3rd March 1861


Nearly all the bees in the south of England have died this year. A person in the New Forest who had 140 hives has lost every bee.


On Saturday week an accident, which it is feared will be attended with fatal consequences, occurred at the residence of a gentleman in the Queen’s road, Bayswater.

The son, a youth, was passing through the hall, and seeing his father’s gun in the corner, and some percussion caps lying on the hall table, took up the gun, thinking it unloaded, and, placing a cap on the nipple, drew the trigger.

His sister, a young lady aged 17, was unfortunately coming down stairs, and, the gun being pointed in that direction, received the charge of small shot in her face and neck. She fell to the ground bathed in blood.

On the arrival of a surgeon, it was found that some of the shot had entered her eyes. Her sight is utterly destroyed and it is apprehended that from the shock to her system she cannot survive.

When will people learn the folly of bringing loaded fire-arms into a house?


An inquiry was instituted on Saturday at St Thomas’s Hospital relative to the circumstances connected with the death of Caroline Rifton, aged 38, which was caused through an explosion of gunpowder, at her house, No 2 Shrewsbury Place, Prince’s Road, Plumstead, and by which her daughter was dreadfully injured.

From the evidence of Mrs Ann Foster, residing near the above place, it appeared that on Tuesday morning week she heard a terrific crash and on going out saw that a large portion of the side wall of the deceased’s house was thrown down. She then discovered the deceased lying under the ruins, her clothes being on fire. With assistance she was extricated and, after being seen by a surgeon, conveyed to hospital. The daughter of the deceased, a little child, was also found much injured.

Charles Rifton, the deceased’s husband, said he had seen the deceased since the occurrence but before her death, when she told him that on the day in question she was hanging up a picture in the room, when she saw her child drop a lighted piece of wood into a tin box which contained about one and a half pounds of gunpowder and some percussion caps.

A terrible explosion immediately took place, and she was hurled to the opposite side of the room and buried in the ruins of the wall, while the child was also thrown down by the force of the explosion. They had just taken the house and the things were in confusion. The gunpowder belonged to him.

A verdict of “accidental death” was returned; but the jury severely censured the keeping of the gunpowder in such a place.


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