Killed by a beer barrel - James Roch - Sheffield October 1896

The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent dated Saturday 10th October 1896 carried this report of an Inquest that took place a day earlier into the death of James Towers Roch 

The previous day's Sheffield Star also carried a report of the Inquest

The Fatal Accident at Carbrook - Mr. D. Wightman, Coroner, held an inquest at the Infirmary, this morning, touching the death of James Towers Roch, aged 29 years of Hodgson Street, who was killed by a barrel falling on him on the 6th inst. Deceased was employed by Messrs. S. H. Ward and Co., brewers, Eccleshill Road, as a drayman. On Tuesday last he and Walter Tyas (of Henry Street) a brewer’s labourer employed at the same brewery, were driving along Bright Street, Carbrook, with the intention of going to Dunlop Street. Instead of going along the proper dedicated roads, they crossed a piece of private land. A number of large holes were on this road and the dray wheels caught in one of these and threw the two men off the dray to the ground, deceased falling on his right side. The men were seen to fall by a women named Savina Radford. One of the full barrels, containing 54 gallons of beer, fell off the dray and rebound ed from the ground onto the deceased’s back. He was picked up and seen by Dr. Branson who advised his removal to the Infirmary, where he died soon after admission, his back been broken. Mr. Glentworth - who represented the deceased’s employers - pointed out that the way across the vacant land was the only way to the back premises of the public house to which the men were going. The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death”.

There is a divergence in the two reports. The one dated 9th February 1896 states " Instead of going along the proper dedicated roads, they crossed a piece of private land " inferring that the dray had not followed a designated route, and that the accident was due in part to the men taking a short cut. This also appears in the headline of the Sheffield and Rotherham Independent dated Saturday 10th October 1896 "Killed through taking a short cut." But Mr. William Glentworth representing their employers S H Wards & Co clearly points out that the only way to the rear of the premises was across this waste land and so they were NOT taking a short cut at all.

Notes

Births Jun 1867 - Roch James Towers Ecclesall B. 9c 327 - 13th June 1867 
Marriages Dec 1887 - ROCH James Towers Ecclesall 9c 479 WALKER Ellen Ecclesall B. 9c 479 - 23rd October 1867
Deaths Dec 1896 - Roch James Towers 29 Sheffield 9c 277 

James was brought up mainly by his mother Selina as his father William died when he was only 1 year old.

In 1881 the family were living at Red Hill Road, Sheffield. In 1887 James was working as a cutler and he married Ellen WALKER the same year. Two years prior to their marriage they had a son when Ellen was only 15 years old. They went on to have a further 6 children.

He had changed occupations by the time of the 1891 census and was working as a carter. By 1896 he was a Brewery Drayman.

Sources

The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent dated Saturday 10th October 1896

The Sheffield Star dated Friday 10th October 1896

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