Kelsey, Henry

Kelsey, Henry           1881 June 11th              Salisbury / Gosport

A shocking accident, unfortunately attended with fatal results, occurred in this city on Whit-Monday. A party of excursionists – some of whom were visitors from Gosport and Southampton – on pleasure bound, procured a horse and waggonette from Mr Goddard’s stables and proceeded to Wilton. All went well, until, on the return journey, they arrived at Fisherton railway bridge, when the animal became restive – a state the driver believed produced by a fear of railway trains. The alarm was scarcely quieted, when a gaudily-painted milk cart passed them with its extraordinary noise. The animal, this time more seriously frightened, bolted off at a furious pace down the street; and, at the corner leading into High-street, the carriage, catching presumably on the edge of the kerb, came with a crash to the ground, all its occupants being thrown violently out on the pavement.

Assistance was immediately forthcoming, and – thanks to the kindness of Mr Harris, of the London-road – the injured, and they included almost the whole of the party, were removed in a carriage to the Infirmary. There it was immediately discovered that Henry Kelsey, aged 67, who had come from Gosport on a visit to his relatives, Elizabeth Peddell (his niece, and who resides with her husband, Edward Peddell, in Endless-street) and Eliza Peddell, of Southampton, were the most seriously injured. These were obliged to remain in the Infirmary; and, notwithstanding every effort, the old gentleman (Kelsey) died from the effects of the accident on the following morning.

Curious to relate, the adult occupants of the trap all sustained injuries – though not all of a serious nature, whilst two children of Mrs Peddell’s escaped comparatively scatheless. In one instance, this was due to the self-sacrifice of the mother, who, observing the danger of the position, held the child up in her arms whilst she herself was flung violently on to her back. The other occupants of the trap, who at once were attended to at the Infirmary, were : Edward Peddell, Edward Phippard (of 14, Victoria-Place, Stoke-road, Gosport), Eliza Moxham (of Gladstone-street, Lamport), Robert Vining (of Bemerton) and Albert Penny (the driver).

The inquest on the body of Kelsey was held on Tuesday afternoon, at the Infirmary, before Mr G Smith, coroner, and a jury of whom Mr W Wells was foreman. The following evidence was adduced.

Mr James S Smith, the house surgeon of the Infirmary, said that he examined the deceased immediately after his admission, and found him suffering from a large contusion about two inches in diameter on the back and right side of the head, a wound abut two inches long over the contusion and through the scalp and minor injuries. He sent for Dr Coates, and he immediately attended and treated him – a treatment subsequently continued. At about five o’clock, he died from effusion of blood to the brain and from the injuries received to the head. The deceased was insensible when admitted, and continued insensible until death ensued.

Edward Peddell, of 16, Endless-street, coach-trimmer, deposed that he was one of the party of which the deceased was a member on the previous afternoon. The party consisted of himself, his (witness’s) mother, sister, wife, cousin, the deceased (who was his uncle), a friend and two children, making with the driver, ten in all. They started at about a quarter to two with a trap hired of Mr Goddard, of Milford-street, and driven by a man named Penny, for Wilton; where they arrived safely.

At about a quarter for four they started for Salisbury, and proceeded safely until they arrived near the Infirmary, where the horse took fright at a very brightly-painted dairy-cart which was proceeding up the road. Witness at the time was sitting by the side of the driver and observed the actual “bolt” of the animal. The animal proceeded at a furious pace down the street, and, when opposite Mr Snook’s shop, the waggonette capsized and all the occupants of the vehicle were thrown out. The deceased fell apparently on his back, and when attended to was found to be insensible. A stretcher being procured he was brought to the Infirmary. The driver was perfectly sober; and he certainly exerted every effort to prevent the accident.

A juror : Did the trap capsize before the horse fell or after? Witness could hardly say.

Another juror : Were there any cans in the milk cart? I can hardly say. But the cart itself made a serious noise.

The Coroner : Don’t you consider ten too many for one horse? Well, sir, two were children and the distance was very short.

A juror (Mr Naish) : Is there not a report current that the mare shied under the railway arch? So she did, but had become almost quiet when we met the milk cart. At the time however, no men were at work on the bridge.

Mr Naish said he really asked the question because of the disregard the man at work at this arch had evinced – and, particularly, a fortnight since, when one of his relatives was passing by, and who, in consequence, might have sustained a serious accident.

Albert Penny, who resides at Milford-hill, and at the time of the accident was driving, stated that they proceeded on their return journey safely until they arrived at the Fisherton railway-bridge; when the mare (which had previously shown an indisposition to pass under the bridge, because, probably, of the fear of trains) began to plunge. He, however, managed to pull her up; and she proceeded steadily until they arrived just below Mr Swift’s temperance hotel, when they met a gaudily-painted milk-cart which made some noise as it proceeded along. The animal made two or three plunges as if she were about to jump out of the harness, and then “bolted” off at a rapid pace. Opposite Mr Snook’s shop, the animal attempting to turn the corner, the vehicle was turned over, and the whole of the occupants, including himself, were thrown out. He, personally, sustained injuries to his ankle at the time. He observed the deceased on the ground. The carriage turned over because of the abrupt action of the mare.

The foreman : Did you think that mare safe to be driven? Yes, sir.

A juror : Is she in the habit of running away? No; not in the habit.

The juror : But didn’t she run away about a month since? Yes, that was when the man had left her head. Then she smashed the trap to pieces.

Another juror : Did you think her perfectly safe to drive in a city like Salisbury? I never found anything the matter with the mare.

The Coroner : Do you consider this mare a fit horse for Mr Goddard to keep after this accident? No, sir, I don’t.

John William Smith, a carman, in the employ of Messrs Chaplin and Horne, and living at Griffin’s Court, stated that as he was standing near the corner of Fisherton-street on the previous afternoon, he observed the animal, with the waggonette attached, come at a furious pace down the street. By Mr Snook’s, both the carriage and horse were turned over – the animal on the opposite side to the carriage, all the occupants being thrown out. After assisting to take the horse out of the carriage, he proceeded to the Infirmary for a stretcher. The horse, he should say, fell before the trap overturned. The trap fell upon the “pitches” which Mr Snook used for standing his blocks upon.

The Coroner said that the facts were now fully before the jury – though, if they considered it advisable, two other witnesses could be called. He had thought it advisable to summon Mr Goddard to appear before them, and they could examine him if they desired.

Mr Goddard was then, and partly from an indirect request of his own, called in. He stated that the mare was not subject to “shying,” indeed he had not the slightest suspicion of her; but he should certainly never use her again. It was his intention to get rid of her as soon as possible. Indeed, he should not think it right to keep her.

At the request of the jury, Mr Harris who had kindly provided a trap to convey the injured to the Infirmary, was called in, and sincerely thanked for his generous action.

The jury then returned a verdict of “Accidental Death.” The jury gave their fees to Penny, the driver.

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