Newspaper horde on train disaster found at Forge

Peter Fagan and John Marrin with the newspapers outside Horseshoe Forge Antiques in Ford Village.
Peter Fagan and John Marrin with the newspapers outside Horseshoe Forge Antiques in Ford Village.

An antiques dealer in north Northumberland who found a collection of old newspapers about a 19th-century disaster wants to find out if there are any local links.

Peter Fagan, proprietor of Horseshoe Forge Antiques in Ford Village, discovered a bundle of papers in the Forge relating to the Tay Bridge disaster in December 1879.

The large and fragile original newspapers – The Scotsman, owned by our parent company, Johnston Press, and The Edinburgh Courant – are marked in neat handwriting, Tay Bridge Disaster.

They record in graphic detail the disaster in which a steam train and all its carriages travelling from Wormit to Dundee on the Edinburgh to Aberdeen Line plunged into the River Tay when the bridge collapsed in a great storm, with the loss of all those on board.

They describe the diving operation on the ruins of the bridge, the engine and its carriages as well, as possible causes of the tragedy.

John Marrin, the antique book-dealer in Ford, who has recently moved his stock into the Forge, is researching the old newspapers and would love to hear from anyone who has any information on the blacksmiths who worked in the Forge during the late 19th century.

John, who has been researching antiquarian books for more than 40 years, stresses the importance of local history.

“You never know what might be hidden in your attic or cupboards in the way of books or ephemera which might be valuable,” he said.

He is always keen to examine and value books, maps and prints at his shop in the Forge – and makes no charge for doing this.