I have previously written about my great grandmother’s sister, Hannah Keenan and the hardships she faced in life. You can read the post by clicking here.
At the time of writing I did not know about her grandson, Archibald Bradley. Archie was just 2 years old when he died in the most tragic of circumstances.
Born on 9 April 1923 within the family home in Newmains, Archie was the youngest child of Hannah’s son, James Bradley and his wife Helen MacDonald. Hannah was one of 10 children and she and her husband, Hugh Bradley had 11 children with James being the 3rd. So Archie came from a big family with lots of aunts, uncles and cousins as well as his 3 older siblings. The impact of what happened therefore must have caused a shock throughout the family and the whole village.
Newmains was an industrial village mainly inhabited by miners and iron workers. To support the mines and iron works, Between 1867 and a railway ran through the village between 1867 and 1930. The local children would be used to seeing the locomotives passing through and must surely have been warned of the dangers.
On Monday 27 July 1925 Archie was among a group of children playing outside. The schools were on their summer break so there would have been plenty of playmates for the 2 year old. While the older children enjoyed their games Archie wandered off unnoticed. What happened next is described in the local newspapers.
The story is so horrific and shocking. Archie was taken to the Royal Infirmary in Glasgow some 17 miles away. Today this is a easy drive along the motorway but in 1925 it must have taken some time. It is likely James was at work and Helen may have been at home tidying away after the children’s lunches. No doubt they would have been alerted by those in attendance but it is not known if they travelled to the hospital with Archie or if they were able to make it there before he passed.
The death, of course, was investigated further and it was ascertained that Archie died as a “result of being run over by locomotive on railway”. Today such an incident would surely result in a public outcry regarding the safety of the railway. I haven’t found anything to suggest this was the case here. In fact, the two clippings above are the only mentions I can find.