On 16th September 1873, as the 16-cwt foundation stone was being laid for St Matthew's Church, Lightcliffe, a timber guy and the cast-iron supports of the crane broke as the stone was being lowered, causing the stone to fall down on to a platform packed with spectators.
There were no fatalities, but 8 or 9 people were seriously injured – with cuts, bruises and broken limbs.
Many people, seeing the guy falling, ran out of the way.
Mrs Scholefield of Garden Houses, Garden Road, Brighouse, was badly cut about the face
Mrs Pyrah of Bradford, who had retired to live at Sunnyside, Lightcliffe, sustained a fractured thigh and shoulder. She was taken by carriage to the home of Colonel Hirst where she was attended by Dr Haining
Mrs Kershaw of Laverock Lane, Lightcliffe – widow of John Kershaw – was rendered unconscious, and
her daughter Elizabeth Kershaw had her spine fractured and was unlikely to recover (she did however survive and outlived all her family, dying in 1925)
Miss Fanny Sharp of Hipperholme was cut about the head
Miss Hannah Womersley of Bramley Lane was injured in her back
Thomas Lister, an old gentleman who lived near the Church, received bruises to his head
The ceremony was completed after the injured had been taken away.
The accident was caused by a flaw in the casting of the ironwork of the crane – made by Charles Heward Broughton – which was found to be full of flaws and holes, many of which had been filled with clay and painted over to look like iron
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Malcolm Bull 2014 /
Revised 20:52 on 19th November 2014 / ww_114 / 6