DOVER KENT ARCHIVES
PUB LIST PUBLIC HOUSES Barry Smith and Paul Skelton

Earliest 1869

(Name from)

Hotel de Paris

Latest Aug 1950

Crosswall & 28 Strond Street

Hotel de Paris 1920

Above photo, 1920 when the phone number was 429.

Hotel de Paris 1920

Above photo, circa 1920s, kindly sent by Graham Butterworth.

Hotel de Paris pre 1921

Above postcard, kindly sent to me from Graham Butterworth, who says the postcard was post-marked 6th October 1921.

Hotel de Paris

Just to the left of the photo can be seen the "Swan Hotel"

Hotel de Paris 1906

Above postcard showing the Hotel de Paris on the left, 1906, kindly sent by Graham Butterworth.

From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 14 June, 1878

LARCENY

David Jones was brought up charged with stealing a coat and white slop from the building near the Custom House Quay, the property of William James Brian.

William James Brian said: I live at 11, Ladywell Place, and am working on a building next to the “Hotel de Paris.” The coat and slop produced is mine. I left them lying on some slates in the building on Tuesday last. I left them there about one o'clock, and when I came back at two they were gone. I made enquiries, but no one had seen the going of them. Yesterday afternoon as I was passing Mr. Philpott's in St. James' Lane I saw my coat hanging outside, for sale. I went in, and spoke to Mr. Philpott's son about it, and he gave me a description of the man he brought the things off. I then went to the Police-station, and gave information. I did not see the slop till this morning. The value of the coat and slop is 5s. I have never seen the prisoner before to my knowledge.

Edward Philpott, son of Frederick George Philpott, second-hand dealer, said: I had charge of the shop in St. James' Lane. On Wednesday last the prisoner brought the coat and slop produced to the store and offered to sell them for 1s 6d. I asked him who they belonged to, and he said they were his own. I gave him 1s. for them. I hung the coat outside for sale, and yesterday the last witness came and recognised it as belonging to him. I have seen the prisoner about the place for the last fortnight before I bought the things of him.

Police-constable Cook said: Yesterday afternoon I received a description of a man who had stolen a coat and slop. Last night I was on duty in the Market Square, when I saw the prisoner coming through the square. I went up to him and asked him where he was lodging, and he said the “Eight Bells.” I told him I should take him into custody on suspicion of stealing a coat and slop from a building on the Custom House Quay. He made no reply, and I took him to the Police-station. I then went for the last witness, who identified the prisoner as the man whom he bought the things from. Prisoner said he knew nothing about it.

Prisoner, in defence, said he met a man who asked him to buy the clothes, as he was hard up. He told him he did not require them. The man then said if he would try and sell them for him he would give him a quart of beer, and subsequently he went to Philpott's shop and offered them for sale, and Mr. Philpott's son gave him a 1s. for them. The man he bought the things off had been living at the “Red Lion” public-house. He had not seen him since. Prisoner further said he had been employed at Mr. Stiff's.

In reply to the Bench, the Constable said the prisoner had been employed at Mr. Stiff's, but he was off work at the time the things were stolen. Constable also said the prisoner was drunk when taken into custody.

Mr. Vidler: Did anyone come to your store beside the prisoner?

Mr. Philpott: No, sir.

The Bench considered the case proved, and sentenced him to one month imprisonment, with hard labour, in Canterbury Gaol.

 

From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer, 24 March, 1882. Price 1d.

On Wednesday evening some men were rolling down on planks a large barrel of tar from the second story of a bonded warehouse adjoining the “Hotel de Paris,” when by some mishap the planks gave way, and the barrel of tar fell to the ground and smashed. Alfred Challis, from the “Dover Castle Hotel,” who happened to be passing under at the time, had a very narrow escape.

 

Hotel do Paris
Hotel-de-Paris
Hotel de Paris
Inside Hotel-de-Paris 1940

Members of Dover Patrol relaxing in 1940. By kind permission of Dover Library ILL/250.

Hoitel de Paris Card circa 1920

Above picture shows a business card circa 1920. (I have taken the colour out of this to get a better image.)

Hotel de Paris card 1930s

Same card, obviously changed hands with the pub, circa 1930.

Hotel de Paris

Model T Ford Charabanc seating for 18, outside the Hotel de Paris, December 1925, after a gas explosion damaged the tram-car service and this minibus service lasted all but 2 weeks while repairs were being made.

 

From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 10 May, 1889.

A SOLDIER DROPS DOWN DEAD

An inquest was held on Monday, at the “Hotel de Paris,” by the Borough Coroner (Sydenham Payn, Esq.), on the body of a soldier named Francis Watson, who died suddenly in one of the barrack rooms at the South East Front, after hurrying up to get in before the last call.

The following gentlemen composed the Jury:- Messrs. R. Ford (foreman), F. J. Ealding, A. Vincent, F. Lambert, F. Stephens, J. Baker, J. Parr, R. Enright, C. Struckett, J. Jarry, E. H. Laurence.

After viewing the body, the following evidence was taken:-

Sergeant Patrick Foley, of the Royal Irish Fusiliers, stationed at the South Front Barracks, said: I know the deceased; he is in the same company as I am. His name is Francis Watson, and he is 19 years and 4 months old. I saw him last at 9.58 on Saturday evening at the South Front Barracks. He came and answered to his name, and then proceeded to his room. He was with Private Kearney. He appeared quite well, but seemed out of breath from hurrying to the barracks. Within five minutes of that time I was sent for, and it was reported to me that he had fainted. I found him lying on his bed. He appeared as if he was in a faint. His coat had been unbuttoned. I sent for a stretcher, and had him taken to the Hospital immediately. I tried to revive him, but was unsuccessful. I accompanied him to the Hospital. He was taken into the detaining room. There was no doctor on duty at the time. One of the orderlies expressed an opinion that deceased was dead. He joined the regiment last August, and has been in hospital twice.

Francis Kearney, a private in the Royal Irish Fusiliers, said he was with Watson about half-past seven on Friday evening, when they went to the “Town Arms” public-house, and remained there nearly two hours. When they left, and had got as far as the Town Hall, the gun fired. They walked at a quick pace down the town and up by the hospital to the barracks. They got in and answered their names. They both slept in the same room. When they got into their room deceased began to undress. He seemed all right. Witness then saw him drop back, so he loosened his coat and got some water. Deceased was laid out flat, and assistance sent for. He did not seem to recover. Witness helped to take deceased to the hospital.

Francis Denham Frankland, a surgeon on the Medical Staff, said he was orderly medical officer. On Saturday evening about eleven o'clock, in consequence of a communication, he went to the hospital at the Western Heights. He saw deceased lying in the detaining ward. The staff sergeant in his letter said that a man had been brought in dead. Death had taken place within two hours. He examined the body, but found no marks of violence. His opinion, from hearing the evidence, was that death was due to heart disease, accelerated by hurrying up to barracks.

A verdict was returned in accordance with the medical evidence.

 

From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 23 August, 1889. Price 1d.

SUICIDE IN TREVANION STREET

On Saturday afternoon about five o'clock, information was received at the Police station that a man had died suddenly at 29, Trevanion Street. A Police-constable was sent round with instructions to take a doctor. Finding Dr. Marshall at home he took him round to the house. On going upstairs they found a man lying dead on a bed in a room, which contained no furniture but a bedstead and a straw palliasse. The body had every appearance of death from natural causes. The Policeman and the doctor questioned the widow of the man, and not being satisfied with her replies they sent for the Coroner. He directed the body to be locked up, and it was subsequently taken to the dead house. On Monday a post mortem examination was made by Dr. Marshall and Dr. Baird, and it was found that death had resulted from a corrosive poison, but the doctors could not state positively what it was, but they suspected that it was cyanide of potassium. The man had been employed at the Ordnance Stores, and earned 24s. a week, but by absenting himself had been discharged. He was also a pensioner receiving 7s. a week. His name was Harry Slater. An inquest was held at the “Hotel de Paris” on Tuesday, at 4 p.m., before the Borough Coroner (Sydenham Payn, Esq.)

The following gentlemen composed the Jury: Messrs. G. H. carrier (foreman), E. Brown, A. Dawe, F. C. Bartholomew, E. Horsnaill, G. Bean, G. Lester, W. Moffatt. T. Delahaye, G. Martin, M. Becker, James Carpenter, and H. A. Coulson.

Annie Slater, the widow of the deceased, was the first witness called. She said: I live at 29, Trevanion Street. The deceased had been assistant foreman at the Ordnance Stores, Dover. His age was 47 years. He was an Army pensioner. I left the house about ten o'clock on Saturday morning to do a little charing. Previous to leaving the house I gave the deceased 2d. I finished work about three o'clock and went home, where I found my husband lying on the bed alone. My little girl was also in the house. I said to him, “Harry, Harry, Harry,” as he looked rather queer. He did not answer, and I sent at once for the Police. I saw a jam pot on the table in the middle room. It was on the mantle when I went out. I have not seen him drink out of it. There was nothing in the pot. When I had sent for the Police I went back and found that the deceased was quite dead then. He was not dead when I first went into the room. When I went into the room the first time I saw him drinking out of the jam pot.

The Coroner here cautioned the witness, who appeared to be contradicting herself, and asked if she did see him drinking out of the jar.

Witness: He was drinking out of the jar, when I first went into the room.

The Coroner: Was it true that you tried to prevent him drinking out of the jar?

Witness: Yes; I had quite a struggle to get it from him. I could not prevent him taking it. I did not think he had taken any before I came into the room. The little girl took possession of the jar and took it from the room. My husband did not speak to me during the struggle. He did not appear to be in pain afterwards. He died in about an hour, or a little more perhaps. After the struggle I only said to him, “Harry, Harry, Harry,” but he only shook his head – that was all that transpired. I was quite sober at the time. We had no dispute. My husband was dead when I sent the two boys for the Police. I did not find any paper or bottle in the room. I was perfectly sober during the morning. I have never heard my husband threaten to commit suicide. The house has been destitute of furniture for the last six months. Before that time it was well furnished. I sold the furniture. My husband's wages were 1 4s. a week, and he also had a pension of 7s. a week. For the last three weeks we have only had a little assistance from my friends in London. I have been married 24 years.
The Coroner: Why did you try to take the jar away from him?

Witness: I have never seen him drink from it before.

The Coroner: Was that the only reason?

Witness: Well, there was a little red powder at the bottom.

The Coroner cautioned her again, and said if she did not give her evidence more straightforwardly he would have to deal with her another way.

Witness: There was no water in the jar; it was quite empty. The powder was at the bottom and looked moist.

The Coroner: What became of the jar after the struggle?

Witness: It was rinsed out by my little girl, who wanted to drink out of it.

The Coroner: Did you let your little girl have it after suspecting something wrong and let her drink out of it?

Witness: She rinsed it out first. Ashe asked me for some water and I told her to get in the jar.

The Coroner: What did your little girl say when you went home? (The witness hesitated). If you do not tell me I shall have her up and give you into custody.

Witness: She said her father had been bothering her to give him 2d. or 3d. to get a pint of beer. That was in the morning.

The Coroner: But what did she say when you came home?

Witness: She did not say anything. I went home three times between the morning and the evening. On the first occasion when I returned, about an hour after I went to work, he was standing by the mantel place. I remained in the house half an hour, and then I left to get a loaf of bread. When I returned he was lying on the bed. It was then about half past eleven. It was then that the struggle took place, and he died about half past twelve. This last story is the true version of the affair. Whilst he was dying he was rolling his eyes and grinding his teeth. After my husband was dead I asked a stranger in the street to go for a surgeon. My little girl told me about half past two that he had taken something out of a paper. She said that she thought that it was to make sherbet. It was then I went into the room and we had the struggle.

The Coroner said he thought it was of no use going on any further. He did not believe anything the woman had said.

After reading the evidence over to her the Coroner asked her if the man died at half past twelve or half past two.

The woman said first he died at half past twelve, and then she said he died at half past to.

The Coroner said he could not have died at both times.

Ellen Slater, the little girl in question, was then called. As she was of tender years she was not sworn. She said: In the morning my father had 2d. from my mother and he went out. He was absent a great part of the morning, and returned about dinner time. He did not eat anything. Mother was out. When he returned he lit the fire and boiled some water. When it boiled he filled the white jar up. He had two packets – one he put into his pocket and the other, in which there was some red powder, he emptied into the jar. This he drank. He asked me to have some of it, and told me it was sherbet. I did not drink any as he afterwards told me it was poison. After drinking some of the contents of the jar, he emptied the other packet in – it appeared to contain a white powder. He filled the jar up with warm water. I went at once and told mother that father had taken poison. She came home directly. He was drinking out of the jar. Mother went up to him and tried to take the jar away, and spilt some of the contents upon the floor. He then drank the remainder. Mother then took the jar from father and put it in the cupboard under the bed. I did not drink any water out of it. Father appeared to be in great pain. Mother sent me out as soon as father died to see what the time was; it was three o'clock. My mother rinsed the jar out soon after my father died. She put it back in the same cupboard. Father burnt the papers after he emptied the powders out. He never spoke after taking the poison. He said “Good-bye” just before taking it.

Dr. Marshall said: On Saturday last about 5.40 p.m. a Police-constable called at my house and asked me to see a man in Trevanion Street. I went with him to 29, Trevanion Street. On going upstairs I saw the deceased lying on his back on a straw mattress without any covering except his clothes. He was quite dead. The body was not cold. He had been dead at least two hours. The attitude of the body was composed, and there was no evidence of vomiting or convulsions having occurred. The pupils of the eyes were widely dilated. There were no marks of violence. There was every appearance of death from natural causes. I saw the widow of the deceased, but she was in such a mental condition that I could not get anything from her. On Monday morning, having received instructions from the Coroner I went with Dr. Baird to the dead-house and made a post mortem examination of the deceased. Dr. Baird, in my presence, opened the body. We found the internal organs quite healthy, and the body well nourished, with the exception of the stomach, the mucus membrane of which was in a state of intense congestion. Perforation had taken place, and a large portion of the contents had escaped into the abdomen. I believe that the congestion was caused by some corrosive poison, which the deceased had swallowed. It is my belief that he had taken cyanide of potassium. The condition of the stomach was quite sufficient to cause his death.

T. Taylor, Sergeant in the Metropolitan Police, stationed at the Ordnance Stores, Dover, said he knew the deceased well for the last three years. He saw him outside the Ordnance Store at quarter one on Saturday. He asked to see Conductor Lennington with reference to obtaining a character. He left the Ordnance Store on the 30th ult., because he absented himself, and after four days was discharged. He was rather addicted to drink. Mr. Lennington was engaged at the time deceased called, and he said he would go to Mr. Lennington's house. He was quite sober then.

J. Lennington said he was Conductor of the Stores at the Ordnance Department. The deceased had been employed five years and ten months in the department at Dover. He called at two o'clock at my house at 3, Selbourne Terrace on the Folkestone Road. He asked me to get him a character from my superiors. I told him I would see about it. He also asked for 10s., but I did not let him have it. He promised to come to the office in the afternoon. I did not see him afterward.

Police-constable Richards said that at 5.50 p.m. he was sent for from the Police station to 29, Trevanion Street. He saw Mrs. Slater there, and went into a little room and saw the deceased lying on a bed apparently dead. He went for a doctor, and got Dr. Marshall. He searched the room and found nothing but a bed and table. He found on the body the papers produced, which had no relation to the case, and a purse containing a full Martini Henri cartridge.

Mr. T. O. Sanders, Superintendent of Police, said he removed the body on Sunday night to the dead-house. He also made enquiries at various chemists, but he had been unsuccessful.

Sergeant Taylor said that cyanide of potassium was very much used in the army for cleaning gold lace, and the deceased might easily have obtained it.

The Coroner then summed up. He said that the evidence of the widow was apparently quite worthless. It seemed quite certain that the deceased drank some water during the afternoon into which he had put some powders. There was no evidence to prove that this was poison, but if it was, the suicide was a very determined one. The house appeared to be in as miserable a condition as anyone could imagine. If they found that deceased had committed suicide they would have to consider the state of his mind. At two o'clock they find him talking quite rationally to Mr. Lennington. He appeared also to have been quite rational when he was talking to the daughter in the afternoon.

The Jury, after considerable discussion, brought in the following verdict: “That the deceased committed suicide by taking poison, but there was no evidence to show the state of his mind at the time.”

 

From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 20 December, 1889. Price 5d.

YOUNG MAN DROWNED

Last evening before six and seven o'clock, a young man named Lewis Cornwall, a native of St. Peters, one of the crew of Mr. Bussey's ship, Premier, fell overboard when coming ashore at Dover, and was drowned. An inquest will be held this evening.

 

From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 27 December, 1889. Price 5d.

DROWNED IN DOVER HARBOUR. SERIOUS ALLEGATIONS

An inquest was held on Friday afternoon by the Borough Coroner (Sydenham Payn, Esq.), at the “Hotel de Paris,” on the body of the young man Lewis Cornwall, whose death we briefly reported in last weeks' Express. The case at first assumed a serious aspect, as it was stated that some of the crew of the vessel to which the deceased belonged had been threatening, on Thursday afternoon, the throw Cornwall overboard. But the evidence seemed to show that the deceased, in returning from the Craig Alvah to the premier, must have stumbled over the mooring ropes, or the handle of the crane, and fallen into the harbour, the heavy sea boots which he was wearing, prevented him from making any efforts to save himself by swimming. Mr. W. Bussey, the owner of the vessel, was present at the enquiry.

Mr. A. Massey was chosen foreman, and the Jury proceeded to view the body, and the spot where the deceased was found.

The following was the evidence taken:-

Lewis James Cornwall said: I am a cabinet maker by trade, living at St. Peters, Isle of Thanet. The body lying at the dead-house is that of my son Lewis Albert Cornwall. He was about 18 years of age, and a seaman in the employ of Mr. Bussey, on board the premier. He has been aboard about a month, and I last saw him alive on Saturday, he was then at home on leave for a day. He said that the captain and mate were very kind to him, but that one of the crew was a perfect fiend, and that he had threatened his life. He went back on Sunday night. He was a very sober lad. He once fell overboard at Sunderland, and being an excellent swimmer, swam about for some time till he was picked up.

By the Foreman: He did not tell me the name of the man who had threatened his life.

William Jackson, a private in the Rifle Brigade, said: I went on board the Premier on Thursday evening about half-past six, to see a friend of mine, Fred Farmley, one of the crew. As I was getting on board I met the deceased, who was just getting over the side. He was the same man that is now lying at the dead-house. I asked him where he was going, and he said “on board the next ship, to get a piece of soap; we have none on board.” The Premier lies by the Sunderland coal stores, alongside the quay. A dark man followed me aboard, and we both went down to the forecastle. There were two of the crew in there, and we all remained below, talking for about twenty minutes, and then Farley went on deck to throw a bone overboard. When he had gone up a few steps, we heard someone shout, and Farmley cried out “Man overboard,” and we all rushed up and jumped on to the quay. Someone shouted that he was under the stern, but we then heard a groan in the direction of the bows. We ran to the bows, but could not see anything. A man with a life-buoy ran up, and we then saw bubbles come up, and the man got a grapnel and hooked the body almost immediately. The crew of the next vessel hung a light over the bow, and the body was got on to the quay, and attempts were made to restore animation. A doctor was sent for immediately, but the attempts were fruitless, and we afterwards took the body to the dead-house. There is a crane close to the spot, and the handles stick out over the quay. I have never heard any quarrelling on board the Premier, and did not hear any on this occasion. As we were going on board, the deceased asked the dark man for 2s.

John Short, a seaman belonging to the Craig Alvah, the ship referred to above, said; The deceased came on board yesterday evening to borrow a piece of soap, and he remained on board the vessel about a quarter of an hour. He then left with the soap, and I heard him walk away to his ship, and a few minutes afterwards I heard someone running about on deck, and on going above I saw a lot of men standing close by the crane, and the body of a man lying on the quay. When the deceased left our vessel I only heard his steps, and I did not hear a splash or anything else. There is a crane between out vessel and the Premier, and one night the handle of it nearly knocked me overboard.

William Pitt, a seaman belonging to the James Simpson, which is lying at the bottom of the slip-way, said: Last night between six and seven I was going ashore from my vessel, when I heard something fall into the water, and knowing from the sound that it was a man, I called out “man overboard,” and on reaching the quay at the back of Cambridge Road, I saw someone struggling in the water. As far as I could see there was nobody on the quay. I ran round as fast as I could, but as I had to go right round by Northampton Street, it took me some time. When I got round, the body had been got out. I heard him cry out once when he was in the water.

W. Hart, said: I am a watchman to the Dover Harbour Board, and about half-past six I came out of the door at the top of the ballast quay, and heard a man shouting that someone was overboard. I got down the life-buoy which hangs on the coal stores, and ran towards the Premier and Craig Alvah, as I knew that they were the only vessels in that direction. I could not see anybody in the water but a man was hanging a rope over the bows of the Craig Alvah and saying “Here catch hold of this, sonny.” I then lay down on the quay, and saw bubbles coming up, and I then ran for the grapnels and got hold of the body almost immediately. The Craig Alvah then lowered a boat, and we got the body on to the quay.

The Coroner: Could not the handles be taken off the crane at night, as I think that they are very dangerous.

Witness: No they are fixed on by keys.

The Coroner said that the handles were a source of danger to strangers, as they could not be seen at night.

William Thomas, a coloured man, said: I am a seaman living at 14, Commercial Quay. I went on board the Premier between six and seven, as stated by the witness Jackson. We all stayed below talking for about 20 minutes, when Farmley went on deck, and as he was going up he cried out that someone was overboard. We then all ran up and jumped on the quay. I am quite sure that no one left the vessel till then.

W. Wilson, an ordinary seaman, who was below with the last witness, said that when they left off working the cargo about half-past five, they had tea. After that they were about to wash, and they found that they had no soap, and the deceased went to borrow a bit from the Craig Alvah. He had a row with him in the afternoon, but they had made it up.

Mr. T. W. Colbeck, surgeon, said: I was called about a quarter to seven yesterday evening to come to the Northampton Quay, and I went at once and found four men trying to restore animation to the deceased, who was lying on the quay. I examined him, and set them to work in a more methodical manner, but after working for about half an hour, I found that he was quite dead. I left the body in the hands of the Police, and I have since examined the body but can find no marks. Death arose from drowning. I had passed up the street close by, a few minutes before, but everything was quiet then.

The father said he could not see how in the face of the evidence, his son sank so quickly.

The doctor said that he was wearing a pair of heavy sea boots.

Frederick Farmley the other man who was in the forecastle, was then called, and he corroborated the statement of Wilson, that none of them left the forecastle. He said that sometimes the deceased and he had a little fun together.

The captain of the Premier said that it was very funny.

The Coroner said that he thought the Captain had better be sworn.

Richard Pay, Master of the Premier, then came forward and was sworn. He said that he was not on board when Cornwall was drowned. On Wednesday evening the lad told him that he would be obliged to leave the vessel, as he was frightened of his life, because of the conduct of the witnesses, Farmley and Wilson. On the afternoon on which he was drowned the last witness knocked him down and tried to jump on his head. He (the Captain), told him that he would lock him up if he did not cease, but Farmley said that he did not care, but would do for him.

The Coroner said that he did not think these threats were carried out. If they believed the evidence it was a simple accident.

P.C. Brace said that he was called about five minutes to seven to see the body, and it was removed to the dead-house when the doctor pronounced life to be extinct. He searched it, but found nothing on it.

The Coroner in summing up said that there was not the slightest breath of suspicion. It showed how silly it was to make use of idle threats, and what complications they might lead to. He thought that the deceased must have stumbled over the handle of the crane, and his heavy boots caused him to sink immediately.

The Jury returned a verdict of “Accidental Death,” adding a rider requesting the Coroner to communicate with the Harbour Authorities, asking them to remove the handles of the cranes at night.

 

From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 13 February, 1891. Price 1d.

SUDDEN DEATH OF A SERGEANT

An inquest was held at the “Hotel de Paris,” by the Borough Coroner (Sydenham Payn, Esq.), on Thursday afternoon, as to the death of John Hakes, a sergeant in the Royal Fusiliers, who died suddenly in the mess room, at the Shaft Barracks, on Sunday afternoon.

Mr. David Houlden was chosen foreman of the Jury.

After viewing the body, which was lying at the Mortuary at the Heights, the following evidence was taken:-

Sergeant Clark, Royal Fusiliers, said that he knew Hakes, who was a sergeant in the same regiment. He was in the Shaft Barracks mess room about half-past three on Sunday, when he rose from the sofa on which he had been lying, and, on going towards the table to get some water, fell down. They thought he had fainted, and tried to restore him with water. Finding he did not come to, the sergeant-major and the medical officer were called; they came about ten minutes after, and pronounced life to be extinct. The deceased had had his dinner with them, and appeared in good health then. He had never complained of anything.

Police-sergeant Stevens said that he went to the Shaft Barracks about four p.m. on Sunday. He there saw the body of the deceased lying on a stretcher. He was informed that the medical officer had pronounced life extinct, and he then directed the body to be removed to the Mortuary.

Horace Cocks, surgeon of the Medical Staff, at the Grand Barracks, said that on Sunday, between half-past three and a quarter to four, he was called to the deceased. He went almost immediately, and found him lying on his back on a stretcher, death having recently taken place. There were no marks of violence. The man had never been under his charge. He could form no opinion as to the cause of death.

Sergeant Collins said that he knew Sergeant Hakes well; he had never heard him complain of anything but a cold. Whilst out route marching last week, and going up the hill, he remarked that they were going rather fast. He always seemed in good health, and performed his duty. He did not remember him ever being on the sick list here. He was present on Sunday afternoon when deceased laid on the sofa after dinner. He saw him get up and go towards the table for some water when he fell. He remained still and did not struggle. The deceased was a sober man.

Lieutenant McMahon said he had known the sergeant for about five years. He was thirty years of age, and had been in the regiment eleven years. He produced the medical certificate, which showed that he had not been attended since February, 1886.

The Coroner said that the enquiry should be adjourned for a post mortem.

The enquiry was accordingly adjourned till Wednesday afternoon.

 

At the adjourned inquest, Mr. Cocks, the military surgeon, stated that he found, from the post mortem examination, that death arose from rupture of the aneurism of the heart.

A verdict was returned accordingly.

 

From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 27 February, 1891. Price 1d.

SUDDEN DEATH OF A SERGEANT

An inquest was held at the “Hotel de Paris,” on Wednesday afternoon, by the Borough Coroner (Sydenham Payn, Esq.), touching the death of Joseph Pike, a Master Tailor and Sergeant in the Border Regiment, who was found dead in the tailor's shop.

Mr. J. A. Beeching was chosen foreman of the Jury, and after the Jury had viewed the body, which was lying at the mortuary at the heights, the following evidence was taken:-

Captain Wardler, Border Regiment, said: The body lying at the mortuary was that of Pike, last master tailor of the regiment. He was 29 years of age, and had been in service since 1878. He had not been on the sick list since he had been at Dover. He saw Pike the day of his death about 11 o'clock, and he appeared all right then.

James Neilson, a private in the Border Regiment, said that he worked in the tailor's shop under Sergeant Pike. He last saw him alive the previous day about 11 o'clock in the tailor's shop. He came into the room, and after paying one of the men went downstairs into the cutting room, and some time after he heard someone knocking at his door. He opened the door, and, there was two men of the Regiment there; he then went downstairs into the cutting room, and saw Pike lying between two cutting boards, face downwards. There was nobody else in the room. He then went upstairs, and informed the other two men in the shop, they suggested that he should be shifted. Whilst they were talking Sergeant Lyle came in; he went downstairs, and said he thought it was all up with the deceased. He then stepped up to him, and took hold of his wrist which was cold. The doctor was sent for, and in the meantime they turned him over on his back. Pile was a healthy man, and they had only heard him complain of a cough.

By the Foreman: he did not seem depressed.

Sergeant Lyle said that he went to the tailor's shop about half-past twelve. Cassedy, one of the men in the shop said that he had better go downstairs; he did so, and found Pike lying on his face on the floor. He thought he was dead. He noticed a little blood on the floor close to his face, and he reported the matter to the Adjutant and Medical Officer. The deceased had complained of bad pains in the chest, and spit blood.

Robert Lockhart Ross Macleod, Surgeon of the Medical Staff stationed at Dover, said that he examined the body, and found life to be extinct. Pike had a contusion on his forehead and nose, such as would be caused by a fall. The blood came from his nose. He made a post mortem examination of the body that day, and found death resulted in stoppage of the heart's action dependant upon valvular disease.

The Jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence.

 

From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 10 February, 1893. 1d.

SUICIDE IN A BARN

An inquest was held yesterday by the Borough Coroner (Sydenham Payn, Esq.), at the “Hotel de Paris,” on the body of a labourer names Stephen Brown, who lived at 26, Peter Street, employed by Mr. Bailey, of Barton Farm, who had that morning, shortly before eight o'clock, been found hanging dead in a loft in the barn. Mrs, Brown, the deceased's wife, said that she left home on Tuesday evening slightly the worse for drink, and she had not seen him since. A son of the deceased said that when he left home he said, “You can have poor grandfather's coat and my watch when I'm dead.” Mr. Ash, the bailiff of the farm, said that the deceased did not return to work after dinner time on Tuesday, and he sent a man after him. Deceased was found in the “Town Arms” unfit for work. That morning he saw deceased in a loft in the barn, and sent a man named Arnold to tell him to come down and speak to witness, but Arnold saw there was something wrong, and they found that brown was hanging by a piece of cord, and was quite dead and cold. The police were sent for, and deceased was cut down and taken to the dead house. Mr. Walters said that death was due to strangulation. Mr. Ash also stated that he had told deceased on one occasion when he was the worse for drink, that the next time he would be discharged.

The Jury returned a verdict of suicide whilst in an unsound state of mind.

 

From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 19 May, 1893. Price 1d.

TERRIBLE ACCIDENT AT THE CHANNEL TUNNEL WORKS

TWO MEN KILLED

A very shocking accident happened early on Monday morning at the Channel Tunnel works on the west side of Shakespeare Cliff. The tunnel, which is a mile and a quarter in length, was commenced about the year 1880, but after a time the Government ordered the works to stop, and since that time nothing more has been done to extend the boring. But the part that had been done has been carefully looked after, the supports being renewed from time to time and the tunnel carefully kept clear of water. At various points of the tunnel the boring has been enlarged and made square, the sides being supported by wood. At the end of last week the men employed at the works were engaged I renewing the wood at No. 2 heading, some 500 yards from the shaft. On Monday five men named J. Wigman, Fisher, Horton, Hobbs, and Bailey, descended with the intention of putting up new woodwork, or sets as technically termed. Previous to the men entering the tunnel the air pump above had been at work for about an hour, sending air down to the end of the tunnel in pipes, so as to clear the atmosphere. The men had proceeded some distance when they perceived smoke, and sent J. Wigman back to inform the foreman, Mr. Wetton. He, with W. Wigman, the foreman of the miners, descended, and with the other men entered the smoke for some distance. At length, as it became denser, they commenced to return, but unfortunately Fisher happened to knock his hat off, and in stooping down to pick it up breathed some carbonic acid gas, which had according to natural laws fallen into the bottom of the tunnel. This made him nearly insensible, and his comrades assisted him back. Unfortunately, Wigman and Wetton, who were dragging him along, also became affected, and, although they got him some distance, they were at length obliged to leave him. They all went back to the tunnel shaft but Fisher, and Horton, when told by Wetton that Fisher was behind, went back to him. Wetton obtained the assistance of five more men – Waller, Sageman, cave, Hopkins, and How – who took a trolley to where Horton and Fisher were and placed both men on it. The rescuers however could not proceed very far when they in turn became affected, and Sageman unconscious. However, Wetto broke the air pipe with a sledge hammer, and the air thus obtained revived the men and the whole were brought to the top. Horton and Fisher appeared to be dead, and several of the other men were very bad. A special train from Dover brought Do. Colbeck, who succeeded in getting all but Horton and Fisher round. The bodies of these two men were brought back to Dover in the special, and also the other men who were sent to their homes, the bodies being removed to the mortuary on the North Pier. The cause of the smoke was not determined for certain, but it is thought that some wood belonging to the old set caught alight on Saturday and smouldered till the Monday morning. The burning of this wood would cause the formation of carbonic acid gas, a deadly poison. The air sent down by the compressor would only slowly move this, and the fact that the smoke did not travel with the air and warn the men that there was something wrong before they entered the tunnel is accounted for, in that smoke does not travel as fast as air, and would hand behind. Both the deceased are married with large families and reside in Dover.

The inquest was held at the “Hotel de Paris” on Tuesday afternoon by the Borough Coroner (Sydenham payn, Esq.) The following composed the Jury: Messrs. W. H. Wright, (foreman), George Attwood, A. Calvert, T. Manser, H. W. day, H. J. Myhill, T. Tomalin, E. Turney, J. Torr, A. Hambrook, H. W. Rolfe, H. W. Winchester, W. W. Lord, F. Hoskins.

The Coroner, in opening the inquiry, said that they had been called together that afternoon to enquire into the sad death of two men, Charles Horton and Henry Fisher. He was informed that on Monday morning early several men were proceeding down the works of the Channel Tunnel, and had not gone very far when they met with some foul air, and two of their number became overpowered and unfortunately lost their lives. Of course they would have to inquire into the matter and see how it occurred, and if there was any blame, or whether it was one of those unfortunate accidents that sometimes occur. The bodies were lying in the mortuary, and after viewing them they would come back and take the evidence.

The following was the evidence:-

Thomas Fisher said he lived at Faversham. He had been to the mortuary, and one of the bodies was that of his brother, Henry Fisher, a labourer employed on the shaft at the Channel Tunnel works. He had been in that employment for eleven years. He was 34 years of age, married and had five children.

James Horton said he lived at 1, Chiltern gardens, Folkestone Road, and the body at the mortuary was that of his father, Charles John Horton, a labourer. He was 46 years of age last October, was married, and had eight children. He last saw his father alive at half past five on Monday morning. He had worked at the Channel Tunnel works for the last five or six years. He never heard his father make any complaint.

The Coroner, to Mr. Wetton, the foreman at the Channel Tunnel: have these works any connection with the coal undertaking?

Mr. Wetton said they had not.

The Coroner said he asked the question as if it had anything to do with the coal mine he would have to adjourn, and report the matter to the Secretary of State.

Edmund Wetton said he was foreman and engineer employed at the Channel Tunnel works, near Shakespeare Cliff. Yesterday morning about 6.45 he arrived at the works from his residence at Maxton. He went into the engine-room, where the engines pump the air into the farther end of the tunnel. The tunnel was a mile and a quarter long, and the shaft 164 feet deep. At 7.10 the driver of the engines informed witness that the engines started at 6.30. Five men then descended the tunnel. They included Horton and Fisher. They went down in an ordinary skip. Witness was on the surface and saw them go down. They were going to repair No. 2 heading. Witness had not got a plan. The headings were an enlargement of the tunnel, and there were four of them. Witness had been given to understand that they were the commencement of making the tunnel to its proper width at these parts. At 7.30 witness was in the shops when one of the men J. Wigman, who had gone down, came up to witness and told him that there was some smoke in the tunnel and he thought there must be some fire. Witness ordered the compression to be put on faster so as to send more air. They had been working with 40 lbs. pressure of steam when witness first saw them. The pressure had always been sufficient to clear the tunnel. Then W. Wigman, J. Wigman, and witness started at once and went down the shaft to see what was on fire. They had walked about 350 yards when they found smoke and went about 100 yards in it. It was rather thick. When Wigman came up he had left Henry Fisher, Charles Bailey, Charles Horton, and H. Hobbs below. These men were sitting on some pipes about a hundred yards outside the smoke. Fisher got up and went down the tunnel with W. Wigman some twenty yards in advance of witness. They intended to go through the smoke to put out the fire. They could see no fire, but the smoke had the smell of burnt wood. They had got about 100 yards in the smoke, and as the smoke was getting thicker he called the two in front to come back. They could see each other as they had lamps. They said “all right we will come back.” The smoke was thicker at the bottom. All three had lights. They used both lamps and candles in the tunnel. As Fisher was returning to witness, he knocked his hat off against a ring. He stooped down to pick it up and immediately became insensible. He fell on the ground and got up and came to witness but he could see that he had lost all power of himself. Witness and W. Wigman got hold of him and dragged him 100 yards and Wigman became affected and had to go on alone. Witness dragged Fisher another 40 yards and then witness became affected. The air at this time was very bad at the bottom, but all right at the top. The tunnel was about seven feet high. Witness was then obliged to leave Fisher, he got about 30 yards when he met the deceased, Horton, who was waiting for them. Witness and Horton returned to Fisher and dragged him another 20 yards. Witness was then obliged to give up. Horton stayed with Fisher whilst witness went to the bottom for assistance. The air was then getting worse, it being driven up towards the bottom of the shaft. Witness got to the bottom of the shaft and called out for assistance. C. Waller, G. Cave, H. Sageman, I. Hopkins, and S. Howing came down and took a trolly down the tunnel and placed Horton and Fisher who were both unconscious then on it, and brought then to within 100 yards of the shaft bottom when the rescuers were overpowered. Witness got two more to go down, Ayling and Avery, Ayling carried Sageman, and Brizley pulled the trolley to the bottom of the shaft. Witness then went down and broke the air pipes about fifty yards from the bottom of the shaft so that the bad air might be driven back and they might get some more air. That had the desired effect and the men were all sent up to the surface. Fisher appeared to be dead. Witness was the last to come out; he had worked at the tunnel 11 years. The men had been last at work on it the previous Saturday and also on the Friday. Men went down the tunnel every day, and at 2 p.m. on Saturday everything was in order. No one went down the tunnel on Sundays. The air compression did not work on Sundays. They had never had any trouble with foul air. He had been down the tunnel that morning with W. Wigman, C. Waller and J. Hopkins. They only went about 50 yards, the fire was still smouldering and the smoke was coming up. The compressing engine was in good order. Witness thought that the fire arose from a candle which had been left on the old timber on Saturday. Fisher, Horton, Wigman and Bailey worked in the tunnel on Saturday. They were engaged in removing old set and putting in new. The old set vas very dry and would easily catch alight. The men were using candles.

Mr. Day, a Juryman, asked how the air was pumped down.

The witness said it was by means of cylinders and they were perfectly in order.

Mr Day: Do you think sufficient time elapsed for the air to go through?

Witness: Yes.

Mr. Day: Why did it not drive the smoke more than half way?

Witness was unable to say.

By the Coroner: The air was forced through pipes to the end of the tunnel.

Mr. Day: It is my opinion that you do not have sufficient pressure to send the air back.

By Mr. Day: The pumps were stopped every fortnight and examined. There were three sets. Mr. Waller examined the pumps. They had steam gauges on the air pumps, and they showed that 10lbs. pressure of air was usually used, but they could go as high as 20 lbs.

By the Coroner: He could not account for the smoke not reaching the shaft.

James Wigman, 61, Oxenden Street, said he was employed at the Tunnel works as a labourer. On Monday morning at 7.10, witness, with four others, including Fisher and Horton, descended the shaft. Mr. Wetton told them to go down into No. 2 square heading and put in a new set. On reaching the bottom they found the new timber on a trolley. They got their light s ready. One lamp and two candles. Three of them proceeded down the tunnel – witness, Hobbs and Bailey – with the trolley of wood, and the two deceased, Horton and Fisher, followed them. After they had got down 300 yards they noticed the lights were glimmering. Witness took the candle off and saw that there was nothing the matter with it. They could smell smoke, and then, leaving the trolley, they proceeded another 100 yards in, and found smoke working up all of a heap and getting thick. They left the trolleys where they were and went back to within ten yards of the shaft bottom. There was no smoke at the bottom then. Witness left the other four sitting on the main pipe, and witness ascended again to report to Mr. Wettob. Mr. Wetton and Mr. W. Wigman accompanied witness to the bottom. Mr. Wigman was foreman miner. The other men accompanied them up the tunnel and they met the smoke a hundred yards nearer than when they left it. By the time they reached the smoke a second time half an hour must have elapsed. When they got down about 300 yards the second time he found that he was being overcome. He started to return again and met C. Bailey, who was following behind them. He accompanied witness back, and Hobbs, whom they also met came back with them. Hobbs after a little time fell, and witness and Bailey got him to the shaft bottom, where they became helpless, and witness knew nothing more until he found himself at the top. Witness was working in the shaft on Saturday. They were working in No. 2 heading, 500 yards from the bottom of the shaft. They have been using two or three candles. All that were alight were blown out except two candles, which were used to light them back. One had been stood on the main pipe, and one on the chalk face, these two were blown out and left sticking there. They had not been smoking, it being strictly prohibited. Witness blew out both of the candles. They left the tunnel about twelve o'clock on Saturday. The side and the head trees of the old set were brought out on Saturday and only the rubbish left behind. The candles were over the rubbish, which was in the face of the wood which had rotted off, and was very dry. Only a fortnight ago all the rubbish in the tunnel had been removed. There were several taps on the air pipe to let in the air at various parts of the tunnel, but witness had never used them to see if they worked.

The Coroner suggested that the inquiry should be adjourned and the works visited.

Mr. Lord said they would be agreeable but an order would have to be obtained from Mr. Brady.

The Coroner said he would take the doctor's evidence, and if the Jury would like to go and view the works arrangements would be made.

The foreman suggested that the Board of Trade should be asked to send an Inspector down.

The Coroner said he would do so.

Dr. Colbeck said that at twenty-five minutes past eight he was called to the South Eastern Railway Station. He was told that there had been an accident at the Channel Tunnel works. Witness at once proceeded to the station and found a train waiting there, and as soon as an engine had been attached witness and Mr. Lord, the station master, proceeded to the works. He found two men lying on the ground and the men were trying to restore animation. Three others were sitting about on the grass or beach in an exhausted state. Witness at once set to work on the worst cases, whilst Mr. Lord administered restoratives to the others and they came round and were taken home. Fisher was quite dead, and as there was some uncertainty about Horton they persisted in their efforts for a full half hour, until they were quite certain he was dead. The men who were alive were brought back in the train and sent home. In both cases death was due to poisoning by carbonic acid gas. Carbonic gas would be produced by fire, and especially by wood burning. The gas was very much heavier than air. A certain measure of air would be 30 and carbonic acid would be 37 and would sink to the bottom. The air would be blown over the gas.

The Coroner: Granted that carbonic acid gas sunk to the bottom, how would you account for it not driving out the smoke which was lighter and floating on the top?

Witness was unable to say. He wished to add that great praise was due to a man named Croucher, an inspector from Folkestone, who was carrying out, when witness arrived, the best method of restoration.

Mr. C. Waller said he was a turner employed at the Channel Tunnel Works. The air compressors were looked at daily. Witness had been at the works since 1882. He never found any defects in the machinery and there were none at present. About a month ago there had been a thorough overhaul of the machinery. Witness was at the works on Monday morning, and went down with the third rescue party. The engine driver could tell exactly the amount of air going into the tunnel.

The Coroner asked if witness would explain if the engines were working properly why the smoke was not driven out of the shaft? Witness was unable to answer.

It was decided to adjourn the inquiry till the 25th inst., at 3 p.m., so that further evidence of a scientific character might be obtained.

 

From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 26 May, 1893. 1d.

ADJOURNED INQUEST

The adjourned inquest on the two men Horton and Fisher, who met their death on Monday week in the Channel Tunnel, was resumed at the “Hotel de Paris,” yesterday afternoon, by the Borough Coroner (Sydenham Payn, Esq.)

The Coroner in re-opening the enquiry said that on the last occasion the inquiry had been adjourned for the purpose of obtaining additional evidence, also for the inspection of the works and machinery by an engineer, and communicating with the Board of Trade. He then read a letter he had received from the Board of Trade stating that after considering the facts that it was not a case in which the Board of Trade felt called upon to direct an official to attend. He had then instructed Mr. Thomas to inspect the pumps and machinery. He had done so on Friday. Unfortunately the tunnel could not be entered owing to the presence of gasses. He suggested that after they had taken the evidence that the enquiry should again be adjourned to some time when an examination of the tunnel could be made.

Mr. L. W. Thomas an engineer carrying on business at the iron Foundry, said that he visited the Channel Tunnel Works on the 19th inst. He found a pair of steam engines at work, 16 inch cylinders, and 24 inch stroke working at 35lbs. of steam. The wind gauge on the pumps showed 2lbs on the square inch. The steam engines were worked up to 60 revolutions a minute and they obtained 12lbs. pressure which he considered was amply sufficient for all purposes. The engines and machinery were in good order.

Several of the Jury expressed an opinion that the compressors should be taken to pieces, but the witness explained that the gauge showed that the engine was in good order without it being taken to pieces.

Mr. F. Wetton, the foreman at the Channel Tunnel Works, was re-called. He said that on Monday they descended the shaft and proceeded along the tunnel about 50 yards to where the broken pipe was. This that had replaced. The engines had worked continuously, night and day. The tunnel smells very strongly of turps and burning wood, and was not fit to go into. There was very little smoke. A light would burn at the top but would go out at the bottom. He thought that the fire was still smouldering.

Charles Jones, the engine driver, who had been sent for from the Channel Tunnel, said that the engines worked well on the morning of the accident.

After some conversation it was decided to adjourn the inquiry till June the 7th, and that the Jury should descend the tunnel as soon as it was cleared.

 

From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 2 June, 1893. 1d.

THE CHANNEL TUNNEL

The Coroners Jury who are enquiring into the death of Fisher and Horton visited the Channel Tunnel on Monday. The fire had burnt itself out, and the air had been cleared so that the Jury were able to get as far as the end of the tunnel, that is a mile and a half under the sea. We understand that traces of fire were found but the origin is still a mystery. In one place in the tunnel several candles for the use of the men were found hung from the roof, and they were not even melted showing that there was no great heat. The adjourned enquiry will be resumed next Wednesday afternoon.

 

From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 9 June, 1893. 1d.

THE CHANNEL TUNNEL DISASTER

The adjourned inquest on the two men, Horton and Fisher, who met their deaths in the Channel Tunnel on May 15th, was resumed at the “Hotel de Paris,” on Wednesday afternoon. The Jury since the last inquiry visited the Tunnel on the 26th ult.

The Coroner said that he supposed it was not the Jury's intention to hear any further evidence, as that had after their visit to the tunnel intimated that they were satisfied what the real cause of the outbreak and all the trouble was.

The Foreman said that as far as he was concerned he did not want any further evidence. They went to the end of the tunnel and the engines and everything were all right.

The Coroner first congratulated the Jury on the safe termination of their expedition to the end of the Tunnel the other day. He also thought their thanks were due to those gentlemen of the South Eastern Railway who arranged for their conveyance to the spot, and also to the Company for the facilities offered. The Coroner then summed up the evidence, which has already been published, at some length. In conclusion, he said that everything seemed to be in perfect order, until this occurrence. They had been round the engine houses and examined them, so far as they can been seen externally and they had also had opportunity of going down the tunnel. They had been to heading No. 2, and there were evidences very marked of a fire having broken out, probably caused by the upsetting of a candle, or a candle having been left down and caught the rotten wood. If they were satisfied that the matter was an accident they should say so by their verdict. He did not know if there were any suggestion they might wish to make for the future safety of the men. It was an extraordinary event, and the unforeseen will happen in this life.

The room was then cleared for the Jury to consider their verdict, and after a discussion of an hour and twenty minutes they intimated they had come to the following decision. “That the deceased were accidentally poisoned by carbonic acid gas, caused by a fire of which there was no evidence to show how it occurred.” The Jury begged to make the following suggestions, that more air cocks be placed in the pipes and also that there should be means of communication from the tunnel to the surface. They considered if these precautions had been taken that these poor men might have been saved.

The Jury said they also wished to express their thanks to Mr. Lord, Superintendent, Mr. Crosier, Inspector, Folkestone, and Wetton, foreman of the Works, for their great assistance to the unfortunate men at the time of the accident.

The Coroner said that he entirely agreed with those remarks. He thought everyone connected with the case acted in a very high manner. He was not sure but that Horton succumbed in trying to help his friend. The facts of the case throughout showed that great credit was due to those present for the manner in which they had risked their lives in trying to save others.

Mr. Atwood, one of the Jury said that they would be glad to know if the Company would do something for the wives and children of the men, as they had lost their lives in trying to discover how the fire occurred.

The Coroner said he thought they had better keep to their strict duties. He was sure the Company would do what was proper in the case. They had always acted honourably.

 

From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 28 December, 1894. 1d.

SHOCKING ACCIDENT AT BUCKLAND JUNCTION

A MAN CUT TO PIECES

A shocking accident occurred on the London and Chatham railway just below the Buckland junction of the Deal line on Christmas night. The last train on arriving at the Priory reported that it had run over or though something, and a shunter being sent up the line to see what was the matter found the various severed limbs of a man's body on the railroad. The remains were collected and removed to the dead-house on the police ambulance. It appears that the deceased's name was Thomas Hill, and he was employed as a stoker at the Gas Works. On Christmas night he went out at ten, as is usual, to get his supper, but did not return within the regular time, and it is supposed he was trying to get into the Works over the wall when he was knocked down. The Inquest was held at the “Hotel de Paris” yesterday afternoon by the Borough Coroner, Sydenham Payn, Esq.

The following gentlemen composed the Jury: Mr. F. Wood (foreman), Messrs. J. Parton, R. Adams, A. Saville, F. Putney, J. B. Green, G. Spain, F. Wood, D. Doyle, W. Berry, F. Faith, A. White, F. C. Bartholomew, F. R. Seear, B. Cullingham, and S. G. Cheasmen.

The Coroner in opening the enquiry said that he was very sorry to have to call them together at this festive time to take part in a very sad inquiry. He was informed that the deceased Thomas Hill was found decapitated on the line close to the Gas Works on the night of Tuesday between 10 and 11. There were several witnesses who would no doubt enable them to say how the man came in the line, and how the accident, if it were one, happened.

Mr. Cass, Stationmaster, Dover, and Mr. Walker, Locomotive Superintendent appeared for the London, Chatham and Dover Railway Company, and Mr. Fielding for the Gas Company.

Stephen Hills, a bricklayer's labourer, living at St. Peter's in the Isle of Thanet, said that he had seen the body at the Mortuary, and it was of his brother Thomas James Hills, 25 years of age. He was a stoker at the Dover Gas Works.

Thomas Pybus, foreman of the Gas Company's Works, Buckland, said that the deceased was a stoker at the Work, and had been employed there about nine years. Witness last saw him alive at work a little after nine on Tuesday. He came on about six o'clock and would stop until six the next morning. After he had done the draw, he would leave at ten minutes to ten. He was quite sober when witness last saw him. He lodged at 81, London Road. The deceased should return about a quarter to eleven from supper. On ordinary occasions he would come though the gate which would be open until midnight. Witness was informed shortly before twelve that the deceased was missing, and about twelve o'clock a foreman of the porters from the Priory Station came to the gate, and witness then went onto the railroad close to the bridge on St. Radigund's Road and on the down line he saw the body of the deceased lying in an oblique direction with his head towards Kearsney. By the light of a lamp he saw that the deceased's head was off lying in the six-feet-way. One of the legs was torn off and an arm cut in two. The police and the ambulance were then sent for and the deceased removed to the mortuary. The next morning witness went to the spot but there was only blood where the leg was found. To get on to the railway there are several fences and a hedge to get through.

Cross-examined by the Jury: The way the deceased was crossing the railway would be a short cut to the Works. The deceased ought to have been back at a quarter to eleven. If he was not there then, witness would be informed. He was so informed at a quarter to twelve.

John Blackman, a labourer, working at the gas Works, said he last saw the deceased about ten o'clock at the “New Endeavour” public house. Witness was only in there a few minutes, and they then came out, as the house was being closed. Witness went home, and left the deceased (who said he was going to get some supper) in the roadway with some of his mates. Witness was not aware that it was the practice of the men to go by this short cut.

William F. Clackett, a local coal porter, employed by the L. C. & D. Railway, living at 125, London Road, said that the deceased lodged with him. On Tuesday night at 25 minutes to eleven he came in to get some supper. He was perfectly sober. He left at a quarter to eleven, and witness saw him turn up St. Radigund's Road. Witness had no idea that the deceased ever went across the line to the works, he usually went by Magdala Road. He had lodged with the deceased about eighteen months.

Edward Knivett, an engine driver on the L.C.D.R., said that on the Tuesday night he was in charge of the 10.25 train from Deal. They were, however, fifteen minutes late in starting. On crossing the St. Radigund's Road Bridge, witness felt a slight jumping of the engine. On arriving at the Priory Station, witness told the shunter that there was something wrong on the line near the Gas Works, and that he had better see what was the matter. There was no mark on the engine, and the railroad was quite straight. They crossed the bridge about 11.p.m.

George Richards shunter at the Priory Station, said that on Tuesday night the last witness reported that he had run over something at St. Radigund's Road Bridge. Witness walked up the line with a light. He found the deceased on the Priory Station side of the bridge. The body was lying on the outside of the down line. Witness went for assistance and for the police. He could not find one at first, and went to the signal box and telegraphed to the Priory Station, but when he got back a policeman was there.

Mr. W. W. Ord, surgeon, said he was called to the mortuary on Wednesday morning at 2.15, and saw the body of the deceased. The head was completely separated from the body, and the features smashed. The left arm was severed and the left leg torn. The right arm and leg were both fetched, and the body had every appearance of being run over by a train. Death must have been instantaneous.

The Coroner briefly summed up the evidence, and pointed out that the probability would be that the deceased did not want to get to his work late, and was making a short cut, and either stumbled or was caught by the buffers in crossing the bridge, and being thrown on the line, accidentally met his death in going to his work.

The Jury, without hesitation, returned a verdict of accidental death.

 

From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 18 January, 1895. Price 1d.

DEATH ON A COLD MORNING

Mr. S. Payn, Coroner for the Borough and its Liberties held an inquest on Monday afternoon at the “Hotel de Paris,” on the body of Christopher Border, a man who had been in employ of the London, Chatham and Dover Railway Company. He had gone to work about 5 o'clock on the Admiralty Pier and it is believed that the intense cold was more than he could stand. Soon after going there he became faint; two of his comrades carried him home to No. 1, Paradise Street and just as he arrived there he died. Dr. Best was sent for, but on his arrival life being extinct an inquest was considered necessary.

At the inquest Thomas W. Norris deceased's son-in-law identified the body.

John Martin, foreman of the Continental Goods department said that the deceased was hauling on a rope when he said he did not feel well and walked away saying he was going home. After going a little way he became worse and was taken home on a barrow.
It appears from further evidence that the deceased had been suffering from shortness of breath all the week and that he died before the doctor arrived.

The verdict was that the deceased died of syncope following an attack of asthma.

 

From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 8 February, 1895.

DEATH OF A CHILD

An inquest was held at the “Hotel de Paris” on Monday afternoon, by the Borough Coroner (Sydenham Payn, Esq.) on the body of a little child, William Scott Holland, which on the previous Friday had been found dead in bed. Mr. A. Dane was foreman of the Jury.

Mrs. E. Holland said that he husband was William John Holland, a Custom House Officer, living at 18, Bulwark Street. The little boy lying dead was her son, William Scott Holland, aged 5 months and two weeks, the child had had a cough for about a week past, but not bad enough to call in a doctor. On Thursday night she went to bed about eleven o'clock. The baby was then in bed. After nursing the child witness laid it on the pillow. Witness was alone, her husband being on duty. About half-past seven the next morning witness was aroused by her husband's brother coming downstairs. Looking to the child, which was in the same position as witness had placed him the previous night, she saw that something was the matter, but did not then think it was dead. She went down and told her husband's brother, and on returning with him, found that it was dead. A doctor was sent for. The child's head was not under the clothes, and had only on the head a little flannel which was clear from the face. The one side of the child, face and body, appeared to be dark. The bed was a large one and the child was over a foot from witness.

Dr. W. J. D. Best said that he was called on Friday about eight o'clock. He found the child dead on its back in the bed. Rigor mortis had set in and death must have occurred six hours. The whole of the left hand side of the child's body which was dark was the result of post mortem staining, showing that the child had died on that side and remained so some considerable time after death. The staining also showed that the blood was not properly aerated at the time of death and from these conditions witness surmised that the breathing was interfered with, and the child was by some means suffocated, either by the bed clothes or by lying on its face.

The Jury returned a verdict of “Accidental Death” in accordance with the medical evidence.

 

From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 15 February, 1895.

TRAGIC SUICIDE IN SNARGATE STREET

On Friday afternoon Alfred Jones, an assistant to Mr. L. Thomas, Chemist, 181, Snargate Street, committed suicide in a most tragic manner at that establishment. The inquest was held at the “Hotel de Paris” on Monday afternoon by the Borough Coroner, Sydenham Payn, Esq. the following gentlemen composed the Jury: Mr. C. L. Adams, (foreman), C. G. Mason, A. White, R. Ford, H. Darricote, W. Merrells, J. Jarry, L. Eason, J. Head, J. Graves, W. Johnstone, C. R. Baker, F. W. Heatley, J. Hookaway, and W. Hard.

Thomas Gregory, a master mariner, living at Port Levan, Cornwall, said that the body at the mortuary was that of his nephew, Alfred Clifton James. He was an apprentice to a chemist and druggist and was 20 years of age. Witness received a letter from the deceased, dated last Thursday – rather an unusual circumstance, it being the first letter witness had received. There was nothing in the letter except stating that he had neuralgia in the head.

Mr. Lewis Thompson, chemist, carrying on business at 181, Snargate Street, Dover, said that the deceased was an assistant in his employ, and had been with him since September 3rd. the deceased was given notice to leave a week previous, which would have expired in a month. The notice was in consequence of carelessness. On the Thursday evening witness had a visit from a commercial traveller, and he made a communication to witness in reference to the young man. It was in regard to some mistake with the accounts, and confirmed some doubt witness had as to the deceased's honesty. On Friday the deceased said he had received a letter from his parents enquiring why he was leaving, and asking if witness would give him a reference. That occurred about two o'clock, and was in the shop. Witness said he would give him a character, but not a flowery one because of the mistake he had made. Deceased said, “Do you think I am honest?” and witness replied, “I never charged you with dishonesty.” Witness also said, “If you will study my interests until the end of your time, I have no doubt that it will be right in the end,” that was in reference to the character. Witness knew there was something wrong with the deceased's accounts, and after leaving him he went upstairs, and having thought the matter over, went down again and taxed him with dishonesty, and he admitted it. Witness added, “You asked if I thought you were honest. I shall answer it now; I do not.” The deceased denied it at first, but afterwards admitted it, and witness said he should write to deceased's parents. At witness' request deceased also gave the keys of his box to witness. A customer came in then, and witness directed the deceased to serve and went upstairs. The deceased seemed very vexed and very agitated. He next heard someone, who he thought was Mr. George, manager of the shop next door, come in and go out. Almost directly afterwards the deceased came upstairs – not five minutes having elapsed since the previous conversation. He said, “Have you found anything in my box?” Witness said, “I have not been up yet.” Deceased said, “I have done it. I have taken half an ounce of prussic acid. (Hydrogen Cyanide)” Witness replied, “I do not believe it; go down stairs.” He turned round and walked down, and witness followed him. He seemed very strange and agitated, but witness could not believe that he had taken poison. As soon as they got into the dispensary he repeated the words, and said, “You will see in a moment.” Witness saw then that the poison was taking effect. Witness said instantly, “You fool!” the deceased said, “I brought it on myself; good-bye,” and shook hands and then fell down. He then relapsed into unconsciousness, and witness sent for Dr. Best, who was over in a few minutes, and every endeavour was made, but it proved useless, and death took place in a few minutes. The prussic acid was kept in the poison cupboard, but was not the strongest there is made. The deceased had suffered from neuralgia, and was studying very hard. He was also of a very uneven temperament and was frequently very morose, and witness was of opinion that the deceased was not responsible for his actions.

By the Jury: It was both articles and money with which witness taxed him with taking.

The Coroner: Then that was the reason you wished to look in the box?

Witness: Yes.

In reply to further questions, witness said that his takings had fallen off during the last four months, but there always seemed the same number of customers, whilst the amount he paid for goods was as much.

A Juryman: Then it was presumed that he sold goods and kept the money?

Witness: That was what appeared.

Dr. W. J. Best said that on Friday afternoon, about eighteen minutes past two, he was called to the deceased. On arriving at Mr. Thompson's shop he found the deceased lying on the floor between the shop and dispensary. He was quite unconscious, with strenuous breathing, and diffused countenance. His pulse was fairly good. Witness had brought his stomach pump with him, and immediately used it, and washed his stomach out. Witness could then smell the poison, which has a characteristic smell. Witness gave him injections of ether and performed artificial respiration, but the deceased died in about twenty minutes. The case was perfectly hopeless. The reason why the poison did not have immediate effect was probably because he had recently had his dinner. The deceased died from poisoning by prussic acid.

Mr. W. G. George, a gunsmith, employed at Hillsdon and Hillsdon, Snargate Street, said that between their shops and Mr. Thompson's there was a doorway of communication. On Friday afternoon, between ten minutes and a quarter-past two, witness went through doorway and opened the dispensary to go in. Deceased was standing back to the door, and, hearing witness, he turned sharply round, and said, “Do not come in; Mr. Thompson will be down in a minute, and we want to be together.” The deceased appeared to be mixing something. Witness frequently went into the shop, as there was a telephone, and he often used it.

The Coroner said that was all the evidence in the case, which was a remarkably sad one, but was a perfectly clear one, and they would have no difficulty in arriving at a verdict. It was clear that the young fellow took poison with the intention of ending his life, and if that was their opinion, they should then consider what the state of his mind was at the time. Up to then he seemed all right, but finding himself accused of dishonesty, it greatly agitated his mind and he took the poison. Juries usually took a lenient view of such cases, and considered that such people were not in their right mind at the time, which, to his mind, was a very proper view.

The Jury, after a short consultation, returned a verdict of “Suicide during temporary insanity,” and also expressed their condolence with the friends of the deceased, and also with Mr. Thompson, who they knew felt it very much.

The Coroner said he fully agreed with the verdict, and endorsed the remarks of sympathy.

 

From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 16 August, 1895.

SAD CASE OF DRINK AND DEATH

An inquest was held at the “Hotel de Paris” on Monday afternoon by the Borough Coroner (Sydenham Payn, Esq.), on the body of an infant, who it appeared had been overlain by its mother whilst in a state of intoxication.

Alfred Marshall, labourer, 3, Medway Cottages, Limekiln Lane, Dover, said the deceased was his son, Frederick Marshall, and was born on May 31st. On Saturday evening his wife returned home drunk about half-past eleven. The deceased was in his cradle, and his wife went to her room. Witness laid down on a bed in the lower room. About ten past five the next morning he went upstairs to lie down on a bed which was in his wife's room, and found her lying on her right side, and under the clothes the child was lying with its face against her breast. The child was dead and cold, and it appeared as if it had snacked during the night. He then went for Dr. Best and a Policeman. Witness was not sober on Saturday night.

Rose Ann Marshall, wife of the first witness, said she left the house on Saturday about six, and returned about nine. She then went out to look for her husband and returned about eleven. She denied that she was drunk. The deceased was in the cradle downstairs, and she took it up with her to bed and undressed it. Witness lay down and put the child to suckle and fell asleep. When her husband came up in the morning she awoke and found the child dead. It was lying on her arm with its face close to her breast. The child was insured for 1d. a week in the Prudential.

Mr. W. J. D. Best, Surgeon, said the child had been dead for about six hours. The child was fairly well nourished. From a post mortem examination he was of opinion that death was due to suffocation.

Police Constable Southey also gave evidence and stated that the mother appeared to have been drinking.

The Jury returned a verdict that the deceased died from suffocation by being overlaid by its mother when in a state of intoxication.

 

From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 16 August, 1895.

ANOTHER FATALITY AT THE HARBOUR WORKS

On Tuesday morning an accident occurred on the outer staging at the Harbour Works, whereby a labourer named Henry Lambert, lost his life by drowning. The Inquest was held at the “Hotel de Paris” on Wednesday afternoon by the Borough Coroner (Sydenham Payn, Esq.) Mr. W. J. Jones was foreman of the Jury.

Mr. A Harby appeared for the Contractor, Sir John Jackson.

Mr. Bradley appeared on behalf of the widow.

Charles Lambert, a mariner, 9, Trevanion Street, said the body at the mortuary was that of his brother, Henry Lambert. He was employed as a labourer on the Harbour Works under Sir John Jackson, and was 30 years of age. He was married but had no children. On the previous morning about ten o'clock witness was in the barge Irene lying about 30 yards of the west side of the staging. Witness heard a splash and saw someone in the water near the east corner of the staging at the extreme end. He was struggling in the water and witness called to hurry up a boat which was near the inner end of the staging. He heard witness' calls, and hurried but it seemed he would be some time having a strong wind and tide to row against. Witness took his jacket off and jumped overboard and swam towards the body. When witness got about half way it disappeared. Witness did not know at the time who it was. Witness swam to the piles and hung on until the boat picked him up. About two minutes elapsed from the time of the splash until the body disappeared. The body was recovered afterwards by means of a grapnel. Soon after witness was picked up he heard it was his brother. A lifebuoy was thrown to the deceased and was in the water when witness got there.

By the Jury: The deceased was at work on the staging.

A Juryman remarked that the men ought not to step from balk to balk, but there should be a platform. He thought there must be great negligence.

By Mr. Bradley: Witness did not get to the spot where deceased sank before the boat came, because he only swam to the nearest pile. There was a man in the boat, and when the accident occurred it was about 500 feet away.

By Mr. Harby: The deceased had been a sailor, and had been on this work for two years.

Thomas Rose, a labourer, 3, Bowling Green Road, employed by Sir John Jackson, said that he was at work on the previous morning on the outer staging. They were putting what was called a truss beam across, there being a new pile driver there. The staging rests on four piles 40ft. distant from the next pile. On these rest two iron girders with timber across three feet apart, and about 12 inches wide. The deceased was working with witness and two other men. The truss beam was being rolled along two planks to fix under the pile drivers. The deceased was standing on the cross pieces. They had had to let chains loose to let the beams past. They were about to make the chain fast again and the deceased was stepping from one timber to the other having passed round witness on the outside, and witness hearing a shout turned round and saw him fall. He caught a chain witness was holding and tore it from his hand. It was raining at the time but the wind was not blowing very hard. Witness could not suggest any improvement in conducting the work, as it was only temporary and was continually being altered. The deceased could not swim. Ropes were swung down to him and also a lifebuoy. It was impossible to get down to him as the tide swept him away. Witness thought that the deceased must have been insensible as when he first came up he could easily have caught hole of the piles. He was in the water not two minutes before he disappeared.

By the Coroner: They could have any timber they like for their own safety.

By a Juryman: The foreman saw that they worked in safety.

By Mr. Bradley: The foreman is Mr. Gouch. There is a rail further down, butt his was only temporary work, and as soon as it was completed the rail is put up.

By the Coroner: It would be safer to have a plank along on the cross pieces, but they did not take the trouble.

By Mr. Harby: It was impossible to have a railing along as the pile driver could not work then. The boat was not 200 feet from the spot where the deceased fell.

William Farringdon, a labourer, working at the pier works, said that on the previous day he was working on the outer traveller about 60 feet from where the accident happened. He saw the deceased and the other men shoving a cross piece under the pile-driver to strengthen it. Witness heard a shout and saw him strike the water o his side. He fell clear of everything. A plank was thrown over, and then a lifebuoy. After the man struck the water he came to the surface, but he appeared to be unconscious. The plank was not two feet away from him. Witness succeeded in recovering the body an hour and a half later by means of a grapnel.

By Mr. Bradley: The deceased fell about 30 feet.

By the Coroner: the openings between the sleepers are two feet apart.

George Gambrill, 19, Caroline Place, a labourer employed with the deceased, also gave evidence.

Albert Gouch, foreman, said he was looking after the gang on which the deceased was working. He was last on the spot five minutes before the accident happened. Witness gave the order about the replacing of the chains. It was not necessary for Lambert to get outside the girders. The chains went up from inside the girders.

By Mr. Harby: Witness had to go where the men went, and if witness had thought there was and danger, he could have had planks for his own safety.

Mr. W. E. F. Bird, surgeon said he was called a little before twelve to the mortuary. He went there at once and saw the body of the deceased. There were no marks of violence. The appearance were of death from drowning. The fall from a height might have stunned the deceased, especially if he fell on his side.

The Coroner said they had taken the evidence very fully, but there seemed to be no fault in the matter. It seemed strange that these men whose lives were in their own hands did not take a little more precaution by putting down some planks. But in this particular case it did not appear as if it would have been any use, as the deceased went where there would have not been any planks, and there seemed to be no real necessity for him to go there. The only verdict he thought they could return was one of accidental death.

The Jury, after a short discussion, returned a verdict to that effect.

 

From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 30 August, 1895.

ATTEMPTED SUICIDE

Anni Maria Misani, a Swiss, was charged with attempting to commit suicide by jumping into the Granville Dock, on 25th inst.

Archibald Stewart, a stevedore, living at 2, Limekiln Place, said that on Sunday morning exactly at ten minutes past nine, he was standing by the Clyde Shipping Company's shed. He saw the prisoner go by the shed and walk across the roadway and get under the railing, take her shoes off and throw her hat off and jump into the water. Sharp, the mate of the Lily Vita, which was lying close by jumped overboard and witness threw a rope to him. He got hold of it and then swam to the woman, who was floating on the water head downwards. On reaching her he raised her head. A boat from a steam yacht came in answer to witness' calls, and the prisoner was got into the boat and brought ashore and placed on some planks. Afterwards she was taken to the “Hotel de Paris” by the direction of a military surgeon, who was passing. Dr. best was sent for, and came and pronounced her out of danger. Witness had been down on the quay at six o'clock and defendant was then walking up and down. Witness' attention was called to her by the fact that her boots were undone. She walked up and down there for three hours. The piece of paper (produced) was found in the boot she kicked off.

Albert Sharpe, mate of the Lily Vita, said that on Sunday soon after nine o'clock, witness' attention was drawn to the fact that a woman was in the water. He got a line and ran round. She was in the Granville dock between the gates and the bridge. Witness jumped in and a line was thrown to him by the last witness who caught hold of the woman. A boat came from a yacht and the prisoner was got into it. As soon as she was in the boat they commenced to make efforts to restore her. She was at once landed and witness left her on the planks. She was then insensible.

Mr. A. Welsford said he was called by the Police about 9.35, and went to the “Hotel de Paris” and found the prisoner lying in a room undressed, in blankets, suffering from shock. She was breathing well but appeared to be scarcely conscious. Witness applied the necessary restoratives, and she came round. She was kept there until 12 o'clock, and then removed to her home.

Sarah Katerina Volmar, confectioner, 12a, Snargate Street, said that the defendant had been waitress in her service for about eight years and a half. She believed that she had had a little family trouble, and she expressed a wish to go to early service on Sunday morning. When witness got up on Sunday morning the defendant had gone. She was going to be married the same day at Zion Chapel. She appeared on Saturday to be overdone by excitement. She is 28 years of age. Witness offered to take the prisoner home and look after her in future. The man the defendant was about to marry was in witness' employ. Witness did not recognise the note produced as in the defendant's writing.

The prisoner was discharged on Mrs. Volmar promising to take care of her.

The man Stewart was rewarded with 2s. 6d., and the Magistrates also commended the witness Sharpe for his bravery.

 

From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 1 January, 1897. Price 1d.

FATAL FALL ON CHRISTMAS DAY

An inquest was held at the “Hotel de Paris” on Monday afternoon, by the Borough Coroner, Sydenham Payn, Esq., on the body of Private Gillings, of the 2nd West Yorkshire Regiment, who died on Boxing Day, from the effects of a fall on Xmas Day. Mr. W. G. Wells was foreman of the Jury, and the following was the evidence:-

Surgeon-Captain Gerald Creo, A.M.S. produced the official papers of the deceased, which showed that his name was Andrew Gillings, and his age 25. He was a private in the West Yorkshire regiment, stationed at the Citadel Barracks.

Private William John Harvey, 2nd West Yorkshire Regiment, said: The deceased was in my company, and slept in the next room. On Xmas Day the company had dinner in my room, about thirty. Private Gillings came late. He said he did not want any dinner. He had been cooking the dinner, and said he had some. He, however, has six or seven glasses of beer. After dinner we sat around the fire and sang songs. Private Gillings, in his turn, got up on the form to sing, but losing his balance, he fell violently on to the floor. I got him up, and he appeared to be dazed. He sat down on the form, and some twenty minutes later I saw him go downstairs. He then stumbled and appeared to be either drunk or dazed.

Private G. Slawson, West Yorkshire Regiment, said: I was in the room when the deceased fell off the form on Xmas Day, as described by the last witness. I afterwards got him to bed.

Private John Cliff, West Yorkshire Regiment, who sleeps in the same room as the deceased, said he went to bed about eight o'clock. The deceased was then in his bed, and witness could hear him breathing. Previously, between half-past six and seven, witness picked him up off the floor, when he rolled out of bed. On the following morning, about a quarter to seven, witness found him on the floor insensible. He was taken to the Hospital.

Lance-corporal Filton, and Lance-corporal Deolson, West Yorkshire Regiment, also gave evidence.

Surgeon-Captain Creo said on Boxing morning he saw the deceased at the Hospital. He was completely unconscious, and appeared to be dying. He never recovered consciousness, and died at 11.30. there were no marks of injury about him at all. Witness had since made a post mortem, and found a fracture of the right parietal bone, that over the ear, about two and a half inches long. There was also a bruise of the temple muscle. There was a very large clot of blood under the seat of fracture, which had compressed the brain and caused death. The fall described by the first witness would be sufficient to cause the injuries if the deceased had fallen on to the side of the head, or when he fell out of bed he might have struck on a box.

The Jury returned a verdict of “Accidental Death.”

 

From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 4 May, 1900. Price 1d.

SUICIDE OF A BREWER. DUTCHMAN ENDS HIS DAYS IN DOVER

An unpleasant incident occurred at the “Hotel de Paris” on Tuesday morning, when a Dutchman, who was staying at the hotel, died very suddenly, and the circumstances pointed to the certainty that he had committed suicide by taking strychnine. His name turned out to be Hubert Leon Joseph Timmerman, a brewer, of Roermond, near Dortrecht, Holland. He was a man of about middle age and height. He was recently, it turned out, the plaintiff of a Police Court case at Folkestone, in which he prosecuted some soldiers, in whose company he got, and who relieved him of 20, for which they were sent to prison.

The Borough Coroner, Sydenham Payn, Esq., held an inquest yesterday at the “Harp Hotel,” when Mr. John Chambers was the foreman of the Jury, and the facts elicited were as follows:-

George Madgett, proprietor of the “Hotel de Paris,” said that the body at the mortuary was that of a gentleman, who had stayed at his hotel since April 21st, and who gave the name of Timmerman, saying that he was a brewer, belonging to a town in Holland. He had been making trips round the neighbourhood daily during his stay, and though on the first few days he came home slightly the worse for drink, he was afterwards sober enough. On Tuesday, May 1st, the interpreter came to witness with a glass containing some liquid, and told him that he thought deceased had taken something. They went up, and saw him. The interpreter spoke to the deceased, who assured him that he was all right. Three or four minutes afterwards witness was looking at the glass in the smoking room when deceased entered the room. Witness noticed that he was not well and trembling violently, but deceased tried to make out that it was nothing and that he did not want a doctor, as he was often like that. Deceased, however, became worse, and his limbs became convulsive. Witness then sent for a doctor and Policeman, and while they were being fetched he ran to Mr. Hambrook, who advised salt and water as an emetic, but it was unavailing. The boy returned with a powder from the doctor, but deceased's teeth were clenched so that he could not be given it when dissolved. He died just as the Policeman came, and just before the doctor's arrival. The man was not apparently in pain, but his limbs kept twitching. Deceased did not seem pressed for money.

The Coroner on examining deceased's purse, however, found only small change.

In reply to the Coroner, witness said that before deceased came to his hotel he was at Folkestone, and was robbed by some soldiers, whom he prosecuted, and they were sent to prison.

Felcien Guilbert, interpreter and waiter at the “Hotel de Paris,” said: Deceased came on Easter Saturday, and since then I have had several times been out with him, the last time being on Wednesday, April 25th. On Monday, April 30th, deceased wrote a letter at midnight, which I waited for, and posted next morning. It was addressed to a friend at Roermond. Deceased seemed very quiet and thoughtful then, not as usual. On Tuesday, at 10 o'clock, deceased rang his bell as I was on my way to call him. When I entered the room I saw deceased half dressed, and he said that he did not want anything, but pointing to his watch and pipe, said, “You can have these if you like.” I said, “Why?” he said, “I will buy some new ones. I replied that I did not want it. I then went round to the table, and found on it a piece of paper, on which was written in French, “To my friend Phillip. You can take my watch, my boots and pipe etc., and all you want. Au revoir. Phillip. Written at 10 o'clock.” I said, “What does that mean?” He replied, “You will see later on.” I said, “I don't know what to make of it. I shall show it to my master.” He said, “No! No! You must not. Tear it up.” I did so, but kept the pieces. (They were produced pasted on a sheet of paper.) There was a glass on the chair which contained some water with a white powder in it. (The glass was produced.) I said, “What is it?” he said, “I have had some stomach pains.” I remained there for a time, and when I went I said I would take the glass away. He said anxiously, “Mind what you are doing. Don't put your finger in it.” I said, “Why, is it poison?” he said, “No.” I then took both paper and glass to Mr. Madgett and told him about it. We went back, and I asked him “What is the matter. Have you poisoned yourself?” He said he had not, and had only done what he had to frighten me. A few minutes later he came down and asked for some beer. I saw he was not well, and said so, but he replied that he was all right. Mr. Madgett then sent for the doctor and a Policeman.

Superintendent Sanders produced a bottle labelled “Strychniam Pur” which was found in deceased's luggage, which witness said he had seen in deceased's possession.

P.C. Ovenden said that he was called to the “Hotel de Paris” on Tuesday, about 10.20, and was shown to the smoking room, where he saw deceased expire almost at once. On a search having been made a bottle of strychnine produced was found in deceased's portmanteau.

Dr. W. E. F. Bird said that he was called to deceased at 10.20, and arrived at the “Hotel de Paris” at 10.30. The man was already dead, but there was nothing to show the cause.

Dr. Bird, in reply to the Coroner, said that the contents of the bottle had the appearance of strychnine. He believed strychnine was used in small quantities to give a bitter taste to beer. The symptoms of the case pointed to strychnine poisoning, and death which could be caused by a large dose such as two or three grains, would take place in half an hour. In the glass produced there was still a grain or two dissolved in water, a grain or two would look a very small quantity.

By the Jury: The bottle contained about two or three ounces.

The Coroner said there seemed very little doubt that deceased destroyed his life. He believed it was a well-known fact that strychnine was used in the manufacture of beer, and probably deceased had this large quantity of it for commercial purposes.

The Jury returned a verdict that deceased committed suicide, and that there was not sufficient evidence to show the state of his mind at the time.

 

From the Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, 12 May 1900. Price 1d.

DETERMINED SUICIDE.

On Thursday evening the Dover Coroner (Mr. S. Payn) enquired into the details of a determined suicide on the part of a Dutch brewer, named Hubert Leon Joseph Timmerman, who took an ounce of strychnine at the "Hotel de Paris" on the previous Tuesday morning. It appeared that deceased had been staying at the "Hotel de Paris" since Easter. On the Monday evening Timmerman, who was usually very bright and cheerful, appeared somewhat quieter than usual and stayed up to write a letter. He made several excursions round the neighbourhood and was accompanied by the hotel interpreter, Felician Guilbert. The latter was in the habit of calling him about ten each morning and was about to do so on Tuesday when he heard his bell ring. He went to deceased's room and found him lying on the bed half dressed, and pointing to a watch hanging on the bed post, he said "You can have that if you like," and also offered him his pipe. Guilbert asked him why he wished him to have these, and deceased said that he was going to buy some more. On the bottom of the bed he found a paper on which was written in French:- To my friend Philip, - You can take my watch, my boots, and pipe' au-revoir Philip." Guilbert noticed a glass containing some white powder by the side of the bed, and deceased implored him not to touch it. He afterwards said that the thing was a joke, and he had done it to frighten him. Deceased got up, dressed, and came downstairs. In a little while he had convulsions and died on the floor. Guilbert went for a doctor.

Dr. Bird said that the man was dead when he arrived and he considered that he died from the effects of poison such as strychnine. The man had taken enough to kill a considerable number of people, and there was quite enough strychnine left in the bottle to end the Boer war.

Superintendent Sanders said he had communicated with the Chief of the Police in the neighbourhood to which deceased was supposed to belong and had that afternoon received a telegram to the effect that his family had been communicated with.

It was stated that deceased was the same man who figured in the recent case at Folkestone when he was robbed of about 20 by soldiers.

The Jury were of opinion that deceased poisoned himself, but there was not sufficient evidence to show the state of his mind.

 

Dover Express, Friday 15 April 1910.

FRENCH GROCER'S SUICIDE. DETERMINED ACT AT A DOVER HOTEL.

On Tuesday morning a Frenchman, named Tissot, a grocer of Bar-sur-Aub, France, was found dead in his bed at the "Hotel de Paris", with a bullet wound in his head, apparently self-inflicted. The circumstances surrounding his death were investigated by the Borough Coroner (Mr. Sydenham Payn) yesterday afternoon at the "Esplanade Hotel." The jury were composed of the following; Messrs. J. Tanton (foreman), S. Spry, T. Edwards, A. Breeze, C. Royce, F. Faith, G. Starkey, D. J. Dunn, W. Dobson, W. J. Hodgson, D. Burgess, W.J. Monk, O. Brooks, and P. Evans.

Mr. Finez watched the proceedings on behalf of the French Consul. The body was viewed at the mortuary, after which the following evidence was taken.

The first witness called was Mr. Finez, who stated; I am acting for the French Consul at Dover. I know the deceased, and on Thursday last he came to my office on business. He said he was going to London about his business. I saw him later in the day opposite the Harbour Station, returning to his hotel. He had not been to London then. The deceased's name was Edouard Eli Tissot. I understand he was the head of a grocery firm at Bar-sur-Aube. His age was 48 years. He seemed rather worried about his affairs. The letter produced was found in his room. He did not give me any indication that he was going to take his life, and I was much surprised when I heard about it. The letter was for the French Consul, or myself, and had reference to the steps he wished to be taken after his death. We communicated with his family, but they are not coming over. One portion of the letter, which was in French, reads; "Kindly excuse me for the trouble I am going to give you. I should like you to advise my family of my death by letter, and not by telegram. I wish to be buried in Dover as an exile and forgotten." He also makes a request about his death certificate.

Mr. Madgett Norman, proprietor of the "Hotel de Paris," said; The deceased came to my house on Sunday, April 3rd. He seemed to be rather worried at times, but I did not see much of him. He seemed all right in his manner. He could not speak English. He had no luggage with him, and he said he had left that at the "Hotel de France" in Paris. Two telegrams came from his wife asking if he were still there. We thought it strange that he should have no luggage. On Tuesday morning, about 9.15, the waiter came downstairs and told me he thought there was something wrong. I went up at once to the deceased's room and found a hole in the door. I looked through and saw the deceased on the bed. I did not go in, but went downstairs and summoned the police. When the constable came we went into the room together. The deceased was quite dead. I found three or four letters on the drawers; they were addressed, one to the waiter, one to his wife, and another to the French Consul.

Mr. Finez translated the letter addressed to the waiter as follows: "Please ask your landlord to excuse me for the trouble I am going to give him by my decease. Please have my corps transported to Dover Hospital because I wish to be interred here.... I wish the letters addressed to my wife and the French Consul, or Mr. Finez, to be delivered. In my pocket book you will find some notes, I wish them to be addressed to my family, also the purse which contains a key, and my watch and wearing apparel are for you for your trouble.... I went to the Catholic Church on Sunday and took the Grand Mass for the last time. I did cry a great deal, thinking of my poor family." Mr. Finez added that the letter was dated 11th April, Monday midday, and written on the paper of the hotel.

Mr. Norman, continuing his evidence said: The revolver produced was found on the deceased's chest. On Saturday the deceased went to London, and on his return he seemed a good deal depressed.
Mr. Finez examined the revolver, and said that it was of Belgian manufacture.

Jean Joos said: In am a waiter at the "Hotel de Paris," and I have seen the deceased from the time he came. I used to go out with him, but I did not go to London. On Tuesday morning, at about 8 o'clock, he rang the bell, and I went up, taking his boots. The door was ajar, and the deceased was standing at the window. He asked me if there were any letters for him, and I told him "No." I then came downstairs again, when I noticed some little pieces of wood on the carpet outside the deceased's bedroom door. I then saw a hole in the door, and looking through it I discerned the deceased lying on his bed. I saw blood o his neck and collar, and I came down and told Mr. Norman. Subsequently the police came. On Monday night I went to the Hippodrome with him, and he seemed all right. We came home together. On another occasion he came down to the boats with me, and told me he was trying to float his business into a company. I did not know he had a revolver in his possession. He never led me to suppose he was going to commit suicide. I thought it rather strange he should have brought no luggage. I heard no report of firearms.

Dr. Ernest Elliot, acting Police Surgeon, said:- I was sent for at 10.10 on Tuesday morning, and I went down with Chief Constable Fox to the "Hotel de Paris", where I found the deceased in one of the top bedrooms. He was quite dead, and death had taken place quite recently. The body was warm. The deceased was lying on his back, and he had a bullet wound right through the head. The bullet entered the right side of the head at one inch behind the angle of the eye. The exit wound was a little farther back on the left side of the head. The bullet apparently went through his head obliquely. The injury could not have been done by chance, and I am of opinion that it was self inflicted.

Robert Vincent, police constable, said:- On Tuesday morning, about 9.45, I was on duty in Commercial Quay, when I went to the "Hotel de Paris." I went upstairs and found a hole in the door of one of the bedrooms. I was accompanied by P.C. Kingsmill, and we went in the room together. The deceased was lying o the bed fully dressed, with the exception of his jacket. I examined him and found a bullet wound in his right temple. The revolver produced was on his chest, and was pointing towards the door. A blanket and a towel which the deceased had spread over the bed, where his head came, had blood upon them. Seeing that the deceased was quite dead I examined the passage, which was about twenty-five feet long. There was another door at the farther end, and I noticed a hole in it. It was not quite through, but the wood was splintered, and I found the bullet (produced) on the floor, five or six feet away from the door, it evidently having rebounded. Returning to the bedroom and seeing that the revolver was loaded, I asked Mr. Norman to unload it. The five cartridges (produced) were in it, one having been discharged. They were similar to the bullet I found in the passage.

Chief Constable Fox said: From the position of the hole in the door he should say the deceased must have been sitting up in bed when he shot himself.

The Constable (continuing) said: The articles produced were on the drawers, a pocket book, 3 letters, and a half a sovereign lying in a piece of paper on which was written a request that it should be given to the waiter for his trouble in delivering his letters. I removed the body to the mortuary on the ambulance.

The Coroner, having summed up, the jury returned a verdict of suicide, and added that there was not sufficient evidence to show the state of deceased's mind at the time.

 

From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 6 February, 1925. Price 1d.

THE CUSTOMS RAID ON CONTRABAND SPIRITS

At the Dover Police Court last Friday, before the Mayor (Councillor S. J. Livings), Alderman W. J. Barnes, Messrs. H. J. Burton and T. Francis.

Thomas Worsdell, licensee of the “Hotel de Paris,” Crosswall, was summoned for knowingly harbouring certain un-Customed goods, to wit, spirits and cigars, contrary to Section 186 of the Customs Consolidation Act, 1876, where by he became liable to forfeit 100.

Mr. Booth prosecuted and Mr. Rutley Mowll appeared for defendant.

Mr. Mowll pleaded guilty.

Mr. Booth said that defendant received a visit from Mr. Warne, the Chief Prevention officer, on November 8th, in consequence of information received. He saw defendant and asked him whether he had any spirits for which he could not account. Defendant replied that he had not, and, assisted by another officer he had brought with him, he searched the premises, with the result that they found ten bottles of brandy, nine bottles of various liqueurs and 264 cigars. The officer asked defendant if he could account for the articles, and defendant said he obtained them from sailors who visited the premises. He admitted they were not duty paid, and said he would throw himself upon the mercy of the Commissioner of Customs. One bottle of brandy, he said, had been left in his charge by a pilot, and another had been brought there by a person named, living close by, and three packets of ten cigars had been left there by a sailor, named Oscar, on one of the Belgian State Railway boats. On November 11th defendant called at the Customs House with invoices, dated 1919 and 1920, for certain cigars and a case of advocaat, four bottles of which had been found on the premises and which were returned to him. As some of the cigars were, possibly, those received in 1919 or 1920, they were only prosecuting in respect of 130 cigars. Defendant made no bones about it, and practically confessed to the whole thing.

Frederick Charles Warne, Chief Preventative Officer at Dover said, in evidence, that he agreed with the remarks made by Mr. Booth in opening the case.

Mr. Rutley Mowll said that there was not the slightest doubt that the opportunity of getting a few cigars and spirits in Dover free of duty was a very real temptation. It was understood between the prosecutor and him that the number of cigars on which the charge was founded was 130, and they were hoping the remainder of the cigars seized would come back to them. (Laughter.) From experience he should say that it took nearly a regiment of soldiers to get back such things once they had got into the hands of the Customs. (Laughter.) the quantity of goods concerned was very small – half a gallon of brandy, five bottles of liqueur and 134 cigars. Mr. Worsdell had borne a very good character in the town, and he asked the Bench to take this into consideration and not impose the full penalty of 100. He asked what the single value and duty of the cigars were.

The Magistrates' Clerk: Single, 9, 13s. 4d.; double, 19 6s. 8d.; treble, 29 1s. 9d.

Mr. Mowll: Don't trouble about the treble, Double is enough. (Laughter.)

The mayor said that this appeared to be a case of where the prosecution was not vindictive, and owing to the fact that Mr. Worsdell had borne a splendid character since he had been in the Trade, they had decided to impose only a fine of double value and duty and costs, 5s., a total of 19 12s. 6d.

 

From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 5 August, 1927. Price 1d.

MR. WORSDELL LEAVING THE "HOTEL DE PARIS"

On Friday the Magistrates granted the transfer of the licence of the "Hotel de Paris," which has been held by Mr. T. Worsdell since 1919, to Mr. Cone, a well-known Dover licensee of the "Malvern Hotel" and the "Prince Louis."

 

From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 4 December, 1936.

THE HIGH TIDE AT DOVER

High tide 1936

On Tuesday, about noon, the highest tide for over fifty years occurred around the coast. At Dover the tide reached 22ft 6in., being 3ft above the normal limit of the Spring tides.

 

From the Dover Express and East Kent News. 11 February, 1938. Price 1d.

ALTERATION OF PREMISES

Plans for alterations to the “Hotel de Paris” were approved.

 

From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 4 March, 1949.

DOCKS OVERFLOW

Hotel de Paris 1949

On Tuesday, at noon, a combination of Spring tides and a strong N.W. wind caused an abnormal height of water round the coast. At Dover it was 5ft. 6in. above that expected. The water reached the top of the dock sills and overflowed from Northampton Street to Crosswall. The view shows the scene near the "Hotel de Paris."

 

From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 1 September, 1950.

HOTEL DE PARIS CLOSED

FOUR LICENSED PREMISES PUT UP THE SHUTTERS

Their leases having expired, the Hotel de Paris and the "Prince Imperial" at either end of Strond Street, closed their doors last week.

Strond Street comes within the area due to be developed by the Harbour Board who own the properties there. Other occupiers have been told that their leases will not be renewed.

Another licensed house which has closed down within the last week is the "Hippodrome" Bars, in Snargate Street while the "Clarendon Hotel," on the Northampton Street corner, put up the shutters some time ago.

The south side of Snargate Street is also to be demolished in connection with the scheme for widening Snargate Street and incorporating Northampton Street with the Harbour Board's other quayside property.

On the western side of Wellington Passage there are now only two occupied premises on the south side of Snargate Street. One of them is the Working Men's Club, which will be closed when the new premises now being built at Erith Street are completed.

 

Horel de Paris 1920s

Above photo circa 1920.

From the Dover Express 1 June 1951.

Swan Inn 1951

The area near the Crosswall will soon have an altered appearance with the demolition of the properties in Strond Street and Customs House Quay, to make way for dock-side improvements. The well-known "Hotel de Paris" (right) is the last to go. Close by were the "Swan" (in the photo) and "Pavilion Hotels" and the "Green Dragon" public house, better known to older generations of Dovorians.

 

 

This thoroughfare ran from Union Street to Clarence Place when built in 1661. The hotel can be traced to 1868 but already established by then, and previously operating as the "Crosswall Shades." In 1913, as a family and commercial hotel, Gardner was the lessee, but it was always a free house by agreement. In 1928, Worsdell was accused of selling smuggled liquor and being jobless as a result, the lease passed to Cone. Apparently without the knowledge of the brewer or the Bench, which seems remarkable to say the least. Whatever the outcome, it must have been settled amicably because Cone was succeeded by his wife in 1936.

 

The closure came in August 1950 when the lease expired. Dover Harbour Board had redevelopment in mind and took down the house the following April. The full licence then moved to the "Royal Oak" at River, replacing its beer and wine 'on' licence.

 

LICENSEE LIST

Last pub licensee had FUHR Henri C Next pub licensee had & JONES H 1869-Jan/76 Post Office Directory 1874Sinnock Directory 1875Dover Express

BEECHING Charles Jan/1876-Dec/85 Next pub licensee had Dover Express

Last pub licensee had BAKER William Bishop Dec/1885-95+ Dover Express

MADGETT George 1897-1909+ Kelly's Directory 1899Post Office Directory 1903

NORMAN G Madgett 1910-12

WORSDELL Thomas 1919-Aug/27 Pikes 1923Pikes 1924Dover Express

Last pub licensee had CONE Joseph Aug/1927-36 dec'd Dover ExpressPikes 1932-33

CONE Mrs Edith 1936-Dec/37 Dover Express

STRIFFLER AIgernon Frederick Dec/1937-48 Dover ExpressPikes 1938-39Pikes 48-49

 

Post Office Directory 1874From the Post Office Directory 1874

Sinnock Directory 1875From Sinnock Directory 1875

Kelly's Directory 1899From the Kelly's Directory 1899

Post Office Directory 1903From the Post Office Directory 1901

Pikes 1923From Pikes Dover Blue Book 1923

Pikes 1924From Pikes Dover Blue Book 1924

Pikes 1932-33From Pikes Dover Blue Book 1932-33

Pikes 1938-39From Pikes Dover Blue Book 1938-39

Pikes 48-49From Pikes Dover Blue Book 1948-49

Dover ExpressFrom the Dover Express

 

If anyone should have any further information, or indeed any pictures or photographs of the above licensed premises, please email:-

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