Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Known unto God - Death of a Baby Girl - June 1900 Sheffield

Whilst I was researching some family history material I came across this small report in the local press

"June 14th 1900

An inquest was held this morning on the body of a newly born female child, found in the canal at Sheffield yesterday. Mr. W. E. Ryves, surgeon, said the body had been in the water about five days, and he could not form any opinions as to the cause of death. The man who found the body in the canal said it was wrapped in brown paper. Round the child’s neck a piece of window cord had been tied, and attached to the cord were a piece of coal and a coal hammer.
The verdict of the jury was that there was not sufficient evidence to show how the child came to its death or got into the canal."
Whilst I agree with the surgeon as to cause of death - he could not find one, and the jury "there was not sufficient evidence to show how the child came to its death" I would contest the statement about "how the (new-born) child got into the canal"
She was wrapped in brown paper with a cord around her neck and attached to the cord was a piece of coal and a coal hammer. This strongly suggests to me that other parties were involved in the preparation and disposal of the body. It is blindingly self evident but the coroner and the jury chose to ignore this fact. 
No investigation was ever launched which was the norm at the time
As for the baby she was most likely buried in a communal public grave like so many others - a very brief life extinguished at the outset





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