NOSTALGIA: Accident at Causeway Bridge, Fornham All Saints – 1890

Traction engine accident at Fornham All Saints, 1890. From the Spanton Jarman collection. ANL-161210-093702001
Traction engine accident at Fornham All Saints, 1890. From the Spanton Jarman collection. ANL-161210-093702001
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Work being undertaken to extend the Lark Navigation System with a new lock and bridge at the Tollgate Inn near Bury St Edmunds, created a traffic diversion at Fornham All Saints, with tragic consequences.

On June 16 a traction engine coming from Timworth to Bury tried to cross the wooden Causeway Bridge (now called Sheepwatch Bridge) which partially collapsed. The driver of the two-man crew, Thomas Newell, was killed in this tragic accident. The men were employed by George Cornish, one of Bury’s engineering firms.

-- This picture is part of a remarkable collection of 4,000 photographs in the care of Bury St Edmunds Past and Present Society which offers a glimpse into the town’s history.

Taken by two families of professional photographers, the Spantons and the Jarmans, the images span a period from the 1860s through to the outbreak of World War Two. The fragile glass plate negatives were donated to the society in 1997 and in recent years many of these have been ‘digitised’ thanks to a Lottery grant and donations - a further £2,000 is needed to complete the task. They can be viewed at www.burypastandpresent.org.uk where you can also find details about membership and the group’s programme of events and lectures. The Spanton-Jarman collection is held at the Bury St Edmunds branch of the Suffolk Record Office. For more details about the Record Office, including its programme of talks and courses, visit www.suffolk.gov.uk/sro.