AUGUST 7 1882 was a day of triumph and tragedy at Ewood Park.

Inside the ground Rovers beat their fiercest local rivals Blackburn Olympic to lift the East Lancashire Charity Cup.

Outside one supporter William Riley died and 30 were injured, seven seriously, in a tramcar accident.

The tragic incident at Ewood Bridge on Bolton Road has been researched by Fred Cumpstey after discovering his great-grandfather John Thomas Cumpstey was injured when the vehicle overturned on its way to the ground.

He reveals: "The tramcars passed the entrance to Ewood and, as a consequence, for some time before and just ahead of kick off the trams were overcrowded with supporters.

"All went well until one of the tramcars had passed down the incline from the Infirmary Hotel to Hollin Bank Mill. After a short distance of level ground there was another steeper descent, curving sharply to the right before passing over the bridge which spans the River Darwen before then turning sharply to the left.

"The tramcar went down the hill from Hollin Bridge Mill 'at a great rate', according to a witness.

"Fearing that the tramcar would overturn, some passengers grabbed the overhead brass handrails as a precaution. Despite the protestations of a police officer for the tramcar to reduce speed, the tramcar overturned on its right side and was derailed.

"The passengers on the open upper deck were thrown off, mostly into the road.

"Although the view of thousands attending the match that night was obscured, the noise from the crashing glass and timbers alerted them to the tragedy that had happened.

“Dr Morley, his surgeon son Mr Morley, and several other medical men at once went to the scene, and Mr Eastwood (Secretary of the Infirmary) being at the match at once took a cab and went to the town for other medical men.

"Investigations into the cause of the accident were undertaken almost immediately, including the arrest of the driver the following day a court appearance.

"During that same month, Major-General Hutchinson, Inspector for the Board of Trade, held an Inquiry into the incident.

"John McDermott, the conductor, stated that there were 52 passengers on board instead of 42."

Mr McDermott added: "The distance from where the accident happened to Ewood Park was about 130 yards."

Mr Cumpstey's full article can be found on the Cotton Town community history website.