There are 55 cases in 1883.
Emmanuel Rendall and Simon Mines were overcome by carbolic acid fumes in a beer vat. Another lung difficulty saw off child James Weeks, and during the case we learn that the mother had also died of tuberculosis, of which the child suffered, and that the father and eight children sleep in two small rooms. Milly Lambert’s father was a farm labourer with wife and six children – their finances are clearly not good, as the father appeals to the jury for burial funds – they also use a sack for a hearth-rug (possibly the traditional rag-rug).
Eliza Russell, an old woman in failing health, was said to be described as a needlewoman. Now, I know that in certain places seamstress is another term for prostitute, though I doubt that applies here – what does apply is the scary thought that through illness and inability one is taken to the workhouse, and through mental decay end up thereby in the asylum. Similar cruelty by officials aided the death of Mary Cox, who fell and hurt herself and couldn’t tend her crippled son.
There are any number of cases involving drink, including Charles Hunt, who threatened to drown himself, threw himself in and was then unable to crawl out of the river. A very unhappy case was that of Ruth Whitlock, whose suicide followed several court appearances – which I spotted as I scanned through this years’ papers. John Davis came to the top of the stairs with beer in his hand and fell backwards, as did Betsy Brittain.
The death of Samuel Coombes was seemingly an accident when a crane unloading some rails from a truck at Milford Goods station collapsed. But after the jury decided to take a site visit, other versions of the event came out, showing that perhaps Mr Knight was at fault and trying to cover this in his earlier evidence. The slack conditions on building sites generally is again shown in the death of William Morgan, falling 42ft from scaffolding.
Charles Shergold, 11 years old, was a lad who chased wealthy-looking phaeton’s and carriages in the streets asking them for permission to hold their horses for them, hoping for a penny or two of course. There was clearly competition among the lads, and Shergold took a risk too many. Colonel Bell Martin also was in too much of a hurry to jump on a train, not seeing the seemingly innocent platform-posts as a problem.
Back-street abortion is alleged in the case of Mary Saltar, and the herbalist accused of the act is prosecuted at the following assizes with little but circumstantial evidence to weigh the case.
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