THE ECKINGTON DROWNING TRAGEDY - MARCH 1895

In June 2013 a friend of mine was having a wander around Eckington Churchyard when he came across the grave and memorial of Alfred Williamson whilst trying to rescue children from a frozen pond in March 1895  

The tragedy occurred on the evening of Saturday 16th March 1895 and was reported the following Monday (18th March 1895)

A report two days later added further information on the tragedy

The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent carried this report of the funeral at Eckington Cemetery that was held on Tuesday 19th March 1895. From the report it must have been one of the largest funerals that had ever occurred in Eckington. It is also interesting to note that the funeral of the three children took place at the relatively late hour of four o'clock in the afternoon, and Alfred's coffin did not arrive until ten minutes to six. I am unsure why the funerals took place at this late hour but can only speculate that it enabled all the children in the village to attend after school. And adults after finishing the working day. The short period between death and interment was the norm.

20th March 1895

The inquest was resumed on Friday 22nd March 1985 and the verdict was the expected one "Death by Misadventure." No blame was attached to anyone although it was noted that fencing and notices warning people of the dangers were broken down. But it is highly unlikely that even if fences and notices had been erected there would not have been a tragedy

23th March 1895.

Alfred Williamsonís gravestone was erected by the Enginemenís and Firemenís Association of Plumbley Colliery and Friends in Eckington and Mosborough but the families of the the three children could not afford a memorial and so the graves were unmarked for many years. However I believe that there are now plain white crosses marking each grave which is how it should be.

Sources

The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent dated 20th and 23rd March 1895

This page was last updated on 26/02/16 16:19

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