Bombed Out’s links with the World’s First Fatal Train Accident.
A Vicious Human Killer cuts its teeth.
Not many people know that on the 15th September 1830, a world-transforming event took place in Liverpool, when the first steam powered passenger railway line, the Liverpool to Manchester railway, opened for business.
Surprisingly, this event and my Punk and New Wave memoir, Bombed Out! share some links.
On the same day as the line opened, a train claimed railway travel’s first victim, when William Huskisson, a senior British politician, ignored warnings and got off the train when it stopped to take on water.
As he stood talking to another passenger, the Duke of Wellington, who sensibly stayed inside the train, he failed to notice Stephenson’s Rocket (being driven by George Stephenson himself) approaching on the other track, at the then-astronomical speed of 25 miles per hour.
When he did notice, Huskisson panicked and tried to clamber into a carriage but the door swung open and he fell onto the track in front of the approaching train, which ran over his leg, fatally injuring him.
For this and other reasons, the train crept into Manchester and arrived back in Liverpool six and a half hours late (what’s new there?) the dignitaries being pelted with rubbish by a drunk and angry mob along the way.
Huskisson Street in Liverpool 8 was named to commemorate the ill-fated Huskisson, who was also a former cabinet minister and a Liverpool MP. It was built around the time he died, and it contains some magnificent Grade 2 Listed buildings.
I refer to the street a couple of times in Bombed Out!. Back when I was in the bands and hanging around Eric’s in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, Huskisson Street was totally dilapidated and unloved, the large houses were warrens of student bedsits and squats and the street had fallen into serious disrepair.
I used to love walking around the area back then, admiring these amazing old houses and indulging in some unlikely real estate porn about one day owning one.
Huskisson Street’s houses, and those in the surrounding area, were saved by rising property prices and by the work of Liverpool Housing Trusts, charities that bought up these properties and renovated them to provide cheap accommodation for the unemployed and the poor, which was an interesting development, considering they were built for the wealthiest people in Liverpool at the time.
Buy a signed copy of Bombed Out! here: http://www.bombedoutpunk.com/buybook.php