Queensbury Tunnel: Memorial to 10 men who died during construction unveiled

A memorial to the 10 men who lost their lives constructing a West Yorkshire railway tunnel has been formally unveiled.

Work on Queensbury Tunnel, between Bradford and Halifax, began in May 1874 and involved the excavation of 180,000 cubic yards of rock.

But the perilous work was undertaken without any of the health and safety precautions found on modern engineering sites, resulting in a toll on the 600-strong workforce.

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At 44, the oldest to die was John Swire, a profoundly deaf man who had only returned to work on the morning of his death after being hurt in another accident. His right leg was severed below the knee when wagons ran over it.

The memorial at night (Pic credit: Queensbury Tunnel Society)

The youngest casualty was 25-year-old Frederick Goulding who was crushed when a rock fell.

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To honour those who lost their lives, the Queensbury Tunnel Society has erected a memorial comprising two rows of wooden railway sleepers.

Norah McWilliam, leader of the Queensbury Tunnel Society, said: “The event was both moving and uplifting. We reflected on the lives of the ten men who succumbed in unimaginable circumstances, often leaving their families destitute.”

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