Wednesday 27 September 2023


 I have just posted an article to the site that I have been working on for the last few years. It is the first new one I have posted in over three months and so it is rather overdue.

The title "Death at Sutton Bridge Lincolnshire" is really a bit of a misnomer because no-one really knows what happened - there were no eyewitnesses and the tragedy occurred in a desolate section of the River Nene near Bay Sands. Sutton Bridge is the nearest village.

There was very little on-line or in print about the tragedy but nine people lost their lives by drowning in the River Nene. Seven of those who died were from Sheffield including all four members of the Burkinshaw family.

I cannot be sure but it quite possible that this was Sheffield's greatest loss of life in a boating accident and it took place 100 miles away from Sheffield. There was a disaster in Masborough Rotherham on 5th July 1841 when 64 people mainly children lost their lives when a boat was launched and some of the fatalities were from Sheffield. Either way both were terrible tragedies that with foredight may have been avoided. .

The other interesting point is the detailed coverage the incident and its aftermath received in the Sheffield and Rotherham Independent. Their coverage of the inquest and the resultant funerals ay Burngreave Cemetery was exemplary.    

Photograph taken 03 March 2005 © Mr James Brown. Source Historic England Archive ref: 197930
Cross Keys Bridge was opened in 1897 as a road and rail hydraulic swing bridge. Two bridges spanning the river Nene had been built previously; the first by Thomas Telford, was opened in 1830-1 and the second in 1850. The current Cross Keys Bridge replaced the latter bridge and was used for both road and rail traffic. It cost £80,000 and is made of steel, iron and wood. When the Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway closed in 1965 the tracks were converted to road use and Cross Keys Bridge became just a road bridge.

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