Saturday, 12 January 2013

Echoes of our past NEWS........11th January 1896

Read all about it……. Echoes of our past NEWS

What was in the local news this weekend in 1896?


*Accident at Rowsley Station –

Acting porter Joseph William Burdekin aged 24 years was killed on Tuesday 7th January 1896.  Joseph was the only son of Samuel Burdekin a quarryman and lived at Meadows Cottages in between Darley Dale and Rowsley.  Joseph had worked for the Midland Railway Company for several years being employed as a platelayer and had only 5 or 6 weeks ago been promoted to relieve a porter named Andrews whilst he was ill.

On the day in question just after 8 am the train from Millers Dale was approaching the platform at Rowsley when Joseph attempted to position himself at the other side of the line.  He must have run in front of the engine as it was stated that “when in front of the engine he lost all self-control”  He was knocked to the floor and his head “taken off below the ears”. 

The scene becomes even more gruesome as the Derbyshire Times goes on to tell that “the dismembered portion was collected in a bucket and the body removed to the third class waiting room……. Subsequently it was taken home about a mile away”.  Unfortunately as the incident had occurred at peak time, it was witnessed by a large number of people.  The scene of shear horror for the poor by-standers must have been most traumatic.

The inquest was held the following night in the waiting room at Rowsley Station – It was not recorded which class waiting room was used, but I would expect that it was  not the first class one.

Joseph’s father Samuel attended and confirmed that the body was that of his son.  He stated that Joseph had no physical defect of sight or hearing.

The Station Master, Thomas Pitt was called to give his version of events.  He had been with Joseph just minutes before the accident examining the milk delivery.  When the imminent arrival of the train was called Thomas had removed himself to the other side of the platform.  When the train was in between the north junction box and the platform he had shouted at the milk men “look out the train is coming”.  Joseph should have heard this call as he was with the milk men, but he moved to cross the line.  Thomas saw him and shouted “go back” and was of the opinion that Joseph was not aware that the train was only 10 – 20 yards away at this point.  In an instant he faltered not knowing whether to continue or go back, it was too late and the train struck him.  It was moving around 10 – 15 miles an hour at this time. 

Joseph was not required to be on the line at all.  He was supposed to be at the crossing to guard it.  Thomas thought however, that he was crossing the line to give him details of the milk delivery as he was carrying the paper in his hand.  In Thomas’s opinion he thought Joseph had followed the actions in order to “do what he thought was right”  he was described as “very steady, obliging and industrious”.

Next to the stand was the engine driver Arthur West.  He confirmed that the first he saw of Joseph was when he was in the “four-foot of the up line”.  The engine drivers mate had the whistle open full and Joseph should have heard them approach.  Arthur saw the danger and applied the break fully but it was too late, Joseph had been struck by the engine.

P.C . J Hutchinson of Rowsley confirmed that he had seen the body and that Joseph had also sustained a broken right arm in two places and possible broken back.

The Coroner summed up the incident and said no one was at fault.  He thought that the practice of porters crossing the lines was dangerous, but was aware that it was done regularly and they became blasé about the implications.  The jury returned a verdict of accidental death.


There were many incidents of family arguments and marital tribulations after the Christmas and New Year festivities were over –

*William John Barker was charged for deserting his wife, 16 year old Betsey Ann Barker of Shuttlewood.  William was described as “looked little more than a lad” at the court hearing.  Betsey told how they had been married on 17th August in the Chesterfield Workhouse and had been living together until the Friday after Christmas Day. 

She accused William of being cruel to her, being in a drunken state on a daily basis and having removed all of the furniture and some of her clothing just prior to him actually leaving her.  The cruelty went as far as him throwing a paraffin lamp at her which set her alight. 

In his defence William said that Betsey never had his meals ready for him when he returned home – Betsey denied this. 

A witness named Hannah Lees told how on one occasion she had seen William turn Betsey out of the house.  The couple had one child who had died.

The Bench told the couple “to make it up”.  William was given an order to pay Betsey 7s 6d a week.

*Job Henstock of North Wingfield was summoned after he had threatened Mary Buttey on 27th December.  Mary was his mother in law.  He had threatened to “chuck her downstairs and break every bone in her body”.

Job told how he had gone home about 10pm and had some supper after which he and his wife had begun arguing.  Mary was living with them and she came downstairs to see what was occurring, she threatened to “burst his door in”.  Matilda wife of Job said that the couple had only had a few words and her mother had come and “made a row outside their door”. 

The case was dismissed.

*Ellen Mansfield the wife of Robert Mansfield of Newbold Moor applied for a protection order.  She said that the marital home was hers and that her husband had left her the day after Christmas Day.  The order was granted.

*Bad language –

A case was dismissed as “trivial” after William Breeze was summoned for using threatening language to Charles Ogden on Whittington Moor on 28th December.  William told how Ogden’s little boy swore and used bad language at him.  When he went to the house to complain the Ogden’s shut the door in his face. 

*Newbold District Council Meeting –

The committee met on Monday 6th January.  The following items were discussed –

Plans for new houses –

Six to be built on Foljambe Road and six new cottages on Newbold Back Lane.

Health –

The Inspectors Report was read stating that only one case of Typhoid fever was reported in the month of December 1895.  This case was at Stonegravels and was “going on in a satisfactory manner”.  The cause of the fever was not traceable at this time.

The Medical Officers Report told that 33 deaths had occurred, which gave the area an annual average death rate of 22.1. 
There had been 60 births registered for the district, 35 boys and 25 girls. 
There had only been one death caused by Typhoid Fever.

Proposed Isolation Hospital –

The idea was to have a hospital for the areas of Chesterfield, Newbold, Whittington and Brampton.  The Rural District Council had the opinion that there should be a central hospital and then two smaller hospitals in the North and South of the area.  It was suggested that the central hospital be built where the small pox hospital stands.  The committee agreed with the larger scheme of a central hospital and 2 smaller emergency hospitals, staffed with “a nurse or two” who “could be despatched from Chesterfield one promptly if necessary”


*Rev James Smith Curate at Brimington to Miss Ellen Josephine Greenshields at St Andrews the Great Church at Cambridge on 7th January.  The bride wore a dress of cream bengaline with a demi train and a lace veil fastened with sprays of orange blossom.  She wore a pearl and diamond broach and carried a bouquet of white flowers. 
*Miss Hibbert eldest daughter of Mr T R Hibbert  married Mr Frank William Alton son of the late Mr John Russell Alton of Heague.  The marriage too place on Tuesday 7th January at an early hour of 10am at Christ Church in Belper.
The marriage venue was a spectacular sight with Christmas decorations still on display and it was said that several hundred relatives and friends attended.  The bride wore a blue cloth traveling gown, trimmed with blue and old gold shot silk, a fawn hat with blue velvet trimmings and an osprey.  The bridesmaids wore grey with old rose and lace trimmings, beefeater hats decorated with old rose ribbon, ospreys and buckles.  After the luncheon the couple went off on honeymoon to London.

*Mrs Alfra Hills, widow of the late Rev Thomas Hills, Vicar of Elmton.  The Rev had also previously been Vicar at many local Churches; St Thomas at Brampton, Clowne and Whittington.  He was buried in Bolsover churchyard.

Alfra had never fully recovered from her bout of influenza 4 years ago and she passed away on Sunday aged 85 years old.  She was also said to have been senile. 

The Hills were a very religious family and three sons were also Vicars; Rev George Hills at Curdridge, Southampton, Rev T C Hills at Bolsover and Rev Dr Hills at Ironville.

The life of Alfra was celebrated at the Ironville Parish Church 8am on Wednesday 8th January.  The funeral cortege then proceeded to Bolsover Parish Church where Alfra was reunited with her husband Thomas. 


*Football suspensions –

A meeting was held at the Queens Head public house by the Chesterfield and Derbyshire Football Association to discuss several suspensions.

Stanfree club was banned from the association after not fulfilling their fixtures.  The following men were suspended until they had paid 2s 6d each toward fee and expenses – G Gregory, W Taylor, T Phillips, John Ashley, James Ashley, Sid Taylor, John Abel and Edmund Dukes.

Eckington Works were in trouble for using players who were members of other clubs.  One such man was Jack Bennet of Holbrook who was suspended for one month.

Eckington Town found their player, George Willis suspended after misconduct at a match against Renishaw.

C Smedley was charged as he had “played rough” during a match at Old Brampton.  He played for Newbold and was suspended for one month.

Two players named J Silvers and W Heppenstall who played for Poolsbrook United Reserves were suspended for one month for misconduct.

E Morris who played for Killamarsh Athletic was suspend for two months after he had refused to leave the pitch when the referee had instructed him to do so. 


A man’s best friend, two dogs lost –

“lost in Chesterfield, black and tan terrier, on Tuesday night.  Whart on forehead – apply G Henshaw, Church Lane, Chesterfield”

“ten shillings rewards – lost Jan. 9th a brown terrier bitch at Lea Bridge, a leather collar and two part labels on the dog.  Anyone restoring the same to Mr H Briddon, Matlock Bath, will receive the above reward”



  1. Welcome to Geneabloggers. May you have many happy postings!

  2. Hi Colleen, thanks for the welcome!

  3. Welcome to GeneaBloggers! Love the history you are posting!

    1. Hi Kathleen, thank you for reading ;-)I have followed your blog.

  4. Louise,

    Welcome to Geneabloggers. I've been a member for almost four months. This is a great blogging community.

    Regards, Grant

    1. Thank you Grant.
      Your blog is presented so well - love the lay out!
      We have a very famous forest near here called Sherwood Forest (home of Robin Hood) you never know you may be able to take credit for the name ;-)
      I am now following your blog.

  5. Welcome to Geneabloggers. Reading local newspapers of the time and place your ancestor lived can be very enlightening even if your ancestor isn't listed.

    Regards, Jim
    Hidden Genealogy Nuggets

    1. Thanks again Jim and yes, it gives a great insight into life at the time.