The Book

Catastrophic collision at Thorpe-next-Norwich on night of 10th September 1874

The Great Thorpe Railway Disaster of 1874 is the third title from Norwich writer and biographer Phyllida Scrivens, who lives less than half a mile from the site of the fatal collision. 

At Norwich Station on 10 September 1874, a momentary misunderstanding between the Night Inspector and young Telegraph Clerk resulted in an inevitable head-on collision. The residents of the picturesque riverside village of Thorpe-Next-Norwich were shocked by a ‘deafening peal of thunder’, sending them running through the driving rain towards a scene of destruction.  Surgeons were summoned from the city, as the dead, dying and injured were taken to a near-by inn and boatyard. Every class of Victorian society was travelling that night, including ex-soldiers, landowners, clergymen, doctors, seamstresses, saddlers, domestic servants and a beautiful heiress.

For many months local and national newspapers followed the story, publishing details of subsequent deaths, manslaughter trial and outcomes of record-breaking compensation claims. The Board of Trade Inquiry concluded that it was ‘the most serious collision between trains meeting one another on a single line of rails […] that has yet been experienced in this country.’ 

Using extensive research, non-fiction narrative, informed speculation and dramatised events, Phyllida Scrivens pays tribute to the 28 men, women and children who died, revealing the personal stories behind the names, hitherto only recorded as a list.

If you are interested in ordering a signed copy directly from the author, please complete the form below and you will be contacted, hopefully within 3- 5 days.

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