Wharfedale & Airedale Observer

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This page contains transcripts of articles and reports published in the Wharfedale & Airedale Observer. The subjects will be varied and specific entries will be linked to from the relevant page in the Wiki. It should be an accurate transcript taken from images of the printed page. Where the image quality is such that there is some doubt as to what it says it will be in italics (apart from whole sections that are in italics to separate it from the normal content) and where a best guess can't be made it will be shown as italic question marks.


About Baildon station

Wharfedale & Airedale Observer - Friday 30 November 1888
 Last Saturday evening, upon the arrival at Baildon Station of the 9.35 train from Ilkley to Bradford, the officials received intimation of an occurrence, the effects of which were not at first known, and which proved to be attended with consequences of a shockingly fatal nature. The victim of the accident was Mr. John Gaunt, aged twenty years, the son of Mr. Isaac Gaunt, of The Grange, Farsley, a fine young man of 6ft 3in. in height, who was returning from a visit to Mr. Tankard, at Menston. He was accompanied by Mr. Joseph Drake, of West Lodge, Bradford, the two gentlemen, who were old acquaintances, having accidentally met at Menston Station. They entered a first-class compartment, and just before the train started Mr. Gaunt drew Mr. Drakes attention to two young ladies who were at that moment passing the windows of the compartment, and who took seats in the compartment immediately behind that in which the two gentlemen were. In answer to a query by Mr. Drake, Mr. Gaunt said that the ladies had been to a concert which he had left a short time previously, and on mentioning their names Mr. Drake said that they were friends of his. Further conversation ensued as the train proceeded towards its destination, and Guiseley had been left behind when Mr. Gaunt expressed a wish to be introduced to the ladies and proposed that he and Mr. Drake should join them as soon as the train stopped at Baildon. Mr. Drake consented to act as mutual friend, but unfortunately his services were not requited. It is said that the ladies playfully tapped the petition separating the compartments, though it since been suggested that the gentlemen fancied they heard a signal of this character. The younger gentleman then took hold of Mr. Drake's walking-stick and keockiod at the window of the ladies' compartment. Afterwards, in view of the introduction, Mr. Gaunt said that be would ascertain whether the young ladies were alone in the compartment, and for this purpose leaned out of the window, the greater part of his body protruding from the carriage. This he repeated twice although warned not to do so by his companion, and on the third occasion the latter saw him suddenly disappear through the window. Mr. Drake was unable to render any assistance or even to stop the train, which, however, shortly afterwards drew up at Baildon Station, where be communicated the circumstance to the official. They at once proceeded up the line, and at a distance of 31 yards from the Esholt end of the tunnel nearest Baildon, and 434 yards from the last named Station, they found the body of Mr. Gaunt in a dreadfully mutilated condition. There was a deep cut across the back of the heed, about 4in. or 5in. long, the base of the skull being badly fractured, and the train had evidently passed over the right leg, because that limb was severely bruised and almost severed below the knee. By the direction of Sergeant Ambler, who arrived on the scene immediately afterwards, with several constables, the body was removed to the Shoulder of Mutton Hotel. A telegram had in the meantime been despatched to Mr. W. H. Ellis, surgeon, of Shipley, whose attendance was, however, unnecessary, death having in all probability, ensued instantaneously, owing to the very serious injury to the head. The sad news was conveyed to the relatives and friends of the young man, and was the cause of general mourning in the district where he resided. The deceased was highly respected in Farsley, where he had busied himself in many good works. At the United Methodist Free Church, in connection with which the deceased had done a great amount of work, special reference was made to the occurrence. The "Dead March" in Saul was played on the organ, and the officiating minister, the Rev. W. Micklethwaite, spoke feelingly of the heavy blow which had fallen upon a highly-respectable family and upon that church. At a special meeting of Sunday-school workers it was resolved that a letter of condolence should be sent to the family, and that a marble tablet should be erected in the Sunday-school to the memory at the deceased.
The Inquest
 On Monday afternoon, the Coroner for the district (Mr. W. Barstow) held an inquiry at the Shoulder of Mutton Hotel, into the circumstances connected with the death of Mr. Gaunt. The evidence was as follows:-
 Mr. Arthur Gaunt, worsted spinner, of Stanningley Hall, said that the deceased was his brother, who assisted in the mill owned by his father. The deceased was twenty years of age, his twenty-first birthday occurring in a fortnight. Witness had seen the body and bad identified it.
 Joseph Drake, of West Lodge, Bradford, who was described as a retired manufacturer, stated that he had been acquainted with the deceased for a number of years. On Saturday, witness was on a visit to a friend at Otley - Dr. Webb. In the evening he was driven to Menston Station by the doctor and there accidentally met the deceased at about half-past nine. Witness was the first to enter the station, the deceased arriving shortly afterwards. In company they took seats in a first-class compartment of the train timed to leave Menston for Bradford at 9.47 pm., the deceased intending to change at the latter place and proceed to Stanningley by the 10.45 pm. Immediately afterwards two ladies passed along the platform and entered the compartment next behind that in which witness and his companion were seated. The deceased remarked that these ladies were present at a concert he had left a short time previously, and in reply to a query by deceased as to who the ladies were the witness said that they were the Misses Reischke, of Bradford; he knew them and their father very well. The train had, in the meantime, left Menston and had also passed Guiseley when the deceased expressed a desire to know the ladies. Witness promised to act as the introducing medium and said that they could join the ladies when the train stepped at Baildon. The deceased said that be would see whether any other persons were in the compartment occupied by the ladies and to effect this purpose leaned out of the window. Witness warned the deceased not to do this and said that if the deceased would be quiet they could change compartments at Baildon and travel with the ladies as far as Manningham where the latter would alight. The deceased said that there was no one on the far side and that he would endeavour to look at the near side. He then twice leaned further out of the window and on the third occasion had the greater pert of his body outside, standing  on one leg and supporting himself by holding the woodwork with be left hand. Really, with the exception of this hand, only his legs remained inside the carriage. The deceased was 6ft. 3in. in height and leaned out as far as he could, facing the rear of the train. Witness was sitting at the far side of the compartment from the open window. Suddenly the legs of the deceased disappeared through the window as if the deceased had been dragged away. Witness rushed to the window and found that the train was passing through a tunnel. He felt for the communication cord , with the object of stopping the train, being under the impression that the deceased had overbalanced himself and had fallen out of the carriage, but as none are provided in the case of short-distance trains he was unable to do anything and waited until Baildon Station was reached. He them communicated with the officials and proceeded with them up the line, the body of the deceased being found in the tunnel. It therefore seemed that the deceased's stature had proved a misfortune to him in this instance for there was no doubt that his head had come into contact with the beginning of the arched masonry of the tunnel.
 The Coroner having complimented Mr. Drake upon the lucid manner in which be had given his evidence, remarked that there was a statement that the ladies had tapped upon the partition, and asked the witness if this statement was correct? - The witness replied that he and the deceased heard — or fancied they heard — a tap on the partition, though it might have been caused by a jolt. The deceased said "It sounds like a tap," and witness concurred with the remark "It does." The deceased then tapped in reply on the window of the next compartment several times. Witness had not mentioned this circumstance in his previews evidence, because the supposed tapping took place prior to the accident, and had really nothing to do with it.
 In answer to a Juror, witness said that the deceased was perfectly sober.
 In reference to the distance from Baildon Station, Sergt. Ambler said that it was the nearest tunnel; and further particulars were given by Mr. W. G. Hawkins, who attended on behalf of the Midland Railway Company. The latter said that the place where the deceased was found was 434 yards from Baildonn Station, and 31 yards within the tunnel from the Esholt end.
 Sergt. Ambler, stationed at Baildon, said that at 10.30 p.m. on Saturday he received information of this occurrence from one of the station officials, and at once proceeded to the spot. He found the body of the deceased lying on the permanent way close to the rails, face downward. The body was between the outer rail and the tunnel wall. The left arm was laid straight, by the side of the body, but the right was raised and bent, as if it had been held up. To all appearances death had been instantaneous. Witness had the body removed on an extemporised stretcher to the Shoulder of Mutton Hotel, and was present when it was examined by Mr. W. H. Ellis. This gentleman said that the injury to the head was calculated to cause instant death. But in addition, the right leg had bees badly injured, evidently by the passage of the train over it, being nearly severed below the bath. This injury was probably caused after death. Witness afterwards examined the entrance to the tunnel, and at the edge of the arched brick-work about 8ft. 6in. from the ground, he found two hairs, and from these judged that this must be the place where the deceased's head was injured.
 Replying to the Coroner, Mr. Hawkins said that it was quite probable that a tall man like the deceased might come into contact with the tunnel in leaning out as described. Mr. Hawkins also said that the body would no doubt fall under the wheels of the carriage and be dragged the distance stated. It was also stated that the upper part of the window sash was broken, probably by the deceased'd fall out of the carriage owing to the injury to his head, and the side window was also broken.
 Mrs. Elizabeth Robinson, of Baildon, who laid out the body, gave evidence as to the injuries. She said there was a wound across the lower portion of the back of the head, about four inches or five inches long, the side of the face being also discoloured. The face was scratched. The leg was nearly severed below the knee.
 The Coroner said that he thought all would regret that such a fatality had occurred. It was very sad and fearful thing that a young man like Mr. Gaunt should be cut down so suddenly, and he was assured that the jury would unite with him in extending their sincere sympathies towards the relatives and friends of the deceased. There could be but one verdict, for it was shown by the evidence that the Railway Company was in no way responsible for the accident. Everything pointed to the fact that the deceased, being a tall man, had so far extended his head that it was struck on entering the tunnel, instantaneous death being the result.
 The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental death."

Friday 08 July 1892 An Extraordinary Death

About Baildon Local Board of Guardians & Death at Kelcliffe due to foul smells.

A Sensational Affair at Baildon
An Extraordinary Death
Alleged Culpability of the Local Board
 There has been quite a sensation at Baildon owing to the death of a resident under what are alleged to be most extraordinary circumstances. Baildon it may be explained is a moorland village, within a mile or two of Shipley. The place is generally a healthy one, as the periodical reports of the Medical Officer show, but there is one part of the district, almost in the very centre of the village, which until latterly, at any rate, has been in a very insanitary condition, that part is Kelcliffe, a ravine formed by the peculiar configuration of the locality and descending from the principal road on the right hand to a depth of some 40 yards. At the bottom is a stream in which sewage and slaughterhouse runnings have long formed a fouling element, and until very recently there have been other objectionable surroundings. In one of the cottages at the bottom of the ravine lived Mrs Margaret Walker, 68 years of age, a widow, and her daughter. For many years she had reason to complain of the defective drainage arrangement of Kelcliffe and her legal representative Mr S. Wright (of the Bradford firm Messrs. Lancaster and Wright), of late years has repeatedly urged the matter upon the local board. As the result a drain was laid down in Kelcliffe about a year ago and complaints to the Local Government Board secured further alterations some months ago, effecting considerable improvement in the condition of Kelcliffe. The ravine is now in a fairly good sanitary state, but if the statements of some authorities are to be believed, the mischief was completed before those long delayed works were taken in hand, and there is a fatality to record as the effect of the delay. Mrs Walker has suffered ill health for some years, as the result, it was feared, of the insanitary surroundings of her drowning, and from which, it is said she could not remove owing to pecuniary disabilities. Three weeks ago her condition became very serious, and on Tuesday week about 6 o’clock in the morning she died. Dr. E. Thornton, of Shipley, who was her medical attendant, gave a certificate of: “Causes of death - primary, blood poisoning (due to foul smells from Kelcliffe); secondary, exhaustion”. This certificate was forwarded to the Local Government Board with a reference to “the apathy and neglect” of the local authority, and a suggestion that “It appears that no adequate remedy will be applied until the members of the Local board are indicted for manslaughter.” The registrar declined to give the customary certificate of burial, and a coroner's inquest became necessary. For that purpose Mr William Barstow, the district coroner, attended at the Bay Horse, Baildon, on Friday afternoon, and opened an enquiry into the circumstances bearing upon Mrs Walker’s decease. By prearrangement, however, owing to the series statement forwarded to him, Mr Barstow only took evidence as to identification, the inquest being then adjourned for a more important investigation.
Resumed inquest. The inquiry was resumed before Mr W Barstow on Wednesday afternoon. The jury was composed of the same gentleman as before, viz, Messrs. J. Trevor (foreman) Wm. Davis, Wm. Tennant, John Pickard, R. Ambler, Wm. Revill, James Shackleton, George Crossley, Sam Halliday, Jos. Hardaker, Joshua Hill, Wm. Park, Thos. W. Holmes and Sam Fieldhouse. Mr Sam Wright (Messrs. Lancaster and Wright) appeared for the relatives of the deceased, and Mr. Booth (Messrs. Wade Bilbrough and Booth) represented the Baildon Local Board. The members of the board present where Messrs. T. M. Holmes (chairman), O’Firth, and the Clark (Mr ward). The first witness called was:- Elizabeth Agnes Watson, wife of Sutcliffe Watson, and daughter of the deceased, Mrs. Walker. Her mother's name, she said, was Margaret Walker; she was the widow of Jonathan Walker. Her age was 68. By the Coroner: She told me she was born on the 23rd of march, 1824. When was it she told you that? - Two or three months ago, as near as I can say. In answer to further questions, witness said that she did not know where her mother was born. she was never heard to say where she came from, but it was either Westmoreland or Cumberland. The Coroner: When did your mother begin to be poorly? When did you call Dr Thornton in? - On the 18th of June, sir, and she died about 6:30 on the 28th of that month. Had she been Eileen before that? - Yes, she had been better and worse for some eight or nine months, or I might say 12. Have you had a doctor to her during those 12-months except Dr Thornton? - No we have not sir. What seemed to be the symptoms? - It was always heavy sickness. What made you call Dr Thornton in? - I thought she was getting considerably worse, and I had done all I could for her. When was she out of doors last? - On the Thursday before she took to her bed, which she did on Friday, the 17th of June. Did she complain of any pain? - No sir. How long have you lived in the house in which she died? - Perhaps 8 or 10-years. Where before that? - At Kelcliffe, but just opposite where we reside now. How long has the deceased lived at Kelcliffe? - Some thirty years; I cannot say exactly. Witness added that about 4 or 6 years ago the deceased was attended by Dr Rutherford for sickness. The Coroner then asked Mr. Wright if he had any questions to ask the witness, but that gentleman said that he very much preferred to hear the doctor's evidence before putting any questions. He might go into a lot of questions which would be immaterial to the point at issue if the deceased's death was not caused by these stinks in Kelcliffe. The Coroner: I and the jury are supposed to know nothing about that. Mr. Wright: Except from the doctor's certificate. It was then arranged to call Dr. Thornton and subsequently recall Mrs. Watson. Dr Thornton was then sworn. He said he saw the deceased three months ago, when he was attending Mrs Watson. The first time he attended her medically, however, was on the 18th of June. On that day he found her in bed. She was suffering from sickness and vomiting, a high temperature, fever, and great prostration. These were the main symptoms at the time. Later on there was delirium. He saw her every day after the 18th of June, and twice on the day of her death. The symptoms increased as time went on, and there was a total inability to retain any food. The prostration gradually grew more marked and she became unable to take food. She gradually died of exhaustion. On the 28th he gave a certificate of death in which he stated that the cause of death primarily was blood poisoning, due to the foul smells in Kelcliffe - secondary, exhaustion. Mr. Wright: Do you still adhere to that statement, Dr? - I do. You certify that blood poisoning was due to foul smells in Kelcliffe. Did you see any cause for these foul smells? - Yes, I saw what apparently was a sewer discharging onto the land in close proximity to the house. Did you trace any smell from your source? - Yes, I went down there. The smell seemed to come from there particularly. By the Coroner: I perceived the smell myself. Mr. Wright: Did the smells proceed from the sewage outlet? - Yes. Were the smells such as you would have expected to proceed from crude sewage? - Yes. How long have you known Kelcliffe before your attendance on Mrs walker? - I had never been down into Kelcliffe before three months ago. Did you see enough to account from Mrs. Walkers death? - Yes, in my opinion. Therefore I may take it that Mrs. walker's death is a death which ought not to have happened and that it is due to preventable causes? - Yes. Can you say whether it was the sewer of the Local Board or not? - No, I cannot. There is a sewer - that is all I know. By the Coroner: I saw the sewer discharging several times, and I perceived smells more than once. Mr. Wright: Is it possible to go to Kelcliffe without perceiving it? The Coroner: I went the other afternoon, and I don't recollect perceiving any. Witness: Of course it is much worse in hot weather, such as we had a little time ago. Mr. Wright: Are the smells referred to in your certificate the smells that proceed from the sewage outlet? - Yes. Mr. Booth: Do I understand you to say positively that the cause of death resulted from smells from this sewer? - The cause of death was blood poisoning. I found no other cause for it but the foul smells there. Might there have been any other cause? - I have found none. Would the sickness caused by foul smells because also liable to be caused by impure water? - Yes. Continuing, Witness said he did not know whether the water used in the house was town’s water. He did not ask about the water supply. Who first called your attention to this sewer? - Myself. Did no one point it out? - No . Did you make any enquiry into the drainage of the house itself? - I did, and did not find any fault with it. Did you attribute these smells to the condition of Kelcliffe? - Yes, I attribute it to the new sewer. Do you know it is a new sewer? - I don't know, but I should imagine so. I don't know when it was made. Have you satisfied yourself really as to the cause of death? - I say it was due to blood poisoning caused by smells from this sewer. That is the most palpable cause. Do you know that it is part of the new system of drainage? - I don't know anything about the Local Board and the drainage. Has it any appearance of being a new one? - Yes, there are signs of recent digging about it. Would you be surprised to hear that this sewer is to be continued? - I am very glad that it is. Mr. Wright facetiously remarked that it was “going to be completed” for the last 40 years. Mr. Booth: Were you on the ground with Mr. Wright, the night before deceased died? - I have never seen Mr Wright before today. Was it anyone from Mr. Wright’s office? - No. Have you been with anyone? - Yes. I was in company with my partner, Dr Jones, of Shipley. Do you know how long the sewer outlet has been there? - No. Mr. Wright: Oh, we can admit that was put down in April last year. In answer to questions relative to the age of the deceased, Witness said that he thought Mrs. Walker was much older than the age given in - probably 75. Mr Booth: There was no post-mortem, was there? - No . Did you make an examination of her lungs? - Yes; they were in fairly normal condition for her age. There was slight congestion caused by laying in bed. Any symptoms of asthma? - No, I saw none. Would a lady of 75 years of age be more susceptible, in consequence of old age, to circumstances of this character and a woman of 68? - Yes. When did you first associate her illness with the drain? - About the 21st of June . Did you address any communication to anyone? - No, I did not. You know a good deal about Shipley and this locality January. Are there not many other places that might be said to be much worse than this? - I cannot say; possibly there may be. Mr. Booth: What do you say about back-to-back houses, within about 3 yards of a privy, in this District? - I should say it is too near; it depends upon the privy. The Coroner: Have you had cases of blood poisoning in Shipley? - Yes. Mr. Booth: Have you indicated in your certificate the cause as you have done here? - No. You have never done so in previous cases? - No. Why not? - I have never felt so confident of the cause as in this case. The Coroner read over the depositions of the witness, and when he came to that part where the doctor expressed his belief that the deceased was 75 years of age, A Juror exclaimed: You may call her 85! The Coroner: Well, we will call you as a witness. (Laughter) Mr. Wright: Is it not a fact that death is caused by blood-poisoning from inhaling bad air? - Yes. Elizabeth Agnes Watson was then recalled. She said the deceased was the owner of 6 cottages in Kelcliffe for her lifetime, and at her death they came to witness. Mr. Wright: For many years most of them have been unoccupied? - Yes. Mr. Booth: Stop a bit. What on earth has that to do with the object of this inquiry? We are not here to inquire into the family history of the property. Mr. Wright said that he was going to show wilful default and neglect on the part of Local Board. If justice where done, the Baildon Local Board ought to be indicted for manslaughter. The Coroner: You cannot do so. Mr. Wright: I'm afraid not, but we could indict some members personally. Witness, resuming, said that they had complained to the Local Board of the smell, and of the filth being thrown there. Coroner: Do you consider that that had anything to do with your mother's death? - The smell is unbearable today, sir. Mr. Wright: And these smells have been continuous? - Yes. Do you remember Mr. George Pollard, medical officer to the Local Board? - He came to visit the deceased. At that time was a complaint made to the Local Board of the stench which had made your mother ill? - Yes. You complained, I think, to the Local Government Board of the default of the Baildon Local Board, and an inquiry has been held? - Yes, 16th of November, 1891. In consequence, has an offensive privy being removed? - Yes. In April of last year did the Local Board give notice of intention to lay a sewer through your land? - Yes. Witness further said there were ventilating holes in the sewer near their property. Mr Wright: That sewer has been laid, and the effects is something dreadful? - It is worse than before. Witness, in answer to further questions, said that in consequences of their complaint to the Local Board respecting the smell from the man-hole near their house, the Local Board took up one grate, and replaced it with another. She observed slaughterhouse blood in the beck on the 6th of April. Mr. Wright then put in the following letter which should be forwarded by the Clerk to Local Board to Messrs. Lancaster and Wright:-
7th of October 1891 Kelcliffe Gentleman, referring to your letter of the 19th ult., I am directed to state in reply that there are very few houses above Kelcliffe that have not been drained into the sewer, that it is impossible to detect sewage in the stream. We have a staff of men that have done nothing else for weeks but disconnect the drainage from the beck, putting that into the sewer. As for the grate over manhole, near Mrs. Walker’s, that has been removed, and a solid one 1 substituted. There will be no drainage whatever going into the beck in a fortnight's time should the weather be favourable for outdoor work. - Yours truly, J H Ward, Clerk. Messrs. Lancaster and Wright, Solicitors, Bradford.
Mr. Wright: Does the sewage and blood still flow down the back? - The last time I saw the blood was on the 6th of April, 1892. Six months after October, ‘91? - Yes. Is the sewage still coming down the beck? - On Monday, and yesterday too, I saw a quantity of sewage. Have the stenches been better or worse since this sewer was made? - Worse. Your complaints have been constant, I think? - They have. Mr. Booth: Do you complain of the condition of the beck today? - Yes, I do. What has the condition of your health been? - I don't feel well today. Are you never well? - I have not been well for years. Mr. Booth, in further examination of the witness, elicited the fact that the deceased had a sister named Agnes, who she believed to be younger than her mother. Whom did your Aunt Agnes marry? - A man named Knipe, I think. Mr. Wright: What does it matter to anybody what the age of the deceased was? The coroner: To you or me it does not matter whether she was 68 or 608. The Coroner proceeded to explain, however, that under the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, the jury were bound to inquire into the age of the deceased. It was very important that the proper age should be inserted in the registers of the country, or otherwise much mischief might be done in point of statistics. Mr. Wright concurred that it was necessary from that point of view. Mr. Booth then put in the marriage certificate of the deceased sister Agnes. Marriage took place in 1844, and at that time Agnes was 23 years of age; consequently, she would now, if living, have been 71 years page. Mr. Wright contended that the marriage certificate could only be admitted as evidence Mr. and Mrs. Knipe having been married. Mr. Booth: Who was it that informed Dr Thornton of your mother's age? - I did. How did you arrive at it? - From what the deceased told me herself. And she never told you where she came from? - Never. And never went back to her native place to see her friends? - Not to my knowledge. The Coroner remarked that it was not often that people did not know where tbeir parents were born. Mr. Booth: I know where mine were born. Mr. Wright: I don’t. (Laughter) Where did you get your water supply from? -The well, from below the junction. Is it a public well? — The public come to it. Have you ever heard any complaints as to the condition of the water? - I don't find any fault with it and shall be satisfied to go on using it. Further examined, she said that at the inquiry held by the Local Government Inspector she said that her mother's age was 70, but when she went home and told her mother what she had said, her mother said that she had said two years too much. Mr. Wright: In consequence of what she then told you, you put her age now at 68. - Yes. Dr. Macvie (medical officer for health for the Baildon district) said that up to nine months ago he was at Mrs. Watson’s house frequently, and he had seen the deceased every day for a fortnight. He thought the deceased would be between seventy and eighty years of age. When he saw Mrs. Walker she was in a very feeble state of health. He had never attended a patient in Kelcliffe whose illness he attributed to the condition of that place. He had attended patients in nearly every house in Kelcliffe. He thought that Kelcliffe was at the present time in a fairly satisfactory sanitary condition. The witness was about to answer a question with reference to the proposals of the Local Board as to carrying forward the new sewer in Kelcliffe, when Mr. Wright said be must object. Mr. Booth: Do you admit the intention, then, of the Local Board to carry the sewer through? Mr. Wright: Yes, when the millennium comes. In answer to Mr. Booth, witness said that he had been asked to make a private report respecting Kelcliffe, but had said that he would not undertake to write a report for any individual ratepayer. On one occasion Mrs. Watson promised to take a bottle of medicine for herself, and a bottle medicine for the deceased if he would write one. Mr. Booth: Very properly so, too doctor. Mr. Wright: Will you undertake to swear that Mrs. Walker was more than 68? —The witness said that judging from appearances be took her to be older than that. But are not appearances deceptive? For instance what would you take my age to be? - Between forty and fifty — forty-five. Then you are five years wrong, my dear sir. The Witness, in reply to Mr. Wright, stated that he had known Kelcliffe for six years, and at one time he described it as a "gigantic open sewer." It was not in the same condition now, and did not contain more than a fraction of its original objectionable characteristics. Mr. Wright: Does not the place in warm weather stink abominably? - No. Are you prepared to say that Mrs. Walker did not die by the cause stated by Dr. Thornton?— I am not in a position to say that she did not; but I cannot believe that she did. It is beyond my experience altogether that such thing could happen. I believe it is impossible. The Witness, by permission, made a statement to the effect that had attended many confinements in houses in Kelcliffe, and there had never been an hour's drawback in the convalescence of any of those patients. He said that it was an extraordinary thing after that to ask him to believe that a woman who had lived to the age of seventy years in that place should, after the smells had been reduced to be scarcely perceptible, have died from foul smells. Dr. Macvie further stated that about eight months ago, during his absence from Baildon, a Shipley doctor was called in to see a child he had been attending and on the child dying he gave a certificate that death was due to enteritis. That was about eight months ago. Mr. Wright: How does that prove the state of this sewer in June? The witness: It shows the anxiety to get a certificate that death was due to bad smells. It is rumoured in Baildon that the woman died of the same complaint as the child, and that I refused to give a certificate. John Bolton, joiner, who said his age was 73 years, but under cross-examination seemed to be doubtful on the point, gave some evidence with regard to the age of the deceased. He said that the deceased came with her family to Baildon about 50 years ago and she must then, from her appearance, be about 25 years of age. The Coroner, in summing up, pointed out that there were three courses open to the jury; either to return a verdict in accordance with Dr Thornton's certificate; or to find that the deceased died from blood poisoning, but that there was not sufficient evidence to prove what had caused the blood poisoning; or to give a verdict simply of death from natural causes. The jury after consulting in private for an hour and a quarter returned a verdict that Margaret Walker died from blood poisoning and exhaustion but there is no evidence to show to the jurors to what the blood poisoning was due. As to the age of the deceased, the jury are of opinion that probably she was about 75 years of age.


About Baildon station

Wharfedale & Airedale Observer - Friday 23 October 1896
Baildon District Council
At a meeting of this committee a letter was read from the general manager of the Midland Railway Co., with reference to the provision of a footbridge at the Baildon Station, in which he states that he will give the matter consideration.
 Mr. Padgett said the Council should spare no effort in the matter of getting the level crossings done away with at the station. Trains were timed arrive just about the same time others were leaving, and the danger was thereby greatly increased. The Clerk suggested that if something was not done before long the Member of Parliament for the Division should be asked to use his influence in the matter in the same way as the member for Shipley had done in reference the platforms Saltaire Station.
  Mr. Robinson said there was not more dangerous station in Yorkshire.


About Baildon station

Wharfedale & Airedale Observer - Thursday 24 December 1896
 Joseph Jackson, seventeen years of age, son of John Jackson, farmer, of Moorside Farm, Baildon, met with a shocking death at Baildon Railway station on Tuesday morning, being knocked down and killed an express train while he was attempting reach the south side of the station by the level crossing nearest Shipley. Jackson was employed as a clerk in Leeds Road, Bradford, and in accordance with his usual custom left home shortly before eight o’clock on Tuesday morning for the purpose of travelling to Bradford by the train leaving Baildon at 8.27 a.m. About fifteen minutes earlier than this train the 7.50 express from Ilkley passes through Baildon Station, and it was by this express train that Jackson was killed. It is conjectured that Jackson, being unknowingly a little early for his usual train, mistook the express for the slow train, and hurried across the metals to get to the opposite platform in time, as he thought, for his train. Unhappily he was caught by the left-hand buffer of the engine, carried a distance 25yds. run over, and literally cut in two. His right leg and right arm were completely severed from the body and his head was cut open. Charles Scorbey, the signalman on duty at the box about a hundred and twenty yards away from the level crossing in the direction Shipley, states that he saw Jackson approaching the crossing as the express was coming up. At first he thought that the young fellow had got safely across, but as soon as the train had passed he found that was not so. He accordingly rang bis bell violently, and alarmed the stationmaster, Mr. E. Hardy, who ran out of his office, where he had been booking some passengers for the 8.27 train, to see what was the matter. The remains of the unfortunate young man were removed at once to the station buildings, and Dr. Macvie was summoned, but, of course, could do no more than pronounce life extinct. At the request of the relatives, the remains were afterwards removed to the father's house. When Jackson was about eleven months old he had three fingers nearly cut off, and the large quantity of blood which he lust in consequence resulted in paralysis of the right leg, of which limb has never had the full use since.
 The dangerous character of the level crossings at Baildon station has many times been commented upon in these columns, and various efforts have been made by the passengers themselves to induce the Railway Company to erect a footbridge or construct a subway. A year two ago, a public meeting was held in the Mechanics’ Institute, at which it was resolved to send a memorial to the directors the the Company. The memorial was sent, but nothing came of it. The District Council took up the matter a few months ago, but the only satisfaction (?) they were able get from the Company was that the application for some safer means of crossing would be considered. After Tuesday morning’s fatality the Midland Railway Company will surely be able to terminate their "consideration" of the matter, and at once take steps to dispense with the level crossings, which, as have before pointed out, are exceedingly more dangerous than usual at Baildon. The trains approaching Baildon station from Esholt come through a cutting and down a steady decline. The drivers are accordingly able to shut off steam, and passengers descending the steep slope leading to the station from Baildon proper usually cannot hear train until it actually comes into the station. The train cannot be seen approaching, as the station buildings are directly between the passengers and the mouth of the cutting, through which the train emerges directly into the station. On the right-hand side of the slope just mentioned is small siding, known as the cattle dock, and season-ticket holders, not needing to book, are accustomed to walk across the end of this dock, which brings them in line with the level-crossing. It was by this route that Jackson went on Tuesday morning, and the engine-driver would not see him in time to do anything to avert the accident. It is stated that he sounded a warning whistle before entering the station, and Signalman Scorbey says he was apparently sounding it again the accident happened.

Thursday 24 December 1896 Whispers BAILDON STATION

About Baildon station

Wharfedale & Airedale Observer - Thursday 24 December 1896
 There will soon be a foot-bridge or subway at Baildon Station now. The Press and the public have pleaded with the Company for years past to provide means for crossing from one platform to another without running the risk of being run down and cut to pieces. I have previously pointed out that when a human life had been sacrificed this would done, and now that that eventuality has happened - as it was bound to happen sooner or later - the Company will doubtless be forced to the conclusion that the appeals which have been made for a bridge or subway have arisen from something more than a fad. Only a few weeks ago I spoke of the level crossings as "deathtraps". There have been several narrow escapes in the past, and now there is the melancholy fact that, in spite of all warnings, the level crossings have been allowed to remain until a victim has been claimed.