Buried Stories 3
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Destitution and Death

An inquest was held on Friday, 22nd December 1854, presided over by Mr Herford, on the body of an Irishman. Alexander Reardon was aged 46 years and had been living in lodgings at 9 Walker Street, Hardman Street. He was a shoemaker. Witnesses reported that his circumstances were poor and that he had fasted for 3 days. He complained of weakness and his legs were dropsical. Dropsical is an old term for swelling of soft tissues due to excess water. The authorities, being alerted to his condition, gave assistance in the form of money, food and medicine. Upon his death, his neighbours surmised that he had not received proper and sufficient food. Mr Walker Golland, surgeon, testified that this was not the case and that Alexander Reardon was extensively diseased. His legs were dropsical and his liver was in a hardened condition likely caused by the drinking of spirits. There was an effusion of fluid in the chest and heart bag and the lungs were very congested. Mr Walker Golland considered the effusion of fluid to be the cause of his death. Alexander Reardon was buried in a Non Conformist public grave at Manchester General Cemetery on the 22nd December 1854.


Fatal Cart Accident

On Thursday, 2nd June 1853, Henry Thompson was brought before the magistrates at the City Police Court charged with causing the death of a child by running him over with a cart. The accident occurred at around 4.00 p.m. the day previous when Henry Thompson was driving his cart behind Osborne Terrace, Rochdale Road to fetch a load of bricks. It was reported that he was sitting low down in the cart and could only see the horse not the ground and the deceased child was knocked down by the horse and then the cart rode over him. The deceased was a little boy, aged 2 years and 3 months, called Alfred Lord, son of John Lord, a mechanic, living at 376 Osborne Terrace, Rochdale Road.

An inquest had been opened on Friday, 3rd June at St George’s Tavern, Rochdale Road by Mr Herford. Witnesses testified that Henry Thompson seemed quite sober and was very sorry for what had happened. It appeared that the child ran across in front of the cart and when passers by started shouting, Henry Thompson stood up and pulled on the reins but it was too late to prevent the accident. The child was taken home by his mother but died the same night. The inquest was adjourned because the jury inquired where Henry Thompson was. Persons accused of causing the death of others were permitted to attending the inquest but Henry Thompson hasn’t been allowed to.

Alfred Lord was interred at Manchester General Cemetery in a Non Conformist public grave on Sunday, 5th June 1853.


Boys’ Brigade Burial

On Saturday, 30th January 1909, Private Arthur Lord of the  11th Manchester Company

of the Boys’ Brigade was interred in grave number Consecrated 1284. He was

14 years old and had succumbed to an attack of typhoid fever. He was well known as a

lightweight boxer and had given his services to  charity on many occasions.

Approximately 40 officers and boys marched to his funeral at Manchester General

Cemetery, each carrying a white flower to be placed on his grave.

Following his interment a squad of buglers sounded the “Last Post”.

The family suffered further loss with their Son Bugler George Lord who fell in action

in the Dardanelles June 15th 1915 Aged 24 yrs. (Remembered on our Armed Forces


Fatal Accident with a Grocer’s Cart

Ann Latchford, aged 2½ years, was killed on Wednesday, 3rd May 1854 by a fall of a cask of sugar in the street near her home. She was the child of a warper living at 26 Rivald Street. A handcart belonging to Mr Stocks, a grocer, of 42 Oldham Road was stopped at the door of Mr Ackerley’s shop. The lad in charge of the cart, Samuel Freeman, had taken care to set the cart against the kerb stones and to fix a piece of wood between the wheel and the shaft resting on the ground to ensure the cart was steady whilst he removed one of the casks. Another child removed the piece of wood and the cart moved and fell over. A sugar cask rolled out and crushed Ann Latchford’s head. Mr Herford presided over the inquest held at his offices in Ridgfield and passed a verdict of accidental death. Mr Stocks promised that the prop or wooden stay of the cart would be fastened in the future to prevent it being so easily displaced. Ann Latchford was buried at Manchester General Cemetery on Sunday, 7th May 1854 in a Non Conformist public grave.

Workhouse Death

Charlotte Bowker, who was buried at Manchester General Cemetery on Saturday, 31st January 1857 in a public grave in one of the Non Conformist plots, died at Manchester Workhouse. She was 58 years old. She had been admitted to the workhouse on 20th May 1826 so at the time of her death had been an inmate for 30 years, during which her maintenance had cost £300, at a rate of £10 per annum.


Death of an Illegitimate New Born

An inquest was held into the death of the illegitimate daughter of Ann Smith on Wednesday, 21st February 1855 presided over by Mr Herford. Ann Smith of 75 Angel Street had given birth to the child in the early hours of Tuesday, 20th February after an hour’s illness and before the midwife arrived. At around 9.00 a.m. the same morning she had brought her baby downstairs and asked a woman to look at it to see if it was dead. On examination the child was found to be dead and its lips and ears were very black. Witnesses reported that the child had been heard crying loudly but that her mother may not have heard being very deaf. She was also deficient intellectually. She had made no preparation for the birth and although advised to go into the workhouse to give birth had refused to do so. Due to the black appearance of the child’s lips and ears, strangulation was suspected as a cause of death. Mr Evan Thomas conducted a post mortem and said that it was his opinion that the cause of death was apoplexy of the brain due to cold and this did not imply any blame on the mother. A verdict of “died from exposure to cold” was returned. The unnamed child was interred on  Tuesday, 27th February 1855 in a public grave in one of the Non Conformist plots.


Natural Causes

An inquest was held on Monday, 22nd January 1855, by Mr Edward Herford, the City Coroner in to the body of 4 year old Patrick Fox. He lived at Back Queen Street. A post mortem had been held the conclusion of which was that no cause of disease could be found except for some minor irritation of the stomach lining which could have been caused by disease or some irritant poison. A white deposit had been found in the stomach which was tested but there were no signs of arsenic. Patrick’s mother said he had been “seized with purging” and she went to Mr Robb’s who gave her some brown and white powder which she administered. She said she thought it had done some good. She applied to Dr Scott’s assistant (Dr Scott attended her husband) but he said he couldn’t attend the boy without a note. She then went to find an alternative doctor but before he arrived her son was dead. The inquest returned a verdict of death by natural causes. Patrick Fox was interred at Manchester General Cemetery on the 25th January 1855 in a Non Conformist public grave.


Death of a Child under Suspicious Circumstances

On Tuesday, 2nd January 1844, an inquest was held by the Borough Coroner, Mr James Chapman, at The Bull’s Head, Collyhurst concerning the death of a female child of Hannah Doyle of Bury. The father of the child, Michael Doyle, a shoemaker, was being held in custody on suspicion of having brutally caused the death of the child prompted by the belief the child was not his. Mr Wardleworth, a surgeon, conducted a post mortem and testified that the child have likely died of exposure to the cold having been removed from the Doyle’s home in Bury to a relative’s home in Collyhurst. The verdict of the jury was death from natural causes and Michael Doyle was released without charge.

Baby Doyle was buried in a public grave at Manchester General Cemetery on 4th January 1844. She was unnamed and was entered in the burial register as “the stillborn child of Michael Doyle”.


Determined Suicide

On Tuesday, 4th September 1849, a young woman by the name of Eliza Lindsay was passing by an old coal pit on Bradford Road which belonged to Mr Porter, a coal proprietor. She noticed a man busily assembling a plank across the rails which surround the open top of the pit. He then mounted the plank and deliberately jumped down the mine. In a very frightened state she raised the alarm and Mr Porter’s foreman descended into the pit to recover the body. The dead man, identified as Jacob Richards, was found at the bottom of the pit which was 28 yards deep. His body was described as being “smashed to pieces” when it was recovered. Jacob Richards was a 28 year old joiner who lived at Edward Street, Oldham Road. He was married and the father of two children. Evidence was presented to the Coroner, Mr Rutter, that Jacob was labouring under temporary insanity induced by rheumatic fever and had only just been discharged from Manchester Royal Infirmary. He had been a patient there for three weeks when he was admitted for a previous suicide attempt. The verdict of suicide was returned. Jacob Richards was interred at Manchester General Cemetery on 6th September 1849 in a public grave in one of the Non Conformist plots.


Miserable Destitution and Death by Fire

An inquest was held on the body of a young woman on Monday, 18th April 1853 by Mr Herford. Elizabeth Mason, aged 21 years and single, died of burns. Elizabeth, along with her brother and sister, had been warming themselves at Thomas Ambrose’s smithy in Barton Street. Mr Ambrose had felt pity for them knowing they were destitute. At about 4.00 p.m. on 7th April, Elizabeth Mason had been lying on the hob about a foot and a half away from the fire. As he was about to start work on hammering a piece of red hot iron he turned around and saw that the girl’s clothes had caught fire. He cried out and the girl jumped up and began running around. He tried to put the fire out but was unable to do so. She ran out into the street and some woman put out the fire after pulling most of her clothes off. She was taken to Manchester Royal Infirmary but died there last Sunday, 17th April. Elizabeth Mason’s mother stated that her daughters and son had sold all her goods and she had left them to fend for themselves. Mr Ambrose, the smithy, said they had refused to work and added that the deceased woman had been “upon the town” since her childhood. “Upon the town” is an expression meaning a disgrace. Elizabeth Mason was interred in a non-conformist public grave at Manchester General Cemetery on 19th April 1853.

Fatal Accident at the New Borough Gaol

William Ryley (Riley), aged 22 years of 26 Heath Street was working as

a labourer on the construction of the New Borough Gaol, Gorton in the

employ of Mr Bellhouse. His usual occupation was a spindle and fly maker

but due to a shortage of work had been doing labouring work. On the

afternoon of Friday, 7th July 1848, he was working at the top of the

hoisting crane, a large piece of machinery used for lifting heavy stone.

Somehow he lost his footing and fell to the ground on to his head.

Still alive he was taken to Manchester Royal Infirmary but having

sustained concussion to the brain he died almost immediately after

his arrival. An inquest was held which returned a verdict of accidental

death. William Ryley (Riley) was buried in Manchester General Cemetery on

the 11th July 1848 in Non Conformist Public Grave 24.

Death in Unusual Circumstances

James Hordern, a 53 year old fustian cutter, who lived at 47 Lombard Street was found lying in Medlock Street, Downing Street on Tuesday, 8th March 1853, in a helpless state. As he smelt very strongly of rum, he was taken to Fairfield Street Police Station and was placed in a reserve room. After about an hour and half he had recovered enough to give the police an address. However the police were unable to find his home so sent him to the workhouse. The workhouse would not accept him on account of him being drunk so he was taken back to the police station and put back into the reserve room. Whilst he was there he was badly behaved and removed all of his clothes so was taken to a cell. Later on the police found him naked lying on the stone flags of the cell. They got him dressed and gave him a coat. Next morning he was taken to the Borough Court but was apparently stupefied with cold. They placed him near the fire in the court house and he seemed to revive. An order was given for his removal to the workhouse. He did not recover and died there.

Mr Evan Thomas, the surgeon at the workhouse, said at the inquest he had a wound over the right eyebrow which might have been caused by falling on to the stone flags and his skull was indented but not broken. In his brain, four ounces of blood has extravasated and the brain itself was in the early stages of softening.  His stupefaction would have probably been caused by the injuries to the brain and would resemble the symptoms of being drunk. However, the police should not have assumed he was drunk and should have sought medical advice sooner meaning there would have been a chance of recovered. The inquest jury, presided over by Mr Herford, returned a verdict of death by disease to the brain aggravated by neglect of procuring medical attendance. James Hordern was interred at Manchester General Cemetery on 11th March 1853 in a non-conformist public grave.


Death of an Old Woman by Brutal Violence

On Monday, 22nd May 1854, an old man by the name of Michael Cosgrove, aged 75 years, was charged in the City Police Court of causing the death of Elizabeth Hamilton, a widow, aged 65 years. Michael Cosgrove kept a lodging house at 10 Mount Street, Fairfield Street and Elizabeth Hamilton resided there.  Between 6.00 a.m. and 7.00 a.m., a witness called Ann Moors who lodged in the same house, heard a noise coming from the room occupied by Michael Cosgrove and his wife. She ran into the room and saved his wife from being throttled by Michael Cosgrove. There was an oven-plate lying on the bed which he picked up and threw at his wife which hit her on the neck. The two woman left the room and went downstairs. Ann Moors went back upstairs to get dressed and heard Michael Cosgrove arguing with his wife. He had a bottle in his hand and was saying “I am going to murder her with this bottle”. He followed Ann Moors in to the room she shared with the deceased woman, Elizabeth Hamilton, and another woman called Margaret Moran. The deceased woman, Elizabeth Hamilton, who was disabled was getting dress and Ann Moors told Michael Cosgrove to leave the room. He did so and went downstairs where he had another argument with his wife. He returned back to the room where the women were getting dressing and accused Elizabeth Hamilton of causing trouble between him and his wife. He hit her and she retaliated with her crutch. He grabbed the crutch from her and hit her again. He then took a lath from one of the bedsteads and began furiously beating her with it. When she was almost lifeless he pretended to attempt to take his own life by cutting his throat but he was careful not to injure himself.  Mr Barlow, the surgeon at Pinmill Brow was summoned and Elizabeth Hamilton was taken to Manchester Royal Infirmary where she died at 8.00 p.m. that same day. Mr Herford held an inquest on her body where the cause of death was due to the rupture of some vessels in the brain caused by the violence inflicted by Michael Cosgrove. The court found him guilty of wilful murder.  Elizabeth Hamilton was buried at Manchester General Cemetery on 23rd May 1854 in one of the non-conformist public plots.


Fatal Results of Intemperance

On Tuesday, 17th July 1855, a Police Officer was called to 6 Joddrell Street where he found the body of an old man lying dead on the floor in a pool of blood. The man, Joseph Mountain, lived there with his wife. His daughter and son-in-law lived across the road. Mrs Mountain was taken into custody where she made two or three statements.

In her first statement, she said her husband came home drunk and had been in a fight outside where he had received a kick. In another statement, she said her husband came home and ran upstairs to fetch a chair which he was going to pawn to buy liquor. He threw the chair down the stairs and fell down after it cutting his head in the process.  This was about 5.00 p.m. on the Monday afternoon. It was noted that Mrs Mountain gave no report to the police on these events nor told her daughter. At about 8.30 p.m. she called upon her daughter and her, her daughter and her daughter’s husband went out and were together until around 11.00 p.m.  During that time Mrs Mountain had not mentioned her husband but at around 12.30 a.m. she went back to her daughter’s house and told her that her husband was dead. Her daughter and son-in-law went back home with her and found Joseph Mountain lying dead near the fireplace.  A witness, 12 year old Owen Ryan, said that between 5.00 p.m. and 6.00 p.m., whilst playing outside, he had seen Mrs Mountain shove her husband down the stairs and then kick him 2 or 3 times and then afterwards his daughter kicked him a few times also.

A post mortem was held by surgeon, Mr James Stephens, and he concluded that the cause of death was a fracture to the skull and a concussion of the brain. He was strongly convinced that the fall down the stairs had caused the fracture not any blunt instrument. Another witness said that she saw Joseph Mountain fall backwards down the stairs and his wife did not touch him. Evidence was also received that the deceased led a very drunken, dissipated life and a verdict of “accidental death” was returned. Mrs Mountain and Mrs Clare (her daughter) were released from custody.

Joseph Mountain was buried at Manchester General Cemetery on Saturday, 21st July 1855.