Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

composed of concrete, nearly two and a half feet in thickness, in order to render it fireproof, which to some extent proved successful; but from there being two staircases, independent of the loophole above referred to, the flames were drafted by the strong wind which prevailed round the different floors with unusual rapidity. With as little delay as possible, the engine belonging to the parish arrived and was set to work, but the water thrown on so large a body of lire made not the least impressiou, and the moment the window glass gave way the fire shot up the loopholes and staircases with such violeuce that, before a brigade engine could arrive, the two upper floors became one immense sheet of flame. In a short time the premises presented a scene of fearful grandeur: the flames were issuing out of not fewer that bS large windows, and rising so high into the air that the whole of London and the surl>url>un districts was brilliantly illuminated until daybreak. The mains of theUaiupstciid Waterworks were drawn, but the supply of water was found inadequate to feed so large a number of engines as were required to be called into operation to subdue such a tremendous body of fire. Several engines were, therefore, backed to the Regent's Canal, and with the aid of about -iO feet of leather piping a continuous stream of water was brought to bear upon the blazing pile; but in spite of every exertion of the tiremen the roof' at length fell with a crash resembling the discharge of a heavy piece of artillery, and carried the three upper floors down, when for several minutes large flakes of blazing wood were scattered over the neighbourhood, to

the danger of the houses aroundThe exertions of the firemen confined the damage to Messrs. Col lard's premises, but the mass of fire in the ruins was not extinguished for some days. The total loss to Messrs. Collard is estimated at Oi Mil Mi/.; besides which. their workmen lose their valuable tools.

20. Drkadfcl Coujkbt Ex

PLOSIOS AT rUwMABHH.—J-'i/iy-hro Licet Lou.—A fearful coal-pit explosion occurred at lUwmarsh. near liotherham. in Yorkshire, attended with a lamentable loss of life—bi men and boys having perished, and many others received severe injuries. Warrendale Pit, leased by Messrs. J. and J. Charlesworth from Earl Fiuwilliam, has !>een worked uot mors than twelve months. At <> o'clock this morning. Mr. Sylvester, the underground steward, went into the pit to examine the state of the air: it would seem that he found nothing amiss, for the men were allowed to descend and proceed to work. The number of men and boys who descended the shaft was 73. To outward appearance, ■•verything went on as usual until a fess minutes before 7 o'clock. At that time, not only those near the pit, but the whole neighbourhood around, were astounded and horrified by an eruption like that at a volcano. Smoke and flames burst out of the mouth of the pit in an appalling volume. Two curves which were being drawn out of the pit were projected upwards with volcanic force, and lodged in the gearing over the shaft. A quantity of omK stone*, and other mat tern, which had been cam-'d high into the air. descended all around the pit in a temne shorter. 8o fearful and perilous was it, that the persons employed near the pit-mouth were compelled to take shelter under the platform of the tipplers for loading the carts; and it was only by this precaution that they escaped fatal injuries. The country all around the pit was blackened to a distance of three-quarters of a mile by the descent of dust and smoke. A man who was standing at his cottage-door, two fields from the pit, found his face blackened as if he had been working in the pit itself. The report of the explosion was heard a distance of three miles.

Crowds immediately hastened to the spot, in search of relatives or to render aid. The damaged gearing in the shaft was repaired, and by half-post 9 fourteen persons who had collected at the bottom of the shaft were got up alive, but more or less hurt; by half-past 8, more persons had been drawn up yet alive, and fifteen corpses. Those of the men who were least hurt were eager in their efforts to assist their fellows still below. The search was continued without intermissiou. On Sunday night the number of dead—who were killed in the pit, or who died after they had been got to the surface— was 49.

On Monday, the remains of Mr. Sylvester, who was torn to pieces by the explosion, were collected together, and this completed the number of victims. Fifty had been killed; nine survivors were grievously maimed or hurt, two of whom died of their injuries, and fourteen escaped with slight wounds. Many of the bodies could be recognised only by the remains of the clothing—in one case by the buckle of a belt alone.

A coroner's inquest was held on the bodies. The view by the jury

was a shocking duty: in two rooms were collected 41 corpses, many of them much disfigured; the rest of the bodies were at houses in adjacent villages. After the 41 bodies had been viewed, they were interred in the village churchyard, which the many excavations made to look like "the works of an incipient railway." It was shown that it was the duty of Sylvester to go down the first to see that the works were all safe, but it was not his duty to report as to the state of the pit. The practice was, that as soon as Sylvester had gone down, any other man could follow, without waiting for any report as to the state of the pit The men at this pit were not furnished with Davy lamps, the pit being considered safe to work with the naked candle; and in fact there were only two Davy lamps to three pits. It was the opinion of the Government Inspector of Mines, that the explosion occurred from a fall of the roof, which forced out gas collected in the "goals "—recesses whence the coal has been got, and through which no current of air passes— this gas exploded, and fired more as the flame passed by other goafs; that there was no criminal neglect on the part of any person in connection with this dreadful catastrophe; but that there had been, in various ways and by various individuals, a want of caution and a degree of laxity in the management of the mine, which is at all times pregnant with danger in working a fiery coal-seam.

The jury found a verdict that the deceased were accidentally killed, and added severe remarks upon the general lax manner in which the mine had been managed; and an opinion that the proprietors of mines ought to be made responsible for the efficiency of their agents and superintendents.

On the 22nd of December, two days after the Rawmarsh catastrophe, seven men and six boys perished by an explosion of firedamp in the colliery of Mr. Halliburton, at Ince, near Wigan. It is called the Deep Pit, or Arley Mine, and the shaft is more than 000 feet deep. About 100 people descended to work in the morning: seventeen went to the south-east levels; in a short time an explosion occurred there, and only four of the seventeen escaped alive. The miners in other parts only suffered by the choke-damp, but none fatally. The cause of the explosion is supposed to have been a fall of the roof in an old working, from the removal of props for use in another spot.

A lesser calamity of the same kind occurred at the Bardsley Colliery, Ashton-under-Lyne, on the 4th of December, when four men and ten horses were killed. And on the 6th, a similar misfortune at the Woodthorpe Colliery, near Sheffield, when three men perished.

27. Murder At Belper.—A very extraordinary murder was committed at Belper.

Mrs. Barnes, a widow lady of rather eccentric habits, residing at Belper, owned considerable property at Derby and Belper, much of which she had inherited from a deceased brother named Walker. She employed a man named Anthony Turner to collect her rents; he was a defaulter to a considerable extent, and the lady sent him a note dismissing him from her service. Mrs. Barnes lived at the house of a relative,

Mr. Bannister, a clergyman. The house is fronted by grounds with a lodge. On Saturday evening, Turner, being tipsy, went into a provision-shop kept by Mr. Haslam, and got possession of a large carving-knife used for cutting bacon. He went to the lady's residence, and asked to see her; a servant returned with a message that Mrs. Barnes would not see him. Turner vowed that he would not go away without having an interview; and, thrusting the servant aside, he rushed up-stairs, forced an entry into Mrs. Barnes's room, cut her throat with the knife, and escaped out of the house. Mrs. Barnes died in a few minutes.

The murderer was apprehended on Monday evening. After his escape from the house, he seems to have wandered about the country. On Monday evening, a young man recognised him on the outskirts of Belper; but he scaled a wall and got away. The police were informed of this, and eventually they arrested him at his mother's house: he attempted to cut his throat, but a constable struck him on the arm, and the wound inflicted was very slight.

The coroner's inquest was opened on Monday.

Mr. Haslam, grocer, of Belper Lane, stated that Turner came to his shop much excited. Haslam said, "Turner, you seem full of liquor;" he answered, " Yes I am, I 'm drunk." He was invited to sit down, and compose himself with a pipe. He showed Mrs. Haslam the notice of dismissal he had received from Mrs. Barnes: he raised his arm, and said he would "do something to be talked of." Haslam went into his shop to a customer, and soon afterwards Turner came out; as he passed through the shop, his eye fell on a large carving-knife, used to cut cheese; he seized it, and saying, "Excuse me taking this knife," he walked off with it quickly, towards Belper. Haslam ran to the door, and shouted to him to come back; but it was too dark to see him. He was heard to reply, "I won't;" and Haslam almost immediately pursued him, sometimes walking and sometimes running.

The lodge-keeper's daughter deposed that when Turner came to the lodge on Saturday afternoon, her father had given him Mrs. Barnes's letter of dismissal. He opened the letter, read it, and went away.

Harriet Storer.—I have known the deceased, Mrs. Barnes, about 20 years. I have been in her service as cook more than ten years. I think she was 64 years of age. Mr. Walker, brother of the deceased, died last April; since then, Anthony Turner has been employed in collecting rents for Mrs. Barnes, and had frequently occasion to come to the house. By direction of the deceased I gave the note, containing the notice of dismissal, to John Tomlinson, who lives at the lodge. It was about 12 o'clock in the day when I gave the note to Tomlinson. I did not see Turner during the day; but about a quarter past 8 o'clock at night I heard a knock at the back door, and on going from the kitchen into the passage I met Turner, who had walked in without the door being opened for him. He looked wild and in a bad temper, and, as it appeared to me, he was drunk. He said, "Can I see Mrs. Barnes? I want to see her." I replied, "If you will

go into the kitchen I will go and see." He went into the kitchen, and I went, upstairs to Mrs. Barnes's room—a small room called the nursery, in which Mrs. Barnes usually transacted business, and which she occupied a good deal. I found Mrs. Barnes sitting by the fire, writing. I informed Turner that Mrs. Barnes refused to see him. I said, "Turner, you must excuse Mrs. Barnes to-night, she can't see you, she will see you

on Monday." He said, " D n

you, I will see her," and he threw me down, knocking my head against the corner of the table. He then ran upstairs. I heard him try to open Mrs. Barnes's door and shake it and kick it very loudly with his feet. While he was kicking, which he -did for about two minutes, I went to Mr. Bannister, who was in the diningroom, and requested him to stand about, as Turner was upstairs drunk. Before Mr. Bannister had time to get out of the dining-room I ran upstairs, found the roomdoor open, and entered the room, when I saw Turner, who was standing before the deceased. His left knee was placed on her knee, his left hand was on her shoulder, and with his right hand he was holding a large knife to her throat, but I cannot say whether he was actually cutting it or not, as his back obstructed the view. I observed that the left hand of the deceased was stretched out to the bellpull. I did not hear her say anything at that time, but before Turner got into the room she rang the bell and called "Harriet!" twice. When I saw this, I ran down the front stairs (I had gone up, as Anthony had also, the back stairs), and sent the servant girl, Hannah Ashton, off for Taylor, the constable. I then turned round to the bottom of the back stairs; Turner met me coming down the back stairs in great haste, as if he had been thrown down. Two steps from the bottom he recovered his legs; he then took hold of my right wrist with his left hand, which was very bloody. He grasped me with some violence, though I felt his hand tremble. He flourished a large knife, and made it cut at my face. I threw my head back, and threw myself back with all the force I could, and released my hand. I escaped the knife, but so narrowly that it cut a piece off my cap near to the ear. I got away into a dark passage and thence into the breakfast-room. I then heard the alarm bell. Turner went two steps up the passage, but could not find out where I was gone; but I heard

him say, "D n you, I shall

see you yet, and finish you;" and then I believe he went away, for I never saw nor heard anything of him from that time.

The Rev. Mr. Bannister, husband of Mrs. Barnes's niece, gave this evidence. "Hearing a great noise in Mrs. Barnes's room, I rushed up the back stairs, and hastily entered her room, the door of which I found open. I saw Mrs. Barnes standing in the middle of the room, motioning with her hands: she could not speak. I supposed they had had high words together, and that Turner had so insulted her that she could not speak. I saw something red round her neck, and down in front, which, in the absence of a strong light, and having no idea of murder, I supposed was a red 'comfortable.' I saw' this at the first glance; the second glance was at Turner, whom I

then saw rather behind me, near the door; he looked hard both at the deceased and myself, and brandished something in his hand (which I have now no doubt was the knife) over his head, as if triumphantly. This action now appears to me as if he was hesitating whether or not to attack me. Still supposing that Mrs. Barnes had been only insulted, I said, 'Begone out of the house, you rascal.' As Turner got to the top of the stairs, I laid my hands on his shoulders and threw him down. While I was thus with him, Miss Harrison and Miss Harmer, who had come up the front stairs, had entered the room. On turning round again, I saw Miss Harrison leading Mrs. Barnes to the sofa; and I exclaimed to Miss Harmer, 'Ring, ring!' (the alarm-bell). I assisted in placing Mrs. Barnes on the sofa, where she sat for some time; and we applied handkerchiefs and a towel to the throat. She appeared quite sensible, and tried to articulate. At first her lips moved, but I could not catch a sound; but the second time I heard her say, 'Take care of Patience and Louisa'—meaning my wife and my wife's sister, Miss Harrison."

The surgeons arrived very quickly, and found Mrs. Barnes apparently dead; her throat had been cut from ear to ear, above the organs of voice. While they were busy with their surgical aid, she gasped once or twice, and died. One of her thumbs had been nearly cut off, and the other was deeply wounded. A sharp instrument had been used with great force.

At the conclusion of the proceedings before the inquest, Turner made an address to the jury, in which he did not attempt to deny

« EdellinenJatka »