Connections Made, Not Made and Bungled

I found the following affecting story in the South London Press of 23 June 1883 while looking for Mary Ann O’Brien née HEMINGTON.

Attempted Suicide at London Bridge

Mary Ann O’Brien, a respectable-looking young woman, described as a domestic servant, was placed at the bar before Mr. Bridge for final examination, charged with attempting to commit suicide by throwing herself into the river Thames at London Bridge.

Francis Daly, a dock labourer, said that on the evening of the 14th he was about to cross London Bridge to the City, when he saw prisoner run down the steps screaming. When she got half way down, she pulled off her bonnet, and rushed into the river, which at that time was very high water. He ran after her, and succeeded in getting hold of her clothing, and with the assistance of 94M, pulled her out, and she was taken to the workhouse.

Police-constable 94M said that when they got her out of the water she was very ill. When before his worship last week she said she had been in service in Brixton, and was removed to the Lambeth Infirmary owing to illness, and on her recovery, and returning to her situation, she found that her master’s goods had been seized and sold, among which were all her clothes, and as she was not able to enter the convalescent home without clothing, she in a fit of desperation threw herself into the river. Since the last examination he made inquiries, and believed her statement to be true.

Mr. Bridge observed that he had received a letter from the chaplain of the House of Detention, stating that the prisoner had expressed great sorrow for the crime she had committed. He asked her if she had a home to go to if he discharged her.

She replied that they would receive her in the Convent, Camberwell New-road, provided she had a cotton dress, two caps and some under-linen.

Mr. Bridge directed the office-keeper to supply her with what was necessary, and discharged her with a caution.

Prisoner thanked his worship, and said as soon as she recovered her health she would be able to procure a situation.

I hoped to trace the narrative arc this Mary Ann subsequently followed but failed miserably. I couldn’t find the chivalrous Francis DALY either. Had he been given a name rather than a number, PC 94M would, I suspect, have been a fair cop.

I have added a few people to the Hemington line so that the family now connects to George Toyn COLLEY, Charlotte WARLEY and others who have featured in recent posts. If you follow this link you should find Rosina Hemington in a pivotal position. She was a niece of “our” Mary Ann.

Extend the WARLEY line (if necessary) to reveal Charlotte’s grandfather George DOVE, a man of several FamilySearch IDs and a lot of forebears. He made the mistake of being born within a few miles of a namesake at about the same time. Both men married a Rachael/Rachel and, perhaps not surprisingly, have swapped wives on the Shared Tree. I will attempt to reunite them with their true loves over the next few days.

2 thoughts on “

  1. I also have come across stories that I find very interesting while doing newspaper research. Also like you have never been able to find the rest of the story. All we can do is hope things work themselves out for the best.


    1. I was struck by the compassion shown to this unhappy woman by the authorities. I’m with you in hoping her life got better.


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