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asked where he obtained the powder from. He replied, " I stole it. I had about llb. of it in my pocket.” Upon being asked why he did it, he replied, “ Jealousy; I want to see her now." His request was not granted. He was then asked what he had in the little bottle that was found upon him, and he replied, “rum.” The pocketknife was stained with blood.
Dr. Barnes said he had made a post mortem examination of the body of deceased, and found the pericardium had been entered by a sharp instrument, which had also cut completely through the substance of the heart to the depth of from 2 to 24 inches. The wound was quite sufficient to cause death, and looking at the nature of it, he should think it was inflicted after the explosion. The wound was the exact counterpart of the blade of the knife which was found near the deceased.
Other witnesses spoke to Huggett's mind having been affected as regards the woman Richardson with whom he had lived.
The Coroner, after hearing this evidence, put it to the jury whether there was any doubt in their minds as to the wound being inflicted by the deceased's own hands.
The Foreman, acting as the spokesman of the jury, said they were quite satisfied that deceased had taken his own life after the explosion.
The evidence of a man in the employ of Messrs. Sharpe, powder manufacturers at Ewell, was then taken. He stated that the quantity stolen was about 25lbs., and the deceased must have broken into the outside house of the mills to get it. No one worked at the mills at night, and no watch was kept, but all the doors were securely locked. The outside house referred to, where the powder was stolen, adjoined a public way.
The Coroner then summed up, and the jury returned a verdict that the deceased stabbed himself while in a state of insanity, and died from the injuries.
24. Royal CHRISTENING.—The infant Princess, fifth child of their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Wales, was christened at Marlborough House.
The ceremony was performed by the Right Rev. the Bishop of London, assisted by the Very Rev. the Dean of Westminster and the Rev. the Sub-Dean of the Chapels Royal.
The infant Princess received the names of Maud Charlotte Mary Victoria.
The sponsors were :--His Majesty the King of Sweden, represented by his Excellency the Swedish and Norwegian Minister (Baron Hochschild); her Imperial Highness the Grand Duchess Cesarevna, represented by the Baroness de Brunnow; her Royal Highness the Crown Princess of Denmark, represented by Madame de Bülow; his Royal Highness Prince Leopold, represented by his Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge ; her Highness the Duchess of Nassau, represented by her Royal Highness the Princess of Teck; his Serene Highness the Landgrave Frederick William of Hesse, represented by his Serene Highness the Prince of Teck; her Serene Highness the Princess of Leiningen, represented by her Serene Highness Princess Claudine of Teck; the Duchess of Inverness, and Count Gleichen.
25. CalamitOUS FIRE.—On the evening of Christmas-day a fire occurred at a house in Sandwich-street, Burton-crescent, in the course of which six persons were burnt to death: a young woman, the wife of a policeman, who had been but a few days delivered of a child, four of her children, and the daughter of a neighbour, who had been spending the evening with them. The house was of ten rooms, at 42, Sandwich-street, and consisted of four floors, with a basement, chiefly let out in tenements, the landlord (J. Winnett) occupying the ground floor. The first floor was unoccupied ; the second, in which the fire was supposed to have originated, was in the occupation of a person named Sugg, who had gone out to spend the evening, and the third was let to a policeman of the E division, named Beetleston, whose little household consisted of Mary Ann, his wife, thirty years of age; Frances, ten years; Alice, five years ; Frank, two years and a half; another child, who was away at the time, and an infant seven days old. All the family, except the father, who was out on duty at the time, and the child who happened to be staying with a relative, perished in the flames, as did also the little girl named Rosina Brown, who was spending the evening with them.
The fire appeared to have been first observed about half-past eight o'clock by the Winnetts, who occupied the ground floor, and who, without sending for assistance, began to remove their
furniture into the street. A police-constable named Rawlins, 186 E, who was on duty in the neighbourhood, had his attention called to it, but by that time flames were issuing from a front window on the third floor. He acted with commendable promptitude, though without avail in saving life. He sent a messenger by a cab to the Fire Brigade station in Holborn, who on his way thither gave the alarm to a fireman in charge of the fire-escape at the Foundling Hospital. At the Holborn station, where the intelligence was received at 8.46, the telegraphic instrument happened to be temporarily out of order, and the messenger drove to the Brigade station in Farringdon-street for additional assistance. Meanwhile, John Howard, the sub-engineer at the Holborn station, proceeded with a steam fire-engine properly manned to the scene of the fire, which was soon followed by one from the Farringdon-street station, in charge of sub-engineer Hutchings. There was an abundant supply of water, but by the time the first engine arrived the fire was blazing through the roof and from the windows of the two upper floors. The firemen set to work to subdue it, but before they could do so the roof had been consumed and the two upper floors burnt out. At first they had no idea that any of the inmates were in the upper floors, and they complained that nearly three-quarters of an hour elapsed after the arrival of the first engine before they were told that any one was there, and when all hope of saving life was out of the question. The moment the firemen Hutchings and Howard became aware that there were people there they made a vigorous search, accompanied by other members of the Brigade, at the imminent risk of their lives, among the burning floors in the upper part of the house. There they at length found the remains of the ill-fated woman Beetleston and the five children--a touching spectacle. The body of the mother lay with one arm round the baby, and clasping another of her children by the hand, below the sill of a window on the third floor, as if she had rushed there in the vain effort of saving their lives. The remains of another child (a boy) were found under an iron bedstead, which; as the floor had been burnt under it, had sunk down upon the joists. The body of the eldest girl, Frances, was in a sitting position below another of the window sills, and that of the fifth child was close by. The removal of the remains was attended with the greatest danger, from the treacherous condition of the burning joists; but it was at length accomplished, and the bodies were carefully and tenderly removed to the adjoining deadhouse of St. Pancras. The next morning Mr. Bridges, the district superintendent of the Farringdon-street fire station, accompanied by sub-engineer Hutchings, made a further search among the ruins, and, finding some more of the remains, had them removed to the deadhouse. They had no doubt that the fire began in the second floor back room, in the occupation of the Suggs; and they thought that Mrs. Beetleston, on the floor above, on being alarmed had rushed to the door of her room communicating with the stairs, and had been driven back by the smoke from below, which would ascend with all the greater force from the fact of the street door being open, leaving her and the children the appalling alternative of being suffocated and burnt to death, or being killed by leaping from a window.
At the inquest the landlord Winnett was examined as to whether he had given notice to the firemen of the Beetleston's being in his house, and the jury returned a verdict that the deaths had been caused by suffocation, and that they arose from accidental causes, and that the conduct of John Winnett, the landlord, in not calling the attention of the neighbours and the firemen to the condition of the inmates of the house, demanded their severest censure. They added that they had no fault to find with the conduct of either the firemen or the escape-men, and that their services had been performed in every way that could be desired.
27. DREADFUL CATASTROPHE AT THE BRISTOL THEATRE.—A fearful accident, resulting in the loss of eighteen lives, occurred on Boxingnight, at the New Theatre Royal,
Park-row, Bristol. This theatre stands upon a piece of steep ground between Park-row and Park. street. The approaches to it are in Park-row, and the principal entrance is level with the footway. A short distance from this is the approach to the entrances to the pit and gallery. It consists of a passage about nineteen or twenty feet wide, which opens out of
Park-row at right angles, and pursues a straight course down a steep descent for about fifty feet, the gradient being nearly one in five. Immediately before reaching the bottom of the descent the passage is somewhat narrowed by projecting masonry on the right hand, and just below this, on the left hand, are two large doors which open into a passage in the building itself, that leads to the pit-stalls and pit. Below these doors the outer passage itself turns sharply to the left, and pursues a straight and level course of five or six yards to the gallery entrance. The upper part of the passage is covered in by some of the first-floor rooms of an adjoining house, the lower parts and all below the pit entrance are open to the air. The surface seems to have been roughly strewn with broken mortar, now pounded into dust by wear, and here and there kicked into holes, from which larger pieces have been turned up. The inner passage leading to the pit and pit-stalls is sixteen feet in length; and the stands of the money-takers are at its farther end. Near these, and within the passage, two police-constables were stationed to regulate the course of those who entered.
The pantomime advertised for performance was Robinson Crusoe, and as early as five in the afternoon the part of the outer passage leading to the gallery was already crowded ; and before the doors were opened, at half-past six, not only was the whole passage closely packed with people, but a dense crowd, many times larger than could be contained in the theatre, blocked up the thoroughfare of Park-row itself, and extended for a considerable distance. The crowd, both in Park-row and in the passage, contained a large proportion of women and mere children, and also a large proportion of men, who were rendered excited and reckless by drink. It is probable that many women and children went early, by reason of their comparative helplessness and as the only course by which they could hope to obtain good places; and that for this reason they contributed so much to swell the number of the victims. During the long time of waiting the crowd became very disorderly, and various loud outcries proceeded from them ; but these were only regarded as part of the natural course of events. At last, and probably when the first forward movement was made in response to the opening of the door leading to the pit, some unfortunate woman is said to have fallen. It is probable she was pressed upon by the crowd on the hill behind, and that the support previously afforded to her by some one in front was suddenly withdrawn. At all events, she fell, nearly in the middle of the passage, and just above the pit entrance. At this point the course of the entering crowd tended in two directions. Those going to the pit wished to turn sharply to the left, and, if they were already on the right-hand side, wished to push across the course of those who were going straight
n a little farther before the outer passage made its turn towards the gallery. With this conflict between the two bodies aiding the effect of the general crush, the poor woman was no sooner down than others were pushed over her. The heap of fallen momentarily increased, but still there was room enough for eager comers to pass on either side of them, and many passed by trampling over them. The rush into the theatre was not checked until it was nearly full, and then a person mentioned at the pit entrance that a boy was down outside and fainting. One of the two policemen stationed there went out to see, and at once discovered something of the calamity. With great courage, and at the imminent peril of his life, being once actually down and trampled upon, he rescued the boy and took him into the theatre. He and his colleague then went out, and with the help of a few determined men from among the crowd itself, kept back
any further rush. At this time some one gave an alarm of “Fire,” which greatly helped to deter the mob from coming down. As soon as possible one of the policemen pushed his way out, and obtained a sufficient force to stop all entrance from Parkrow into the passage, the crowd being told that the theatre was full. In the meanwhile, some policemen, with the help of the doorkeepers, were assisting the injured. When the ground was first cleared it is said that forty or fifty men, women, and children were lying in a heap. Some rapidly recovered and went away; but fourteen corpses were at once taken into the refreshment-room of the theatre. So completely had the shrieks and cries of distress resembled the ordinary commotion of the night, and so completely was the whole matter outside the building, that neither the audience nor the actors were alarmed, and many of them did not know what had occurred until the following morning. The lessee and manager, Mr. Chute, was at first only told that some persons had fainted at the entrance, and gave directions that they should be taken into the refreshment-room and cared for. After a while, when the pantomime had fairly commenced, and when the audience were laughing at Mr. Byron's puns, Mr. Chute went down to see what had occurred. He found his subordinates still busy in arranging the dead; and was inexpressibly shocked at the catastrophe. It was necessary for him to decide promptly about continuing or stopping the performance, and he decided that it should continue. With a house full of the very people who had just trampled on the fallen, he felt that he could not stop the pantomime without producing a riot or a panic, and either would have certainly entailed additional disaster. The two policemen who first attempted to stop the crowd were actively resisted with great violence and anger, and but for the cry of “Fire" it is more than probable they would have been overpowered.
The news of the disaster spread with electric rapidity through the city, and the scene witnessed outside the refreshment-rooms of the theatre and at the infirmary, where the bodies were conveyed, was agonizing. Parents and relatives were searching for children and friends who were known to have left their homes with the intention of going to the theatre. In some instances the bodies of the deceased were identified during the night, and in the course of the following morning nearly the whole were recognized. The