When a violent storm destroyed the Tay Bridge in December 1879 as a train was crossing it, over sixty lives were lost. This terrible event was noted across the world as an awful failure of engineering, and is remembered to this day when looking out across the water at the remains of the bridge, close to its replacement. It also pushed into obscurity another needless disaster which had occurred in the city the previous decade. This was on January 2, 1865 in the basement of the Bell Street United Presbyterian Church, which was the home of Springthorpe’s Music Hall.
Mr and Mrs Springthorpe originally toured the country with their waxworks show, “consisting of the most noted Kings, Queens, Statesmen, Warriors, Poets, Eccentric Theatrical and other eminent personages,” before finding a temporary home for the season in the City of Discovery.
These special presentations over the festive period drew large crowds, especially so on this first Monday night of the new year. As patrons queued up around the block before the iron gate which led down the stairs to the ticket booth, a surge of bodies forced the gate to give way. A mass of people fell down the staircase into a crush which would leave twenty people dead.
This frightful accident is today all but forgotten. Ill-kept and litter-strewn, there is no marker of remembrance by the deadly staircase, which goes unlooked upon by passersby.
Have an awesome day and make sure to take care of yourselves, everyone!