The Terrible Death of Mr. Broomhead Colton-Fox
Killed at Victoria Station
Transcribed by Joey Xu
THE EVENING TELEGRAPH AND STAR, SATURDAY, DECEMBER 16, 1893
We record this morning with deep regret the death Mr. P. Broomhead Colton-Fox, which occurred last night at the Victoria Station under very shocking circumstances. Mr. Colton-Fox was crossing the line Alien was knocked down by a passing train and killed on the spot. The news will come upon the terrible shock. Few men were better known than the senior partner the firm of Broomhead, Wightman and Moore, George Street, and everyone will deplore his untimely end. The sympathy of all his friends will go out to his widow and family in their great and sudden bereavement.
The details of the accident are exceptionally mournful. Mr. Broomhead Colton-Fox had been at his office in George Street as usual during the day. He remained there until ten minutes past even last night dictating letters his clerks and attending to other business. Inasmuch as he bad to catch the 7.20 train to Kiveton Park his time was very limited. He rode to the station in a cab, and on arriving there handed his bags to a porter, who took them across the line. It was then close upon 20 minutes past seven. Mr. Colton-Fox hurried along the platform, and appears to have called at the bookstall, where made a purchase. He then made his way to the east end of the South platform for the purpose going to North platform by the level crossing. This was his usual custom. Mr. Fox was rather stout, and to save himself the exertion that would have resulted from his proceeding over the passenger bridge bad for a long time used the level crossing. The last man to see Mr. Colton-fox the on South was Inspector Walker, who was on duty at the station. What occurred after that no one can actually say. It seems that shortly before the deceased made his appearance at the station a slow train had arrived from Nottingham in the central platform, on the south side. The whole of the passengers having left the carriages, the driver, usual, looked for the signal to back his train out of the station at the East end, in order that he could proceed into one of sidings. A shunter named Taylor superintended this operation, and this man having looked down the line and seen that all was apparently clear, motioned for the train to be shunted out of the platform. As the carriages moved along, Taylor walked by the side of them. On arriving at the level crossing he was surprised to see a hat lying the rail side. Looking down, he noticed a pair of spectacles close by, and once came to the conclusion that an accident had happened. He whistled to the driver to stop his train, but by this the vehicles had passed a considerable distance along the station, and the train was not brought to standstill until the whole vehicles and the engine had almost got clear of the platform. Taylor glanced along the line, and seeing the body of man lying a few yards lower down than the crossing, he shouted for assistance. Inspector Walker and other officials were soon on the spot. The body proved to be that of Broomhead Colton-Fox, and it was lying about ten yards east of the level crossing, in a mangled condition. The legs were cross the outer rail, the body being between the rails and the platform, and partially under the platform.
An inspection of the remains left little doubt that Mr. Colton-Fox, while crossing the line, was struck by the guard’s van of the Nottingham train as it was being backed out of the station. Falling between train and the platform he was dragged along the line several yards, and it was not until the whole of the vehicles had passed over his legs that the body was liberated from its terrible position. The legs were severed from the body, one being cut off just above the knee, and the other near the ankle. The head was badly mutilated, and the arms severely cut. There was blood all along the line from the crossing to where the body was found, and at the latter place was a large pool of blood marking the spot where the body got clear of the train. Under the superintendence of the station master (Mr. Manley) and Inspector Walker, the remains were removed to the third-class waiting room, and the mortuary van was telephoned for. Afterwards the body was taken to the Mortuary, Plum lane, where an inquest will held.
The news of the accident spread with remarkable rapidity the city, and within half an hour of the it was generally known that Mr. Colton-Fox had been killed, Mr. H. Brierley, one of the managing clerks of the firm Broomhead, Wightman, and Moore, was at station shortly after the accident, and he communicated the sad news to the officials of the firm. Word was sent to Mr. Arthur Wightman at his house at Crookes, and he at once proceeded the Victoria station and did all that was possible to be done. Mr. E. T. Moore bed left Sheffield at earlier hour for Worksop, and be heard the sad tidings at the later hour. Mrs. Broomhead Colton-Fox had arranged meet her husband at Kiveton Park, and was waiting the station when the news came of his death. She immediately left for Sheffield.
Inspector Walker, as previously stated, appears have been the last man to see the deceased before he was killed. Walker is one of the platform inspectors at the Victoria station, and he has known Mr. Broomhead Colton-Fox for many years. He states that the deceased gentleman was always the habit of passing over the line by the level crossing at the east end of the platform, he did on this occasion, instead of going over by the passengers’ bridge. Last evening he saw the deceased arrive at the station, and he believes that he made a call at the bookstall. The last he saw of him was that he was quickly making his way towards the crossing in order to get to the north side of the station to catch the 7.20 train to Kiveton Park.
According to the statement of the shunter, Taylor, who was on duty the M. S. and L. Station, it seems that all the passengers, who had come from Nottingham and places on route had left the carriages, and the doors having been closed Taylor proceeded to the east end the platform to see that all was safe before signalling the driver to back out of the station. Taylor looked down the line, and apparently everything was clear. He, therefore gave his driver the usual signal to set the train in motion. Taylor walked gradually along the platform while the train was moving towards the east end. On arriving at the crossing saw on the floor hat, and immediately afterwards noticed a pair of spectacles. He was afraid that an accident had happened and as quickly as possible the train was stopped. Taylor, with the men, walked a short way along the line, and then found the body of Mr. Colton-Fox in the position previously indicated.
The accident once more illustrates the danger of level crossings. A very similar mishap occurred some time ago at the Midland Station, with the result that the crossing was done away with. At the Victoria Station, the level crossing is away at one end of the platform and is very little used by the public, to whom it is not an ordinary way as convenient as the bridge. It is chiefly used for luggage purposes.