Accidental Deaths and Injuries

22-24 January 1702   On Thursday the house of Mr Gibbons [Grinling Gibbons] the famous carver, in Bow-street, Convent-Garden, fell down, but by a special providence none of the family were killed, but ’tis said a young girl which was playing in the court being missing, is supposed to be buried in the rubbish. [Post Boy]

6-9 March 1702   Yesterday a cooper belonging to Mr. Halsey’s brew-house, in Deadmans-place in Southwark, was repairing some fault in one of the tuns, while the beer was working therein, fell in, and was unfortunately drowned. [London Post]

17 May 1725   A man going down to the Thames side to drown a cat, got into a boat, and threw her into the water, and going to strike her on the head with the boat-hook, over-reach’d himself, fell into the water, and was drown’d, notwithstanding all attempts to save him. [Mist’s Weekly Journal]

20 November 1725   The middle of last week, and beginning of this, two poor persons were found dead in the Tower ditch; it’s supposed they were in drink, and the rails about the said ditch being much out of repair, these dark nights they fell in and lost their lives. [Mist’s Weekly Journal]

8 January 1726   Last Saturday one of the new little houses by Hockley-in-the-Hole fell down, being built on the main common shore; there was in it a poor woman that was brought to bed but two days before and her child being dead was laid in its coffin; the said woman fell into the shore with the bed she lay on, and was driven by the torrent down to the bridge, and being there happily stopt by a coach that was overset in the flood just before, was taken up; but the coffin with the dead child in it was carried much further before it was taken out. [Weekly Journal, or The British Gazetteer]

15 January 1726   On Sunday night, Mr. Redmayne a coachmaker, and his Wife living in Bloomsbury, as they were returning home from a publick house in Islington, the waiter at the house lighting them some little way, and would have gone farther, but the man saying ’twas no matter, left them. They in the dark supposing the rails round the New Pond had been a style, went over; and about the middle, (some persons having been sliding, it was broke) they both slip’d in the pond, and were drowned before any help could come by. Monday the Coroner’s Inquest having sate on the bodies, brought in their verdict, Accidental Death.
          And last Monday night a man and woman coming together from Islington were set upon by a company of rakes, who drew their swords, and killed the man, in the great road between that town and St. John-Street, but took nothing from him. The woman was not wounded, but terribly frighted. [Weekly Journal, or The British Gazetteer]

7 May 1730   Saturday last as several young people were gathered about a milk-woman’s garland, a cart came by, and in their endeavouring to get away, a boy about 6 years old was pushed down, and the cart wheel ran over his head, and squeezed out his brains. [Grub-street Journal]

28 May 1730   Saturday, May 23. Yesterday as one Mrs West in White-chappel, was dancing her only child in her arms, to keep it quiet, she happened to strike it against a scale-beam, and cracked its skull, so that it died on the spot.
          The same day a boy about 15 years of age was killed in White-chappel-road, by a coach-wheel running over him.
          Wedn. last a servant going from Westminster towards Charing cross on horseback, and leading another horse for his master to ride to the Review, which being somewhat unruly in leading, he struck him on his head with his whip; the horse reeled for some short time, and fell down, and died immediately: which the servant seeing, he left the other horse by him, and run away.
          Sund. night Mr. Smith, who kept the Roebuck Tavern in Bow-street, Covent-Garden, cut his throat; and on Tuesday following died. . . .
          On Thurs. a hackney-coach was overturned near Brentford, thro’ the carelessness of the coach-man, in which were 2 women, servants to Miss Carteret and Miss Meadows, maids of honour to her Majesty: one had the misfortune to have her shoulder-bone disjointed, and the other’s arm was broke.
          Anne Christy, the fruit-woman, who was said to be trod to death by the Grenadiers horses, is like to live; but it is thought will loose [sic] her right eye.
          Yesterday a person rashly attempting, for a wager, to lower himself, by the means of a rope, fastened to the gallery of the Monument, to the bottom; before he had descended 12 yards, had the terrible misfortune, by the rope’s breaking, to break his neck by the fall. [Grub-street Journal] [The gallery or balcony at the top of the Monument, a 200-foot column marking the site where the great fire of London began, was finally enclosed in a cage in 1842 following a rash of suicides.]

13 June 1730   On Thursday about 5 o'clock two men, seemingly in liquor, passed the Turnpike by Newington Green, and between Stamford-Hill and Tottenham High Cross, riding furiously, one of them came with such force against a Gentleman that was coming that way, that both the horses were killed on the spot, and ’tis reported the Gentleman is dead of the fall. (London Journal)

23 September 1731   Yesterday a drayman belonging to Mr. Rainer, a brewer, was committed to Newgate for driving his dray over a poor man in Rosemary-lane, and breaking his thigh-bone, about a fortnight ago, of which he died yesterday. [Grub-street Journal]

22 January 1737   On Friday 7-night last a woman confin’d in Bedlam found means to break one of the bars of the back windows, and having tore a sheet, and tied it together, tied one end to one of the bars, and got out of the window, and held by the sheet; the first knot breaking, she fell down and broke both her thighs, one of her arms, and her body was very much bruis’d; and on Sunday morning died in a languishing condition. (Read’s Weekly Journal, or British Gazetteer)

(Texts have been modernized with regard to capitalization, italicization, and punctuation, but original spelling has been retained. This edition copyright Rictor Norton. All rights reserved. Reproduction for sale or profit prohibited. These extracts may not be archived, republished or redistributed without the permission of the compiler.)

CITATION: Rictor Norton, Early Eighteenth-Century Newspaper Reports: A Sourcebook, "Accidental Deaths and Injuries", 18 November 2001, updated 13 March 2007 <>

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