Tag Archives: Wimbledon

1855 : Fatal accident on Wimbledon and Croydon Railway

From page 6 of the 30th October 1855, edition of the South Eastern Gazette.


The above-named line of railway, which it was at first said would be opened on the 1st of October, then on the 15th of the same month, was opened on Monday, the 22nd. The London, Brighton, and South Coast Company issued bills, announcing that they would run 13 trains per diem. The South Western Railway Company also issued bills, stating that they intended running 5 trains per diem, by means of which passengers could be conveyed to the Waterloo terminus. These, however, were not to be what are generally termed “through trains,” but passengers wishing to go to Waterloo station would have to change trains at the Wimbledon station.

The line, which is a single one, is as near as possible upon the same route between Croydon and Mitcham, as that formerly occupied by the earliest railway in England, viz. the old tramway formed at the commencement of the present century, for the purpose of conveying stone and lime from Merstham. Those who recollect the old tramway are aware that after passing Waddon Marsh, there was a short cutting familiarly known as the “high banks,” after passing which it ran upon a level by the side of a farm now occupied by Mr. Atherfold and then across Mitcham-common.

On Wednesday afternoon the London, Brighton, and South Coast train, consisting of a small engine with tender attached, and four carriages, arrived at the Croydon West station, and proceeded on to Mitcham; at the time we learn there were not more than 8 or 10 passengers in the train. When it reached Mr. Atherfold’s farm, and was consequently between the “high banks” and the road leading from Beddington to the Windmill upon Mitcham-common, the engine got off the rails, after which it evidently continued to run for nearly a hundred yards, when the engine and tender went off at the right hand side of the line, and the carriages at the same time went off at the opposite side. The engine immediately tumbled over, and Bingham the engine driver, who it would appear was at the time working the lever, for the purpose of reversing the engine was with the exception of his head and right arm buried beneath the engine. His death must have been almost instantaneous. The stoker (Weller) jumped off and was much scalded, but not otherwise materially injured. The first carriage was completely smashed, but fortunately there were no passengers in it, and those who were in the other carriages escaped with very slight injuries, as did also the guard who was attending to the break, which fortunately was attached to the last carriage.

Intelligence of the event was immediately conveyed to New-Cross station, and an engine, with what they term the tool box, and about a dozen men arrived at the spot at about 7 o’clock; the remains of the unfortunate engine driver however, were not extricated from beneath the engine till past 8 o’clock, when they were conveyed to the Plough public-house, Beddington, to await a coroner’s inquest.

Another report mentions that one of the passengers was from Mitcham.

From page 351 of the 31st October 1855 issue of the Watchman and Wesleyan Advertiser:

On Thursday (sic) night a serious accident occurred on the Croydon and Mitcham Railway to a passenger train in the neighbourhood of the village of Beddington. The line from Croydon to Mitcham, a distance of four miles, was only opened on the preceding Monday. It consists of a single line of rails until its junction with the Croydon and Epsom line, about half a mile from Croydon.

The train to which the accident happened started from the terminus at London-bridge at 4.15. About midway between Croydon and Mitcham, the engine ran off the rails, dragging the tender and passenger carriages after it, for between fifty and sixty yards, until, falling over on its side, its career was suspended. One of the carriages was smashed to atoms, and the driver killed on the spot. There were, fortunately, but five passengers, all second class, and, with the exception of a Mrs. Jacobs, the wife of a retired gentleman residing at Upper Mitcham, who was very much shaken, they all escaped unhurt.

From page 564 of the 7th November 1855 issue of the Watchman and Wesleyan Advertiser, the inquest recommended a speed limit of 20 m.p.h.:

On Monday, the coroner resumed the adjourned inquest on John Bingham, the engine-driver who lost his life on the 24th ult., on the newly-formed West Croydon and Mitcham Railway. Colonel Yolland gave it as his opinion that the accident was caused mainly by the speed at which the engine was travelling. The jury found, “that the deceased met his death by accident, but recommend that the maximum speed, until the lines becomes consolidated, should not be greater than twenty miles an hour.”

Robinson Road

Road named possibly after Robinson Crusoe story. Crusoe Farm Dairy was named by its owner on the possible residence of nearby Tooting Hall by Daniel Defoe, author of Robinson Crusoe.

The 1862 map by Stanfords shows a road called Robinson’s Lane running from Merton Road west to Pig’s Marsh. In 1868 the railway line between Tooting station and Wimbledon (the next station was Merton Abbey) had been built, cutting through this lane. It is possible then that the road west of the railway line became known as Robinson Road, the east of it retained Robinson Lane, as far as Swain’s Farm, from there to the London Road being called Swain’s Lane.
Later, Robinson Lane became part of Swains Lane, which itself was renamed Swains Road.

1895 OS map

1895 OS map

1911 OS map

1911 OS map

Occupants from the 1891 street directory:

Robinson road, Colliers wood (Tooting Graveney),
from Merton road to Lyveden road


Rev. W. Hope Davison (Tudhoe lodge)
— here is Park road
William A. Richards (Clock house)

Denmark villas:
1, Robert Dyson
2, William Charles Parkes

Ravensbury villas:
1, S.J. Blazdell
2, Clarence Piper
3, Walter Buckley
— here is Norfolk road
Edward William Thaire (Eagle house)
George Drake (Eagle villa)
Nathaniel Moore (Belmont villa)
T.T. Ginns (Devon villa)
Frederick Thursby (Chilton)
Mrs. Radford (Clifton house)
Mrs. Jackson (2 Brunswick villas)
S.J. Cary (Rockbeare)
W.E. Pledge (Elmstead)
Mrs. Nelson (Annesley cottage)


Cecil Russel (Thistledown)
Francis Baker, florist

Cambridge villas:
1, Frederick Scotlied
2, George Palliversa

Lorne villas:
1, Henry Cleaver
2, Miss Bridge
3, Henry Mayes
4, John Charles Parrott
5, Joseph Tayler
6, Mrs Moseley
7, George Billings
8, Edward Watkins

Carisbrooke villas:
2, Arthur James Cove
1, James William Freeman

Capt. E.J. Parker (Rothsay)

Wood villas:
1, John Walter West
2, George Spiller Cooling
4, Mrs Burtenshaw

Miss Greener (Haslemere)

Victoria villas:
8, James Danks
7, H.A. Moncrieff
6, George Duggua
5, Arthur Spiller
4, Mrs Thompson
3, J. Sparkes, boot maker
2, Mrs Brown
1, W. Rayner

Horace Cath (Clan-y-mor)
Mrs Beane (Holbrooke)

Gothic villas:
8, Mrs Snudden
7, Henry Berger
6, Arthur P. Berger
5, Leon Friax
4, James Willis
3, T.G. Fisher
1, Mrs Hunt
— here is Lyveden road

World War 1 Connections
Private Harry Thomas Charles Bullock

Private Sidney Henry Cath

Private Ernest Henry Hollamby

From the Surrey Recruitment Registers:

F W BALZELL of 8a East Gdns Robinson Road, aged 39 Years 11 Months, Piano Tuner. Conscripted on 11 December 1915 to the Essex Regiment (17th Batn).

C T BENTLEY of 105 Robinson Rd, aged 33 Years 1 Months, Clerk. Volunteered with the Derby Scheme on 11 December 1915 to the Suffolk Regiment (1st Batn).

T W DAVIS of 21 Robinson Rd, aged 35 Years, Accountant. Volunteered with the Derby Scheme on 11 December 1915 to the East Surrey Regiment (4th Batn).

R A S DISBOROUGH of 9a East Gardens Robinson Rd Tooting, aged 20 Years 2 Months, Clerk. Conscripted on 10 December 1916 to the Royal Sussex Regiment (3rd Batn).

W FRANKLIN of 64 Robinson Rd Tooting, aged 39 Years 4 Months, Milkman. Conscripted on 12 December 1915 to the Army Service Corps (mt).

H C HIBBARD of 48 Robinson Road Mitcham, aged 37 Years 4 Months, Milkman. Volunteered with the Derby Scheme on 9 December 1915 to the Royal Garrison Artillery.

S J KENWRIGHT of 76 Robinson Rd Colliers Wood, aged 34 Years 11 Months, Decorator. Volunteered with the Derby Scheme on 12 December 1915 to the Royal West Kent Regiment (12th Batn).

A F LOOKER of 112 Robinson Road, aged 38 Years 11 Months, Clerk. Volunteered with the Derby Scheme on 10 December 1915 to the Norfolk Regiment (6th Batn).

C J H RICKARD of 73 Robinson Road, aged 20 Years 9 Months, Sugar Boiler. Volunteered with the Derby Scheme on 20 November 1916 to the East Surrey Regiment (10th Batn).

From the Military Service Tribunals:

5th July, 1918

Another adjourned case, Mr. F. P. Lock, was heard. He was in grade 1 and the Tribunal had referred him to re-medical examination. He appealed on medical grounds. He now stated his appeal for re-examination was refused.

Ald. Chart: So you are still in grade 1? -Yes.
Applicant said his age was 36, and be resided at West-gardens, Robinson-road, Merton. He was a carpenter and ship’s joiner by trade. He was totally rejected first of all, he said.
Chairman: In the circumstances, he is a grade 1 man. We have no alternative.
Applicant: It seems to me, sir, when I went to the County Hall that those who can afford to get a certificate from a Harley-street specialist or get a solicitor can get a hearing.
Chairman: That does not really affect us.

The appeal was disallowed.

Maps are reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.