Accrington Times Saturday December 31st 1881

Sad death of Mr. Robert Mercer. - On Thursday much surprise was created in Clayton-le-Moors and Rishton by a report that Mr. Robert Mercer, of Oakenshaw House, had bee killed on the railway at Preston Junction, on his way to Southport. The report proved only too true. The deceased gentleman left Accrington by the 4.5 pm train for Southport to visit his sister there, and though there were two carriages for Southport attached to the train, he for some reason travelled in the fore part of it. When the train arrived at the Preston junction the Southport carriages were unhooked to be attached to a Southport train which left Preston at five 0'clock, and they were being backed by an engine for that purpose when Mr. Mercer, intending to cross the rails to the Southport train, stepped right in front of the two carriages and engine which passed over him. His left hand and both feet were frightfully crushed and his right hand was almost severed. He was quite conscious when taken up, and conversed freely with the officials at the Preston station when being removed to the infirmary. Notwithstanding all that could be done for him he gradually sank and died at five o'clock the following morning. An inquest was held on Thursday afternoon on the body, at the Preston Infirmary, before Mr. Gilbertson, coroner. The jury returned a verdict of "Accidental death." The deceased gentleman was the only surviving son of John Mercer, the noted chemist, and like his brother, John Mercer J.P., who died a few years ago, was unmarried. Deceased was a manufacturer and had a mill at Rishton., He took no part in public matters, and his circle of friends was limited.