The Great Thorpe Railway Disaster 1874 (Hardback)
Heroes, Victims, Survivors
The Great Thorpe Railway Disaster of 1874 is the third title from Norwich writer and biographer Phyllida Scrivens, who lives less than half a mile from the site of the fatal collision.
At Norwich Station on 10 September 1874, a momentary misunderstanding between the Night Inspector and young Telegraph Clerk resulted in an inevitable head-on collision. The residents of the picturesque riverside village of Thorpe-Next-Norwich were shocked by a ‘deafening peal of thunder’, sending them running through the driving rain towards a scene of destruction. Surgeons were summoned from the city, as the dead, dying and injured were taken to a near-by inn and boatyard. Every class of Victorian society was travelling that night, including ex-soldiers, landowners, clergymen, doctors, seamstresses, saddlers, domestic servants and a beautiful heiress.
For many months local and national newspapers followed the story, publishing details of subsequent deaths, manslaughter trial and outcomes of record-breaking compensation claims. The Board of Trade Inquiry concluded that it was ‘the most serious collision between trains meeting one another on a single line of rails […] that has yet been experienced in this country.’
Using extensive research, non-fiction narrative, informed speculation and dramatised events, Phyllida Scrivens pays tribute to the 28 men, women and children who died, revealing the personal stories behind the names, hitherto only recorded as a list.
16th September 2021
This Illustrated Talk from Norwich Writer, Biographer and Public Speaker Phyllida Scrivens, is based on her new biographical take on The Great Thorpe Railway Disaster 1874, a Victorian railway collision, well known in Norwich and beyond, during Heritage Open Days in Norwich. The main site is free to explore but the talk must be pre-booked. Booking opens: 9 August 2021, 10:00 and closes 15 September 2021, 15:00.