Fatal Fall from a Wagonette – Conisborough Glassblowers Tragic Death

November 1906

Mexborough and Swinton Times November 3, 1906

Fatal Fall from a Wagonette
Conisborough Glassblowers Tragic Death

The death under somewhat curious and certainly tragic circumstances, of a new Conisborough glass blower, was the subject of an inquest by Mr F. E. Nicholson, district coroner for Doncaster, at the Denaby Main Hotel. Deceased, who was 42 years of age, and is named Zackariah Grindle, had on the previous Sunday formed one of a driving party, and having inbibed too deeply for the entire preservation of his balance, had later in the evening fallen from the box seat of the bus, the result, as was subsequently proved, being fatal.

Evidence as to the identification was given by the wife of the unfortunate man, Ann Grindle, stating that he had left the house at 2-30 to drive in in a wagonette with some friends to hit Hickleton, the object being to attend a “christening party.”

That was the last time she had seen diseased prior to his injury. The driver of the wagonette and two others conveyed him into the house, witness at the time being in bed. They had laid him on the hearth- rug, from when he had been placed on the sofa, apparently asleep. Witness had got up and remained with him till 2:30 pm, when she returned to her bed. Witness had heard her husband was considerably the worse for drink.

At 8 o’clock she had again risen from her bed and deceased was still on the sofa. His appearance was so strange and he was breathing so heavily, that witness had sent for a neighbour, a doctor had been summoned at the same time. The doctor arrived at about 10 o’clock, but made no remark, life being extinct. Diseased was very quiet and had made no struggle, nor any exhibit of violence. Deceased had on previous occasions gone for drives on Sunday, and coming home “boosy” had slept on the sofa all night. His clothes on the present occasion had been dirty and on his nose there was a slight graze. She had noticed no other marks.

The wagonette driver, Wm. Smith, stated that he lived at 110, Doncaster Road, New Conisborough, and said he was in the employ of a wagonette proprietor named Baines. He (witness) had had five years experience, but had not previously had an accident. He had taken a party of 16 to Hickleton on the Sunday afternoon, deceased standing on the step. The vehicle and horse had been stabled at the Horse and Groom hotel, Goldthorpe, and from there the party went to the christening party.

Deceased had returned to the hotel before the others, and the return journey had been commenced at about 10 o’clock, and Denaby was reached at 11. Some of the party had alighted from the vehicle at Bolton, and witness had returned to bring them back. Deceased had insisted on returning with him, sitting on the box seat with witness.

When the wooden canal bridge leading from Denaby to Mexborough was reached, deceased, who had been talking to witness suddenly fell off the ‘bus. Immediately, he had pulled up the vehicle, and after waiting some seven or eight minutes, two young fellows came up and lifted him into the conveyance. The four had then returned, and deceased was delivered at his home. The man had never spoken but had groaned from time to time. After leaving the man (who, he said, had had too much to drink) on the sofa with his wife in attendance, he had never seen him again.

James Foster, medical practitioner of Conisborough, said he had heard of deceased’s death, and according to the orders, had made a post mortem examination of the body on the previous day. He had found the body well nourished. There was a slight bruise on the left side of the head near the ear, and there were no other external marks. When the scalp had been removed, there had been a large clot of blood under the brain near the left ear. On removing the brain he had noticed a fracture of the skull. The stomach had contained about two tablespoonfuls of fluid, and the bladder had been considerably extended. The cause of death was the pressure on the brain by the clot of blood. This could, he said, have resulted from a fall from a wagonette. It was thought that no blame could be attached to the driver, but that he should have declined to have allowed deceased to return with him, knowing the state in which he was in.

A verdict of accidental death was returned.