1900

This years inquests include the case of Vincent, which demonstrates that people actually did live in shepherds huts, which we generally see nowadays as scenic items in country estates. The Roberts case shows that soldiers never have been given a hero’s welcome back into civvie street. The Burden case clearly demonstrates the dangers of cycling, both to the cyclist not capable of handling a sudden steep hill, and the pedestrian who, faced with a new hurtling thing approaching – years before the motor car became a common sight – panics like a rabbit and jumps in front of the oncoming device.

The Fry case gives some idea of the dangers inherent in hand-shunting with a brake-pole, while the Webb case is an object lesson to never leave a firearm within the reach of children.

There are two most interesting cases this year. One is the case of William Wicketts, a shunter who was stood in slightly the wrong place amongst lines of full sidings when the express trundled round the corner and killed him, it being the common practise to couple trucks using a coupling-pole and thus standing aside in the neighbouring trackway, even when that neighbouring track was the mainline. Inspector Alvis, who finally states that he was in charge of the shunting operations, stated that he tried to warn the deceased, and to try to back this up Inspector Trump (of the Company) brings in a late witness who much to his annoyance denies this evidence outright. In many of these cases there is an undercurrent clearly demonstrative of the pressure the Company puts on its employees, and the threats it hangs over the witnesses of inquests like this, to try and force them to say the right thing, irrespective of the truth.

The second case is that of the newborn infant child of Louisa Thomas. The full range of this common scenario is gone through, there is a hint of the master/servant relationship, and despite the story of the ‘defendant’ the forces of law and medicine give enough evidence for the jury to bring in a verdict of Murder, and at the end of the murder trial – having spent the interim period held in a ‘London Institution’ – the poor young lady is offered the chance to ‘redeem her character’ by marrying a man provided by the authorities (one assumes from another institution elsewhere). How society and its morals have changed in a hundred years.

Mould, Harry                                           Tisbury

Haines, Edward                                       Heytesbury

Sawkins, Susan

Vincent, Samuel                                      Coombe Bissett

Redman, William                                     Shrewton

Kiddle, Archibald

Fullford, Alfred

Philpots, James                                         Ebbesbourne Wake

Wicketts, William

Shears, Theresa

Roberts, James                                          Portsmouth

Barrett, William

Gray, Harold                                             Gillingham

Francis, Charles                                        Amesbury

Unknown                                                  Netherhampton

Cooper, Rachel

Burden, Harriett                                         Tisbury

Everley, Thomas                                        Stapleford

Read, William                                           Tisbury

Furnell, Sarah                                            Tisbury

Moore, Emily                                             Warminster

Perkins, Robert                                          Amesbury

Francis, Eli                                                Westbury

Kelly, John

Fry, Aquilla

Humby, George                                         Bournemouth

Webb, Harry                                              Mere

Fleming, James                                          Warminster

Jackson, Victor

Thomas, infant

Tarrant, Thomas                                         Andover

Strong, Albert

Todd, infant                                              Bemerton

Andrews, Samuel                                       Amesbury

Pearce, Annie                                            Andover

Hiscock, John

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