06 - On Sunderland Bridge near Durham – Accident to the Telegraph Coach 1828
Description‘Family Annals by Road and Rail, By Flood and Field’ By Samuel Tuke Richardson Of Darlington c.1890 ‘On 16th June 1821 the London Mail proceeding southwards was overturned upon Sunderland Bridge owing it would seem to the driver making too wide a turn on entering the Bridge, to avoid a groom who was taking the turn at the same time on horseback. Two passengers Mr Thomas Donaldson a grazier in Perthshire & Mr Sam’l Whitaker of Bingley builder were precipitated into the river from the roof of the Coach over the parapet wall on the upper side of the Bridge, a depth of upwards of 25 feet, & were dashed against the framework of one of the buttresses which as the river was low was left dry. Mr Donaldson was killed on the spot & Mr Whitaker only survived four hours. The guard was thrown from his seat against the battlement but fell to the inside & the driver was thrown between the horses & the wall. Mr Chater solicitor of Newcastle who was on the box escaped by holding on [to a client], the inside passengers received no injury. The remains of both the unfortunate sufferers were interred in Brancpeth churchyard on the 23rd attended by a large concourse of people. James Auld the driver of the Mail was found guilty of manslaughter at the August assizes & sentenced to nine months imprisonment but was liberated on February 1822. The Wellington coach was overturned on the North end of Sunderland Bridge & one of the horses killed about six years ago, in which Mr Holt of Rusheyford presented the bridge at the sessions as inconvenient & dangerous’. From R. Surtees History of County of Durham ‘After his release from jail Auld was employed as ostler at the Kings Head in Darlington & the foregoing narrative was repeated by him to my father but he always said that he was flung over the parapet but kept hold of the reins whereby he was rescued, his son a blacksmith also in Darlington, & much addicted to drink also repeated the story whilst weeping copiously on my bosom in Blackwellgate’.
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