Railway Accident near Beeston - 10 December 1897

Allen Fletcher   Note on reverse

This cabinet-size photograph was discovered by Haydn Morris at Donnington Collectors Fair at Castle Donnington and he has kindly sent us the image. Without reasonable doubt, based on the written inscription on its reverse side (shown right), it is a photograph Allen Gething Fletcher, one of the two men killed on the railway line between Beeston and Attenborough on 10 December 1897. This tragedy was reported in the Liverpool Mercury (and probably in other syndicated papers) on the next day.

Allen Gething Fletcher lived at Grove Cottage, near to the church in Attenborough so, while we cannot be sure, it was possible that he had been tempted to take the dangerous short cut along the railway line when returning from an evening out in Beeston. He had married his cousin, Zilla Sulley Fletcher on 29 April 1886 and, by the time of his tragic death, they had five children - James Allen (b. 1887), Ethel Zillah (b. 1888), Dorothy F (b. 1889) and Claude Gething (b. 1890), Another son, Eric Joseph, was born in 1891 but died later the same year.

Allen (b. Radford, c1861) was the son of James Fletcher (1824-1910) and Eliza (née Eley) while Zillah (b. Nottingham, 1865) was the daughter of Joseph Fletcher (1827-1879) and Lavinia Anne (née Robinson); James and oseph were brothers, part of the large family (8 sons and 9 daughters) of Edward Fletcher (1797-1871) and Phoebe Helen (née Allen). Edward had extensive interests throughout the lace trade and, with his sons and extended family, operated in Heanor, Derby and Long Eaton, in Nottingham and, later, in Beeston. It seems likely that Allen worked as part of the nearby Long Eaton operation; prior to her marriage, Zillah had lived with her widowed mother, who was described as a Lace Manufacturer with a substantial workforce, at The Hall, Nottingham Rd, Long Eaton.

Zillah remained a widow and continued to live in Grove Cottage, Attenborough for the rest of her life. She died there in 1946.

John Henry Chapman (b. Chilwell, 1866), who was killed with Fletcher, was a lace warehouseman, quite likely within a Fletcher business. He was the son of John Chapman (then deceased but previously the landlord of the Chequers Inn on Chilwell Road, Beeston). In 1891, John Henry was 24 and single, living with his widowed mother Harriett, on Chilwell Road. An older sister, Harriett was a music teacher, younger brother, Horace was a lace maker and his youngest brother, Alfred was a County Court clerk.

Close this window to continue