Image courtesy of Northumberland Archives.
Here is a curiosity, but is is a circus curiosity? Northumberland Archives, at Woodhorn have published this photograph of the Wooler Bridge accident c.1908, on their Facebook Page. Our Circus heritage interest meant that we picked it up as the archives reputed is as an engine and trailer owned by William Wilson of Preston, which was pulling the trailers of an Austrian Circus, which had been visiting Wooler. It shows an engine which ran out of control and demolished the bridge parapet. Repairs cost £29 and the County Council sent the bill to Mr. Wilson. The photographer at the scene of the accident was named Robert Forster Henderson.
However when we commented in the image other information came to light. Steve Smith reporting that it was an “Accident to John Wilson”s Fowler engine ‘Enterprise’ pulling the loads of the Cinematograph Show at Wooler, Northumberland.” and “The oddest thing about the whole load is the reference to ‘from Austria on the covers on the first two trucks. The first truck is the organ from the front of the show. The accident occurred in June 1908.”
A quick search of the British Libraries, Newspaper Archive online as shown up an article The Morpeth Herald 27 June 1908, p6, that a travelling show company had indeed an accident on the bridge, but no details of who’s show it was.
If anyone has any more information about this – we would love to hear about it. If you are interested in the collection at the Northumberland Archives you can search some of their collection online.