Old News


A Fatal Road Traffic Accident in St Albans

From the Herts Advertiser,

21st February 1885




St Albans


Newspaper reports of inquests not only tell you something about the decease, and the cause of death, but can also include information about other people involved..

On 10th February 1885 Edward Montague, of the White Horse beer-house, Barnet, was travelling towards Barnet through St Albans with Frederick Bandy after visiting Harpenden. They went down Holywell Hill and along Sopwell Lane and at Watson's Walk Edward pulled the wrong rein. The pony cart hit the kerbstone and turned over crushing Edward, who was taken to the Wheatsheaf, St Albans. Edward's wife, Sophia Montague, visited him in the Wheatsheaf, as did the surgeon, Mr. H. Leslie Bates, who reported the  lower part of his body was paralysed,

Edward died on Sunday 15th February, and the inquest was held at St Albans Town Hall the following day. The Coroner wads Mr Brabant and the jury were Messrs A. Coles (foreman), C. Gentle, B. Pratt, H. Olney, G. Thompson, A. Maggs, H. Younger, D. Arnold, J. Walklate, F. J. Hansell, D. Melia, J. Bell and D. Pike. The jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."


This is typical of a 19th century inquest in that it was help almost immediately. It would have been held close to where the person died  and the body would have been available as part of the inquest. For hygiene reasons, in the days before refrigerated morgues, the were advantages in getting the inquest and funeral over quickly.