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13 Nov 2015 133 views
 
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photoblog image St John the Baptist Church Bromsgrove 6 of ?

St John the Baptist Church Bromsgrove 6 of ?

 

Thomas Scaife and Joseph Rutherford were two unfortunate employees of the Birmingham and Gloucester Railway who tragically lost their lives when the boiler on a steam locomotive exploded at Bromsgrove on 10th November 1840. A craftsman was commissioned to produce the impressive grave stones. Unfortunately he drew a 4-2-0 locomotive built by Norris; rather than the correct locomotive which was a 2-2-0 named ‘Surprise’. Something that no doubt today would have resulted in a libel action. Scaife was killed instantly but Rutherford died the following day.

The two graves lie side by side to the south side of the church.

 

The locomotive that blew up was apparently a one-off locomotive built by a Dr William Church of Birmingham., the boiler being built by a Mr Horton of Brierley Hill. The engine which was named 'Surprise' was owned by a Mr S.A. Goddard and was at Bromsgrove for trials.

 

Reference : Railway Magazine letter from Mr H Pearce Higgins to the Editor - August 1935.

A close-up view of Thomas Scaife's grave. Note that when the grave was restored the first line of text that originally correctly read as ‘Birmingham and Gloucester Railway’ has been changed to the non-existent ‘Birmingham and Worcester Railway’.

 

The text of the poem reads:

My engine now is cold and still

No water does my boiler fill 

My coke affords its flame no more 

My days of usefulness are o'er

My wheels deny their noted speed

Its shrill and thrilling sounds are gone

My valves are now thrown open wide

My flanges all refuse to guide

No more my guiding hands they heed

My whistle too has lost its tone

My clacks also, through once so strong 

Refuse to aide the busy throng

No more I feel each urging breath

My steam is now condens'd in death

Life's railway's oe'r each station's past

In death I'm stopp'd and rest at last

Farewell dear friends and cease to weep

 In Christ I'm safe in Him I sleep

 

 A close-up view of Joseph Rutherford's grave.

 

The poem reads:

 Oh ! Reader stay, and cast an eye

 Upon this Grave wherein I lie

 For cruel death has challenged me

 And soon alas! will call on thee.

 Repent in time, make no delay

 For Christ, will call you all away

 My time was spent like day (*) in sun

 Beyond all cure my glass is run

 (*) Not ‘daw’ as it rather meaninglessly now reads

 

The Railway Magazine of October 1951 reported that Scaife's gravestone had been damaged by vandals on 2nd March 1951. The memorial broke off at the base and ended up in three pieces. Bromsgrove District Council paid £17 10s 6d to join the three sections with concrete supports and bronze clips.

 

St John the Baptist Church Bromsgrove 6 of ?

 

Thomas Scaife and Joseph Rutherford were two unfortunate employees of the Birmingham and Gloucester Railway who tragically lost their lives when the boiler on a steam locomotive exploded at Bromsgrove on 10th November 1840. A craftsman was commissioned to produce the impressive grave stones. Unfortunately he drew a 4-2-0 locomotive built by Norris; rather than the correct locomotive which was a 2-2-0 named ‘Surprise’. Something that no doubt today would have resulted in a libel action. Scaife was killed instantly but Rutherford died the following day.

The two graves lie side by side to the south side of the church.

 

The locomotive that blew up was apparently a one-off locomotive built by a Dr William Church of Birmingham., the boiler being built by a Mr Horton of Brierley Hill. The engine which was named 'Surprise' was owned by a Mr S.A. Goddard and was at Bromsgrove for trials.

 

Reference : Railway Magazine letter from Mr H Pearce Higgins to the Editor - August 1935.

A close-up view of Thomas Scaife's grave. Note that when the grave was restored the first line of text that originally correctly read as ‘Birmingham and Gloucester Railway’ has been changed to the non-existent ‘Birmingham and Worcester Railway’.

 

The text of the poem reads:

My engine now is cold and still

No water does my boiler fill 

My coke affords its flame no more 

My days of usefulness are o'er

My wheels deny their noted speed

Its shrill and thrilling sounds are gone

My valves are now thrown open wide

My flanges all refuse to guide

No more my guiding hands they heed

My whistle too has lost its tone

My clacks also, through once so strong 

Refuse to aide the busy throng

No more I feel each urging breath

My steam is now condens'd in death

Life's railway's oe'r each station's past

In death I'm stopp'd and rest at last

Farewell dear friends and cease to weep

 In Christ I'm safe in Him I sleep

 

 A close-up view of Joseph Rutherford's grave.

 

The poem reads:

 Oh ! Reader stay, and cast an eye

 Upon this Grave wherein I lie

 For cruel death has challenged me

 And soon alas! will call on thee.

 Repent in time, make no delay

 For Christ, will call you all away

 My time was spent like day (*) in sun

 Beyond all cure my glass is run

 (*) Not ‘daw’ as it rather meaninglessly now reads

 

The Railway Magazine of October 1951 reported that Scaife's gravestone had been damaged by vandals on 2nd March 1951. The memorial broke off at the base and ended up in three pieces. Bromsgrove District Council paid £17 10s 6d to join the three sections with concrete supports and bronze clips.

 

comments (17)

i can think of no better headstones for a couple of locomotive engineers Bill....petersmile
Bill Phillips: They did them proud Peter
Most interesting, Bill...
Bill Phillips: A little piece of railway history Frank
Very special, aren't they!
Bill Phillips: They are Elizabeth
  • Astrid
  • Netherlands
  • 13 Nov 2015, 04:48
I love the engravings on the stone....
That accident must have had quite a 'BANG'... a cruel death indeed..
Love the poems.
Bill Phillips: Great aren't they. Very Victorian
  • Ray
  • Thailand
  • 13 Nov 2015, 05:04
Great stuff, Bill.
Bill Phillips: Cheers Ray
Most interesting Bill! Thank you for sharing.
Bill Phillips: We only found out about this fairly recently and it was worth a visit
I declare, Bill. It's almost as bad as war!
Bill Phillips: Well you are just as dead
  • Chris
  • England
  • 13 Nov 2015, 06:51
I think the loco was aptly named!
Bill Phillips: More than a touch of irony
  • Philine
  • Germany
  • 13 Nov 2015, 07:07
I have to return to read all the information and poems.
Bill Phillips: I hope you have time so to do Philine
What charming grave stones Bill, a great find.
Bill Phillips: It featured on the telly or in the paper a while ago.
  • Lisl
  • Batheaston, Bath
  • 13 Nov 2015, 08:22
I was only reading about Rutherford the other day, Bill. These are marvellous tombstones
Bill Phillips: Well I never! It is a sad story
  • Alan
  • Great Britain (UK)
  • 13 Nov 2015, 08:43
Oh dear. Just two of the pioneers of high speed travel that have given their lives in the name of progress. The name of the locomotive seems quite apt!
Bill Phillips: It does have a touch of irony Alan
The repair and repainting of the letters is a good job well done.
Bill Phillips: I am pleased they have done so Mary
  • Louis
  • South Africa
  • 13 Nov 2015, 10:56
"My coke affords its flame no more"

Mmmm - they did that back then as well.
Bill Phillips: Hahaha Thanks Louis
Not a good way to expire, interesting headstones they provide a good read
Bill Phillips: It was not a pleasant Surprise
Very fine memorials aren't they. It must have been a very dangerous time back ten when boilers and engines were still in the early stage of development.
Bill Phillips: The quality of iron was not always that good!
i like the poem on the left, Bill. well composed with the background behind
Bill Phillips: Thanks Ayush. I agree about the poem

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