14th April 1861


A painful inquiry took place at St George’s Hospital on Saturday, respecting the death of Jane Turner, aged 18, a very fine young woman, who was burnt to death under circumstances of a very lamentable nature.

Mr Horace Charles Downer, a gentleman residing at Sussex-place, Kensington New Town, said the deceased was a cook in his establishment. About six o’clock on the evening of Good Friday, the deceased “dished up the dinner.” Soon afterwards he and Mr Downer were alarmed by piercing screams from the back garden. On looking from the window they saw the deceased running along completely enveloped in flames.

Witness rushed in the hall and, seizing two mats, followed the poor girl, who had run along the path back towards the house. With great difficulty he succeeded in extinguishing the flames but not before the whole of her apparel was consumed, and nearly the whole of her person frightfully burnt.

The mother of the deceased said before death, the unfortunate child had told her that she was stooping with her back to the fire when the lower part of her dress caught. At the time of the accident, she had on a crinoline with double steel hoops. The jury expressed astonishment that a young woman following the avocation of a cook, of all callings, should wear a crinoline.

Verdict, “Accidental Death”, and the jury unanimously condemned the practice of females wearing crinoline.


Mr William Deacon was fined 20s and costs for an aggravated assault with a stick upon his brother, Mr Octavius Deacon, advertising agent, Leadenhall-street. The assault arose out of a family dispute of long standing; the circumstances had little public interest.


A beautiful meteor was seen at Knap-hill, near Woking, last evening about 7.40, the sky being clear and much light in the heavens. Its course may be roughly sketched out as commencing (when first seen) in the constellation Leo, near Jupiter, passing just above Orion, and terminating, without any explosion being heard, some distance beyond and below the Pleiades. Its size and brilliancy were about twice that of Jupiter, and its magnificent course was of unusual length.


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