13th January 1861


As two gentlemen were skating on the Wharfs, near Otley, on Saturday week, they discovered six dead rats partially embedded in the ice. The heads of the animals were all pointed in one direction, and seemed to have been stopped in their course by the intense frost. They appeared at the time of their stoppage to have been crossing from the Farnley to the Otley side of the river, and one of them, like a brave general, had taken the lead in the fatal enterprise, and the second was a little in advance of the rest.


A sad accident occurred on Tuesday afternoon at the village of Shirehampton, near Bristol, at the house of Henry Heaven, a mason, who has also a grocer’s shop, conducted by his wife.

During the absence of their parents, Henry William Heaven, a boy 11 years of age, a little girl and Daniel James Heaven, a child three years old, were playing together. A loaded gun, from which the percussion-cap had been removed from the nipple, was in the room, which the elder boy took up, and, perceiving there was no cap on it, he searched his father’s desk and found some which had been left there. Having possessed himself of one, he placed it on the nipple of the gun, which he levelled at his little brother and fired. The muzzle being close to the poor child, the entire charge entered his head and death was instantaneous.

The elder brother, in his grief and terror, shrieked for assistance, and tried to drag the bleeding corpse out of the room. The cries of the children and the report of the gun alarmed the neighbours, who, on entering the house, discovered the sad scene.


On Tuesday an inquest was held at the residence of General Power, 26 Hyde Park square, on his daughter, Miss Maria Eliza Power, who lost her life by fire, adding another victim to crinoline.

Captain George John Power, who appeared with his right arm in a sling from injuries received in his endeavour to save his sister, said that on Thursday evening week, they had just dined, and, while sitting in the dining room, about half-past nine o’clock, in company with his father and a friend, he heard a violent ringing and screams proceeding from an upstairs room.

He rushed up into the front drawing-room, and saw his sister in flames behind the curtain. He seized her in his arms and endeavoured to extinguish the fire. No one was at hand, but at length the gentleman who had been dining with them came to his assistance.

His sister subsequently told him that she had observed one of the candles in the inner drawing-room was slanting in the candlestick, and went in to put it upright. In so doing, as her back was towards the stove, her dress caught on fire.

She knelt down on the carpet and tried to extinguish the flame, but her efforts were useless. She then rang the bell and ran into the front drawing-room, and enveloped herself in the curtains.

When he entered the curtains were blazing from top to bottom. The dress which his sister wore was of net material over a black silk petticoat. The deputy coroner said he was surprised that the lower part of the body was not burnt. Captain Power said the crinoline kept the fire off. The deputy coroner remarked that in this case crinoline was the bane and the antidote as it had been the means of producing the injuries to the upper body but had protected the lower part.

The flames must have been very severe, because the curtains, which were of silk damask, lined with worsted, were nearly consumed.

Dr Alfred Keyner testified that he attended the deceased on the evening of Thursday week and found the unfortunate lady most extensively injured. She had been removed from the room in which the accident had occurred. Her head, face, shoulders, back, arms and hands were most dreadfully burnt, and she was insensible. He powdered her with flour, applied cotton wool and administered medicines. She died at half-past five on the following afternoon, having survived the frightful injuries she had received about 20 hours.

The jury returned a verdict of “Death from the mortal injuries to the body by burning, the result of accident.”


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