Brave Maud died trying to save children from timber yard blaze

Discussion in 'The Barracks' started by CL1, Mar 29, 2017.

  1. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Memorial water fountain Bethnal Green Museum Gardens
    A tragedy more than a century ago in London’s East End when a mother-of-seven died trying to rescue four of her children including a baby from their blazing home above a timber yard. A brave passer-by also died in his attempt at rescue. The tragedy hit the community and the Mayor of Bethnal Green launched a public appeal for a memorial to the tragedy

    Brave Maud died trying to save children from timber yard blaze
     

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  2. Deacs

    Deacs Well i am from Cumbria. Patron

    https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&r...v=true&usg=AFQjCNH6GMZ7fhu7YmeV4g45rBddRhv1og

    Incident
    Arthur Rogers was just in the process of shutting his ticket-writing shop at 423 Hackney Road, when an oil lamp that he was trying to extinguish suddenly and ferociously burst into flames which then rapidly engulfed the room. His first thought was for the other people living in the building, particularly Mrs Alice Denman and her five children who he knew were upstairs. Rogers managed to alert Mrs Denman and assisted her in evacuating two of her children across the roof of an adjacent building, but he was then overcome and passed out. News of the fire had drawn a large crowd and several men tried to enter the building, both through the shop on the ground floor and across the roofs of adjacent buildings. One of these men was Arthur Regelous, a colourful local character also known as 'Little Peter' who worked next door to the house and knew the Denman family. He was seen entering the building, and then again, briefly, calling for help from an upstairs window but he became trapped by the flames and was not seen alive again. Meanwhile, the Denman's servant-girl, Lily Riley, had returned from an errand and seeing Mrs Denman though a passageway clutching one of the children, Riley tried in vain to reach them but was beaten back by a wall of flames. The fire destroyed the house and claimed six lives; Mrs Denman, three of her children, a lodger, Alice Biggs and Arthur Regelous, who had lost his own life in trying to save them.


    "Had Mrs Denman rushed through the fire into the street when she first came to the landing she would have been living now, but she gave her life for her children and only a beautiful memory of the deed remains" - Local Press.
     
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  3. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    Hope you don’t mind me adding this to a truly tragic and moving story.

    THE GLOBE, MONDAY, APRIL 21, 1902
    FATAL FIRE IN HACKNEY
    LOSS OF SEVEN LIVES
    A terrible fire, remarkable for the fierceness with which it burned itself out and for its heavy death toll, broke out at a shop and dwelling house in Hackney-road about midnight on Saturday. At five minutes past 12 o’clock the local firemen were called by a street alarm to the Hackney-road; the message was telephoned few minutes later to the headquarters of the district in Commercial-road, and very soon a large force of firemen with steamers, hose-reels, and escapes arrived. The premises consist of a private house with a projecting shop built over what was originally the front garden, thus precluding all possible chances of rescuing the inmates by means of the fire escape, the shop not permitting the ladders to be pitched against the front of the house. At the time of the outbreak the house was occupied by Mrs Denman, her six children, and a young woman who was a lodger. On the alarm being given Mrs Denman at once thought of her children, who were then asleep in bed, and rushing upstairs, succeeded in bringing down two of the children (girls). Having placed them in safety, she returned for the others. The fire by this time had made great headway, enveloping the front shop and the hall passage running alongside, and it is presumed that the unfortunate woman was either overcome by the smoke or her retreat was cut off, for nothing further was seen of her. The police and firemen on duty made brave efforts to effect the rescue of the unfortunate inmates, but were frustrated by the flames.
    The building being in the centre of a densely populated neighbourhood, and it being Saturday night, the outbreak caused a large crowd to assemble and great excitement prevailed. The fire subsequently subsided almost as suddenly as it burst forth, and about one o’clock it became possible to get into what was left of the building and to search the debris. Within a few minutes the charred bodies of three persons were discovered. Later four more bodies were found. The names of the victims are:- Alice Maud Denman (25), Alice Maud Denman (8), Charles Denman (6), Ethel Denman (4), Winifred Denman (three months), Alice Biggs (26), and Peter Pegeolous (24). The man Pegeolous, whose home was at Queen’s-buildings, Bethnal Green, was a stranger, and it is presumed that he rushed into the burning building to help in the work of rescue, and died in his endeavour. No one saw him enter the house. He was outside a few minutes before the fire, and must have dashed through the flame and smoke and made his way upstairs. His charred body was found at the door of the first floor front room.

    HOW THE FIRE WAS CAUSED
    Mr Rogers, describing the cause of the outbreak, said:- “My shop was lighted with lamps. I was lifting one of the lamps – a central draught lamp – out of its hanging socket, to blow it out, and in doing this had to tilt it a little on one side. The flame shot up,and the part of the lamp round the burner was so hot that I could hardly get hold of it. I held it until I had got off the box I was standing on, and then it fell to the floor, and in an instant the oil seemed to pour out. I threw some things over the lamp itself, but the oil jumped and burst into flame, and the place began to blaze up. I saw there was no stopping it, so I ran to the shop door, which stood open, and shouted ‘Fire! Fire!’ Then I ran back to Mrs Denman’s parlour and cried ‘The shop’s on fire; save the children.’ “Mrs Denman cried, ‘Oh, my children, save my children, help me save my children!” I ran upstairs – the house was in darkness – and went into the back room and found one of the little ones in bed. I carried him to the front room, got out of the window on to the flat top of the shop, and ran along the tps of the next few few shops shouting. A neighbour came out on to the leads, and having given the little one to him I got back through the window. The house was so full of smoke that I could not open my mouth. I stumbled against Mrs Denman in the darkness, and she murmured something about the window. I got hold of another child and was getting out of the window with her when suddenly a skylight in the shop roof burst, and the flame and smoke shot up in front of me. I got out somehow with the child, although I nearly fell through the skylight, and going along the leads I got the child safe into another house. Then I fainted, and when I came round after a time some of the people said Mrs Denman and the children were saved.”

    A PATHETIC STORY
    Lilian Riley, a domestic servant in the employ of Mrs Denman, interviewed by the “Daily Express,” said:- “Just before midnight I told my mistress that the children would want something for supper, and at her suggestion I went out to buy some biscuits. As I passed down the passage to the street I looked into the shop and saw Mr Rogers tying up some parcels. All was right then; and having bought the biscuits I was returning home when someone called out to me, ‘Lil, get home quickly; the place is all on fire.’ I ran into the passage, and tried to pass upstairs, but a cloud of burning smoke stopped me at the foot. Looking up towards what we called the shop landing I saw through the smake Mrs Denman clasping in her arms the baby. Mrs Denman looked down at me and said, in a frantic, despairing way, ‘Lil, come to me quickly and help, or my dear children will be burned to death. Come, Lil, there’s a good girl, or I shall lose them.’
    “I made a step forward, but the fire was so fierce that I could not get to the stairs. Still, through the smoke I could see her plainly holding the little one to her, and calling to me. I know I cried as I saw her, and I said, ‘Oh, Mrs Denman, I cannot come through the fire. My dear mistress, what shall we do?’ As I hesitated for a moment I saw her, holding the baby to her bosom, rush upstairs to the second floor, where Alice, Charlie, and Ethel were sleeping. That was the last time I saw her alive. Then I saw her when the firemen brought her body and those of the little ones out later in the morning.”

    IDENTIFYING THE BODIES
    Mr Denman (states the “Daily Mail”) was putting up the shutters of the shop he works at in Bethnal Green-road when the servant girl ran up to him and cried, “The shop’s on fire at home.” He rushed home, to find it a mass of flames. He was told that his wife and children were all saved, and he ran round to neighbours’ houses to find them. When he got back, the fire being then over, he tried to get into the house, “My name’s Denman; it’s my house,” he cried. “If you are Mr Denman,” said a policeman solemnly, “will you come and see if you can identify any of these bodies?” The father was so overcome by the awful shock of finding that his wife and four of his children had perished that he was unable to identify the bodies, and others had to be called in.


    Census 31 March 1901
    Denman 1901.jpg
    Note that Lilian and Percival, the surviving children, can be found in 1911 with their father.


    Location
    51.531906, -0.061769

    Denmam map1.jpg
     
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  4. Beejay

    Beejay New Member

    I am a descendent of this family and have more information if anybody is interested.
     
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  5. Deacs

    Deacs Well i am from Cumbria. Patron

    Hello and welcome to the forum
    Yes any more information is always appreciated.

    Regards Mike
     
  6. Beejay

    Beejay New Member

    When I did my family history I came across the Denman family. The husband of this tragic family would be my 1st cousin (3 times removed) I contacted 3 other ladies that were all descended from the same family. One of the ladies was the Granddaughter of one of the children that survived the fire Lillian May Denman (born 1894) The ladies and myself went to the site of the fire in Hackney road. It was strange because the bulldozers were on the site and the last house that was about to be demolished was the house of the fire. We saw all the burnt timber joists and it was sad knowing what had happened there. The lady that was the Granddaughter of Lillian May Denman took a burned brick to take home as a memento. I attach a picture with us pointing at the brick ! I will post some more pictures another time. Two interesting stories are that the ancestor of the Denman's in the fire and myself was a man called Matthew Denman born 1773. None of us would have been around if he had been found guilty at the Old Bailey in 1803 for stealing sheep in Clerkenwell in London (a hanging offence at that time) He was found not guilty ! Another bit of interesting information on the fire can be found at the back of Barts hospital in London called Postman's Park. It is a tiled wall to the heroes of London that were 'ordinary people' The young man that rushed into the house (Arthur Regelous/Little Peter) is remembered there. Hope that some of this is of interest to someone.
     

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  7. Beejay

    Beejay New Member

    PS The Mother's name wasn't Maud. It was ALICE Maud Murrell (born 1875 in Bethnal Green)
     
  8. Deacs

    Deacs Well i am from Cumbria. Patron

    Thank you for sharing it all adds to the story.

    Mike.
     
  9. Beejay

    Beejay New Member

    My notes on the fire. The inquest and funeral. Rather a long piece and some may be already posted.


    Worst reported fire incident in recent years - and we most seriously hope it will be a very, very long time are we have to be compelled to do it again.


    To quote the remark of one of our representatives, 'the task is far harder to write about when it is one's own personal friends' and the writer has the extreme pleasure of knowing the Murrell family for a number of years, and especially the present landlord of the doomed house.


    On Saturday midnight, as it is pretty well known a terrible fire broke out at 423 Hackney Road at a house and shop that till quite lately was used as a showroom for specimens of joinery and other woodwork by Mr. William Murrell, the owner of the property, and is the well known timber merchant of Hackney Road; but latterly the shop front has been used as a ticket writer's establishment, Mr. Ernest Rogers being the tenant. Residing on the premises in the house were Mr. Murrell's sister, Mrs. Alice Maud Denman, her husband and six little children, the eldest being but eight years old.


    Mr. Rogers, it appears, discarded the more modern luminant gas for lighting purposes in the shop and utilised instead two hanging oil lamps, which held about half a gallon of oil each, and would burn for about eight or ten hours. On Saturday last, he, unfortunately, dropped one of these lamps in attempting to put the light out, owing to its being so awfully hot. He attempted to stifle the flames, and succeeded in getting the lamp light subdued, but he could not manage to put the burning oil that had run over the floor out. Finding his efforts useless, he at once went to the door and shouted fire. Then he retraced his steps to tell Mrs. Denman what was the matter, and in less time than it takes to tell the police calls were sounding in every direction, the awful heartrendering call of fire was heard, the fire brigades were summoned, and in less than half an hour the whole place was entirely burned out, and seven precious lives were lost - hurled into eternity by a cruel and pitiless fire before a hand could be stretched out to save, or before goodbyes could be exchanged.


    It was 12. 1 when the firemen at the Green Street Station, Bethnal Green, received the call, and in less than five minutes a steamer was there. At 12. 7 a district call was received at the Whitechapel headquarters, and Superintendent Egerton at once proceeded to the scene of the conflagration, getting there himself at 12. 14, when he found the building like a raging fiery furnace great tongues of fire coming right across the roadway, and it was impossible to enter the building till the fire had somewhat abated. Steamers and appliances continued to arrive from Stepney, Bow, Shoreditch, Whitechapel, etc, and tons of water were poured onto the building.


    It being Saturday night, and, in a very busy neighbourhood, it was not long before thousands of people gathered, and great excitement was caused when the word went round that there were people inside, who had not been seen or heard of since the commencement of the outbreak, and it was feared they were inside the burning building. The horror stricken faces of the people was a sight ever to be remembered, and when in a quarter of an hour when the fire was somewhat subdued, allowing of a search to be made, and it was found to be only too true that there had been a loss of life it was with universal bowed heads that a mixed crowd of the inhabitants received the intelligence. When the first three bodies were recovered, placed in shells obtained from the Bethnal Green Infirmary, and were being removed to the mortuary, Church Row, rough men grasped each other by the hand, and thanked God in their hearts that it was not their children, and women cried audibly, while universal sympathy was heard on all sides.


    Further search revealed that four more victims were in the fatal building, Superintendent Egerton himself observed the head of one while undertaking the gruesome task of searching for the dead. The tragic mother who, when the brave servant girl essayed to pass into the house, but was swept back by the flames, cried out in her agony, 'Oh, do come and help me, Lil, my poor children will be burnt alive' suddenly finding all hope of escape cut off by way of the shop, must have turned her attention to gathering all her little ones around her, and got them to the front of the house in the earnest hope that they would be seen and saved, for the dead body of one little boy was found on the top floor front room, one little girl was on the landing (no doubt coming down in answer to her mother's piteous entreaties), two others were huddled together in the corner of the second floor front room, the man Peter was just inside the window - an illustration which speaks for itself.


    We must not omit to mention the gallant action of the gallant young man Arthur William Regelous, better known as 'Peter' who heroically scaled the shop blinds and got on the flat roof of the shop, and entered the burning building in the hope of rescuing some of the inmates, but who perished in the attempt. Other men also tried to scale the adjacent shop fronts in the hope of affecting a rescue, but without avail. Mr. Rogers, the tenant of the shop, gallantly rescued the two children Cissie Denman and Percy Denman, aged respectively 6 and 2 1/2 years. He made his way up the stairs in the dark, felt for a back door, entered the room, groped about and got hold of a child's head. He then made for the front of the house, got there, and handed the child out of the window to a Mr. Arnold, a neighbouring boot and shoe maker. Rogers returned for another, handed that out to Arnold, and then fell, overcome by the smoke. Mr. Harry Murrell, who arrived on the scene a few minutes after the outbreak, also pluckily scaled a party wall from the back of Mr. H. Stevens, carman and contractor, premises, and tried to effect an entrance from the back, but could not.


    When the servant girl, Lillian Riley, who was devotedly attached to her mistress and the children, found she could do nothing else, she went at once to tell the father, Mr. Denman, who is a cheesemongers assistant, employed by Mr. Greig, at 400, Bethnal Green Road, of what had occurred. Mr. Denman says she literally fell into the shop, and broke the news to him. His feelings at hearing the awful intelligence can better be imagined than described, though at first he could hardly believe it. The writer saw him and Mr. William Murrell with other members of the family on Sunday, and their grief was too great for words. A more devoted couple than Mr. and Mrs. Denman were it would have been hard to find. She was much liked and respected.


    It may be of interest to remark that from the commencement of Mr. Roger's occupancy of the front shop Mrs. Denman had a presentiment of being 'burned out', as she termed it, and that only last week she said she would insure her furniture, if she could. Herself and the children were insured for a small amount each, but not much.


    The names and ages of the victims are: -

    Mrs. Alice Maud Denman, 26 years.

    Alice Maud Denman, 8 years.

    Charles Denman, 5 years.

    Ethel May Denman, 3 years and 6 months.

    Winifred Daisy Denman, three months.

    Miss Alice Biggs, 36 years.

    Arthur Wm. Regelous, 24 years.


    On Sunday, thousands of people gathered round the house in Hackney Road, and every day during the week knots of people could be seen hanging round the district, discussing in whispers the terrible loss of life.


    The family have received many kind letters of condolence from personal friends, which has greatly helped to sustain them in their severe trial.


    THE INQUEST


    The Bethnal Green Coroners Court, Church Row, was crowded by pressmen, public men and people, on Tuesday morning last, when Dr. Wynn Westcott, the Coroner, and a jury, of which Mr. C. Moore was foreman, inquired into the sad circumstances surrounding the deaths of those named above. His Worship the Mayor of Bethnal Green, Mr. C. E. Fox J.P., occupied a seat by the side of the Coroner.


    Among others present were Mr. Edward Smith, L.C.C., Ald. Rawles, Cls. Edmonds, F. J. Read, Harry Jones, Hill, Belsham (representing Bethnal Green Borough Council), the Chief Sanitary Inspector (Mr. J. Foote), the Borough Surveyor (Mr. F. W. Barratt), Chief Supt. Pryke, etc.


    Before commencing the proceedings the Coroner feelingly alluded to the terrible tragedy that had occurred in the Borough, by which a mother, her four children, and two others had been wiped out of existence. He understood the place was not insured. He then referred to the many deaths that had occurred owing to the use of inflammable oil, yet the government seemed to take no action. Anyhow, the London County Council had been trying for years to bring pressure to bear on the Government to raise the standard of the flashing point of oil, and to use their endeavours to protect us from the supply of common oil. He (the Coroner) had written to Mr. Spencer, the London County Council expert, to ask him to be present that morning, but he was unable to be there owing to another important engagement. His Worship the Mayor of Bethnal Green, Mr. C. M. Fox J. P., was very desirous of starting a fund to help to alleviate some of the distress caused by the sad concurrence, and had come to hear the xxx xxx xxx (unreadable) to be able to form some idea of the loss sustained.


    An exceedingly well executed plan, made to scale, of the building, was prepared by P. S. Fredk. Humphreys, 4 J. K. (?) had handed to the Coroner and jury for their guidance in making the enquiry.


    The first witness called was George Frederick Biggs, a lithographer, of 153, Goldsmith's Row, Hackney Road. He identified the body of Alice Biggs as his eldest sister, a machinist, 36 years of age, who lodged at 423 Hackney Road. He last saw her alive about a month ago, and heard of her death by the fire mentioned above on Monday xxxx xxxx (unreadable).


    Rose Emma Reynolds, of 213, Quinn's Buildings, Russia Lane, the wife of a carman, identified the remains of 'Peter' as being those of her brother Arthur William Regelous, who worked for Mr. Stevens, of Hackney Road, or occasionally as a carman. Up to a fortnight ago he lodged with witness, but since then he had lodged at 400, Hackney Road.


    Dr. Arthur Farebrother, of 442, Hackney Road, said he was present at the fire on Saturday last. Regelous was evidently suffocated in his daring attempt to rescue the others. He was not burnt, but blistered here and there. He was fully dressed.


    The doctor also deposed that Alice Isabella Biggs was one of the last found. She was considerably burned about the face and hands. She was fully dressed. She was probably suffocated first.


    The next witness called was the distressed husband and father, Mr. Charles Denman, who spoke as to the identity of his wife and four children as named above. He described in detail the situation of the house and rooms, and how all of his family were well when he last saw them about six o'clock on Saturday evening. There would be a fire in the grate of the shop parlour, no doubt, and also a paraffin lamp. They never burned a light upstairs until the parents went to bed. There was generally a small jar of oil standing on the shop parlour landing, but it was empty on this occasion, for the servant had gone to get some. He was at work at his place of business at the time of the fire. He saw the reflection, but little dreamed it was his own place.


    In answer to the Mayor witness said he was not insured, and estimated his loss of furniture and effects at £150. His wife and children were insured for a little.


    Dr. Farebrother said the first brought out was the mother, who was fully dressed. She was severely burnt about the arms and face, and half her clothes was burnt off. She was probably suffocated before burning. Witness also saw all four children, and described their injuries.


    Ernest Angus Julian Rogers, and felt his position very acutely, and was once or twice nearly overcome with grief, said he was a ticket writer, and rented the shop at 423, Hackney Road, and resided at 50, Mare Street, Hackney. He had occupied the shop about two months. He took it from Messrs. P J Dixon and son, estate agents, of 263, Bethnal Green Road, but he knew Mr. William Murrell was the owner. During his tenure a matchboard partition was put up, to make a passage from the front door to the dwelling house, and he entered his shop through a door in the partition. There was a shop parlour behind. The contents of the shop was principally cardboard, and stuff that would burn readily. There were gas fittings, but he used two hanging lamps from the ceiling for lighting purposes. They were brass lamps, and paraffin oil was used in them. He kept no store of oil - it was got as he wanted it. There was a dozen of matches got that day, and there was about half a pint of methylated spirit in stock. The fire occurred about 12 o'clock midnight, when he was alone in the shop. Both lamps were alight, and he was about to leave at the time the accident happened. Witness, who was on the point of fainting, then asked to be allowed to tell what happened in his own way, the following being the text of it. He found it was nearly 12 o'clock by the people turning out of the neighbouring public houses. Witness got on a box by the bench to reach one of the lamps down to put it out, and as he tilted the reservoir the flames shot up from the burner about a foot high, which made it too hot to hold. He was about to put it on the bench when it fell to the floor. He looked round for something to smother it with and found a piece of rag, or duster, about three quarters of a yard. He succeeded in extinguishing the flames of the lamp itself, but the oil had run about the floor, carrying the flames with it. The glass of the lamp broke and the screw cap came off in the fall, thus letting the oil out. He looked for a pail of water that he usually had close by; but could not find it, so he threw a bowl of water over the flames. Seeing that the flames were too great for him to smother, he ran to the street door and called 'Fire'. He then ran up the passage to alarm Mrs. Denman, who was in the shop parlour with the baby, and as he went found that the partition was already beginning to burn through. She cried out 'Save my children!' and he asked where they were. She said upstairs. Witness told her to take the baby out and thought she would do so. He made his way upstairs - it was all dark - felt for the back door, got the handle, went in, felt the foot of a bed, got hold of a child's head (which proved to that of a little boy), and carried it to the front of the house, where he handed it to a Mr. Arnold. The place was full of smoke, and when he found the second child he was nearly suffocated. He could see nothing, but felt Mrs. Denman near him by the window, and heard her say something about the window, and dragged her in that direction with the child on his left arm. He was obliged to leave go of her when he got out of the window, but having handed the child to Mr. Arnold he wanted to go back again. He was however, unable to do so. He heard someone shout 'Good Lord, the place is on fire!'


    In answer to questions by the foreman and other jurymen, witness said the reservoir of the lamp fitted into a metal collar. He was bound to tilt it to get it out, as the glass would touch the shade above. The brass reservoir would hold about half a gallon of oil when full, and it had been filled that day. The lamp would burn 9 or 10 hours. It had been burning that day for about 5 hours. He did not know the screw tap was loose. The lamp could not be put out without taking it out of the metal collar and blowing down the chimney. No oil escaped from the lamp before he dropped it. The other lamp was alight at the time. He knew nothing xx xx xx part of the xxx which hadn't xx xx xx exit xx. Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


    Mr. Thomas xxxxxx xxxxxx under the Petroleum xx, explained the construction of the lamp, which was known as a 'xx xxx xxxxxxx lamp.' The oil was known as 'Paraffin Czaroline,' and cost 7d a gallon. A sample had been tested and it was found to flash at 88 deg. The lamp appeared to have been suspended from an iron shutter bar. The screw tap at the side filler in the reservoir appeared to have xxxxxxxxx when the lamp xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx such oil dangerous on account of the low flash point. It may be taken as an average oil sold in the East End. The London County Council wanted to raise the flash point to 100 deg. The lamp itself was considered a safe one. The contention of the council was that if oil that flashed at 100 deg xx xx used it would never vaporise or become dangerous, as the oil in this instance appeared to have done. There were 26 fatal accidents last year due to low flash oil. The building was not insured he was told.


    Lillian Maud Riley, who acted as servant to the Denman's, deposed that she went out to do some shopping just before the fire broke out, leaving all the children in bed asleep, the baby being in a cradle asleep in the shop parlour with her mistress. Witness heard someone say 'Oh look, the shop is on fire.' She returned, and tried to run upstairs but the flames burst through the partition preventing her doing so. Mrs. Denman was then standing on the stairs and screamed out 'Oh, do come and help me, Lil, my poor children will be burnt alive.' (Sensation in court.) Witness could not get by, however, and said 'Can you give me the baby?'


    Superintendent Charles Samuel Egerton M. F. B. Eastern District, said the first call was received 12. 1 at the Green Street Station. The horsed escape was at once dispatched, followed a few seconds afterwards by two steamers. The fire was reached four minutes after the call, the house then being alight from top to bottom. Two of the crew of the horsed escape tried to effect an entrance, on hearing there were people in the burning building, but it was utterly impossible, it being like a furnace. A district call was received at the Whitechapel Headquarters and other help was sent along he himself reaching the scene at 12. 14. The body of a little boy was recovered outside the bedroom door on the top floor. The other bodies were in the front room on the first floor. Mrs. Denman and the young woman being in the middle of the room, two of the children in a corner by the window, and the man just inside the window. The little girl, aged 8, he found himself. The building was a very bad one to get out of, and would be a 'very serious risk,' all the back was enclosed and it would have been difficult for anyone to have escaped that way. No fire insurance office would take such a building where mineral oil was used. He should say that a quarter of an hour would be the end of the building so fierce was the fire. Everything was completely cleared out.


    Mr. William Murrell of 14, Cawley Road, South Hackney, said he was the leaseholder of the premises, the date of possession being 30 years ago. The building was insured, and he only paid the premium on that and other property in March.


    Harry Lewis, of 8, Bickbeck Street, Cambridge Road, a carman, said that Regelous was one of a number of men who tried to mount to the leads over the shop, he only succeeded in doing so 'Peter' was the only one to enter the house, and when he appeared a little later at the first floor window he had a handkerchief to his mouth, and was calling for help, but no one could get near him.


    P. O. 101 J, having given evidence as to the time of the out break and the alarm given.


    Fireman James Groom, who was one of the first to get to the fire, said the place was alight from top to bottom and it was impossible to enter. He gave instructions to get on the roof to see if anyone had got up there.


    In reply to the Coroner, Mr. William Murrell said there was a hinged skylight at the top of the house, and a ladder was always hanging ready on the wall in case it was wanted. His sister would not have been able to use it by herself.


    The coroner remarked that in this case the jury would no doubt be satisfied that there was no effort wanting on the part of the police or fire brigade. The conduct of Regelous was most heroic, and undoubtedly he had given his life in the attempt to save others. The mother also had evidently made gallant efforts to save her children, and Mr. Rogers had done what he could. The whole cause of the tragedy appeared to be the use of low flash oil, and yet the Government gave no reason for not preventing its use. It was hoped that in the near future, the heads of the London County Council would be strengthened, and that the flash point of petroleum would be raised to a safe one.


    The jury having retired to consider the evidence returned a verdict of 'Accidental death from Suffocation Burns' and suggested that Mr. Rogers should be more careful with lamps in future. They also added that they wished the London County Council to proceed on preventing the sale of low flash oils. The police and fire brigade very commended in having done all in their power, and the jury desired to express their admiration of the heroism of Regelous. Police - sergeant Humphreys was also commended for his plan and sketch of the premises which was of great service.


    Particulars of the funeral arrangements will be xx on another page.


    Eastern Argus and Hackney Times

    Saturday April 26 1902


    The Hackney Road Fire

    FUNERAL OF MISS ALICE

    BIGGS


    The last sad obsequious to this lady were administered yesterday (Friday) and witnessed by thousands of people, who had not gathered for mere idle curiousity, but for the fact that she was one of the fated ones in the serious fire (of which one's pencil refuses to write of)that occurred last Saturday midnight, and naturally their hearts went out to her. Who will never know what part she might have played in helping the poor mother to gather her flock together in the hope of being saved: but there it is, she is gone, and no history is left behind to tell the tale.


    The funeral cortege, which consisted of a handsome four horse glass car, surmounted by some fine feathers, and two pair horse carriages, left the residence of the deceased stepfather, 153, Goldsmith's Row (the 'Victory'), Mr. T. Hyne, about three o'clock. The coffin was of polished oak with brass fittings, and bore this simple inscription,


    ALICE ISABELLA FIGGS

    Aged 26 years

    Died, April 20th 1902


    The mourners were - Messrs. G and F Biggs (brothers), Mr. and Mrs. T Hyne, Police-sergeant John Biggs and Mrs. Biggs, Mrs. Mathews, Mr. e Mathews, Mrs. Mulholland, and Mr. Spill (deceased's lover).

    Mr. W Murrell and Mr. H Murrell followed in a private brougham as a mark of respect.

    The coffin and car were covered with floral tributes, sent by the following sorrowing relatives and friends - Mr. and Mrs. Tittiman, Mr. and Mrs. J Fitzgibbons ( 'Pritchard's Arms'), Mr. and Mrs. Hatch ('Dempsey Arms'), Mr. and Mrs. Swenell, Mrs. Davis and daughter, Mr. and Mrs. Howard, and many others.

    His Worship, the Mayor of Bethnal Green, sent a lovely wreath, inscribed 'With the Mayor of Bethnal Green's most sincere sympathy.' Mr. William Murrell and his brothers and Mr. Charles Denman sent a most magnificent wreath, whilst the patrons of the 'Victory' contributed a superb harp with the centre string broken and a wreath. Mr. Stymen's (Star of the East) wreath, and Mr. Pentony, of Jewin Crescent, City (deceased's employer) sent a lovely wreath.

    The mournful procession went by way of Goldsmith's Row, Warner Place, Hackney Road, and Cambridge Road, to the cemetery, amid every sign of respect, crowds of people witnessing it, black boards being up and blinds drawn along the line of the route.

    The arrangements for the interment were placed with Mr. R E Wallace, the well known funeral director of 11, Goldsmith's Row, Hackney Road, and were conducted under his personal supervision, giving the utmost satisfaction.


    _______________


    In our report of the inquest we have given the age of Miss Gibbs as 36, it should be 26. We also understand that the unfortunate young lady was to have been married shortly, and that her intended husband followed as a mourner to pay his last tribute of respect to his fiancé.


    _______________


    The funeral of the young man Arthur Regelous, better known as 'Peter', late in the employ of Mr. H Stevens, carman and contractor of Hackney Road, will take place this afternoon (Saturday) at Chingford Mount Cemetery. The cortege will leave the residence of the deceased's uncle, Pott Street, at 2 o'clock precisely, by way of Bethnal Green Road, Mansford Street, Hackney Road, and Cambridge Road, to the cemetery, where he will be interred in a grave specially bought.

    Mr. W Murrell and Mr. H Stevens have kindly consented to pay the cost of the funeral themselves, apart from the fund being raised by the Mayor of Bethnal Green. Mr. H Merrett, undertaker, of 519, Hackney road, has also kindly offered to supply the coffin free of cost, and the funeral arrangements will be carried out by him by request.

    The coffin will bear,, in addition to many other floral contributions, wreaths from the Mayor, Mr and Mrs. H Stevens, The employees of Mr. Stevens, and a large anchor from Mr. J Andrews of Canal Bridge, Mare Street, Hackney, who has also taken an interest in this matter. Mr. And Mrs. Nardi, 410, Hackney Road, and their employees are going to sent a special wreath composed of silk imitation flowers, each girl making a special flower.

    The funerals of Mrs. Denman and her children will take place next Monday, at Abney Park Cemetery, the mournful cortege starting from Mr. Harry Murrell's residence, 452, Hackney Road, at 2.30.


    __________________


    The Fire Fund

    THE MAYOR APPEALS FOR

    HELP.


    On another page appears a full account of this terrible catastophe, and it will be seen that Mr. Denman besides loosing his wife and children, has lost all his effects, being totally uninsured. Miss Biggs lost her little property, as well as her life, and poor 'Peter' lost his noble life.

    His Worship, the Mayor of Bethnal Green, Mr. C E Fox, J.P., therefore has very willingly consented to open a fund on their behalf, and Mr. Ashmole, the Borough Treasurer, has kindly offered to set as treasurer for the Mayor, and sums, great or small, may be sent to him at the Town Hall, Church Row, Bethnal Green. Some amounts have already been received.

    The following is a letter from the Mayor:-

    To the Editor of the EASTERN ARGUS.

    'Town Hall,

    'Bethnal Green, E.

    'Sir,

    'I have been asked to open a Fund for the relief and assistance of the persons suffering in consequence of the fire which took place at 423, Hackney Road, on Sunday last, resulting in the loss of seven lives.

    If the Fund be adequate, some suitable record of the heroism displayed by Mrs. Denman and 'Peter' Regelous, at the cost of their lives, could be provided.

    'Contributions to the Fund can be sent to me at the Town Hall, Bethnal Green, E.

    'C. E. Fox.

    'Mayor of Bethnal Green.'

    '22nd April 1902.'


    ____________________


    We are pleased to announce that Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales has been graciously pleased to forward to the Mayor of Bethnal Green (Mr. C E Fox J. P) a cheque for £10 in aid of the fund which has been opened by the Mayor for the sufferers by the fire in Hackney Road on Saturday last.


    The majority of the jurymen have handed their fees to the foreman of the jury, Mr. O R Moore, the well-known shirt and collar dressr, 5, Russia Lane, Old Ford Road, and this gentleman will forward the amount, together with one guinea he has kindly decided to subscribe, to the Mayor's Fund.


    __________________


    On the initiation of Mr. J Davis, 407, Hackney Road, who interviewed some of his personal friends and fellow tradesmen of Hackney Road, they have started a fund, irrespective of the Mayor's fund, and out of no disrespect, but because they preferred to show their own personal sympathy and respect with Mr. Denman, and their association with him and his family in their bereavement.

    A committee has been formed, of which Mr. J Davis, 407, Hackney Road, is the hon treasurer, and Mr. C Sturge, 384, Hackney Road, is the hon. Secretary. The committee are Messrs. K Samuel (a most indefatigable worker), J Stokeley, J H Potter, Alec Day, Crowle, E Smith, Fish, Plumb, C Titford, J Jones, W Becker, Baldry, Smith and Sons, 'Yorkie', J Green, F J Halley, H Murrell, Bishop, Manders Bros., W Gilbert, Arnold, W C Brittain, H Stevens, J Fitzgibbons, John Davis, Lancey, Thomas Sharp, Bentley, W Osbourne, T Tyler, H Smith, West's Brewery, etc.

    Subscriptions for both funds will be gratefully acknowledged in these columns.


    _________________


    We understand that Messrs. H. Stevens, W. Murrell and J. Andrews are about to communicate with the Royal Humane Society with a view to getting awarded to Arthur Regelous ('Peter') a testimonial for his heroic endeavours in attempting to save the lives of those who perished in the terrible fire in Hackney Road, recorded elsewhere - and who perished himself - so that the testimonial could be handed down to his relatives as a record of his bravery.



    East London Observer

    26th April 1902


    TERRIBLE EAST END FIRE

    _______________


    A HACKNEY CALAMITY

    _______________


    Heavy Death Toll

    ________________


    A terrible fire, remarkable for the fierceness with which it burnt itself out and for its heavy death roll, broke out in a ticket writer's establishment in Hackney-road about midnight on Saturday. At 12.15 a.m. firemen were called by street alarm to Hackney-road; the message was telephoned a few minutes later to the headquarters of the district in Commercial-road, E, and very soon a whole host of firemen, with steamers, hosereels, and escapes, kept arriving at the scene of the outbreak. They found a three-storey building, occupied on the ground floor as a ticket writer's establishment, above as a dwelling-house, well ablaze. Hydrants were hastily got to work, and with the reinforcements that were constantly arriving from Stepney, Bow, Shoreditch, Bethnal Green, and other stations in the vicinity, large volumes of water were poured into the fierce flames. All the efforts of the firemen, however, seemed but to add to the fury of the fire, and constituted the building a raging inferno. Situate in the centre of a densely-populated neighbourhood, and it being Saturday night, the conflagration caused a large crowd to assemble and the greatest excitement prevailed. A large force of police were requisitioned to keep the crowd within bounds. The excitement grew into almost frenzy when it became known that the occupants of the rooms above the shop had neither been seen or heard of since the outbreak, and it was conjectured that they were still within the blazing building. The shrieks and screams of the woman in the crowd when this rumour spread added to the general distress. By half-past twelve the building was literally engulfed in flames, but even then the authorities of the brigade, on learning of the probability of there being some persons in the place, redoubled their energies, and concentrated their whole strength and the utilisation of every available appliance to so far subdue the conflagration as to permit an entry to the premises for an attempt at rescue. All their efforts, however, failed to make any substantial impression, and, anxious as members of the brigade werefor an opportunity to make the attempt, it was recognised that under the circumstances it would be sheer madness to do so. An enormous quantity of water was kept pouring on the structure, and efforts directed towards preventing the flames spreading in other directions. Fortunately there was no wind, and efforts in the latter direction were successful. Under the constant attention of the brigade the fire subsequently subsided almost as suddenly as it had burst forth into fury, and shortly before one o'clock it became possible to get into what was left of the building, and to search among the debris to ascertain if there was anything beyond mere rumour in the suggestion that there were persons on the premises at the time of the outbreak. The search soon confirmed the terrible truth, for within a few minutes the terribly charred remains of three persons were discovered. These were carefully placed in canvas coverings, and brought out for conveyance to the mortuary. The search was continued, and the searchers were horrified to discover further more bodies, these being of little children. Four more bodies, seven in all, were taken out and conveyed to the mortuary. At one o'clock the official stop order was telephoned to headquarters, the message intimating that the house of eight rooms and ticket-writer's shop had been burnt out, and that the roof was off. The names of the victims are:- Alice Maud Denman, aged 35 years; Alice Maud Denman, aged eight years; Charles Denman, aged six years; Ethel Denman, aged four years; Winfred Denman, aged three months; Alice Briggs, aged 26 years; Arthur Regolous, aged 24 years. The premises in which the fire occurred consist of a private house with a projecting shop built over what was originally the front garden, thus precluding all possible chance of rescuing the inmates by means of the fire escape, the shop in question not permitting the ladders to be pitched against the front of the house. It appears that at the time of the outbreak the house was occupied by Mrs. Denman and her six children, and a young woman lodger. On the alarm being given Mrs. Denman at once thought of her children, who were asleep in bed, and rushing upstairs she succeeded in bringing down two of the children (girls) and having placed them in safety, returned for the others. The fire by this time had made great headway, enveloping the front shop and the hall passage running alongside, and it is presumed that the unfortunate woman was either overcome by the smoke or that her retreat was cut off, for nothing further was seen of her. The police and firemen on duty also made heroic efforts to effect the rescue of the unfortunate inmates, but were frustrated by the flames bursting out of the fanlight over the shop, thus cutting off all hope of reaching the windows of the then doomed house. The remains of the man found on the burned premises have been identified as those of Arthur regelous, of 213, Queen's-buildings, Bethnal green. He was a stranger, and it is presumed that he rushed into the burning building to help in the work of the rescue, but perished in his gallant endeavour. Mr. Denman was not at home at the time of the fire, not having completed his day's work. When he arrived and was informed of his bereavement the unfortunate man was stricken down with the terrible news.

    ________________


    The Inquest.

    On Tuesday morning the inquest was opened at Bethnal Green on the seven victims of the fire at 423, Hackney-road, Bethnal Green, early on Sunday morning last. The coroner was Dr. Wynne Westcott.

    Ernest A. J. Rogers, of 50, Mare-street, Hackney, a ticket-writer, who occupied the shop at 423, Hackney-road, said there were two hanging paraffin lamps suspended from the ceiling. About midnight on Saturday - witness judged the time as the public-houses were closing - witness got on a box in order to reach one of the lamps, and as he tilted the reservoir a flame shot up from the whole of the burner.

    As witness got down h was obliged to let go, and the lamp fell to the floor. A column of flame at once arose, and the oil spread over the floor, carrying the flames with it.

    He gave he alarm and made his way upstairs and rescued a little boy from the back room. He felt Mrs. Denman near him by the window. He was obliged to let go the woman to hand the child out of the window, but wanted to go back. He was, however, prevented doing so, and did not see Mrs. Denman again.

    By the Jury: It was necessary to take the lamps out of the collars in order to put them out. It was not possible to put the flame out without blowing down the chimney.

    A Juror: Just the way to cause an accident, I would think.

    Mr. Thomas Nunan, Inspector under the Petroleum Act, explained that the oil was known as "Russian Tzaroline" and cost 7d per gallon. A sample had been tested, and it was found to flash at 88deg. It might be taken as an average oil sold in the East End.

    By the Jury: The London County Council wanted to raise the flash point to 100deg. Such oil would never vaporise and become dangerous. Last year there were 26 fatal accidents from paraffin oil in the county of London alone.

    Supt. Charles Egerton, M.F.B., said the first call was received at the Green-street Station at 12.1. The fire was reached at 12.5 but it was then impossible to effect an entrance. The house was so built as to have practically a flue from top to bottom.

    Harry Lewis, a carman, stated that Regelous was one of a number of men who mounted to the leads over the shop. Regelous was the only one to enter the building, and a little later at the first-floor window he was calling for help. It was impossible to get near him.

    The jury returned a verdict of accidental death from suffocation and burns, and suggested that Mr. Rogers should be more careful with lamps in the future. They also added that they wished the L.C.C. could promote a Bill preventing the sale of low-flash oil. The police and Fire Brigade were commended as having done all in their power, and the jury desired to express their admiration of the heroism of Regelous.




    THE EASTERN ARGUS AND HACKNEY TIMES

    Saturday, May 3, 1902


    THE HACKNEY ROAD FIRE


    THE FUNERALS OF ALL THE

    VICTIMS

    THOUSANDS GATHER IN THE

    STREETS

    IMPRESSIVE CEREMONY AT THE

    CEMETERY

    EVER TO BE MEMORISED

    SCENES

    FULL AND CORRECT DETAILS

    [BY OUR OWN REPORTER]

    _________________


    FUNERAL OF MISS ALICE BIGGS

    The last sad obsequies to this lady were administered on Friday week, and witnessed by thousands of people, who had not gathered - for mere idle curousity, but for the fact that she was one of the fated ones in the serious fire (of which one's pencil seems to refuse to write of) that occurred last Saturday midnight, and naturally their hearts went out to her. Who will never know what part she might have played in helping the poor mother to gather her flock together in the hope of being saved; but there it is, she is gone, and no history is left behind to tell the tale.

    The funeral cortege, which consisted of a handsome four horse glass car, surmounted with some fine feathers, and two pair horse carriages left the residence of deceased's stepfather, 153, Goldsmith's Row (the 'Victory'), Mr. T Hyne, about three o'clock. The coffin was of polished oak with bras fittings, and bore the simple inscription,


    ALICE ISABELLA FIGGS,

    Aged 26 years,

    Died, April 20th, 1902.


    The mourners were - Messrs. G and F Biggs (brothers), Mr. and Mrs. T Hyne, Police-sergeant (M. P.) John Biggs and Mrs. Biggs, Mrs. Matthews, Mr. e Matthews, Mrs. Mullholland, and Mr. Spill (deceased's lover).

    Mr. W Murrell and Mr. H Murrell followed in a private brougham as a mark of respect.

    The coffin and car were covered with floral tributes, sent by the following sorrowing relatives and friends - Mr. and Mrs. Tittigran, Mr. and Mrs. J Fitzgibbons ('Pritchard's Arms'), Mr. and Mrs. Hatch (Dempsey Arms), Mr. and Mrs. Swenell, Mrs. Davis and daughter, Mr. and Mrs. Howard, and many others.

    His worship, the Mayoy of Bethnal Green, sent a lovely wreath, inscribed 'With the Mayor of Bethnal Green's most sincere sympathy.' Mr. William Murrell and his brothers and Mr. Charles Denman sent a most magnificent wreath, whilst the patrons of the 'Victory' contributed a superb harp with the centre string broken and a wreath. Mr. Styman's (Star of the East) nice wreath and Mr. Pentony, of Jewin Crescent, City (deceased's employer) sent a lovely wreath.

    The mournful procession went by way of Goldsmith's Row, Warner Place, Hackney Road, and Cambridge Road, to the cemetery amid every sign of respect, crowds of people witnessing it, black boards being up and blinds drawn along the line of the route.

    The arrangements for the interment were placed with Mr. R E Wallace, the well known funeral director of 11, Goldsmith's Row, hackney Road, and were conducted under his personal supervision, giving the utmost satisfaction.

    _______________


    FUNERAL OF HEROIC 'PETER'

    REGELOUS

    The funeral of the young man Arthur Regelous, better known as 'Peter', late in the employ of Mr. H Stevens, carman and contractor of Hackney Road, took place last Saturday afternoon at Chingford Mount Cemetery. The cortege left the residence of deceased's uncle, Pott Street, at 2 o'clock precisely, by way of Bethnal Green Road, Mansford Street, Hackney Road and Cambridge Road, to the cemetery, where he was interred in a grave specially bought.

    Mr. W Murrell and Mr. H Stevens kindly defrayed the cost of the funeral themselves, apart from the fund being raised by the Mayor of Bethnal Green. Mr. H Merrett, undertaker, of 10, Hackney road, also kindly supplied the coffin free of cost, and the funeral arrangements were carried out by him by request, and gave every satisfation.

    Large crowds of people lined the whole route to the cemetery to pay a last tribute of respect to the hero, 'Peter', who so nobly laid down his life in the gallant attempt to rescue the others from the burning building. 'Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his brother'. All the employees of Mr. Stevens attended the funeral, many of them voluntarily leaving off work for the time being, and finishing their work later in the day.

    The cortege consisted of a splendid four horse glass car, surmounted with feathers, whilst all the horses wore all the usual velvets and plumes. Then came two pair horse coaches, several private carriages, and other vehicles. The coffin was made of polished oak, with brass furniture, and the nameplate bore the following inscription:-


    ARTHUR WILLIAM REGELOUS

    Who lost his life by fire in trying to

    Save others

    20th April, 1902

    Aged 24 years.


    The mourners were deceased'd brother, two sisters, a soldier nephew, and his uncle. Mr. H Stevens and Mr. Wm. Murrell followed in a private brougham.

    As the sad procession moved away every head was bowed, and it was noticed that in addition to the pages who walked at the side of the car, several of deceased's late fellow workmen walked by the side also, with their heads uncovered, and that the coffin was more than enveloped in floral tributes, in fact they were placed around the outside of the car and on the front of the other carriages.

    The floral contributions included, among others, a beautiful harp from deceased's fellow employees, a wreath from Mr. and Mrs. H Stevens, a cross from Mr. W Murrell, a lovely wreath from the Mayor of Bethnal Green (Mr. C E Fox, JP ) , a wreath of beautiful silk white flowers, made and sent by the girls at Nardi's factory, wreath from Mr. and Mrs. Fitzgibbon ('Pritchard's Arms'), a horse shoe, with the name 'Peter' in red flowers across it, from Mr. T Parker (the 'Royal Albert'), a wreath from the 'Good Intent', a heart from Mr. John Fitch's employees, a anchor (some six feet in length) from Mr. J Andrews, florist, the Canal Bridge, Mare Street, a wreath from the choir girls of the Ashley Mission, inscribed 'May God bless the memory of a brave man', a wreath from Mrs. H E Merrett, and many others.

    _______________


    Mr. H E Merrett, 519, Hackney Road, wishes us to correct the announcement that appeared in Lloyd's of Sunday last, to the effect that he bore the expense of 'Peter's' funeral, and that Mrs. Merrett sent a harp. It was carried out satisfactorily by him, and he supplied the coffin free; but Mr. W Murrell and Mr. H Stevens defrayed the funeral expenses, and Mrs. Merrett sent a wreath, the deceased's fellow workmen contributed the harp.

    ______________


    THE FUNERALS OF MRS. DENMAN AND FAMILY.


    On Monday last the heartbreaking work of conveying the dead bodies of Mrs. Charles Denman and her little ones to their last resting-place was commenced. Early in the morning the bodies were removed from the mortuary, Church Row, to Mr. Harry Murrell's private address, 452, Hackney Road. There they were placed on trestles, in a room specially set apart for the purpose, and as we paid a last tribute of respect to the remains of the heroic mother and the greater part of her little flock, with the distracted husband watching over them like one in a dream, and could hear the innocent childish laughter of little Percy in a room below, who is too young to know, or in any sense realize his great loss, the scene was painfully touching in the extreme. There was the darkened room, with just a faint glimmer of the beautiful bright sun piercing through the cracks in the venetian blinds, as if to welcome the spirits of the departed to their last home of rest and peace, and placed round the room were five caskets of beautiful polished oak, containing the remains of the dead, with real brass fittings, and name plates of burnished brass, which bore the following inscriptions:-


    ALICE MAUD DENMAN

    Died 20th April

    1902,

    Aged 27 years.


    ALICE MAUD DENMAN

    Died 20th April,

    1902

    Aged 9 years.


    CHARLES DENMAN

    Died 20th April,

    1902

    Aged 7 years.


    ETHEL MAY DENMAN

    Died 20th April.

    1902

    In her 4th year,


    Our Darling,

    WINIFRED DAISY DENMAN,

    Died 20th April,

    1902.

    Aged 8 months.


    The last inscription was calculated to make a strong man weep. It was with faltering steps that we quitted the sacred chamber of death, and with words too great to utter, shook hands with the husband and father and passed out into the street, only to be reminded again of what had happened by seeing the great crowd of people that had already begun to assemble.

    Some two hours later we again retraced our steps to Hackney Road, when we found thousands upon thousands of people gathered to see the unusual sight of five coffins being taken away from one house, and to show their last token of respect for the dead and sympathy for the living.

    A large force of police had been requisitioned to keep order (if necessary) and a clear passage for the cortege and its mourners, under the able generalship of Inspector Barker and Inspector Cullen; but, we are pleased to say, to the credit of Bethnal Green citizens, there was not the slightest disorder among the huge crowd. Gently, but firmly, did the police do their duty, if the eager and expectant crowd gathered too close. Even the itinerant vendors of mourning cards ceased to shout their goods - they simply contented themselves by quietly asking of would be purchasers to buy. Such a scene did honour and credit to all assembled, and when we mention that there were no less than 20 trams stopped on account of the great pressure, and the traffic was entirely and voluntarily stopped, it can readily imagined how great was the respect and esteem shown.

    Punctual to time, Mr. J Sigourney, the well known funeral director, of 271, Bethnal Green road, was at the house, with two handsome four-horse open cars, the first being surmounted with black feathers and the second with white feathers. Then came four pair-horse broughams, all the beautiful horses wearing plumes and being draped with velvets.

    Drawn up within the gateway and lining the pathway from the door to the pavement, was what might be termed a guard of honour and respect, composed of Messrs. Murrell's employees, who stood bareheaded whilst the coffins were brought out and the mourners took their places. The first to be brought out was that of Mrs. Denman, then came the little baby, both of these being placed in the first car. Then came the three coffins of the other children, which were carefully placed on the second car.

    Following that, the mourners came, and as the door of the house was opened to allow of Mr. C Denman, who was seen to be leading his little daughter by the hand that was saved to him. Lillian May, with her golden hair floating in the breeze, to the carriage, a complete hush fell on the great assembly, only to be broke by the sympathetic sobs of the large concourse of people around, and half audible - 'God bless her little heart.' The other mourners were Mrs. Denman (mother of Mr. Denman), Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Murrell, Mr. Fred Murrell, Mr. and Mrs. William Murrell, Mr. and Mrs. H C Murrell, Mrs. S W Murrell, Miss R A Murrell, Mr. and Mrs. H Fursee, Mr. and Mrs. J Clark.

    Then there were eight private carriages, in which, among others, these were - Miss Lillian Ryder, Mr. and Mrs. Jackson, Mrs. Maddock, Messrs. G and F Biggs, Mr. and Mrs. Hyne, Miss Clara Murrell, Master Frederick Murrell, Master H Fursee, Mrs. Stopp (Aunt Sarah), Master H Murrell, three cousins, Mr. and Mrs. H Stevens, Mr. and Mrs. John Davis (the 'Adelaide'), etc. There were in addition, several vehicles containing other personal friends.

    As the mournful procession proceeded on its way to Abney Park Cemetery by way of Hackney Road, Hoxton, Stoke Newington, etc, every sign of respect was shown, blinds were drawn, black boards were put up, thousands of people lined the streets, men stood bareheaded, whilst women sobbed bitterly. The whole line of the route was traversed at a walking pace, and throughout the whole distance there were large crowds of people. When Abney Park Cemetery was reached the crowd was bigger than ever, many hundreds having gone down by rail, and it was with difficulty at first that the cortege could enter the grounds, so dense was the throng.

    The funeral service in the church was most impressively rendered. On arriving at the place of interment, as each coffin was lowered into the grave, and the solemn words were spoken 'Dust to dust and ashes to ashes,' the pent up feelings of the mourners could be withheld no longer, and long were the lamentations that were heard.

    The floral tributes sent by sorrowing relatives and friends were very beautiful indeed and numbered nearly 100, both funeral cars being completely enveloped, and every mourner carrying some emblem of purity and love. The loving tribute from Mr. Denman was a magnificent harp of white aurum lilies, whit immortelles, white pinks with the addition of some lovely pink roses (Mrs. C Denman's favourite flower), maidenhair fern, &c, with strings of white heather, the centre one of which was broken, and attached to a card were the words: 'With ever-loving remembrance of my dear wife and children from a heartbroken husband and father and the two surviving children, Lillian May and Percy Denman.'

    Mr. and Mrs. John Davis of the 'Queen Adelaide' sent a splendid large cushion composed of harrasil lilies, orchids, and asparagus fern, at the four corners of which were scarlet geraniums and lilies of the valley; and round the centre was a wreath of violets, prettily worked.

    Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Murrell sent a lovely wreath, as did Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Murrell, and both the ladies carried other flowers.

    Mr. and Mrs. H C Murrell's splendid harp, and Mr. Fred Murrell, a beautiful wreath.

    Mrs. Maddock contributed a lovely collar, touchingly inscribed-


    'The cup is bitter, the loss severe,

    To part with them we love so dear;

    It was God's will it should be so,

    At His command we must all go.'


    Mr. and Mrs. J Fitzgibbons, of the 'Pritchard's Arms', sent a very choice anchor - 'With deepest sympathy. May their dear souls rest in peace'. The staff of the same house sent a large heart, with the same inscription on it.

    The staff and children of Teesdale Street Board School sent a lovely harp, amongst other, flowers being superb roses, with deepest sympathy.

    The children of Mrs. Ashby and Mrs. Murton, did not forget their schoolmates, they sent a pretty wreath, 'With love and sympathy from their school friends.'

    'Thy will be done' was the simple but good inscription on Mrs. Blanks and family's wreath.

    The Mayor and Mayoress of Bethnal Green (Mr. and Mrs. C E Fox) contributed a splendid wreath of aurum lilies, white pinks, stocks, narcissus, orchids, etc., 'With the Mayor and Mayoress' deepest sympathy.'

    One especially touching tribute was a really magnificent heart of beautiful white flowers with strings of white heather, the centre one being broken, and inscribed 'With heartfelt sympathy and condolence. From one who did his best.' This was evidently sent by Mr. Rogers of 50, Mare Street, and we may here be pardoned for digressing, and saying that much sympathy is felt for him; and the hope expressed that he will be comforted and cheered in his trial, and not listen to idle talk.

    'In loving memory of my dear sister and children. In deepest sorrow, from Louie and Harry,' was another that caught my eye.

    Then, 'With deepest sympathy, from the employees of W and H C Murrell.'

    Another beautiful harp Mr. J Edwards, with deepest sympathy, on which was written -

    'A sudden change they in a moment felt,

    They had not even time to bid their friends farewell.

    But they have not gone from memory,

    They have not gone from love;

    But gone to their Father's home above.'

    Very appropriate was the heart of flowers with the inscription 'With broken hearts from her loving sisters and nieces, Mrs. S W Murrell and daughters.'

    The children of Mrs. Nardi sent a cross of silk white and blue flowers - 'In memory of the children of Mrs. Denman,' while the girls employed at the same firm sent a wreath of the same, inscribed - 'A token of sympathy for a brave mother' - each girl making one flower.

    Mr. and Mrs. *** and family and Miss Crake sent a heart-shaped emblem of love, with the following words on it -

    'With Jesus now with comfort ever,

    Never to leave Him, grieve Him never.

    Could God himself give more? His will is best.

    Though we are weeping still.'

    Mr. and Mrs. Stevens lovely wreath bore the words - 'To the loving memory of a good and loving mother and her dear children, with deepest sympathy in the time of great sorrow.'

    Messrs. George and Fred Biggs and Mr. and Mrs. Hyne (the 'Victory') sent a magnificent wreath.

    Others who sent wreaths, crosses, harps, etc., with deepest sympathy, were Mr. and Mrs. Sigournay, Mr. and Mrs. Baraby, Mrs. Edwards, a few sympathisers (employees of Mr. H Fursee, Mr. and Mrs. H Rawles, Mr. and Mrs. Clark, Mr. and Mrs. Walter J Hatch, Sam and Marion, Messrs. G A and G N Frost,, 'Walter' (Mr. Johnson), Mr. W Croach, 'Charlie' (Mr. Cecil), Mr. C Sturge, Mr. Stopps and family, Mr. and Mrs. Pratt ('Durham Arms), Mr. and Mrs. Alex Edwards, Mr. and Miss Callovey, *** from a few friends in Hoxton, Mr. and Mrs. J Sampson, Mrs. And Miss Emily Merrett, Mr. and Mrs. Male, Mr. and Mrs. Jackson, Mr. T Kingston, Mrs. Robinson and daughter, Mrs. Mary Ann Murrell, Mr. and Mrs. G Hilliard, and many more.

    The family who (section unreadable) … Sigournay, sen., for the most admirable way in which he personally conducted the funeral arrangements on the day, everything being done with great precision and care, thus entailing no hitch anywhere; they also desire to thank all those kind friends who messages of condolence and contributed floral emblems of sympathy on the sad occasion, it being impossible to personally acknowledge all of them.

    The drivers of South Hackney (red) and Charing Cross buses (chocolate) had crape on their whip handles on occasion of each funeral as a token of sympathy and respect.

    Mr. C Denman's present address is 31, Peter Street, Hackney Road.

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    On the initiation of Mr. J Davis, 407, Hackney Road, who interviewed some of his personal friends and fellow tradesmen of Hackney Road, they have started a fund irrespective of the mayors fund, and out of no disrespect, but because they preferred to show their own personal sympathy and respect with Mr. Denman, and their association with him and his family in their bereavement.

    A committee has been formed, of which Mr. J Davis of 407, Hackney Road, is the hon. Treasurer, and Mr. C Sturge, 384, Hackney Road, is the hon. Secretary. The committee are Messrs. K Samuel (a most indefatigable worker), J Stokeley, J H Potter, Alec Day, Crowle, E Smith, Fish, Plumb, C Titford, J Jones, W Becker, Baldrey, Smith and Sons, Ashley, G Cane, G Hudson, Frost, Goldstein, Berg, J Haydon and Sons, 'Yorkie', J Green, F J Halley, H Murrell, Bishop, Manders Bros, W Gilbert, Arnold, W C Brittain, H Stevens, J Fitzgibbons, John Davis, Lancay, Thomas Sharp, Bentley, W Osbourne, T Tyler, H Smith, e c.

    Subscriptions for both funds will be gratefully received and acknowledged in these columns.


    THE EASTERN ARGUS AND HACKNEY TIMES.

    May 10 1902


    THE FATAL FIRE IN HACKNEY ROAD

    SIR MANCHERJEE BHOWNAGGREE asked the Home Secretary if he had seen the report of the coroner's inquest held on the bodies of seven young persons and children who perished in the fire at Hackney Road on the 19th April last; if he had noticed the evidence given at the inquest by the inspector appointed under the Petroleum Act, that the catastrophe, which was caused by the tilting of a lamp, occurred owing to the flash point of the oil which escaped being as low as 88 degrees; if his attention had been drawn to the inspector's statement that such oil was largely sold in the East End, and that it was the cause of 26 fatal accidents last year; and whether he contemplated taking any steps to prevent the sale of petroleum the flash point of which was dangerously low.

    The HOME SECRETARY said his attention had been called to the matter. It appeared that the accident had happened through the fall of he lamp and the escape of the oil, both being in a highly-heated condition. Under these circumstances a conflagration was likely to occur in any form of petroleum used in any ordinary lamp. He did not find that the inspector said that this oil was the cause of all the 26 fatal accidents of last year. In some of these cases the flash point was not known, whilst in two cases it was over 100 degrees. With regard to the present case it was impossible to ascertain the exact cause of the heating of the lamp, but if it was in any way due to the oil it could only have been on account of the sluggish or slow burning nature, and these qualities, he was advised, went rather with the high than with the low flash oil.




    The Times

    Monday 22 April 1902


    FATAL FIRE IN LONDON

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    A disastrous fire occurred in London on Saturday night resulting in the deaths of seven persons. It broke out at 423, Hackney-road, E. The premises consist of a projecting front shop rented by Messrs. Rogers Brothers, a firm of ticket writers, and a house of eight rooms occupied by a family named Denman and several lodgers. The fire broke out with great suddenness about midnight in the projecting shop, which had been closed for some hours, and made remarkably rapid progress. In ten minutes the house behind was on fire from top to bottom. The firemen from Hackney and Bethnal-green fire stations found on arriving that the fire was burning with exceptional fierceness. It was rumoured that there were people in the house, but it was impossible to effect an entrance. Hydrants and steamers were hastily set to work and a great quantity of water was thrown into the fire, but it was more than half an hour before it was possible to quell the flames sufficiently for an entrance to be made.

    The moment the ruins were sufficiently cool to permit them to search, the firemen made their way into the back part of the premises, when they found that no fewer than seven persons had lost their lives. These were Mrs. Denman, her three daughters and her son, a lodger named Alice Biggs, and a man whose name was afterwards ascertained to be Peter Pegeolono, and who is a stranger supposed to have been assisting in the work of rescue. The bodies were brought out over the roof of the projecting shop in canvas sheets and removed for the time into a room of the next door premises. The ages of the children ranged from eight years to three months. Mrs. Denman appears to have lost her life in endeavouring to save her children. She had rescued two of them before she fell victim to the fire.

    The rapidity and fierceness with which the fire burnt and the suddenness with which it died out are described by eye-witnesses as extraordinary, and there was unfortunately no chance from the first of people being saved. The operations of the firemen, which were watched by an enormous crowd of excited people, were personally directed by Captain Wells and Superintendent Egerton. The fire was practically restricted to the premises in which it broke out, but the buildings on either side were scorched and other damage was caused by smoke and water. No cause at present can be assigned for the fire.


    The Times

    Wednesday, 23rd April 1902


    INQUESTS

    __________________

    At the Bethnal-green Coroner's Court, yesterday, Dr. Wynn Wetscott held an inquiry into the death of ALICE MAUD DENMAN, 26, and her four children: - ALICE, 8; CHARLES, 5; ETHEL, 3 1/2; and WINIFRED, three months; also of ALICE BIGGS, 26; and ARTHUR RAGELOUS, 24, who lost their lives at 423, Hackney-road, N.E., where Charles Denman and his wife and family resided. Biggs was a lodger, and Ragelous, a carman, lost his life in trying to effect a rescue. Arthur Rogers, ticket writer of Mare-street, Hackney, said he rented the shop at 423, Hackney-road. His stock consisted of a lithographic press and such combustible material as paper and cardboard boxes. The shop was lighted by two hanging lamps. He was at until about midnight on Saturday and then prepared to close the shop. He turned down the wick of one of the lamps and then tilted it on one side for the chimney to clear the reflector. As he did so a flame shot up from the burner, and the oil came out. He dropped the lamp, which blazed on the floor, but he got a duster and extinguished it. The oil on the floor had ignited, and finding it impossible to put out he went to the door and called out, "Fire!" He then turned to warn Mrs. Denman and found the wooden partition between the shop and passage already alight. Mrs. Denman was in the shop parlour with the baby, and she told him the other children were upstairs. He groped his way up the stairs and into a room and took one child to a window. He gave the child to a man, and then returned and found the smoke almost suffocating. He found another child, and just managed to reach the window again. He had a recollection of Mrs. Denman's being by his side and that was the last he knew of her. He put the child out of the window and tried to return again, but could not and left by the window. Thomas Numan, inspector under the Petroleum Act to the London County Council, said the lamp was a central draught suspension lamp, costing about 9s. 6d., with a brass detachable reservoir holding half a gallon of oil. It had a circular burner. He had purchased a pint of the oil which Mr. Rogers used. It was called "Russian Czaroline," and was 7d. per gallon. When tested it flashed at 88deg. The London County Council considered that a low-flash and dangerous, and thought the flashpoint should be 100deg. The type of lamp was considered safe. After other evidence had been given the Coroner said no doubt the lamp was very hot, as it had been alight for five hours, and the heat caused Rogers to drop it. Ragelous lost his life in attempting to save others, and nothing was known about what happened to the unfortunate lodger except that she was burned to death. It was quite clear that the paraffin lamp was at the bottom of it, and everyone knew that these low-flash oils were a serious and continual danger. They could only hope that Parliament would see fit to pass an Act prohibiting the sale of oil which exploded at such a low temperature. The jury found the deaths were caused accidentally, and hoped Mr. Rogers would be more careful when extinguishing lamps in the future, and that the London County Council would promote legislation in connexion with the low-flash oil imported into this country. They expressed their admiration of the conduct of Ragelous, the police and the firemen. Mr. C. E. Fox, mayor of Bethnal-green, will open a fund for the benefit of those who have suffered by the fire.


    The Times

    Saturday, 26th April 1902


    THE HACKNEY-ROAD FIRE

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    The Princess of Wales has been graciously pleased to forward to the mayor of Bethnal-green (Mr. C. E. Fox) a cheque for £10 in aid of the fund which has been opened by the mayor for the sufferers of the fire in Hackney-road on Saturday last.





    The Times

    Tuesday 29th April 1902


    THE FIRE IN HACKNEY-ROAD. - The funeral of Mrs. Denman and her four young children - five of the seven people who lost their lives in the recent fire in Hackney-road - took place at Abney-park Cemetery, Stoke Newington, yesterday afternoon. There was an extraordinary demonstration of sympathy, the whole of the route from Hackney-road to Stamford-hill being crowded with working people from the East-end. There were several thousand people at the cemetery.







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  10. Deacs

    Deacs Well i am from Cumbria. Patron

    A fascinating read to a very sad story thank you for all your hard work.

    Mike.
     

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