This website contains 1867 press reports of Coroner’s inquests for the period 1868-1920, for the area of Salisbury and South Wiltshire in England. I have recently added the years 1868-1889 to the site.
My aim is to aid both the researcher seeking their own Family History, and the general historian seeking glimpses of the past.
Those seeking Family History may use the Search box above to seek names, place names or other terms; or alternatively find a list of each year’s cases on the intro-page to each year.
Be aware that the search function prioritises the most recent cases added to the site. Better results are gained by specifying your search term in quote marks, thus “Smith, Emily” or suchlike.
I have now added pages containing some
and some other Railway Accidents and odd but amazing news items I have transcribed by chance during my researches.
Why Coroner’s Inquests?
The Funeral Service of the Book of Common Prayer says,
“In the midst of life so we are in death.”
My object in transcribing so many inquests is to show that in the midst of death we may see the past life, or at least get a good glimpse of it.
In seeking to confirm or deny a story about my own great-grandfather I read through old copies of The Salisbury Times in my local library on microfilm. Before I had finished the job I was already hooked on the way people died as a way of seeing how they lived.
One case concerned a distant family connection, Emily Smith, who died in March 1902, falling down the stairs in a terrible rabbit warren of poor housing in the middle of the night. Although she was noticed lying in a pool of blood at the foot of some death-trap stairs at 6am, she wasn’t raised or helped until the official came at 7.30 to take her to the Workhouse Infirmary, where she of course died.
The awfulness aside, this gave a good insight into how care and responsibility existed 100 years ago, and spurred me on to read more and more of these cases. Thus started this project, which I will add to as time goes by. Do come back and have another look!
I hope you will find this project of use, perhaps in explaining a mystery in your family research, or of seeing how people did this or that a century ago. I am sure you will understand that in transcribing such a mass of material there will be inevitable reading and typing errors, and the interpretations given in each year’s introductions are my personal views alone.
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I acknowledge with thanks the permission of Salisbury Journal to reproduce their materials on this blog.