27th January 1861


On Wednesday morning, between nine and ten o’clock, a very shocking and fatal accident occurred in Little Stanhope street, Mayfair.

Thomas Barnes, the unfortunate man killed, carman in the service of Messrs Lee and Co, coal merchants of Islington, was driving his coal waggon through Carrington mews, which is arched over, the entrance being some feet higher than the other end, owing to a rise in the road.

The deceased was on a high seat in front of his waggon, when, on arriving at the other end, he found the arch so low that he was obliged to double himself up to avoid, if possible, the beam; but, notwithstanding, he was knocked backwards, and the waggon going on, the unfortunate man was crushed in the most horrible manner between the arch and the waggon. He was conveyed to St George’s hospital, but expired on his way there.

The deceased has left a widow and five orphans, who were entirely dependent upon him for support.


An accident of the most horrible character occurred on Saturday week, under the following circumstances:— The Southampton, Isle of Weight and Portsmouth Steam Boat Company’s steamer Emerald left Cowes Pier at 3.30pm, having on board, among other passengers, Capt Barton of the Zouave, RYS. Capt Barton entered into conversation with a gentleman about seamanship, standing at the time amidships, near the engines, the skylight covering to which was about half open.

Turning round somewhat hastily, he staggered and fell back, falling partially on the engine and through the open portion of the skylight raised for ventilation. The crank working over caught Captain Barton and dragged him through the framing on to the cylinder cover. This was the work of an instant, and the machinery revolving once literally tore the unfortunate man’s body to pieces. The engineer with great promptitude stopped the engines dead, throwing them out of gear, on seeing the skylight darkened and hearing the one wild shriek which the unfortunate man gave.

The remains were eventually gathered together, and sewn up in a blanket, and afterwards landed at Ryde, where Captain Barton resided.

Deceased was between forty and fifty years of age, and leaves a wife and seven children to lament his untimely death.


A painful state of excitement was produced on Thursday afternoon at Clifton, in consequence of a rumour that a middle-aged man, of respectable appearance, had committed suicide by throwing himself off the Lyon’s Head Cliff, at a little below the Clifton Hotwell Baths.

At mid-day on Thursday, as two boys were walking along by the side of the river, they saw in the shrubbery something which attracted their attention, and which, on their examining it more closely, proved to be the mutilated body of a man. The boys were naturally much alarmed and lost no time in giving notice to the police, who found that the unfortunate man’s head had been beaten to pieces against the different points of the rocks. His clothes were so much soiled and torn that it was difficult to decide with certainty even the probably position in life which the deceased had occupied, and the only thing that in any way points to his identity was the name “Pomphrey,” which was found written on the lining of his hat.

The Lion’s Head Cliff rises to the height of some 300 feet above the level of the sea, and it has been the scene of more than one similarly fearful occurrence. It is not very long ago since a young lady, the daughter of a clergyman, who was on a visit to a family of respectability at Clifton, met with a fearful death at the same spot.


3 thoughts on “27th January 1861

  1. These are rather ghastly tales. And, if you don’t mind me saying, a little bit entertaining. I think it’s the words they used which give it somewhat of a comic effect. As for the poor unfortunate man crushed between the archway and his wagon…eek.

  2. Excellent stuff. “An accident of the most horrible character”. Next time I witness one I shall be sure to mutter this quite loudly. Should really bring a hat to take off, too.

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