Runaway Horse in Rye Lane
Nunhead Man Injured Trying to Stop It
By Sam Allen
This article was originally published in the April 2005 edition of Soul Search, the journal of The Sole Society
Ed: The following article is reproduced from The South London Press 13th October 1923.
Much excitement prevailed in Rye Lane, Peckham, just after two o’clock on Saturday afternoon, when a horse drawing a covered van took fright in Bournemouth Road and turning into Rye Lane galloped madly in the direction of the High Street. The driver was in the act of alighting from the van when he slipped, just at the moment when the horse took fright. As the runaway neared Blenheim Road a 35-year-old man named John Sewell of 26 Kimberley Road, Nunhead, made a gallant attempt to stop it. He grasped the reigns, but fell to the ground and both of the nearside wheels passed over his neck.
Continuing its wild career the animal neared High Street and collide with a stationary bus with the result that both the shafts of the van were broken and the bus damaged. At the corner of High Street the horse slipped and fell and whilst on the ground was secured by a constable.
Mr. Sewell was conveyed to Camberwell Infirmary, where it was found that he was suffering from shock and injuries to the face and back. It was reported that his condition is critical.
From Sam Allen: John Sewell is my Great-Grandfather. It seems that he made a full recovery from the accident and lived for another 26 years. The photograph of him and his wife, Mary, was taken in Brighton in 1936. The following newspaper clipping describes his death in 1949, and this is supported by his death certificate. John Henry Sewell was known as Fred Sewell.
POLICE ARE QUIET ON ROAD DEATH
Peckham police would not state on Tuesday whether it was proposed if legal action would be taken over a fatal accident in the Old Kent Road.
Earlier, the Southwark coroner had asked the police to take any further action if necessary, against a Walworth lorry driver whose vehicle knocked down and killed 61 years old Frederick Sewell, 7, Ivydale Road, Nunhead, on a pedestrian crossing.
A jury had returned a verdict of Accidental Death, adding that the driver, Edward O’Grady, 2 Sandford Row, was driving without due care and attention.
Witnesses said that the lorry had failed to slow down as it approached the crossing. The road was wet and greasy, and it was raining fairly heavily. Mr Alfred Burnam, 127 Grierson Road, Honor Oak Park, said “I made a run for it when I saw the lorry coming, and if I had not, I would have been hit too.”
“The motor deliberately hit Mr Sewell – the driver had no intention of stopping,” he added. Mr O’Grady declared that he had every intention of pulling up and if he had not skidded, he would not have hit Mr Sewell
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