William Huskisson PC was a Member of Parliament for Liverpool when, aged 60, he became famous through the manner of his death on 15th September 1830. Tragically, he was hit by George Stephenson’s Rocket and thus might be regarded as the first person to be killed by a passenger train.
Huskisson’s life is remembered nation-wide via multiple memorials including a marble statue in Chichester Cathedral, another in Pimlico Gardens near the Thames in London. Furthermore, a monument can be seen in St James’ Cemetery, Liverpool, and a memorial raised at the site of his death.
Yesterday, I witnessed a further memorial to Willian Huskisson at Manchester Oxford Road station whilst en route to examine a PhD at Durham University. I found myself staring at a train dedicated to Huskisson’s memory. The man was more than the method of his demise: he was a great proponent of the railway and therefore his commemoration through a modern train’s dedication could be seen as apposite. However, as the first person to die by train, one could see it as a chilling example of memorialisation on the mechanism of his own doom: a conclusion being commemorated upon the medium of his demise.
As Yoda would say: “strange, this is”