Sad Drowning in Rotherham – Denaby girl found in canal.

November 1901

Mexborough and Swinton Times, November 8.

Sad Drowning Case in Rotherham.

A Denaby Girl Found in the Canal.

Went to the Fair, but Did Not Return.

A sad discovery was made on Monday morning at the canal, near the great central railway station. Police Constable Grimmer, who was on duty near the station was informed that a head was seen to be floating about. He immediately went to the spot described, and after some trouble he and Mr John James, lock keeper, succeeded in recovering the body of a young girl.

The ambulance was sent for, on the body, which was decomposed, was removed to the mortuary.

Enquiries were made, and it was found that the poor girl was named Sarah Ethel Howe, aged 11. It appears that the girl was reported missing on the 26 October.

From various statements submitted to the police by those who knew the girl and her parents, it appears that the unfortunate girl went to the fairground last week, but been shortsighted, she must have wandered near the canal side, and have fallen in. Her parents, who live at Denaby Main were at once informed of the matter.


The inquest was held before Mr Wightman (coroner) at the Phoenix hotel, Rotherham, on Tuesday.

Mr Alan Howe, wife of John Howe, labourer, of Denaby, said she had been living with her children at White´s lodging house, Masbro´

On the night of October 26, about seven o’clock, deceased was given 7d in money by some friends, and went out to the fairground. She did not return. She was very nearsighted, and in the opinion of witness she had mistaken the way out of the fairground and walked into the canal.

John James, lock keeper, gave evidence as to the finding of the body about eight o’clock on Monday morning.

The foreman of the jury thought there was no doubt the girl taken a wrong turn and fallen into the water. They had had dozens of cases of a similar character where persons had take the wrong turning, and walked into the canal instead of to the station. He suggested the erection of a gate which should only be opened at certain times.

The Coroner remarked that if the Rotherham council thought the same as the foreman the work would be done. A Juror said he wished two or three councillors would get in, and another said they could spare two or three of them nicely.

The Form: If we had some good, sensible councillors we should work better than we have done

Another juror: Aye! That we should.

The Coroner: They are those whom you elect.

The Coroner also said he did not know how many times he had conveyed representations to the authorities about this place, which was known as the “deathtrap.” There must be some reason for not doing the work. If word was sent that the jury wished that two or three of the councillors would get into the water, the reply would be, “These people are not people, of whom we need take any notice. They are bad judges.” (laughter.)

The jury returned a verdict of found drowned.