Old News


The Death of Leonard Margrave
on Bernards Heath in 1890

From the Herts Advertiser,

 19th, 26th April, 19th May 1890






Summary of people mentioned


continuation Herts Advertiser 26th April 1890

Herts Advertiser 19th April 1890


Shall the death-traps, as the ponds on Bernards Heath have tritely been designated, be left to work further desolation, to swallow up more little innocents, and to bring grief unspeakable into other homes, or shall they not? This is a question which every parent living in that populous and growing district has a right to ask, and one to which each and all have a right to demand a very definite and explicit answer. We do not wish to say one word which will add to the mortification which the responsible parties must already feel in the silence of their own minds, but in the interests of the public we cannot refrain from remarking that, had the very first stipulation under which the land was sold been complied with, it would have been almost impossible for the sad fatality, which took place last Friday, to have happened. This stipulation distinctly provides that "each purchaser shall, within one month after being let in possession of the let of lets purchased by him, erect and shall always maintain boundary fences on the south-east and south-west sides thereof." This proviso has not been carried out, and moreover, a portion of the land, instead of being used purely for building purposes, has been converted into a clay-field with innumerable pits, some of which are twenty or thirty feet deep. Many of these pits are more than half full of water, and their dangerous nature can therefore be imagined. The voice of warning has been frequently heard, and as frequently unheeded, and now a young life has been sacrificed. At present we may be disposed to characterise the action, or rather the inaction, of the responsible parties, whoever they may be, as a careless omission; but what shall we say if this omission is not speedily rectified?

Herts Advertiser 10th May 1890

I notice with pleasure that Mr Dickson has fenced in his ground on Bernard’s Heath, so as to as far as possible keep children from the dangerous pits where Leonard Margrave recently lost his life. The barbed wire and wooden railings are certainly an improvement, but if youngsters are determined to get into danger, such obstacles are easily surmounted. It is hoped that adjoining owners will follow Mr. Dickson’s example, and make some effort to keep the juveniles away from such dangerous spots.

See also MARGRAVE, Sandridge/St Albans, 1890, The Aftermath of Brickmaking, and James Dickson.

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