Suffer Little Children

I wrote about the accident that ended the life of Henry Herbert CAMBRIDGE on Looking at Filey. There is currently a security issue at the UK Web Archive so I’ll copy the 2012 post here rather than give the link to the Wayback Machine.

A Fatal Hesitation

Three days after celebrating his 37th birthday Jonathan Bulmer CAMBRIDGE saw a motor lorry knock down his son in Station Avenue. Herbert Henry, thighs broken and skull fractured, died about an hour later, at 11.45 am. He was two years and five months old.

The Scarborough Mercury of Friday 30th October 1914 carried the story: –

Manoeuvres of the troops at Filey on Monday [26th] were attended by a regrettable fatality, a child being run over by a motor lorry. A full report of the inquest will be found in another part of this paper. Men of the Hunts Cyclists Battalion were called out to proceed to Driffield. Many people in Filey thought they were leaving the town for good, but this was not so, they returned in the evening. Thinking, however, that they were leaving permanently a large number of people gathered, and the motor approached the quarters of the men at the same time. The child ran across the road and was returning when there was shouting, the child hesitated and was knocked down with fatal results. The boy was the only male child of Mr. and Mrs. J. B. Cambridge. The incident was exceedingly distressing, but at the inquest no blame was attached to the driver, who seemed to feel the incident very much.

The driver was Lance Corporal Robert WALTON of Coanwood, Northumberland. After crossing the railway line, heading into town, he was slowing as he approached his destination, traveling at five or six miles an hour. He saw Herbert cross the road in front of him but the child’s  sudden doubling back took him by surprise. Even so, he expected Henry to regain the pavement before he passed by. The shouting of a person or persons in the crowd had, however, confused Henry and caused him to hesitate in the middle of the road. The lorry’s mudguard caught him a glancing blow to the head and he fell under the wheels.

 

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Station Avenue,  2012

 

It appears from witness statements at the inquest that Henry was with his mother at one side of Station Avenue but, seeing his father on the other side, dashed over to be with him. Approaching the opposite pavement, though, he could no longer spot his father’s face in the crowd and so turned back. Perhaps one or two people saw the lorry approaching, sensed the child was in danger and shouted a warning that triggered his fatal hesitation. Herbert Henry CAMBRIDGE may have been killed by kindness.

Blameless Lance Corporal WALTON may not have survived the war. A soldier of the same name and rank serving in the Northumberland Fusiliers was killed on 1st July 1916 and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial. Herbert rests in St Oswald’s churchyard.  (Added note:  This Robert was almost certainly killed at La Boisselle on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.)

Herbert rests in St Oswald’s churchyard.

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In loving memory of HERBERT HENRY, the beloved son of JOHN & ELIZABETH CAMBRIDGE, died Oct 26th 1914 aged two years & 5 months.

Suffer little children to come unto me.

Also ALICE MAY, aged 3 weeks.

(The burial register gives Alice’s age as 14 days.)

Young Herbert has a fairly substantial pedigree on Filey Genealogy & Connections, going back as far as John CAMMISH born 1660. He has fewer forebears on the FamilySearch Tree but I’ve added some today.

 

 

About a Boy

SuggitWindow2The SUGGIT window in St Oswald’s Church, Filey, is dedicated to Thomas Suggit, his wife Zillah née AGAR, and their son Thomas Henry. (You can see a photograph of the complete window on Geograph.)

Young Thomas had three older sisters, Zillah Agar,  Jane, and Harriet. One of them had an aquarium and 155 years ago the lad went onto Filey Brigg to get “some objects” to put in it. His 15th birthday was approaching – and he was about to leave Filey to study civil engineering.

He seems to have been remarkably diligent in his search for things animal, vegetable, and mineral that would enhance the aquarium. He left the house at 11 in the morning and, without distractions, he would have reached the end of the Brigg within thirty minutes. Circumstantial evidence suggests his life ended at 3.30 pm and his body was discovered half an hour after that.

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This account says nothing about the tide. He would only have had to ascend the cliffs if the waves had blocked the path at Agony Point.  The description of the cliff as “sloping” suggests he was scrambling up the south side of Carr Naze but if that was the case his perpendicular fall to the rocks would have been about ten feet, not forty.  Fishermen now climb up and down the cliffs at the Back o’ the Brigg all the time with the aid of a ladder or two but, whether or not these aids existed in 1862, it wasn’t sensible for the encumbered boy to make his way home that way.

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After a dull start, this morning turned bright and breezy and this was the view from Wool Dale Cliffs. Brigg Corner is bottom right and Agony Point is about halfway to the end of Carr Naze. Beyond Agony Point the cliffs slope fairly gently and are covered in vegetation. Climbing them would not be considered dangerous or foolhardy, then or now.

Nobody witnessed his fall and the ending of his “great promise”.

Filey Genealogy & Connections.

FamilySearch Tree.

Time Out

I had an argument yesterday with a slab of World War Two sea defence concrete on Reighton Sands. A small wound to a hand, neatly stitched by Lauren, doesn’t prevent me tapping on a keyboard but a somewhat compromised knee requires that I keep its companion foot higher than my hip as much as possible. No sitting at the computer all day doing history research.

I have Today’s Images lined up and will sneak them in until I’m good to go again. (Yesterday’s picture “backdated”.)

Thanks also to Josie, a total stranger at Reighton who staunched the blood initially (head wound), my neighbours from across the road who happened to be at the right place at the right time, the generous and jovial ladies at the Hunmanby Gap Café, and paramedics, Mark, Paul and Steve for taking care of me. Britain’s NHS is under severe stress but it seems wonderful to me.

Before the Fall – see dem dere innocuous looking rocks ahead?

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Coincidences

John KILLINGBECK was baptized this day 1813 in Carlton by Snaith. He was the sixth child of Thomas and Leah née BRITAIN and the paternal line for several generations seems to have stayed within a small area south of Selby containing the hamlets and villages of Birkin, Camblesforth, Cawood, Drax, and Ryther.

By the age of 24 though, John had forsaken his Killingbeck heartland,  marrying Jane GOFTON in Filey and raising four children. Ellen, the twin of their youngest, George, survived for just a month, a loss that may have prompted them to move further up the coast for a while. At the 1851 census, John was working as a brickmaker in Whitby. Ten years later the parents were back in Filey but living alone at 19 Church Street. Their daughter Nancy had died in 1856 and the boys, Robert and George had gone to London to seek their fortunes. (I’m not sure yet what happened to firstborn Elizabeth.)

In 1871 John and Jane were living in Chapel Street, Filey. In 1881 Jane was a widow of 65 giving her occupation as ’needlewoman’. The enumerator would find her living alone at No.3 Chapel Street at the next two censuses.

John was killed by an express train on 31st March 1880, while crossing the railway line in Filey.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnother report describes John as a “hale and hearty man” and said he was going over an occupation crossing. There is at least one of those in the town still but where John met his end there is now a metal fence, six feet or so high and spiked, with a warning that trespass will bring a £1,000 fine. I think “Victoria Gardens” may refer to the area of land now occupied by allotments and imagine John may have been heading home after doing some gardening. Today, that route would take him past Carlton Road. Whether or not that short street of houses existed back then it is a coincidence of sorts – the only benign one I can offer.

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On the 21st May 1881, the Scarborough Mercury reported a “Sad Occurrence”.

On Thursday, the 12 inst., a telegram was received at Filey, stating that Mr. Robert Killingbeck, son of Mr. John Killingbeck, who was killed on the railway a little over a year ago in Filey, had committed suicide by cutting his throat. His friends know of no reason prompting him to commit the rash act.

Robert left behind, in Kensington, London, a wife and three children aged 11, 7 and three. I was sure I’d find a newspaper report of his suicide but several combinations of search terms yielded nothing – until this appeared:-

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(In the original  paper these two snippets were not juxtaposed.)

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In September 1905, about two months before her 90th birthday, Jane KILLINGBECK stepped off the pavement in Mitford Street was knocked down by a horse-drawn cart. She died the following day from shock and concussion to the brain. The coroner recorded her death as accidental; no blame was attached to the cartman, Thomas Edward STEVENSON – not the Charles Edward SIMPSON of the following report.

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The reference to “the level crossing at Filey” is misleading if it calls to mind the present day Muston Road crossing. The 1880 reports clearly state that John was killed a quarter of a mile from the Station.

Another newspaper report records the fact that Jane was taken after the accident to her son George’s house in Station Road. The wanderer had returned and was with his mother when she died. A small mercy.

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John and Jane’s headstone has lost some of the inscription. Here is the Crimlisk’s attempt from the 1970s:-

In Affectionate Remembrance of JOHN KILLINGBECK who was killed

by an express train at Filey March the 31st 1880 aged 68 years

(eroded section)

who died        1902  aged 89 years.

Jane’s date of death should be 19th September 1905. She was buried on the 22nd.

The KILLINGBECKs of the West Riding have an extensive pedigree on FST going back to the 16th century, while Kath’s FG&C brings the family into the Twentieth.

Mistaken Identities

Eighty-seven years ago John William WILLIS was crushed by a wheel of the Filey Lifeboat carriage as Hollon the Third was being hauled down the Coble Landing. At the Coroner’s inquest into his death the Lifeboat’s Honorary Secretary, Charles BURGESS, admitted that the launch had been chaotic because there was nobody effectively in charge. Frank COLLING testified that his father, who had formerly acted as chief launcher, had not informed the Institution that he had been losing his sight over the preceding twelve months or so and was not in a position to give orders. The consequence seems to have been that a shout to let go of the hauling ropes was given and all the “lanshers” heard and responded except John William. He held on, the wheels turned and he was knocked down and killed.

The tragic accident was reported in newspapers around the country and one scribe reported in the Hull Daily Mail that it was the unfortunate John William who was blind. An apology followed but averred that “These remarks should be been (sic) applied to Mr. Collins.”

The Lancashire Evening Post report of 1st September was brief and to the point.

John William Willis of Queen Street, Filey, one of the lifeboat crew, and skipper of the herring drifter Protect Me II, was killed by being knocked down and run over by the carriage when the lifeboat was being launched to the assistance of the Yarmouth steam drifter Girl Ena.

Girl Winifred
Steam Drifter ‘Girl Winifred YH 997’by Kenneth Luck (1874–1936) and Claude Mowle (1871–1950), © and photo credit Great Yarmouth Museums

John William was 54 years old, husband to Tilly, nee CLARK, and father of two daughters.  There were two other Filey men bearing his name, born within ten years of each other, but not related by blood – and Filey Genealogy & Connections, alas, gives us the wrong victim of the accident. The World Tree doesn’t have “our” John William or Matilda. I’ll deal with this omission as soon as I can.

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I went to the churchyard this afternoon to photograph the headstone and walked on to the cliff top overlooking the scene of the accident.

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Love & Grief

Robert SNARR’s betrothed, Elizabeth CAMMISH, died this day 1848 of consumption. For six months or so he often visited her grave in St Oswald’s churchyard. On the 12th March 1849 he said farewell to his lost love and spoke for the last time with her mother, Mary. Charles Dickens has left an account of this bitter-sweet encounter and I wrote about it in Romance and Railways.

I was much affected by the story and sought more information about Robert. The son of William Snarr and Elizabeth Blades, he followed his father’s trade as a bricklayer. In 1841 brothers William and Thomas were also bricklayers, George a butcher, and the youngest two, James and Henry were apprenticed to a cooper and a glass cutter. There were two sisters. They lived in York, hard by the Minster.

Robert was born in Appleton Roebuck in 1817 and was, therefore, about ten years older than his beloved. Dickens wrote that Robert “continued to regard [Elizabeth’s] parents as his own” but her father, Robert, had died five years earlier, in 1844. If the courtship had been a long one it must have begun when Elizabeth was sixteen or so.

That Robert Snarr was devastated by her death is not in question. Dickens gives us a sense of foreboding and then delivers his bloody corpse. But he says the body was brought from the railway line within half an hour of speaking to Mary Cammish – a clear case of artistic license – and the reference to Robert quitting Filey for an engagement in Northumberland may not have been true at all.

It appears the poor man walked to Filey station, traveled to Scarborough and there boarded the York train. If his intention was to say goodbye to his family before heading north it would appear he changed his plans.  Approaching Seamer station he did something puzzling and his life ended violently in the blink of an eye. The coroner’s inquest decided it was an “accidental death”. I’m not so sure.

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Robert Snarr’s body was brought back to Filey and he was laid to rest beside Elizabeth on the 16th March.

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The bizarre nature of his death seems to have delayed registration until the third quarter of the year.  (1849 Sep Q Scarborough Volume 24 Page 418.)

FamilySearch Tree Robert SNARR, Elizabeth

The CAMMISH pedigree is more extensive on Filey Genealogy & Connections but Kath has Elizabeth reaching a significantly greater age. If you choose to roam the Cammish byways you may soon find familiar names from a recent post – Elizabeth is the 4th cousin three times removed of Ruth Charlotte PRUDAMES; common ancestors John CAMMISH and “Mrs. John CAMMISH”.

A Man Who Had Money

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photo by Humphrey Bolton, CC BY-SA 2.0  via Wikimedia Commons 

The family fortune was made in the West Riding textile industry. The profits bought a number of landed estates. William Aykroyd created the first milch cow, Bradford Dyeing and Finishing, in 1835 and one of his sons, William Henry, bought Grantley Hall ninety years later. Five years before that purchase, W.H. was made a baronet in the 1920 Birthday Honours. He died in 1947 aged 81 and one might assume he’d had a life of privileged comfort.  Not quite.

 

On Wednesday 18th August 1909, driving through Filey in his 35 horsepower motor car, he knocked two young boys off their bicycle. Twelve-year-old Henry SAVILE was badly injured and died the following day. His five-year-old brother, Arthur, suffered a fractured arm, gashed forehead and bruises but soon recovered.

I wrote about this event in Looking at Filey, quoting at length from newspaper reports. Death of a Boy makes rather grim reading but in researching this follow-up, triggered by the anniversary, I felt even more distressed by what had taken place.

It WAS an accident. A strong wind was blowing, carrying away the sound of the car’s horn, but Henry made a fatal decision to cut across the road to take advantage of smooth asphalt at the other side. He didn’t hear the engine or the warning hoot and realized too late that the motor was upon him. The boys’ aunt was riding a bicycle behind them and seems not to have expected Henry’s maneuver, nor to have realized the danger the vehicle posed. The coroner’s inquest apportioned no blame to the driver of the car. There was some public sympathy to spare for W. H. Aykroyd who had been “greatly distressed by the occurrence”. Not as much as the father of the boys, of course. Robert Arthur Savile wrote a letter to the newspaper five days after the tragedy that included this paragraph, with its reference to the driver’s position as a magistrate:-

Mr. Aykroyd informs me he is a gentleman and has plenty of money, but I could not accept money from him. What I want is my boy and that he cannot give. The only approach to compensation he can make is to set an example to others by giving up the speed fad, and spending what money he can spare in doing his utmost to avoid further accidents by putting into force the laws which are already made. Is it not time that laws were put into force for the rich as well as the poor?

Robert, who worked as a farmer and a butcher, was enumerated by the 1939 Register in Hunmanby, a widower since 1915 and looked after by a housekeeper. He died in 1943 aged 69. What would he have made of today’s rich-getting-richer world?

I remarked in the old post that Henry’s grave was somewhat neglected. At the beginning of this year, it was tidied and the soil around the base cleared away. Anyone passing can now see how he died.

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The Savile’s are not on FST (yet) but Kath has Robert and Ada with their children on Filey Genealogy & Connections. Sir William Henry is on the World Tree but he’s poor in sources.