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William Huskisson MP – Britain’s first railway accident fatality

Posted in Famous news stories, Historical articles, Railways on Wednesday, 7 December 2011

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This edited article about the railways originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 870 published on 16 September 1978.

Death of Huskisson, picture, image, illustration

The death of William Huskisson MP by Harry Green

On 16th September, 1830, William Huskisson, a Member of Parliament and one of Britain’s leading statesmen, was one of a party of important personages who were in Liverpool for the opening of the newly-built Liverpool to Manchester railway.

The journey went without mishap until the train stopped at Parkside to take on more water. Here, contrary to instructions, many of the passengers left their carriages and stood on the track. Huskisson went to talk to the Duke of Wellington, with whom he had recently had an argument in the Houses of Parliament.

At that point a train was seen coming towards the groups of people standing chatting on the rails. Everyone immediately rushed to their carriages, but the unfortunate Mr Huskisson lost his balance and fell back into the path of the oncoming train, which ran over his leg.

The injured politician was rushed to hospital in Eccles, but he died nine hours later. The railways had claimed their first victim.

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