Deaths and Inquests 1930 to 1938

Evening Telegraph 8th, January 1930

Since the Liverpool inquest on a man who collapsed in a cell at the main bride well and died whilst being conveyed to hospital, the body has been identified as Hugh HART, aged 44, a fish porter, who had lived at a city hostel.


Feb. 11, 1930, Western Daily press

Deaths stop wedding

Prospective Bride collapses on hearing news

Thomas Edward SMITH, aged 51, a scaffolder and Eric Ernest GRADY, a Corporation employee, aged 22, father and prospective son-in-law were found dead in a bedroom in Nettlested Rd, Norris Green on Sunday in mysterious circumstances, but, presumably they had been gassed.

The discovery was found by Mrs SMITH, who found her husband dead on a couch and GRADY dead in bed. They retired at midnight and lit a gas fire. This was not alight when the tragedy was discovered.

Grady was to have been married in three weeks, time, and his sweetheart collapsed on learning the news.

 Apr. 12, 1930 Hull Daily Mail

Sandhills tragedy

Woman found enveloped in flames

Like a human beacon

A mysterious burning tragedy occurred on the seashore at Waterloo, Liverpool on Friday night, when a widow, Susan Ellen HARRISON, aged 63, a boarding-house keeper, of Claredon Terrace, Beaumont Rd, Liverpool, was burned to death.

Shortly after 8pm a man walking near the foreshore was attracted by a glaring light coming from the sandhills and running towards the spot, he heard a woman moaning. He found Mrs HARRISON with her clothing alight, like a human beacon. The wind was fanning the flames and she was enveloped. He rolled her on the sands to extinguish the flames and then summoned assistance. An ambulance rushed the woman to hospital, but her burns were so severe that she was dead on admission.

How the woman’s clothing caught fire is not known.


Evening Telegraph, Jan 30th, 1931

Coroner and series of blunders

Child scalded in bath

Tap in on position

Mr Digby SEYMOUR who appeared for Liverpool Corporation at an inquest on Winifred KINGSBORY, aged two who died on Sunday at Alder Hey Hospital from debility following scalds accidentally received in a bath a the hospital, described the tragedy as one of those extraordinary sequence of events which leads to tragedy.

A verdict of Accidental Death was returned the jury added a rider that they were satisfied that steps taken by the Medical Superintendent would obviate similar occurrences in the future. Addressing the jury before calling evidence Mr G. C. MORT, Coroner, said they had to deal with an unfortunate case, which was attended by a series of seemingly unimportant blunders, the sum total of which had brought about the tragedy.

Alteration to taps.

Workmen from the Public Assistance Committee were engaged on the hospital premises, and an apprentice plumber on December 22nd was making some alterations to the taps on K Wing. He warned a nurse on K1 Ward, that he was turning the water off, but apparently failed to warn anyone on Wards K2 and K3, which would also be affected.

The next slip was that someone had left the tap in the bathroom in a turned on position, the tap could only be turned by a detachable key.

Later a nurse brought a child in the bathroom, and, not knowing that the tap was turned on and the water was off, temporarily, she placed the child, fully dressed into the bath, while she went out to attended to someone for a minute. Meanwhile the sister in charge heard running water and entered the bathroom. She found the child sitting in the bath and the hot tap running. The child was scalded on both feet, thighs and legs.

It was a rule in the hospital that no child should be left unattended, but in this case it was a young and inexperienced nurse who was just beginning her probationary training. Elizabeth McFARLANE, sister in charge, said she gave orders for the child to be changed and bathed. A junior nurse carried the child into the bathroom and an older nurse would have followed almost immediately. She found the child sitting in the bath with the hot water running, she was not attracted by cries and she did not know the plumbers were working there. The only mistake the junior nurse made was to leave the child unattended in the bathroom .

Mr SEYMOUR, Was the tap such that the junior nurse would not know the water was on or off - Yes.

Do you agree that putting the child in the bath was the best thing to keep it out of harms was? - Yes I do.

A nurse from another ward stated the apprentice plumber did not warn her that he was going to turn the water off.

Sheer forgetfulness

John DUFFEY, Shaw St, Liverpool, apprentice plumber, employed by the Public Assistance Committee, at Alder Hey, said he was instructed to attend to the taps on K Wing. That involved turning the water off. It was customary to tell all the wards when he was turning the water off, but on this occasion he did not remember telling the nurses in K2 and K3. If he did not tell them he admitted it was forgetfulness on his part.

Inspector GLEESON, beadle to the coroner, said he had accompanied the Coroner to Alder Hey and taken evidence from the junior nurse, who was ill in bed and unable to attended court. She admitted having left the child clothed in the bath, and he thought it was the safest thing she could have done.

Dr Annie D. ALLAN, resident medical officer at Alder Hey, said, that after the accident the child became worse, despite treatment, and died from debility accelerated by scalds. She agreed that taps of that type were used as a safety measure. No doubt this junior nurse did a wise and safe thing by placing the child in the bath and not letting in scramble on the floor.

Dr Peter McDIARMID, medical superintendent at Alder Hey, said arrangements had been made for the future by which the steward, the matron, and sisters and nurses concerned would be notified before the water was turned off.

Mr SEYMOUR, You have no condemnation of the staff? - No

Is Alder Hey not one of the model hospitals in England and of world wide reputation? - Yes.

Nothing of this kind has ever happened before? - No.

The Coroner, Really this accident was brought about by the methods adopted for the safety of the children? - Yes.

Mr Digby SEYMOUR, expressing sympathy with the mother on behalf of the Corporation, said that Alder Hey was of great, if not world wide repute, there were 900 children there, and it was most efficiently and carefully run.

The Coroner added an expression of sympathy by the governors of the hospital and the Court.


Hull Daily Mail 26th, June 1931

Deaths own time

The story of the death of a man after an unsuccessful attempt at suicide was told at the Liverpool inquest yesterday on William Alexander THOMSON, aged 65, foreman pipe layer of Deansburn Rd.

Mrs THOMSON said that she and her daughter returning home at 10.30pm, found the front door locked, which was strange as her husband was ill in bed and alone. After trying for an hour to gain admittance they went to relatives.

Next day THOMSON was found unconscious in a gas filled room, with the end of a gas tube near his mouth. He died in hospital. Dr Balfour WILLIAMS said that death was due to a cerebral abscess and was not accelerated in any way by the coal gas poisoning. The suicide attempt was done so badly as not to have fatal results. A verdict of Death from natural causes, was returned.

Lancashire Daily Post August 29th 1931

Tragic discovery by father

Calling at Liverpool Police Station to report the fact that his son was missing Patrick McGRATH of St Augustine St, Liverpool was taken to the mortuary, where he found the dead body of James McGRATH, aged 8, who had been knocked down by a bus on Stanley Rd, Bootle on Wednesday night. The lad was on his way to Aintree, where his school sports were being held, when he suddenly ran out from the pavement and was caught under the back wheels of the bus and was killed. At the inquest yesterday a verdict of Accidental death was returned.


Western Daily Press, Nov 25th 1931

Suicide in cell

Prisoner who was at the point of being released

How a convict who committed suicide in Walton Gaol, Liverpool, by hanging himself with the aid of his braces attached to the bars of his cell window was told at an inquest yesterday on John Joseph BUTLER, aged 23, a motor driver of Walton Village.

The verdict of “Suicide while of unsound mind.” The jury said they had no criticism to make of the prison authorities.

It was stated BUTLER was due for discharge on November 30th, the Coroner commented on this saying that why he took his own life just as he was about to be released and probably with many years of happiness before him is hard to understand. It must have been the shock of the sentence had upset his mind.


Evening Telegraph 8th, March 1932

At an inquest at Liverpool on Thomas Joseph MARTIN, tobacconist and newsagent, who collapsed in the street, it was found that he died from the fatal results of swallowing a fragment of his dental plate.


Aberdeen Journal 21st, March 1933

It was revealed at a Liverpool inquest yesterday on a man who had hanged himself that in December his father and mother hanged themselves, both by using the same rope. He was Frank Henry DAVIES, aged 29, engineers fitter, Winsford.


Evening Telegraph, August 11th, 1933

Leaving a note, "I dread going to the office" after returning from her holidays, Ada HOLLIS, aged 33, a typist in the Inland Revenue, Office, India Buildings, Liverpool gassed herself in her home in Roskell Road, Hunts Cross. Inquest returned, "Suicide while of unsound mind."


Western Gazette 9th, March 1934

Death of woman from fur collar

First fatal skin disease

Dermatitis evidence at inquest

At a Liverpool inquest on Tuesday a jury found that the death of a widow Mrs Maria WELSH, aged 59, of Tancred Rd, Anfield was entirely due to fur dermatitis. This is believed to be the first recorded death resulting from this disease.

The verdict returned was one of death from misadventure.

The daughter of Mrs WELSH described the symptoms of her mother, and said she suspected a fur collar attached to a tweed coat as the cause.

Dr Robert McKENNA, Hon, dermatologist at the Stanley Hospital, said that when he examined Mrs WELSH, in September 1933, there was redness on the lower part of her face and also on the whole of her neck,, extending to the shoulders, chest and arms. The condition of her skin suggested to him that she was suffering from fur dermatitis caused probably by a dye.

Mrs WELSH said she did not want him to make a test on the fur as she did not wish to bring legal action against the firm that supplied the coat. Later Mrs WELSH was admitted to the Stanley Hospital for observation, but although her skin condition improved, her general health became worse, and she died from heart failure and dropsy of the lungs.

The Coroner, "Do you suggest that the condition was brought about by the skin trouble?

Dr McKENNA, "That question is difficult to answer because fur dermatitis has previously never been known to end fatally I think the heart was in some way poisoned. I am sure that the suffering caused by the skin disease which she had for months previously weakened her and made her more susceptible to any toxins which were formed in her body. I am of the opinion that the suffering caused by the skin disease accelerated her death. I do not think that dermatitis was sufficiently severe at any time to cause her death."

He added that 99 out of 100 people would wear the fur collar without suffering at all.

Prof DILLING, Professor of Pharmacology at the Liverpool University, said he had examined the fur and two dyes had been used, para phecylene diamine and para amino phenol, both of which cause dermatitis.

Dr R. Stopford TAYLOR, dermatologist, said he had never known a case of death had been caused by dermatitis.

Dr L. S. ASHCROFT, who made the post mortem examination said that in his opinion the dermatitis was a contributory or accelerating cause of death.


Manchester Guardian Aug 27th 1934

A man who was riding pillion on a motor cycle when it collided with a lorry in Liverpool on Friday night and who was killed, together with the driver, was identified on Saturday as Harold VEEVERS, aged 23 of Duddington Ave, Great Crosby, Liverpool. The motor cycle driver, who was terribly injured and who later died in hospital was George Alfred STREDDER, aged 23, of Whitefield Rd, Everton. VEEVERS was killed instantly.


Gloucestershire Echo 25 August 1937

A North of Ireland Senator Robert DORMAN, aged 78 of Perth St, Belfast, who came to Liverpool to attend the funeral of his brother, Thomas DORMAN, aged 80, died suddenly at a meeting last Sunday, and was buried with his brother at Allerton Cemetery yesterday.


Derby Daily Telegraph 10 November 1937

15 Days after funeral at Liverpool

The body of Miss Florence Elizabeth SMITH, aged 22 of Suffolk St, Duke St, Liverpool was exhumed today at Allerton Cemetery. Miss SMITH who died on October 22nd and was buried on October 26th, is stated to have been in ill health for two years before her death and to have undergone tuberculosis treatment, and inquest will be opened probably tomorrow. Mr C. C. MORT, City Coroner made the exhumation order. Miss SMITH was the daughter of Mrs Esther Jane DAVIES, aged 49 of Elmham Crescent, Fazakerley, Liverpool.


Evening News, Nov 15th 1937

Mummified baby in pram

Exhumed girl inquest

Two inquests, one on a 22yr old girl whose body was exhumed from Allerton Cemetery last week and the other on what was alleged to be her child were opened at Liverpool today. The girl was Florence Elizabeth SMITH, of Suffolk St, Liverpool, who died on October 22nd and was buried in Allerton Cemetery on October 26th.

An open verdict was recorded on the baby.

Mr C. C. MORT, Coroner, said that the child which was completely mummified, was found in a pram in the corner of a room occupied by a woman and her daughter. The discovery was made after the mother left the house after her daughter died about a month ago. She said she would return but did not do so. The baby, the sex of which was unknown had obviously been dead for months.

On October 30th when the examination was made of the room, and the mummified body of the child was found, other discoveries made in the room raised some doubt as to whether the death of Miss SMITH was wholly attributed to the disease she was suffering

Dr G. A. Kary LYNCH, Lecturer in Pathology at Liverpool University, who made a post mortem examination of the child, said she was unable to say whether it had a separate existence, it had been dead at least 9 months.

The Coroner said that in view of any criminal proceedings which might be taken they would have to be careful to confine themselves entirely to the questions on how the child died if it had, had, a separate existence.

The inquest on the girl, who the Coroner said was the daughter referred to was adjourned until November 24th.

Mr MORT stated that whether the inquest would be reopened would depend on the medical evidence which would be available by then Mother Remanded

A further remand in custody until next Monday was granted, when Mrs Esther Jane DAVIES, aged 49, of Elmham Crescent, Fazakerley the mother of Miss SMITH, was accused of endeavouring to conceal the birth of a child, name unknown, while secretly disposing of the body at a house in Suffolk St on or about the month May 1936. She went to live with her daughter in Suffolk St in January. Her daughter had been suffering from tuberculosis for some time.

She was in a distressed condition and was allowed to be seated. It has been alleged that the daughter of Mrs DAVIES gave birth to a child in a house where she and her mother was living. When charged Mrs DAVIES said, No.


July 27th, 1938 Courier

Woman doctor leaves goodbye note.

Worried about money and broken romance

A housekeeper to a woman doctor who had committed suicide wept bitterly when the doctor’s goodbye note to her read at the resumed inquest at Huyton, yesterday.

Suicide whilst of unsound mind was the verdict on 39 year old Dr Isabella MORTON, who had been known as Dr Isabella URQUHART SLOAN of Borrowdale, Seel Rd, Huyton.

Miss Ellen Dely MUIR, housekeeper said, Dr MORTON began a practise at Glasgow seven and a half years ago, but she sold it in December last year. They both went to live in London, but the doctor did not practise there.

In March this year the doctor took over a practise at Huyton. She had been worried about the practise and financial matters, and she also worried about her engagement which had been broken.

Margaret SOUTTER, Merrylee Park Ave, Glasgow, said the doctor was her sister. Their father a stonemason died in 1905, and her sister was brought up by Mr David SLOAN, a restaurant proprietor.

Sgt ROGERSON said he found Dr MORTON dead in bed with a glass containing a white substance nearby. Dr A. McNELLY, said he found 45 grains of luminal in the body.

Coroner read the following note addressed to the housekeeper :- “Ellen dear, I am sorry, but I simply can’t carry on any longer. I feel my mind is giving way. Don’t weep dear. It is better I should be at peace. Go back to Scotland. You will be happier there. God bless you. You have been a great comfort to me.”


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