Rosa Matheson

Death, dynamite and disaster: a grisly Britsh railway history. Stroud: History Press: 2014. 224pp.

A strange collecion of essays on four specific accidents in descending order of fatalities: Tay Bridge disaster; the Hexthorpe accident which contributed 25 deaths; the death of nine third class passengers in Sonning Cutting and the death of Huskisson during the opening ceremony for the Liverpool & Manchester Railway. There are separate essays on the terrorist campaign conduvted in London mainly by Irish Republicans during the Victorian period (hence the use of dynamite in the title); the clearance of St. Pancras Churchyard, and the Necropolis Railway.
Unfortunately, it did not stop there: far worse was to come, although this is to some extent accompanied by far worse disasters at sea (the Titannic) and in the air (the Captain of the Titannic did not deliberately crash his ship), but Quintishill, the fiery accidents staged by the Midland high in the Pennines, and Harrow & Wealdstone showed that the railway boards were penny wise and pound foolish. In a way the author merely reminds the more general reader that railways were founded on death, but much of its former routine nature remains untold: those who died in the civil engineering works, especially in tunneling, boiler explosions and so on.