Reports of Inquests held at the Workhouse and Hospital.

It is not suprising, considering the ages and general health of the inmates/ inhabitants of the Workhouse and later on St.Mary’s Hospital, that there were a lot of deaths. Inquests were conducted by a District Coroner when it was thought that the circumstances of a death warranted a public examination. Some inquests required a jury on which occasions a foreman was elected. The procedure followed a general pattern and someone, usually a close relative, was always asked to give evidence of identification. The witnesses were normally the nurses and the Medical Officer at the hospital who had diagnosed the cause/causes of death and invariably the verdict given was in line with the medical evidence. 

In November 1882 an inquest was held at the Clothiers on the body of Edward McArdley, 62, a paper stainer, who died in the Workhouse on November 14. The coroner was Mr.Barstow. It appeared that Henry Mitchell, a mechanic, was going down Marsh Lane when he found the deceased in a very weak state. He told people who lived nearby and they attended to him until he was removed to the Workhouse by PC Battle. The deceased did not rally and died the same day in the presence of Mrs. Hinchliffe, the matron. The jury found the deceased had died of natural causes, accelerated by want of food, and exposure to the cold. 

At the end of 1910 an inquest was held into the death of Martha Hoyle, aged 67 years. She had been admitted to the Workhouse in 1893 and was classed as a harmless lunatic. She was well nourished with no signs of violence and was adjudged to have died of pneumonia.

The next record I could find was In April 1911 when the District Coroner, E.Hill, held an inquest at Deanhouse into the death of Sarah Gledhill, 80 years, who had died at the institution. She was a hawker who used to travel the district with a man known as George the Grinder. Mary Hughes, the night nurse, said Sarah had gone into the lavatory to wash and had slipped and fell forward. She was attended by Dr. Smalles who found that her right thigh was broken at the hip joint. The jury returned a verdict that her death was due to old age accelerated by the fracture.

In November 1912 an inquest had been held into the death of Mrs. Mary Broadhead, aged 93 years, at the Workhouse. She was poorly and on getting out of bed had fallen on the floor and broken her leg. The jury returned the verdict that death was due to old age accelerated by the fracture of her thigh.

An inquest was held in April 1919  into the death of J.W.Berry an aged inmate who had passed away after a seizure. He was an epileptic and was injured in a previous seizure in February.He was born in 1840 and admitted in 1898. Various members of staff and Dr. Smalles gave evidence and the verdict was given as death from natural causes.

An inquest was held in October 1923 into the death at the Institute of Elizabeth Sykes ( 50 years ) who had died suddenly. Mr.Beavis stated that the deceased, from the Lockwood district,  was a single woman who had been very ill when she  was admitted in June. Dr.Smailes said the woman had been bed- ridden and at his post mortem he had found a tumour on the brain which had brought about her death, A verdict of death by natural causes was returned, Another death occured in July 1924 when Martha Armitage, an unmarried woman, was admitted to the Institution on July 15th. and died a few days later apparently due to senile decay. The death was reported to the District Coroner who deemed that an inquest was unnecessary.

In October 1926 an inquest was conducted by the District Coroner, Mr.E.Norris into the death of an inmate, Harry Grange ( 30 years ), who died suddenly in the grounds. His mother, Mrs. Ellen Grange of Slaithwaite, said that he had been subject to fits since he was 6 years old. Charles Newell, head attendant, and F.Earnshaw, attendant, both gave evidence. Dr. W. Smailes, the Medical Officer of the Institution, said the deceased was an epilectic and that, on post-mortem, he found the epilepsy was the cause of death. The Coroner recorded a verdict that death was due to epilectic convulsions.

Mr. Norris, the District Coroner, conducted an inquest  in July 1927 on the body of Joe Morgan, aged 54 years, of Cross Road, Huddersfield who had died at the Institution. A few weeks previously he had jumped out of a window on a visit home but was not injured and was released from Huddersfield Infirmary after a day. He returned to the Institution and the male attendant said that death took place at 5.15 pm on the Sunday. The doctor said he had seen the deceased and said he was suffereing from valvular disease of the heart. The jury decided that death was due to valvular disease of the heart and was accelerated by the fall.They also agreed that the fall was his own act.

Two months later there was another inquest held at the Workhouse relating to the death of Ben Haigh, an aged inmate of the Instution. Mr. E.Norris was the Coroner and Mr.Settle was chosen as foreman of the jury. Prior to entering the Institution, Ben had been a casual porter and had been in the Workhouse for 3 years. Fred Taylor, his grand-nephew, said he had visited his grand-uncle the previous week and he had looked ill. He said he had been told he had broken his arm some time ago. Herbert Sykes, a male attendant, said the deceased had broken his arm about six months previously. On this occasion  he apparently had been standing by a table, the floor was slippery and he fell although  he was wearing boots. Sykes was in the dormitory and was called immediately and picked Ben Haigh up. He added thar he had seen the deceased numerous times on the Tuesday morning and he was obviously very ill. He died in the presence of witnesses. Dr. Smailes said the deceased was admitted to the Institution in 1924 and that after his admission he was certified, he stated that the broken arm had healed but was somewhat deformed and that he also had a club foot. He said that death was due to a softened brain and in his opinion the fall had nothing to do with his death. The verdict was death due to natural causes.

An inquest was held in January 1928 into the apparent suicide of Hildred Shaw , 18 years old. He was a patient at the Institution  and his body was recovered from the service reservoir adjoining the main block. The coroner was Mr.E.Norris and there was a jury. The boy’s father said that five years ago his son began to be afflicted with sleepy sickness and in November 1927 was taken to Crosland Moor Institution and brought to Deanhouse in November 1928. Various witnesses including Stanley Stoke, an attendant, and Willie Castle, a gardener’s labourer, were questioned. Dr. Smailes said that the sickness made any patient almost an imbecile and affected him mentally and physically. The jury returned a verdict to the effect that the deceased had drowned himself while of unsound mind and while suffering from sleepy sickness.

Mr.E.Norris conducted an inquest in November 1931 sitting with a jury with Mr.J.R.Ellis as foreman. Emma Lingard ( 73 ) a married woman and inmate fell down in the ward cutting her head and dying a few days later. Giving evidence, Mrs.Mary Sykes said the deceased was her mother and had been feeble for some time and had had falls on many occasions. Dr. Smailes said that Mrs. Lindgard had sustained a scalp wound as a result of the fall but he considered the death was due to softening of the brain. A verdict of death due to natural causes was returned.

At the beginning of 1935 an inquest was held at St.Mary’s Hospital on the death of an inmate, Sophia Hallas aged 84 years from falling  down a flight of stone steps. Formal identification was given by her son, Arthur Hallas of Newsome, who said he was very satisfied by the treatment his mother had received at the hospital. When his mother was at home she had frequent falls.Dora Marsh, a nurse, said Sophia had fallen about 4.50 just after she had had tea in the day room. She heard a cry and rushed to the bottom of the steps where she found her laying on her right side and unconscious. The flight consisted of 10 steps. With the assistance of another nurse she carried the woman into a ward and went for the sister. Dr.T. Samailes said he saw the deceased and she was unconscious and suffering from concussion. There were no signs of fracture and she recovered consciousness two days later but as she was suffering from senile degeneration she was never sensible afterwards and died after a further two days. The jury returned a verdict of death due to heart failure and concussion following a fall.

In January 1937 Mr.T.Norris, the District Coroner, opened an inquest at St.Mary’s Hospital into the death in the hospital of Cornelius Kennedy, aged 64 years, a journeyman and stonemason of Linthwaite. Evidence was given by his son who said his father had been ill on and off for 4-5 years and he added that his father had been examined on three occasions by the Silicosis Medical Board. The inquest was adjourned. When it resumed Dr. Denton Guest a pathologist at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary who made the post-mortem examination, said that death was due to tubercolosis but it was likely silicosis was a contributory cause. The verdict was returned that death was due to tubercolosis and silicosis accidently contracted at his work.

4 Inquests were held in 1947 at Deanhouse Hospital  into deaths of patients. The first was in January and concerned Miss Eva Daniels, 77 years, who had been left in a hot bath prior to treatment for a skin disease and had been found dead by a nurse. Mr.E.W.Norris was the District Coroner. Her brother, Alfred Daniels of Saddleworth, gave evidence of identification. Eva had lived with him but had been admitted to the hospital. Nurse C.Bray said she had put the deceased into a hot bath at about 12.45 and had left her to “soak ” for about 15 minutes prior to treatment for a skin disease which necessitated the soaking. At 1pm she said she was fetched by another nurse, Mary Lucas, who had found the patient dead. The Coroner called on Nurse Lucas to give evidence. Speaking in a quiet voice she answered the question but the Coroner was unable to hear her.After he had asked further questions he was still unable to hear her and dismissed her in favour of  Sister Edith Broadbent. She said that when she arrived Miss Daniels had been lifted out of the bath and Nurse Bray was applying artificial respiration. After calling for the doctor and the Home Sister she gave the deceased an injection of one sixtieth of strychnine but there was no response. Dr. John Lubran, Medical officer for the hospital, made a post-mortem and in his opinion death was due to myocardial degeneration and atheroma of the mitral valve. He stated that there was no evidence of drowning although he had looked specifically for any such evidence. The recorded verdict was that death was due to natural causes.

The next inquest was in April with the District Coroner, Mr.E.Norris, investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of Miss Ada Hanson, a patient at the hospital. Evidence of identification was given by Miss Clara Pearson, her niece. Ada was 77 years old and had lived in Marsden and was formerly a burler and mender. She had been a patient at various local hospitals. She had fallen from her chair at home and witnesses had lifted her onto a sofa. Dr.Wallace was called and he ordered her removal to the Infirmary straightaway as  she had had a seizure and a number of falls. Mrs. Eleanor Ivy Pugh said Miss Hansen had died in her presence. Medical evidence was given by Dr. John Lublan of Honley who stated that the deceased had been admitted to the hospital on March 20 suffering from a fractureof her femur. Her heart was very bad and he was mentally confused and in his opinion death was caused by myocardial degeneration accelerated by the injury. A verdict that death was due to the above causes was recorded.

The next inquest was the following month with E.Norris the District Coroner. It concerned Miss Elizabeth Barker, 78, formerly of Todmorden who died at the hospital. Evidence of identification was given by Miss Mary Smith of Todmorden who said that, about three weeks before the deceased was taken to hospital on March 28, she had been in the habit of sitting in a chair in front of a gas fire. Nurse E. Lenderyew said Miss Barker died in her presence on April 30. Dr.John Lublan said that when the deceased was admitted to hospital her heart and circulation were in poor condition and she had scalds on the front of both shins. The Coroner recorded death by natural causes.

The final inquest of the year was in July and concerned the death of Mrs. Alice Hobson of Lepton who died at the hospital. Mr.E.Norris was the District Coroner. Evidence of identification was given by James Hobson, a male nurse, who said his mother was 82 and had been blind for about 2 years. She was hard of hearing but not deaf. On May 23rd. she had had a fall on the stairs coming from her bathroom and she was attended by Dr. Paterson. About 5 weeks later she was taken to hospital and was pleased to go. Nurse Margaret Ball said that Mrs. Hobson died in her presence on August 12. Dr. John Lublan of Honley said the deceased was admitted to hospital on June 20 and she  was suffering from blindness, deafness, myocardial degeneration, a fractured left wrist,vancrose eczema and a rodent ulna near the left eye. In the doctor’s opinion, death was due to myocardial degeneration due to old age and the coroner gave this as the recorded verdict.

The first inquest of 1948 was in January and, as the District Coroner Mr.E.W.Norris had died earlier in the month, it was conducted by Mr.A.C.Ackroyd, the Deputy Coroner. Miss Ada Jobson, 76, a retired power-loom weaver of Skelmanthorpe had died in the hospital.  A nephew said that until recently his aunt had been in good health but in December she had been climbing onto a buffet and holding on to a chair when the chair slipped and she fell hurting her arm and leg. After being seen by a doctor she was taken to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary for an X-ray which showed she had a fractured arm. After having her arm bound she was taken home but removed to Deanhouse Hospital in January where she died. Dr. John Lublan, the medical officer, said in his opinion death was due to cerebral thrombosis from arteriosclerosis accelerated by the fracture of her arm. The Deputy Coroner recorded a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence.

The next inquest was in April . A verdict that death was due to carcinoma of the liver accelerated by carcinoma of the bladder was returned  by the jury on Jack Woodhead of Linthwaite who died in the hospital on March 25. The enquiry was conducted by the acting Coroner, Mr. A.C.Ackroyd and W.E.Batley was elected foreman of the jury. Also present at the inquest were Miss Forest, H.M. Inspectorate of Factories, Miss Atkinson representing the relatives and J.D. Eaton Smith who represented ICI Ltd. Huddersfield.

The Acting District Coroner, Mr. A.C.Akeroyd,  conducted an inquest in May on Mrs. Emma Barker who died in the hospital. Evidence of identification was given by Mrs. Annie Barker her daughter-in-law who said Emma was 82 and in fairly good health but only had one leg. On March 18 the deceased told the witness that she had fallen off the bottom step of the stairs. Dr.Hubbard was sent for and the deceased was kept in bed until removal to Deanhouse suffering from cerebral thrombosis.She did not make any progress and died 10 days later. The recorded verdict was that the deceased died from hypostatic pneumonia due to confinement  owing to injuries sustained by an accidental fall.

The new District Coroner , Mr. M.G. Billington, conducted his first inquest at the hospital in June. It concerned Mrs.Ann Roberts of Dobcross who died at the hospital. Evidence of identification was given by Eber Longley, the brother in law of the deceased, who said Mrs. Roberts was 84 and lived with him in Dobcross. He said he found her lying on the floor in her bed-sitting room complaining about her leg hurting. The doctor came  and Mrs. Roberts was admitted to the Institution on May 13. The patient was deaf and could not give her history as she was mentally confused and restless. An X-ray revealed a fracture of the right femur and she also suffered from arteriosclerosis and a weak heart. She progressed quite favourably until June 14 when she had a cerebral  thrombosis . The doctor said in his opinion the cause of death was due to arteriosclerosis accelerated by the fracture of the femur. A verdict of accidental death in accordance with medical evidence was returned.

In July the Deputy Coroner, Mr.H.Whitely, held an inquest  into the circumstances surrounding the death of James Dawson of Netherton. He was 83 and formerly a woolen fettler. About 6pm on July 13th. he was standing in front of his house taking a newspaper from a boy. He turned round to go back into the house and slipped. Witnesses saw him fall but he was not unconscious. His daughter got him into the house and Dr. Smailes of Honley was called for. Two days later he was removed to Deanhouse Hospital. His daughter was present when he died on July 22. Dr. John Lublan, the medical officer at the hospital, said the deceased had been suffering from a fractured femur and arteriosclerosis due to senility and in his opinion this was the cause of his death. A verdict of natural causes was recorded.

There was another inquest in September on Annie Halstead , 59 years, by the District Coroner, Mr.G.Billington. Dr.John Lublan said Annie had been admitted to the hospital suffering from a scald on her right foot, severe arthritis in both hips and degeneration of the heart muscle. Her wound healed completely but her general condition became worse and she also failed mentally. In his opinion death was due to myocardial degeneration. The Coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death.

The next inquest was in held in October saw yet another inquest into the death of Gertrude Leigh ,75, a spinster of Leeds. The Coroner was Mr. G.Billington. Evidence of identification was given by her sister who said the deceased had been a patient at the hospital for 4 or 5 years. Assistant Nurse Elsie Parker said the deceased had been suffering from senility and blindness ever since she had been admitted but she was allowed to get out of bed to go to the toilet. On September 6th. she heard a commotion and found Miss Leigh laying on the floor with her head on two steps at the entrance to the toilet. Dr.John Lublan had attended the deceased since her admission to the hospital and stated that after her  fall she was bruised and complained of a pain in her left hip. She developed bronchitis a week later and when that cleared up her heart began to fail and continued to fail. She died from miocardial degeneration caused by senility. A verdict of accidental death was recorded. The Coroner asked if the floor had been polished and the doctor said it was not polished where the woman fell.

The last inquest for the year was in November. It was held  by the District Coroner, Mr.G.Billington, into the death of Miss Harriet Moseley, 77, of Honley who died in the hospital. Her sister, Clara Moseley, said she had been bed-ridden for 12 years at home and in August had fallen out of bed and complained that her arm was hurting and Dr.Smailes was sent for. After a fortnight she was removed to the hospital. The witness added that her sister had never had bed sores in the 12 years she had spent in bed. Dr. John Lublan said the deceased was admitted to hospital on 26th. August and had extensive bruising down her left arm. He diagnosed a fracture of the neck of the humerus and found she had signs of cerebral softening. Her general conditioned deteriorated , her heart became weaker and she died from miocardial degeneration due to general arteriosclerosis. The verdict was Death by Misadventure.

Death occured in the hospital on December 24 1955 of Mr.John Shaw of Denby Dale who had been suffering from the effects of gunshot wounds received in the 1914-18 war and had been in and out of hospitals ever since. At an inquest held in Halifax and a verdict of ” Death from Natural Causes ” was recorded.

Mrs. Ann Mallinson of 17 Outlane died in Huddersfield Infirmary and an inquest was held in May 1956 under the Borough Coroner, Mr.S.Lister.He was told that Mrs.Mallinson who was 83 fell whilst hanging clothes out in April.She was taken to Holme Valley Hospital and later to huddersfiedl Royal Infirmary. Dr.Abdul Hafiz said she received a fractured thigh in the fall. Death was due to hypostatic pneumonia due to recumbency om account of the fractured thigh. A verdict in accordance with the medical evidence was recorded.

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