Price, Ethel and Elsie

It may be noted that the father of these deceased children, Charles Price, was the son of one Thomas Price, whose London diary for 1861 features in my other website The Diary of Thomas Price 1861 

Price, Ethel Maud Clara, and Elsie Violet Beatrice 1903 July 3rd Quidhampton

The County Coroner (Mr R A Wilson) held an inquest at the Parish Reading Room, Quidhampton, on Tuesday evening on the bodies of Ethel Maud Clara Price (16) and Elsie Violet Beatrice Price (11), the daughters of Mr and Mrs Price, of Quidhampton, who were drowned in the stream by the Salisbury side of the Wilton Park Wall on the previous evening. Mr J Tabor was chosen foreman of the jury.

The first witness called was Sarah Jane Price, wife of Charles Price of Quidhampton, who said the deceased were her children. Ethel was 16 years of age, whilst Elsie was 11 years old. The last time she saw them alive was between 7 and 7.30 on the previous evening, when they left home with a basket to collect some sticks in the meadow.

Jane Butler, wife of Frederick Butler, a general dealer, of West Street, Fisherton, said that about 7.45 on the previous evening she was cycling along the Wilton Park Wall Avenue when she saw something in the water. At first she thought some boys were bathing. She then heard a “guggling’ noise, and, getting off her bicycle, went to the bank to see what was the matter. She then saw two children near the opposite side of the river struggling. Witness saw a young man and a young lady coming along and to these she called for assistance. When the young man came up the children had sunk. Three young ladies then came up and one said it was a little girl Price, as she recognised her basket which was on the bank. Witness then went into the village to get a doctor. She did not see the bodies got out of the water.

Arthur Henry Olding, leather worker, of Endless Street, Salisbury, said that whilst walking along the avenue he was called by the last witness, who said there were two children in the water. Three ladies then came up and told him to go to the other side, and there witness saw the bodies. He at once pulled off his coat and went in after them. They were in the middle of the stream and the water was up to his waist. After getting one of the children out he fetched the other and laid them on the bank. Both seemed to be dead. Within a minute or two Mr Woodrow came up and witness assisted him in the work of first aid.

Charles John Woodrow, iron merchant, of Salisbury, said that whilst cycling about eight o’clock, he was told that two children had been drowned. He went into the field and saw the two bodies on the bank. With the assistance of the last witness, he rendered first aid until the doctor came, which was about 8.20. He left about 8.30, their efforts to restore animation being without success.

Dr Richmond said he arrived on the spot at 8.10, and found both bodies on the bank and artificial respiration was being carried out by the last two witnesses. Both bodies were pulseless and were beginning to get cold. He continued artificial respiration on the elder child, as he heard she had showed some signs of life, whilst he also directed artificial respiration on the youngest. This was continued for some considerable time, but as there was no response he had the bodies covered and sent for the police. There were no marks of violence on the bodies, and the cause of death was drowning.

Inspector Grant, of the Wilts County Police, stationed at Wilts, said that he arrived on the spot about nine o’clock. He had since examined the bank of the river, where there was a lot of dry wood lying about. There was also a basket of wood (produced) three or four yards from the edge of the water. Near the hatches there was a slight impression on the bank as if someone had slipped into the water, which at this point was about five feet deep. Some of the trees overlopped the water. It was his opinion that the youngest child fell into the water and that the eldest tried to save her and both were drowned.

The Coroner said it was a very sad accident, but everyone seemed to have done all they could for the unfortunate children.

The jury returned a verdict of “Accidentally Drowned.”


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