Page, Harry

Page, Harry        1886 January 16th            Wilton

The fatality to Mr H Page, which we reported in our last issue, elicited general commiseration in the town. From the subsequent details, it appeared that the roof of Mr Taunton’s house at Fugglestone St. Peter could be gained by three ways. Strange to say, Mr Page – who had done similar work there before – chose the way he had never ascended before. Curiously enough, too, Mr A Randall, who had just descended from the roof, pointed out to him the way he had come down. That path he did not follow. Nothing else was known until the unfortunate man was discovered on the ground insensible. On coming to himself he whispered repeatedly, “O Lord in Thee have I trusted, let me never be confounded.”

The inquest on the body was held at the Town Hall on Friday by Mr R A Wilson (coroner), Mr Jas. Lander being chosen foreman of the jury.

Alfred Haskell, gardener to Mr Taunton, deposed: On the day in question the deceased came to me in the greenhouse, and asked me to lend him a sack to kneel on, as he was going to put the pipe on the stove, in the corridor, the other one being worn out. I let him have the sack and I remained in the greenhouse. Shortly after I was called by the garden boy, who told me that the man had fallen off the house. I went to the spot and there saw him lying on his face. He was quite insensible and did not speak. I turned him over and sent for Dr Straton at once, and ultimately he was removed to his house. A ladder was placed close to the kitchen door. The roof was a sloping one, and the deceased must have slipped directly he left the ladder. The height was about 14 feet.

James Randall, ironmonger, living at Wilton, in whose employ deceased had been, said: Page had worked for me ten years, and was a good workman and a steady trustworthy man. On Thursday my son asked him if he would go and put up a pipe to the stove at Mr Taunton’s. He had worked there in the same place before, and put up the stove. He could have got to the roof by three ways, but unfortunately he took the worst; and he must have fallen as soon as he left the ladder. He must have fallen two seven feet, from one roof to the other. If he had gone up on the other side there would have been no danger. Mr Randall added that deceased was 38 years old.

Andrew Charles Randall, who works for his father (the last witness), gave evidence as to having previously gone on the roof and to having told the deceased before he commenced to work that the way he (witness) had gone up was the safest. He added that deceased asked for no assistance in his work.

Dr Straton said that when he saw the deceased at his house he was suffering from concussion and laceration of the brain consequent on the fall. He continued insensible until his death, which took place shortly after five in the morning.

The Foreman asked if it was not an unsafe thing to send a man to work on a roof in this frosty weather. He would like to know if it was customary to do so.

The Coroner said that the deceased was a good workman, and if he had thought it was an unsafe job, he would doubtless have mentioned it to Mr Randall before starting.

Mr Randall said that if the deceased had gone up the other way there would have been iron bolts for him to place his feet in, and he could not have fallen down. He could not understand why he chose to go the way he did. The distance which he fell was 14 feet.

Mr Lander enquired if the deceased had slidden all the way down.

No. Randall said he had not. It appeared that he had two falls. He pitched on to the first roof, and then his weight overbalanced, and he fell to the ground. If he thought it had been a dangerous place he might have had two boys or a man to assist him.

The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental Death,” and unanimously resolved to give their fees to the widow. Mr Clarke then bore testimony to the excellence of the deceased’s character.

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