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The Rushden Echo, 16th July, 1909, transcribed by Jim Hollis

Alarming Accident at Rushden

    Whirled Round the Shafting at a Factory - Marvellous Escape

  A miraculous escape from instantaneous death was the experience, on Monday morning last, of Fred Payne, who lives on Rushden Hill, and who is employed at the factory of Messrs. Abraham Groome and Sons, boot manufacturers, Rushden Hill.

  Payne, who is between 50 and 60 years of age, has charge of the engine and gas plant at the factory.  He went to work at about 5.30 a.m., as usual, in order to start the machinery, his son James assisting him.  Payne procured a ladder, which he mounted in order to put the belt on the wheel of the shafting, when the ladder, it is believed, slipped.  Payne’s clothes were caught in the belt, and the unfortunate man was whirled round the shafting again and again.  Happily there was plenty of room between the shafting and the ceiling or Payne’s head must have been smashed against the roof, under which circumstances he could hardly have escaped instantaneous death.  It is lucky, too, that his clothing was strong enough to hold him or he must have fallen to the ground, a distance of from 12 to 15 feet.

  Payne’s son had the

Presence of Mind

to stop the engine at once, and he was luckily close to the lever, so that no time was lost.  It is probable also that full speed had not by that time been obtained, making the stopping of the engine all the easier.  Both Payne and his son cried out loudly for assistance.  Two members of the firm – Mr. W. A. Groome and Mr. J. A. Groome – were on the premises and they immediately rushed to the engine-room.  There they found Payne, who had been carried round the shafting perhaps 15 or 20 times, still in a precarious position, though the engine was at a standstill, for he was now suspended from the shafting by his waistcoat and other clothing which had caught.  Messrs. Groome procured a couple of ladders, and very carefully extricated Payne from his peril, first of all cutting away his clothing and then lowering him gently to the ground.

  It is remarkable that no bones were broken, though Payne was suffering from great shock to the system.  He is a stoutly-built man, weighing from 14 to 16 stones, which makes his escape more remarkable.

  The sufferer was removed to his home, and Dr. Ellwood was called in.

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