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Related links: Pat Holland's introduction | The Dewhirst genealogy with images
Jimmy Dewhirst – died 1860 in Salts Mill accident

Research by Roger Clarke

Pat Holland from Halifax contacted me, via the website, for help, writes Roger Clarke. She told me that her great great grandparents lived in Saltaire from 1855/60 to the early 1900’s. Pat had Census details of their addresses in the Village. She knew that the family originated in Hebden Bridge, where Jimmy Dewhirst was born in 1810. He was a clogger and the local constable and he came to Saltaire to work in the Mill as a gas fitter. Tragically, he died in a horrible accident when his coat was caught in the cogwheels of a machine. He’s buried at St Paul’s Church. Jimmy and his wife, Rhoda, lived at 19, Titus Street.

MORE: Dewhirst Genealogy: family history, where they were living, their occupation and Pat Holland's recollections >

Pat asked me to find out more about his death. I researched the newspapers of the time and came up with this:-

Bradford Observer, December, 1860
“On Saturday, an inquest was held by Mr G Dyson, coroner, at the Ring of Bells, Shipley, on the body of James Dewhirst, aged 50, who met his death at the new dyehouse at Saltaire. It appeared by the evidence that the deceased was assisting to fit up the gas pipes, and had lost his hammer in the forenoon. Shortly before 2, he descended a ladder that was placed against a shaft, near to the bevil wheels. His clothes were caught in the cogs of the wheels, and he was drawn into their iron grasp. It is needless to say that his death was instantaneous.
No blame is attached to anyone but the unfortunate deceased. The jury returned a verdict of “accidental death”.
Mr Salt, with his usual liberality, is allowing the widow of the deceased 10/- per week until the youngest child (now 8) is 13 years of age, and after that time she is to be allowed 6/- for so long as she resides in Saltaire. This is not the only instance of Mr Salt’s liberality in this direction. Another widow named Pellington, whose husband was killed in a fall in the engine house last July is allowed 4/- a week and a house”.

Remembering that average wages for a spinner or weaver at this time were between 15/- and £1 per week, these allowances were very generous.

Dewhirst genealogy and images

Pat also emailed a number of family photos from the turn of the Century, including a posed shot of female family members on a motor bike and sidecar on Blackpool Pleasure Beach in 1926, and one of the interior of a workshop (thought to be in the Mill).
She also recollects how two of her children were in the Wibsey Brass and Reed Marching Band which performed as part of the Opera North version of West Side Story in the Mill, shortly after Jonathan took over. They played trombone and cornet.
Dewhirst genealogy and images >

Roger Clarke
February 2007



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