Skeleton in cylinder

 photo picture cyliner_zpst454mj42.png

Photograph of cylinder
Evening Express, July 13th 1945

Body in Cylinder mystery

Boys discovery at play

Three small boys playing with an old metal cylinder on a demolished site in Great Homer St, Liverpool stumbled on a mystery which may take some time to unravel.

They were playing with the container and rolling it about when one decided to investigate what was inside. He first saw a shoe, but on closer inspection discovered the body of an adult, probably a man. It had been there apparently for some time.

How long the container had been in the vicinity varies according to the residents. Some say the cylinder had been on waste land in Claudia St for about a fortnight, but that, the children who were constantly playing with it had rolled it across some waste land in Great Homer St.

Victim of the Blitz

Many people state that they had seen the cylinder for some time, but had not taken any particular notice of it.

Various theories have been put forward by the neighbours. Some believe that the cylinder had been removed from under the debris on some property that had been demolished during a raid, and they think the man attempted to take shelter in the cylinder, probably being buried when the house was demolished.

There are other women who swear that the cylinder had only been seen during the past few days and they allege that the body had been dumped there. The police have now removed the remains to the Mortuary. The cylinder in which the body was found is about 6ft 6ins in length and about 20ins in diameter.

Mr Norman Garner of 278 Great Homer St told the Evening Express that he believes it had been in the vicinity ever since the blitz. He said he had seen it for many weeks, and women had used it as a seat.

Missing man

Mr Garner recollected that immediately after the blitz a young man, known by the name of Flood, was missing and had not been heard of since. There is another theory that as the cylinder looks like part of a ventilation shaft of a ship, and as there is nothing in the area in which such a cylinder would be of use, someone carted it to the district in order to use it as a shelter.

As the mouth of the cylinder had been compressed, it had been suggested that if a person got inside to take shelter during an air raid it would have been impossible for him to get out, as he would probably be trapped in side and left under the debris.

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Evening Express, July 19th 1945

Skeleton riddle may date to 1885

Diaries and postcard in cylinder

Children who found a skeleton inside a large steel cylinder on a blitzed site near Great Homer St, Everton, have discovered a mystery which may date back to 1885.

Documents dated 1885 were found on the body. This was disclosed when the inquest was opened today and adjourned for a month by the Liverpool Coroner Mr G. C. MORT

The skeleton was dressed in old fashioned clothing. The cylinder was 6ft 9ins long and 19ins in diameter, and made of 5 32ins steel.

Police Constable R. W. S. BAILEY said a boy told him he had seen a leg of some object hanging out of a steel cylinder. He went to the scene an d saw what appeared to be the remains of a human body and had the cylinder removed to the city mortuary.

Detective Inspector John Williams MORRIS said one end of the cylinder was closed by a metal disc bolted to the sides.. The other end was open but had been compressed leaving an aperture of about 4 ins.

The cylinder was cut open by an oxy-acetylene burner, and disclosed the decomposed remains of a body, fully clothed and lying full length on some sacking. At the head was a brick wrapped in similar sacking, giving the appearance of a pillow. On the body were two diaries, seven keys, and some other papers.

Signet ring

There was also the gold signet ring of a green stone flecked with red. Intensive inquiries had been and are still being , made but no identity had yet been established.

Detective Inspector MORRIS said the papers had been sent to the Home Office Laboratory at Preston. The origin of the cylinder has not yet been established.

Dr Charles Victor HARRISON, senior lecturer in pathology at Liverpool University, said the cranium was broken in the region of the left middle ear, but there was no reason to think it had been caused by violence.

He thought the body was that of an adult man, about 6ft in height, and more than 25 years of age but not more than middle aged, and that it had been lying there for a long time. There was no way of finding the cause of death. Hair was still present on the head of the man.

The Coroner said that it had been possible to piece together a postcard, postmarked Birmingham, and date stamped July 3rd 1885. The two diaries were dated 1884 and 1885.

Paint Firm

There was also a London North Western railway advice note dated June 27th 1885, and what appeared to be an undated bill head of T. C. WILLIAMS and Co, Leeds St, Liverpool.

The Coroner said there was a T. C. WILLIAMS and Co Paint and Varnish and colour merchants in Tithebarn St, Liverpool with works in Smithfield St, Liverpool about the time. The police would be grateful for information about the firm

Dr HARRISON said that in expressing an opinion that the body had not been there more than ten years he did so because of the presence of moisture. But if the cylinder had been air tight or moisture had crept into it and the normal drying out process had been prevented, it was not impossible that the body had been there since 1885 or 1890.

Dr HARRISON said there was no evidence to indicate that the man had been killed in the blitz, and he thought that improbable.

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Liverpool Daily Post Aug 20th 1945

Skeleton in Cylinder

Mystery may be solved

Following exhaustive inquiries Liverpool Police believe they have partly solved the mystery of the skeleton found in the cylinder.

The clue put forward at the adjourned inquest, that the skeleton was that of a Mr T. C, WILLIAMS, a paint and brush manufacturer of Leeds St, 60 years ago, the theory is supported by several facts. The first is that although the wife of this man is buried alone in a Liverpool cemetery, there is no record in Merseyside registers of the death of WILLIAMS or of his having been buried in the district.

Information has also lead the police to the conclusion that about 1884 WILLIAMS was in financial difficulties, and it is considered possible because of these he was keeping away from home, that he crawled into the cylinder to sleep, and by doing so shut out the air and asphyxiated himself.

Support is lent to this theory by the fact that the diaries and other documents including a T. C. WILLIAMS billhead bearing dates in that year were found in the Victorian clothing, and also that the position of the bones suggested the man was lying at full stretch with his head pillowed on a brick when he died. At that time his disappearance might not have caused any sensation as it was then customary for men who wanted to avoid their friends or creditors to board a ship and work their passage abroad.

The police have been searching for relatives of WILLIAMS or his wife bur so far without success..

When the adjourned inquest is held evidence will be given by Dr FIRTH, director of the Home Office laboratory at Preston on the investigations he has carried out in connection with the mystery

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Evening Express, Aug 31st, 1945

Skeleton riddle stays unsolved

Open Verdict, death in 1885

Liverpool Coroner Mr G. C. MORT today closed the inquest on the skeleton in the cylinder by recording an open verdict. He said it was impossible to find a cause of death, which he believed took place in 1885.

William PEMBERTON, Brisbane St, caretaker of the Methodist Church, Boundary St, East, Liverpool said during the summer of 1943 American soldiers were clearing a site at the back of the church. He noticed the canister after an American bulldozer had been clearing away some debris. The bulldozer in its efforts to move the canister crushed its open end. The open end was downwards. Another navvy belonging to a building contractor extracted the canister and laid it on the level. He had since seen boys rolling it about. He had no idea what the cylinder had been used for.

Dr J. H. FIRTH, Director of the Home Office Laboratory, Preston, said he thought the cylinder was part of a ventilation shaft. He found no traces of paint in the cylinder. The conditions in the cylinder indicated that the body had undergone normal decomposition. The clothing was of a type common in the Victorian period and was of good quality.

The body had been lying on the sacking not in it. The head and trunk had become detached through some movement. A small amount of hair adhered to the skull, although the left base of the skull was missing.

The Coroner said Inspector MORRIS had been in formed that Mr T. C. Williams had a son born in 1859

Dr FIRTH said it was the body of a man between the ages of 30 and 50 and it was not reasonably possible to believe that it was the son of T. C. WILLIAMS.

In one of the diaries was an entry dated June 1885. It seems to relate to an appointment for 1pm with a person F. C. Gredy at Cons. There was also a number of other papers including five account sheets, four unused, relating to T. C. Williams and Co, Leads St, Liverpool, with the date 18. On the body was a postcard which bore the name T. C. Williams from a Mr A. E. Harris dated July 3rd 1885. There was also a receipt with the name T. C. Williams on it.

There was nothing identifiable on his handkerchief and the signet ring was very much worn and carried the hallmark London 1859. There was no money in the pockets and no other valuables. T. C. Williams was a paint manufacturer in Liverpool.

From the material available it was not possible to say how the man died. It would be easy for a man to hide himself in the cylinder.

Det Inspector J. W. MORRIS said he found a brooch in the canister. He searched records in England and Wales and could not find any trace of Mr WILLIAMS being buried.

The Coroner said he had no reason to doubt that the man had got into the cylinder other than by crawling into it.

Extensive inquiries had been made and certain inference could be drawn from the evidence which he had heard, but he had to record an open verdict.

He paid tribute to the help he had received from the authorities and particularly the astonishing perseverance of the Liverpool C.I.D, under Superintendent A. W. FOTHERGILL, and he wished to pay tribute to Detective Inspector MORRIS who had largely carried out the work.

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The London Gazette March 14th 1884

The Bankruptcy Act, 1869.

In the County Court of Lancashire, Holden at Liverpool.

In the Matter of a Special Resolution for Liquidation

by Arrangement of the affairs of Thomas Cregeen

Williams, lately residing at 29, Cambridge Road, Seaforth,

in the county of Lancaster, but now residing at

Woodville House, Abbotsford Road, Blundellsands, in

the county of Lancaster, and carrying on business at

No. 5, Leeds Street, in the city of Liverpool, in the

county of Lancaster, trading as a Paint and Colour

Manufacturer, under the style or firm of T. C. Williams and Co.

The creditors of the above named Thomas Cregeen

Williams who have not already proved their debts,

are required, on or before the 22nd day of March, 1884,

to send their names and addresses, and the particulars

of their debts or claims, to the undersigned, William

Leach Jackson, of C, Queen Insurance Buildings, 10, Dale Street,

Liverpool aforesaid, Chartered Accountant, one

of the Trustees under the liquidation, or in default thereof

they will be excluded from the benefit of the Dividend

proposed to be declared. Dated this 10th day of March,

1884. W. L. JACKSON,

JOHN MACCONNAL, Trustees.

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The London Gazette, Sept 8th, 1885

The Bankruptcy Act, 1869.

In the County Court of Lancashire, Holden at Liverpool.

In the Matter of a Special Resolution for Liquidation by

Arrangement of the affairs of Thomas Cregeen Williams,

lately residing at 29, Cambridge Road, Seaforth, in the

county of Lancaster, but now residing at Woodville

House, Abbotsford Road. Blundellsands, in the county of

Lancaster, and carrying on business at 5, Leeds Street,

in the city of Liverpool, in the county of Lancaster,

trading as a Paint and Colour Manufacturer, under the

style or firm of T. C. Williams and Co.

The creditors of the above named Thomas Cregeen

Williams who have not already proved their debts,

are required, on or before the 15th day of September

instant, to send their names and addresses, and the particulars

of their debts or claims, to me, William Leach

Jackson, C, Queen Insurance Buildings, 10, Dale-street,

Liverpool aforesaid, Chartered Accountant, one of the

undersigned, William Leach Jackson and John MacConnal,

the Trustees under the liquidation, or in default thereof

they will be excluded from the benefit of the Dividend

proposed to be declared. Dated this 5th day of September,

1885. W. L. JACKSON.

JOHN MACCONNAL, Trustees.

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