Monday, 22 March 2021

Victorian fun and horror

Even more newspaper enjoyment. Apologies for my laziness. I've had other stuff I've needed to get on with this week.

This one could have been written yesterday, sadly. A beautiful piece of ecological wishful thinking.

"Our Sea Fisheries.—Some curious evidence was given on Monday before the select committee on the sea coast fisheries of Ireland, by Professor Huxley, with reference the habits of the fish on the coasts of the United Kingdom. The learned professor asserted that, with the exception of the spawn of herring and cod, naturalists were in absolute ignorance with reference to the manner in which deep sea fish deposited their spawn, and in what localities it was to be found. He stated that he had visited, in common with the other royal commissioners who held their inquiry two years ago, every station of importance in England, Scotland, and Ireland, and that the evidence with regard to the damage done to the spawn of fish by trawlers was most conflicting and unreliable. His own experience was that spawn was not taken up by dredging the bottom of the sea, as he had himself searched for it in vain. He was in favour of absolute free trade in fishing, and he believed that all the dexterity of men in capturing fish had no appreciable effect upon diminishing the quantity in the sea, and that millions of fish were devoured by other fish. The learned professor added that he did not believe that a bay or estuary could be trawled out, and instanced the case of a bay which had been trawled for 80 years, and in which fish of all sort were as abundant as ever."
Bridlington Free Press - Saturday 06 July 1867, page 3.

I love the argument that millions of fish ate each other so it was OK to trawl the seas as much as you liked.

Next, an horrific industrial accident.

"Man Decapitated—On Monday afternoon Wm. Brown, engine tenter, in the service of Messrs. Davy Brothers, Blast-lane, Sheffield, engineers had his head cut off whilst at work. The workmen were erecting a pair of shears, and the deceased was taking part in the operation They had placed a cylinder on the top of the shears, and whilst the remainder of the work was proceeding the cylinder fell. Brown was a stooping position at the moment, and the cylinder caught him on the back of the neck, cutting right through, and leaving his head hanging by mere shred. Death, of course, was instantaneous."
Bridlington Free Press - Saturday 06 July 1867, page 3.

Effectively guillotined. At least it would have been quick.

Finally, an article with a beer connection. Though not a particularly happy one:

"Horrible Death.—An inquest was held at Minsteed, Hants, on Tuesday, on the body of Alfred Peckham, aged 34 years. It appeared that the deceased had been drinking at the Compton Arms, at Stoney Cross, and on leaving proceeded to an adjoining stable to sleep. He was smoking at the time, and it is supposed that the place took fire from the ashes his pipe, for it was in blaze by eleven o’clock, and about midnight some men who were engaged in extinguishing the flames discovered in the loft the body of Peckham, a charred and blackened mass. A verdict of Accidental death from burning was recorded."
Bridlington Free Press - Saturday 06 July 1867, page 3.

Smoking in bed is a bad idea at the best of times. More so if your bed is made of straw. 

The Compton Arms is now a Travelodge.

1 comment:

Michael Foster said...

I assume Thomas Henry Huxley was said professor, the grandfather of Aldus Huxley Also less interestingly for most people (but not for me), one of Thomas Huxley's most famous students shares my name, and was a prominent physician of his day.