2023

Court Gazette and Fashionable Guide - Saturday 06 February 1841


Another melancholy accident occurred on Monday morning at Clayton Tunnel, which is in the line of the London and Brighton Railroad, and about six miles distant from the latter place, on the road leading to Cuckfield.

Clayton Tunnel c1990

The accident happened at the shaft No. 6, which was the scene of the dreadful and fatal accident that took place about ten days since by the falling of some of the earth in the tunnel.

The nature of the present accident was, if possible, of a much more dangerous kind, and it may well be deemed providential that the lives of many had not been lost in consequence of it. It appears that the unfortunate subject of the present notice, a boy, named Marshall, was following his work of driving the horses employed to wind up the excavated earth and stone to the mouth of the shaft.

At the time of the accident two "skids," or large boxes, in which the earth is raised, or materials lowered, were at work, one ascending with several tons of stone, &c., the other descending with sand, when, either from the bad state of the rope, or from some disarrangement of it on the drum, or large cylinder round which it passes, it suddenly snapped, and the two "skids" fell into the shaft, which is nearly 250 feet deep, the rope at the same instant recoiling.

The drum, being thus unrestrained, revolved round in the contrary direction, which almost instantly threw it out of its proper position, and it fell on the poor boy, who was crushed in a most dreadful manner. He was immediately taken in a cart to the Sussex County Hospital at Brighton, where it was ascertained that the bone of one of his thighs was severely fractured, and his face and body much lacerated; the injuries were of such a nature that his case was deemed hopeless.

In consequence of this being the fourth accident at the same shaft, the greatest consternation prevailed amongst the men below, who very narrowly escaped, the blocks of stone bounding several feet.

Visit Cuckfield Museum for ‘Horsepower – Before machines altered the pace of life forever’ display and much, much more. Follow the link for details



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