Isle of Wight Observer, December 28, 1878

Memorial Window, Ryde Parish Church

All Saints' memorial window
All Saints’ memorial window

It will be remembered that on Christmas Eve, 1875, Miss Holme, respected mistress of the Ryde National Infant School, was killed in the fearful Shipton railway accident, while on her way to visit her friends. The sad accident occasioned much sympathy at the time, and since then the children of the school have been contributing towards a fund for erecting some memorial for their beloved mistress. The amount collected in this manner eventually reached about £40, and with this it was resolved to place a memorial window in the Parish Church. The designing and construction of this window was entrusted to Messrs Clayton and Bell, and Tuesday afternoon, the anniversary of the melancholy accident, the ceremony of the unveiling of the window took place. An afternoon service was held, at which a number of children attending the school were present.

Shipton-on-Cherwell railway accident, December 1875
Shipton-on-Cherwell railway accident, December 1875

The unveiling ceremony was performed by the Vicar and Miss Poole. The window, which is a quatre foil, is situated over the south door, and the design consists of four figures, representing Faith, Hope, Charity and Truth, and the inscription is: “To the loved memory of Miss Elizabeth Holme, mistress of the Infant School, killed in the Shipton railway accident, Christmas Eve, 1875”.

The Sheffield Daily Telegraph, of December 28, 1875, reveals that Elizabeth’s body was identified by her brother: ‘Thomas Holme, 29, Denman-street, Kensington, Liverpool, writing clerk, said: ‘I identify amongst the bodies that of my sister, Elizabeth Holme, aged 28 years, and single woman, who was mistress of a national school at Ryde, in the Isle of Wight. She was going by express train to Lichfield, Staffordshire, to spend Christmas holidays with her parents, who reside at that place’.

The Shipton railway accident was the worst disaster to befall the Great Western Railway. Thirty four people lost their lives and sixty-nine suffered serious injuries as a result of the accident, which was caused by a broken tyre, and exacerbated by a poor braking system. The carriage behind the locomotive was crushed, and subsequent carriages fell into the canal. A detail of the window can be found on the Ryde Churches gallery page.

Return to Ryde Churches page

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