Friday 29 December 1916
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A row broke out in a meeting of Sir Titus Salt Hospital Board over rum having been served on the Christmas pudding. The matter was raised by Board member Miss Dunn who complained that while the Ladies Committee had decided not to provide a bottle of rum for Christmas Day, one had been secured. Essential It quickly developed into an argument between Cllr Learoyd who thought ‘if the Ladies’ Committee agreed not to supply the rum, the officials of the hospital had no right to over-ride that decision,’ and Mr Beaumann who said: ‘rum is absolutely essential for Christmas puddings and mince pies.’ Cllr Learoyd: ‘It makes no difference to the principle involved whether the puddings were spoiled or not. When the members of a committee have spent their time voluntarily in considering a question, their decision ought to be respected.
‘It was not a matter of whether or not the supplying of rum was advisable or inadvisable, when the Board has said that rum should not be supplied, it should never have been supplied.’ Another board member, Mr Fry, said he had heard that Mrs Northrop had given Nurse Hannah Mitchell, the matron (right), a £5 gift with instructions that £3 was to be placed in the hospital accounts and the rest could be disposed of as matron thought fit and that was how she had come by the rum. Cllr Learoyd again protested the principle and declared he would refuse to sit on a committee if what was passed was not carried out. Mr Beaumann: ‘Doubtless matron thought the committee had overlooked the item.’ Cllr Learoyd: ‘She is not paid for thinking in that way. She is paid for
doing as she is told.’ Mr Beaumann: ‘The matron is not and should not be an automaton. I hold no brief for the matron but we would all agree that she fills the position splendidly. If we continue giving these little “pin pricks” we might lose her some day and then it would be up with the whole show.’ Mere boys Miss Dunn rejoined the discussion, saying that many of the wounded soldiers were mere boys to which Mr Beaumann pointed out the men in the trenches received half a tumblerful of rum every day and the drop they would get in the hospital would not hurt them. He added the Ladies Committee should not have decided against supplying the rum. Cllr Learoyd: ‘You have no power to censure people who do public work without being paid for their services.’ It was agreed to invite matron to discuss the matter with the Board at the close of the public business.
“She is not paid for thinking in that way. She is paid for doing as she is told.”
Rum do! Board fall out over Christmas pudding
An inquest was held at Shipley Fire Station into the death of 55-year-old wool scourer Richard Smithson, who died suddenly at the lodging house, 14 Otley Road. Evidence of identification was given by the deceased’s cousin who said Mr Smithson was not at all strong. He had complained to her on one occasion that he had suffered from dizziness and had said three weeks ago that he did not feel well. Poorly and looked very pale William Smith, who lodged at the same place, said when Mr Smithson got back from work at about 6.30 in the morning, he was poorly and looked very pale. He died about 7.30. Dr Thornton said the man was dead when he arrived. He had conducted the post mortem examination and as a result of that was of the opinion that death was due to fatty degeneration of the heart, accelerated by the disease of the kidneys. A verdict of death by natural causes was returned.
Sudden death of wool scourer
An alarming gas explosion occurred on Friday morning at 151 Moorside Road, Eccleshill and the occupant, Mrs Wright, a middle aged lady, had a fortunate escape from injury. The house is of an old type, consisting of a living room and bedroom on the ground floor and the exterior wall is substantially built, being more than a foot in thickness. Mrs Wright, who lives alone, has recently had cause to complain of an escape of gas and the matter had received attention by the authorities. About 6 o’clock in the morning, however, after Mrs Wright had lighted the gas light, an explosion took place, blowing out the windows and causing part of the front wall to collapse. Blocks of stone Big blocks of stone were dislodged while the roof and back portion of the building were damaged. Mrs Wright chanced to be in the part of the house least affected and she was able to run outside and obtain refuge in a neighbouring house. Naturally she received a severe shock but otherwise escaped injury and was later able to proceed to the house of her daughter in Underlciffe. The wrecked house is the property of Mr Joshua Womersley, Stone Hall Road.
Woman narrowly escapes explosion
Commencing with the next issue of the SHIPLEY EXPRESS the price will be raised to 1½d. In a word, this increase is absolutely unavoidable. The drastic restrictions placed upon the supply of paper by the Government and the alarmingly increased cost of this and other materials used in newspaper production have left proprietors little choice – unless they are content to be ruined! Smaller newspapers and increased prices have become inevitable. The Express proprietors are compelled to adopt one of three courses: (1) Reduce the size to eight pages and keep the price at 1d. (2) Continue the twelve pages and raise the price to 1½d (3) Avoid the present loss by stopping the paper altogether! Regret It has been finally decided to adopt the middle course and thereby retain the paper’s present size and all the features that have made it so popular and which have every week consistently increased its circulation. No one regrets having to raise the price of the EXPRESS more than its proprietors but the existing abnormal conditions make the increase compulsory. It is impossible to go on publishing the paper at 1d. Readers may rest assured that nothing will be left undone that can be done to make the paper still more worthy of approval and appreciation.
Unavoidable extra ½d
The inquest was re-opened into the deaths of caretaker Ernest Wyatt, his wife Emma and their two daughters Ethel and Florence at the School House next to St John’s Church, Idle. Two sons had survived the tragedy. The report of the incident in the newspaper the previous week had speculated that the deaths had been caused by poisoning from something they ate, but the West Riding Public Analyst, Mr F W Richardson, said he could find no evidence of that. Exceptionally deadly What he had found were signs of carbon monoxide which he said was an exceptionally deadly poison caused by ‘imperfect combustion of coal and particularly coke. ‘It is largely present in escaping coke fumes. It affects the blood in such a way as to destroy its power of taking up oxygen.’ His conclusions were supported by the Police Surgeon, Dr McCulloch, who carried out the post mortem and the Coroner said: “It would be of public interest if I suggest that where people use anthracite stoves they should put some kind of protection over the chimney to prevent birds building there, for the nests might fall down and block the chimney.’ Detective Sg Bailey described how he had found the bodies: “The father was lying on the floor with his head towards the fireplace and his feet towards the door. He was partly dressed, having on his pants, trousers, shirt, stockings and an overcoat. Hurriedly “There was also a cap near his head and from the appearance of his clothes he seemed to have put them on hurriedly. “The girl Ethel was lying across her father’s legs; the mother, in her night attire, was on the floor between the bed and the window, and the other little girl was lying on the bed with her head on the pillow as if she was asleep. All were dead.” He revealed he had carried out some tests in the boiler house next to the premises and it appeared that was where the fumes had come from. The key witness was nine-year-old Charles, one of the surviving boys who had been saved when a church warden had come to see why the church was not opened and managed to arouse Charles, who staggered down stairs and let the warden in. Charles described how his sisters had gone to bed at 9.30 earlier than he and his brother. Full of smoke He said his father lit the boiler before going out and had stoked it up when he arrived back home about 10.30 and also how his mother had opened a window in the bedroom because “the room was full of smoke from the boiler house.” His mother had sent him to seek help from two local men and after they had adjusted the boiler things seemed to get better. He added that there had been problems on previous Saturday’s when his father lit the boiler ready for Sunday School the next day, but this was the first time he had felt sick. Warning The jury returned a verdict of accidental death and added no responsibility was attached to church officials. The coroner ordered that a separate flue should be installed and said he had no doubt a safe remedy would be found, adding the warning “If such happened not to be the case and other deaths ensued from the same cause, someone would be held criminally responsible.”
Accidental death verdict on family killed by fumes from church boiler
Save us from jurors who talk to much
Coroner’s jurors were chided in an editorial about being too talkative and trying to contradict the evidence of witnesses. In two cases recently jurors told the witness that what he said was incorrect and in both cases the jurors proved to be wrong. But whether they were or not, they have no right to interfere. They ought to restrain themselves until the evidence has been given and then if they desire, question the witness. Wiseacres Some coroners would be rather severe on indiscreet people of this kind and it is fortunate that the coroner in Shipley is considerate almost to a fault and he gives the wiseacres a little more latitude than they would get under some coroners. In one of the instances the coroner administered a soft impeachment by saying that what he wanted was the evidence of witnesses. It is they who are called upon to speak of facts as they know them and they are responsible for the evidence they give. Loquacious jurors should remember this and endeavour to cultivate the virtue of patience.
Sir Edward Partington, father of Mr Oswald Partington, the Member of Parliament for the Shipley Division, is included in the five new Barons created on the recommendation of Mr Asquith on the occasion of his resignation of the Premiership. Sir Edward’s interests are largely bound up with Glossop, of which borough he was the first freeman. He has taken an active share in the public life of Derbyshire and from his residence at Westwood Park, Droitwich, is well known in Worcestershire. By Sir Edward’s elevation, the Member for Shipley becomes heir to a peerage.
MP now heir to peerage
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