Plunged to her Death

The Walshaw Dean line was not only a working railway it also attracted sightseers who enjoyed a trip on the engines. A walk along the towering trestle bridge, offering breathtaking views, was especially popular.

Unfortunately this led to a tragic accident in May 1909, when a Hebden Bridge woman plunged to her death. Mrs Ada Harwood, 50, of Hurst Dene, Birchcliffe, had gone for a tea-time stroll along the bridge together with her husband, Edgar, a friend, Miss Milnes, and nephew, 16-year-old George Arthur Smith.

Mrs Harwood and George were standing on one of the small wooden platforms jutting out from the line when it suddenly collapsed. George managed to cling onto the rail and scrambled to safety but Mrs Harwood fell to her death 108 feet below.

At an inquest two days later it was revealed that a safety inspection of the bridge had been carried out within the year; it was decided the support holding the platform must subsequently have weakened. The coroner Mr E.H. Hill declared there was no charge of criminal negligence to answer.

Read the full story in Milltown Memories, issue 8. If this or other stories stirs a memory, we'd be happy to know - send us your memories and comments.