Thomas Roscoe (c.1844-1901)

Thomas Roscoe (sometimes spelt Ruscue) was the steam tramcar engine driver involved in the Lindley Tramcar accident which occurred on 3 July 1883. A combination of his disabling the automatic braking system and a piston failure resulted in the tramcar overturning on Railway Street, killing seven people.

Despite being heavily censured by the inquest jury, no charges of manslaughter were brought against him.


He was born around 1844 in Doncaster, possibly in Thorne or Kirk Bramwith and was likely an illegitimate child born to Hannah Ruscoe.

He was almost certainly the Thomas Ruscoe (aged 18) tried at York Assizes in December 1862 and found guilty of committing an act of bestiality at Womersley, near Doncaster. He was given a sentence of ten year's penal servitude, although he was likely released after serving less than half of the sentence.

He married widow Ruth Ann Knight (born in Halifax) at St. John's Church, Huddersfield, on 14 June 1879, and his occupation was given as "labourer". By the time of the 1881 Census, he was a "traction engine driver", living on Folly Road in Fartown. It would later be claimed that he had "twenty years' experience upon locomotives of different makes", but this seems very unlikely to be true.

He appears as an "engine driver (locomotive)" living at 19 Folly, Netheroyd Hill, Fartown, in the 1891 Census.

By 1901, he was living in Mirfield and working as a 56-year-old "stationary engine man", meaning he operated a static steam engine, the like of which might be found in a factory or used to operate the life machinery in a coal mine.

He likely died shortly after the 1901 Census was taken, aged 56, and was buried in Mirfield on 4 October 1901. His widow continued to live in Mirfield and died in 1918, aged 69.