Yew Green Tunnel, Lockwood
Death of John Godley (1849)
Almost a year before the railway line formally opened, a group of men who had been drinking at the Railway Hotel on Thursday 26 July 1849 decided to race each other through the tunnel for a wager (reportedly a gallon of ale). When they emerged from the other end, they realised that John Godley (aged 42) of Paddock was no longer with them. After retracing their steps, they found him "lying across the rails with a broken neck, having evidently been tripped up by the rails and thrown to the ground with great violence".
John's widow, Susannah Goldey, seemingly committed suicide in March the following year by drowning herself in the "goit of Mr. J. Crosland's mill" at Paddock. An inquest recorded a verdict of "found drowned, without marks of violence". Tragedy struck again a year later when their orphan 13-year-old son John was killed in a horrific accident at Pedler's Mill, Paddock, where he worked for his uncles James Haigh and William Haigh.
Notes and References
- 225 yards is the most commonly recorded length of the tunnel, although its length is given as 205 yards in The Huddersfield & Sheffield Junction Railway: The Penistone Line (1985) by Martin Bairstow.
- "Huddersfield: Death in Drunken Frolic" in Leeds Intelligencer (28/Jul/1849).
- "Huddersfield: Woman Found Drowned" in Leeds Intelligencer (23/Mar/1850).
- "Dreadful and Fatal Accident" in Huddersfield Chronicle (19/Apr/1851). John was accidentally pulled up by the factory's rotating horizontal shaft and his head was violently dashed against a roof beam, killing him instantly.