Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Accidents from the 18th Century

Here are some reports of accidents from the 18th century. This is about the time that newspapers started to publish and therefore these stories are a matter of record.

This first accident describes the accidental death of a woman who was riding on one of the horses pulling the coach. This was a common enough practice; in order to take more passengers, people were placed on top of the coach and a light person, such as a woman, could be placed on one of the leading horses. The report doesn't say why she fell off but it was not uncommon for people to fall asleep on a tiring journey - and this is where the term "drop off" to sleep originates.

On Monday last a young woman on a journey from St. Albans to Cheshire, to see her mother, who was ill, riding a horse belonging to a stage-waggon, fell backward off the horse, between Fenny and Stony Stratford, and the wheels of the wagon running over her, killed her on the spot.
Derby Mercury 1st November 1754
Here is a similar story, with an equally tragic outcome.
Wednesday night was buried one of the outside passengers who fell off one of the early stages that went through the town the preceding morning, and at day break was found dead with his skull fractured; the coachman he went with did not miss him until he came from the next stage, by whom we hear that he was a half pay officer and lived at Stony Stratford.  Stamford Mercury 8th May 1766

And to show that sink holes are not new.
On Thursday last some men digging in a stone-pit, in Whittlebury forest in Northamptonshire, the ground fell in, whereby one was killed and the others much bruised.

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