The previous article I posted to the site was The River Don Tragedy of October 1901 in which a mother was indicted for the willful murder of her two year old son at Hillfoot Bridge Sheffield. As part of the evidence at the trial the defence brought to the attention of the jury the fact that the mother's brother had committed suicide by drowning two years earlier at Crookes Dam.

In the interests of completeness I attempted to find the facts behind the drowning but in doing so came across the following report


The report is not that clear and so I have transcribed it below. It is from the Sheffield Evening Telegraph - Friday 14 April 1899


At the Mortuary this morning an inquest was held upon body John Hughes, aged about 60 years, a general labourer, who lodged Campo Lane, and whose body was found Misfortune Dam, yesterday morning. Deceased was Belfast man, but had lived in Sheffield some time. He had never threatened to commit suicide, and was last seen alive on Wednesday last when he was noticed on a seat in Crookesmoor Recreation Ground.
Yesterday morning his body was taken out of the watercourse at Misfortune Dam, Crookes, by Police-Constable Hebb. He would have had to get over a wall five or six feet high to get to the water. His cap was lying the bank. There was penny in his pockets, and few otlier small articles, but no memoranda. Where he was found the water was six or eight inches deep, and the body was lying face downwards—if it had been otherwise deceased could not have been drowned. 
The Coroner said he supposed the jury would return a verdict of suicide, and give the man the benefit of the doubt to the state his mind. A juror thought a verdict of "Found drowned" should be returned, as there was no evidence of suicide. 
The Coroner: The only evidence of suicide is that Ihe got there for no other possible purpose' 
A juror: I think we ought to say the deceased was found drowned. The Coroner: Well, that verdict will be certain be correct. 
A verdict was accordingly returned that the deceased was found drowned.

I did not know the location of the grandly named Dam but it appears it was on the corner of Northumberland Road and Crookesmoor Road, about 300 yards from where I am writing this article! It was opposite the Unity Church on Crookesmoor Road

The other point of interest for myself is that the body of John Hughes was discovered by Police Constable Hebb of Broomhill Division. Long standing readers of this site may remember a Superintendent Horace Hebb of Walkley Division who was chiefly responsible for quelling the Walkley Riot of June 1922. He retired a two months later after 32 years of service. An article noting his retirement can be found in the Sheffield Telegraph dated 31st August 1922. 

Map of Crookesmoor Dams - Sheffield 

As for John he lies in a public grave with 14 others in the Roman Catholic section of Sheffield's City Road Cemetery

Hughes, John (Gardener, age 60). Died at Found Drowned in Misfortune Dam; Buried on April 17, 1899 in Roman Catholic ground; Grave Number 3016, Section GG of City Road Cemetery, Sheffield Plot Owner: ~ ~ of ~. Page No 1199


Sheffield Indexers

Sheffield Evening Telegraph - Friday 14 April 1899

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This page was last updated on 19/03/22 16:01