The Dangers of Living in an Agricultural Town
The Fyson T12 in a Hampshire Scrapyard 1940s
The following excerpts from the local news of the time extracted from the ‘Soham Chronicle 1787-1899’ compiled by May Turner give a real insight into the dangers of living in an agricultural town in the 19th century. Directly linked with the Fyson family, these events paint a graphic picture of real life in Soham during the mid to late Victorian period.
1866 - Accident: On Saturday last, a horse attached to a light cart belonging to Mrs W Fyson took fright whilst tied to a gate at Mr Richard Fyson’s residence in Paddock Street and started at full gallop up Maltings Lane to Pratt Street, where it came in contact with a lamp post, opposite Mr Sheldrakes and turned the horse into Mr Markhams shop window and carried the window completely in, the animal was then secured. No one received injury.
12th April 1879 - On Tuesday afternoon last Mr Fyson’s Traction Engine was travelling down Pump Lane, drawing the Thrashing Apparatus and Straw Elevator, being just after school time a number of children climbed up for a ride. At the bottom of the lane several fell off and the wheel of the last carriage passed over the head of George Smith aged six, he was killed instantly. (The engine involved in the fatal accident of George Smith was a Clayton & Shuttleworth 15672, which was built in 1876 and purchased second hand from Clayton’s by Fyson in August 1878.)
June 1892 - Tuesday morning about 5 o’clock or 6 o’clock am, a fire at Mr R Fyson, Millwright and Engineer at Paddock Street, Soham broke out. Prompt assistance rendered by workmen and others prevented a serious conflagration to the large amount of buildings, machinery, timber and other stick in trade, the flames were confined to a stable and shed containing oils, paints etc., where it seems to have originated. The Soham Fire Brigade were soon at work.
The End of an Era
Fyson's Yard in Paddock Street being demolished to make way for a housing development 1994
In recent years Fyson became internationally known as a manufacturer of conveyor belts with many still in use to this day. The company, one of the oldest in Soham, finally closed in 1991. The old Fyson yard in Paddock Street was demolished and cleared in 1994 to make way for a new housing development and marked the end of an era for the town of Soham.
Notes taken from Soham Museum's 'Old Curiosities - Fyson Special' with special thanks to Tony Brown of CE Fuller & Co for his generous assistance.