The Death of Doris May Jenkinson Ball Bridge Sheffield Saturday 19th May 1923

Ball Street Bridge over the River Don Sheffield - Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved] © Copyright Dave Pickersgill licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence.

         The Sheffield Daily Telegraph dated Tuesday 22 May 1923 had this brief report of an incident that occurred three days earlier on Saturday 19th July 1923

BALL BRIDGE TRAGEDY. Progress of Mother and Rescued Infant. 

The inquest on Doris Mary Jenkinson, the twin six months old daughter of Kathleen Gladys Jenkinson, will be opened by the City Coroner today. It will be remembered that late on Saturday night Kathleen Gladys Jenkinson was found clinging to the iron work of Ball Bridge, screaming for help, and in the water were her twin children, George Edward, who was rescued, and Doris Mary, who was drowned. The woman, who is 24 years of age, and had lived at 14ct.,Hse Harvest Lane, Sheffield, was taken, with with her rescued child, to the Royal Infirmary, and afterwards removed to Firvale Hospital. 

Last night both mother and child were reported to be making satisfactory progress.

Three days later the Aberdeen Press and Journal - Friday 25 May 1923 reported that the mother of the twins Kathleen Gladys Jenkinson had been charged with murder, attempted  murder and attempting suicide. 


Kathleen Gladys Jenkinson, a woman of 24, was charged yesterday with murdering her baby daughter, with attempting to drown her other infant, and with attempting to commit suicide. A few days ago the woman and the two children were found the river. Several people assisted in rescuing the mother and one child the other being drowned. The accused was remanded, but later after the inquest on the child she was committed for trial on a coroner's warrant. The mother of the accused said some months ago her daughter, who was service in London, wrote saying that she had been married, and had given birth to twins. Her husband was out of work, and witness agreed that her daughter's children should come to Sheffield, 
Subsequently she admitted that she was not married. Very distressed recently, she had said she felt like throwing herself over the bridge.

Leeds Mercury 20th July 1923



Babies and Mother in the River. 

SHEFFIELD MAN’S PLUCK. A tragic series of events which followed on a servant girl’s betrayal in London was described the Leeds Assizes yesterday, before Mr. Justice Greer, when Kathleen Gladys Jenkinson (24), a single woman, of Cburt 14, Harvest-lane, Sheffield, was charged with the murder of her six-months’ old twin child with the attempted murder of the other twin, and also with attempting to commit suicide, She pleaded not guilty. 
Mr. H. B. Grotrian, prosecuting, said that the prisoner went as a servant girl to London with people in whose service she had formerly been at Sheffield. While there she wrote to her mother that she had married a man named George Fisher, of Kennington, and in November she wrote saying she -had given birth to twins. In March of this year she came home to Sheffield, and on May 18th confessed to her sister that she was not married to Fisher, ,who was married man already, and that she was miserable about it and felt she could throw herself in the river. 

SHOUT THE NIGHT. On the following night, at nine o'clock, she took the two children ont in perambulator, going towards Ball Bridge, over the River Don. It was not known exactly what happened, said Mr. Grotrian, but about ten o’clock a man named Robert Lee, of Cornish-street. Sheffield, heard a shout that someone was in the river. He pluckily plunged in, and rescued the male child the prisoner, which was floating in the water. He saw the other child, a girl, in the water, but he got to it the child she sank and was drowned. The prisoner was also in the water, clinging to the foundations the bridge. She was rescued and taken to the infirmary. When evidence in support of these statements had been given, Mr, F. J. O. Coddington, for the defence, pleaded that there was serious gap in the evidence, and no one to say if the prisoner did actually throw herself and the children over the bridge into the river. He suggested that the girl might have had the two children sitting the parapet of the bridge, and that they fell off and she went into the water after them.


The prisoner was not called and after a brief retirement the jury returned a verdict of "Not Guilty" and she was discharged. During the hearing the judge commented favourably on Lee's bold plunge into the river and Mr. Coddington also expressed the thanks of the prisoner towards him for his rescue.

Western Daily Press dated  Friday 20 July 1923 just had this cursory by-line " At Leeds Assize yesterday. Kathleen Gladys Jenkinson of Sheffield, charged with the murder of one of her children, the attempted murder of the other, and with attempted suicide was found not guilty, and discharged.

As for Doris she was laid to rest on 26th May 1923 in a public grave in Sheffield's Burngreave Cemetery. There are nine other bodies in the grave 

JENKINSON, Doris Mary (Daughter of Walter Jenkinson, age 6 months). Died at 14-1 Harvest Lane; Buried on May 26, 1923 in Consecrated ground; Grave Number 102, Section A1 of Burngreave Cemetery, Sheffield. Parent or Next of Kin if Available: . Remarks: Officiating Minister, F Yates: Removed from Sheffield Parish.

Her mother Kathleen did marry an Edward Parker in July 1927 


Name: Kathleen G Jenkinson
Registration Date: Jul 1927 [Aug 1927] [Sep 1927] 
Registration Quarter: Jul-Aug-Sep
Registration District: Sheffield Inferred County: Yorkshire West Riding
Spouse: Edward Parker
Volume Number: 9c Page Number: 1126

The only other information I have been able to locate is in the 1939 National Register. It is the only entry I can find that ties in with the information I have to date. The "record closed" maybe her son George Edward Jenkinson but it is just conjecture on my part 



Name: Gladys Jenkinson
Age in 1911: 12 Estimated Birth Year: abt 1899
Relation to Head: Daughter Gender: Female
Birth Place: Grantham, Lincolnshire, England Civil Parish: Sheffield
County/Island: Yorkshire-West Riding Country: England
Street Address: 14 C 1 H Harvest Lane
Occupation: School
Registration District Number: 510 Sub-registration District: West Brightside ED, institution, or vessel: 15 Piece: 27938
Household Members: 
Name Age
Walter Jenkinson 48
Maria Jenkinson 40
Ellen Jenkinson 18
Florence Jenkinson 16
Beatrice Jenkinson 14
Gladys Jenkinson 12
Fred Jenkinson 10
Vena Jenkinson 8
Arthur Jenkinson 6
Esther Jenkinson 3
Colin Jenkinson 1


UK Census

The Sheffield Daily Telegraph - Tuesday 22 May 1923

Aberdeen Press and Journal - Friday 25 May 1923

Leeds Mercury dated 20th July 1923

Sheffield Indexers

Prison Records

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