A NEIGHBOUR'S FUNERAL - BURNGREAVE, SHEFFIELD JANUARY 1893

The following is a form taken from the 1891 Census and shows two families living in Edgar Street which was in Sheffield's Burngreave district

 

Edgar Street circa 1970 

The Thomason family lived at no 47 whilst the Gillott's lived at no 45. The head of each family John and Frederick worked in the local iron and steel industry as a shingler and moulder respectively.

But less than two years later in January 1893 John's wife Elizabeth died and was buried in the local Cemetery in Burngreave  

THOMASON, Elizabeth (wife of J Thomason, age 42).
Died at 47 Edgar Street; Buried on January 9, 1893 in General ground;
Grave Number 93, Section U1 of Burngreave Cemetery, Sheffield.
Parent or Next of Kin if Available: . Remarks: S.

On the face of it was just another death amongst the city's working classes and so it would have normally attracted no attention from the local press. But Elizabeth's funeral on Monday 9th January 1893 did.

The North-Eastern Daily Gazette and the Birmingham Post dated Tuesday 10th January 1893 reported that

The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent dated the same day carried a far fuller report of the "incident"

The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent reveals that apart from losing his wife Elizabeth, John Thomason also lost his older brother Stephen. He was being interred in the same day and almost at the same time as his wife

THOMASON, Stephen Birtles (Steel Forgeman, age 49).
Died at 36 Clun Street; Buried on January 9, 1893 in Consecrated ground; Grave Number 35, Section N5 of Burngreave Cemetery, Sheffield.
Parent or Next of Kin if Available: . Remarks: S. Plot Owner: John THOMASON of 36 Clun Street.

But the same paper also points out a possible cause for these deaths - the previous weeks severe weather which seems to have a devastating effect on the weekly mortality statistics

This was re-enforced by the inquest into Frederick's death. Frederick was not in good health - he had suffered with a "cough all his life" and often complained of "pains in his chest and back". And so on a bitterly cold day - there was ice underfoot - Frederick lifted Elizabeth's coffin and even though it was not "heavy" it was enough to trigger a a massive heat attack which killed Frederick almost instantaneously.       

Report of the Inquest - Sheffield and Rotherham Independent dated  11th January 1893

Frederick's wife never re-married. In 1911 she was still living in Edgar Street - she did bring the family up on her own

 

Sources

UK Census

Sheffield and Rotherham Independent dated 10th and 11th January 1893

The North-Eastern Daily Gazette dated 10th January 1893

The Birmingham Post dated 10th January 1893

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