The Slaugham Archives

Vanguard accident - Jumping off
The Slaugham Archive
Vanguard accident - Jumping off

This shows the Vanguard after it had been hauled back onto the road, shortly before being taken to the Red Lion yard.
The small sign on the bus reads “Wait until the omnibus stops”. Fortunately for them, two passengers survived the disaster by ignoring the sign and jumping off the bus as it gathered speed down the hill. One of these two was 14-year-old William Hutchings, whose father Henry “Harry” Hutchings died in the accident by being thrown against the oak tree and ended up some ten yards away with terrible injuries.
The message on the reverse of the card says “Dear Alice, I suppose you know where this happened. Shall be back tomorrow. Hope all are well. Yours, Ethel”. More interesting is that the postcard was posted on 14th July 1906, just two days after the accident!
Click on Large Version to view the reverse.

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Picture added on 25 August 2013 at 22:34
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Vanguard omnibus accident 1906
Where did this happen - on what is now the A23 or Handcross Hill down through Staplefield?
I've never been sure.

Added by Sam Butler on 28 August 2013
The accident happened on the A23 going towards Brighton, about a half mile out of Handcross.
The road is currently being subjected to yet another major improvement scheme which seems to take place every decade or so. However, in 1906 the road was just a simple country road by today's standards, barely wide enough for one vehicle in either direction.
Added by BARRY RAY on 29 August 2013
I seem to remember Roger Ray saying that for many years, there was an aluminium commerative plaque fixed near to the site of the accident.
I hope it might turn up again.
Added by Arthur Shopland on 29 August 2013
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