Loughborough Station in more recent years

The following news article was brought to my attention by Daniel Norman Staniforth, a descendent of Thomas' brother William Staniforth.

Thomas Staniforth was born in 1851 in Loughborough, Leicestershire, England to William Staniforth and Ann Hernshaw. In 1870 he married Sarah Utting. They had a son that same year named Henry Staniforth, however he passed away shortly after his birth. He would also have a number of daughters.

Throughout his life he worked as a Frame Knitter, a profession that the huge majority of Staniforth's from this area worked in during this time period, however it was his death that took place in 1882 that makes Thomas stand out.

The following article comes from the Leicester Chronicle, dated 30 December 1882.

Singular Accident On The Railway Near Loughborough

On Thursday evening last an affair, which involved a certain amount of mystery, occurred on the Midland Railway, near Loughborough, by which a man named Thomas Staniforth is asserted to have lost his life. A man named White, of Leicester, with Staniforth, who lived in Wellington Street, Loughborough, and another man, were, according to White's statement, walking down the railway in the direction of Hathern Station, White was on the outside, Staniforth in the middle, and the other man, whom White declares he does not know, on the side nearest the "six foot". They saw a train pass them, but did not hear a fast passenger train approach them from behind. Suddenly the train dashed into them, knocking Staniforth down, sending White to one side, and the stranger whose name is Hunt, of Loughborough, to the other. White says he himself was the first to gain consciousness, and he then found Staniforth in a dying condition. The other man, White alleges was hurt on one of his legs, but not so as to incapacitate him from walking away. White furthermore states that he remained with Staniforth for about an hour, but not finding any signs of animation, he obtained assistance, and the body of Staniforth was conveyed to the Loughborough Dispensary. There the body was superficially examined by the house surgeon, who found no traces whatsoever of any serious injury upon it, Life was quite extinct, but the house surgeon was unable to state what was the precise cause of death.

The man White adhered most firmly to his description of the alleged occurrance, stating positively that the train struck the deceased in the back. The affair, in the complexion it assumed from White's statement, soon got wind, and a large crowd assembled outside the Loughborough Dispensary. The police were communicated with, and took the matter in hand. Upon a further examination of Staniforth's body, evidence of injuries in the region of the ribs were discovered, but in the absence of a minute examination it was impossible to state the exact nature of the injuries they point to.

The inquest on the body of Staniforth was held on Saturday afternoon by Mr. A.D Bartlett, at his offices. - James White, of 3 Long Lane, Leicester, Shoe Rivetter, identified the body is that of Thomas Staniforth, framework knitter, of Loughborough. On Thursday evening last between six and seven O'clock, he was walking down the Midland Railway Line with the deceased and Henry Hunt, they were going from Loughborough in the direction of Hathern, and were walking on the metals of the down main line on the Loughborough side. They got on to the line out of the meadow just before the place where the line crossed the sewerage brook. They walked down the line about 30 or 40 yards, and noticed a passenger train coming on the up line towards Loughborough. They were then on the railway bridge crossing the brook. They were walking in a single file. Hunt was first, deceased second, and witness last. There were only about three or four feet between the outside metal and the edge of the bridge. Whilst the up train was passing a fast train came on the down main line, and witness felt himself knocked down. He fell on his left side, and was not hit by the train, but supposed the wind from the train knocked him over. He got up directly, and found he was bruised by the fall, and saw deceased lying doubled up on the bridge about two yards in front of Hunt. He was alive, and said "Jim, see to me." He moaned and frothed at the mouth, but there was no blood that he could see. Deceased was wearing his coat and waistcoat when knocked down. Hunt was stunned but came to in about a quarter of an hour.

Before Hunt came to witness took deceased's head in his lap, and Hunt went off for assistance as soon as he was able, Staniforth ceased breathing about the time Hunt went. Hunt ws about an hour and a half absent. After Staniforth ceased breathing witness dragged him off the bridge on to the side of the line towards Loughborough, and waited until Hunt returned. When he returned there was no one with him so he left Hunt with the deceased and went off to Coleman's foundry for assistance. Tree men went back with him, and he and they carried deceased across the line onto the meadow, and one of the men fetched a cart and placed deceased in it and took him to the dispensary.

Henry Hunt, of Loughborough, shoemaker, said on Thursday evening he and deceased and the last witness were walking down the side of the Midland line towards Hathern, Deceased fetched him out of the Half Moon Inn and asked him to go for a walk with him. The last witness was with him. He did not know where they were going when they started, but deceased said he was going towards the cast metal bridge. Witness was walking first, deceased second and White last. They walked, as far as he could judge, about 100 yards beside the line. When they got on to the bridge they noticed a train coming up on the up goods line - that would be the farthest from them. While the train was passing a fast train came on the down line. Witness felt the train hit him on the side, and knocked him down. He did not lose consciousness, but was stupefled for about a second. When he looked up he saw deceased lying in front of him. He was lying nearly full length about a yard in front of him. He went up to deceased, and found him frothing at the mouth. He said nothing that witness heard. Witness went off for assistance soon afterwards. He walked along the line towards Hathern and shouted. He went as far as the cast metal bridge. He could make no one hear, and therefore returned. He did not know how long he was absent. When he came back he found deceased on the grass on the Loughborough side of the bridge.When he got back he asked White if deceased had had a fit. Witness thought he had had one from the appearance of the mouth; and having heard the deceased suffered from fits. He had known deceased from a boy, Sarah Staniforth of Loughborough said deceased was her husband. He was 32 years old. She saw him alive last on Thursday afternoon about half past four. He was quite well. He used to have fits occasionally some years ago. The last he had was about five years since. Mr Walter T. Williams, house surgeon at the Dispensary, said about nine o'clock on Thursday Evening last deceased was taken to the institution. He was quite dead. He carefully examined the body.

On the front of the body there was no mark whatever. In the middle of the back there was a very slight graze, and on the right side there was considerable effusion of air underneath the skin. The most probable cause of that would be rupture of the lung. He should judge there were ribs broken, which would perhaps pierce the lung. There would not necessarilly be any bleeding. There was frothing at the mouth, which would no doubt be caused by rupture of the lung. There were no limits broken - The jury wishing for more conclusive evidence as to the precise cause of death, and for the production of further witnesses, the inquest was adjourned.

The adjourned inquest as to the cause of death of Thos. Staniforth, who is alleged to have been knocked down and killed by a train on the Midland Railway last Thursday evening, was held last evening by the deputy coroner, Mr A. D. Bartlett. Witnesses named Brewin, Grimbley and Merriman were called to prove that when they were called to assist the deceased they found him lying on the right side of the line. Mr. J.B. Pike, surgeon, said he had examined the body, and felt fractures of several ribs. Being present at the post mortem examination, which had been held since the adjournment, he discovered one of the lungs lacerated by splinters of ribs. The cause of death was thereby created, rapid hemorrhage into the cavity of the chest compressing the lungs, preventing breathing and so also preventing any blood being vomited. The injuries might have been caused by a train striking deceased, the improbability being that he was not cut to pieces - Hunt, who was with the deceased at the time of the accident, said they expected some "mates" from Leicester, who did not turn up. The Jury returned a verdict of accidental death. Inspector Driver was present on behalf of the Midland Railway Company.