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Firework Danger! – from 1892

Saturday the 5th November 1892 saw a dreadful accident in Quorn, outside the shops on Station Road. A firework startled a horse and a man was killed. The short report immediately below appeared in many newspapers. The longer report appeared in the Leicester Chronicle after the inquest.

Dundee Advertiser - Monday 07 November 1892
Fatal Carriage Accident
As a party of football players were driving home on Saturday night through Quorn. near Loughborough, a firework was thrown by some youths underneath the horse's head. The animal reared, and the driver, named Palmer, was thrown out. expired a few minutes after being picked up.

Leicester Chronicle - Saturday 12th November 1892
On Monday Mr. Coroner Deane held an inquest at the White Horse Inn, Quorn, touching the death of William Charles Palmer, labourer, Woodhouse Eaves, aged 33, who met with an accident while driving a party of football players from Barrow to Woodhouse Eaves.
Joseph Taylor, carrier, Woodhouse Eaves, said deceased was his brother-in-law, and was 36 years of age. Witness last saw him alive on Saturday morning.
Llewellyn Baker, woodman, Woodhouse, said he was one of the footballers whom deceased drove from Barrow. When they were opposite the shop of Mr. Facer, newsagent, he saw some boys on the green playing with squibs or something of that sort. He saw a firework come over the railings, and it made a sharp crack. The horse then plunged a few yards and swerved to the right. Palmer was on the left side of the cart, and sat on the front seat along with two others, of whom he (witness) was one. When the horse swerved to the right Palmer fell to the left. He tried to grasp the shaft of the cart, but failed, and fell on his head.
Mr. Callis (foreman or the jury) : How many were there in the cart?
Witness : Twelve.
Mr. Callis : Did you jump off when the horse plunged?
Witness : Yes, I jumped down and stopped the horse. Three of us jumped off the cart, and we did so to save ourselves.
Thomas Kirby, police-constable, stationed at Quorn, said he saw deceased driving the cart through the village on Saturday. There were 11 or 12 persons in the conveyance, which was very full. Witness was about 40 yards off the place where the accident occurred. He immediately went to assist, and got deceased's body into Mr. Facer's shop. Palmer only breathed a few times, and died in five or six minutes. He bled very much from the eyes, nose, and ears. All those who were in the cart seemed to be perfectly sober. They were all cheerful and merry, and were singing “Hearts of Oak". They had just started the chorus when the accident happened. He had made inquiries of two respectable man at Barrow who saw deceased before he started home, and they said he was quite sober. Witness believed a firework was thrown by one of a batch of children whose ages ranged from seven to twelve years.
Mr. Callis : From what I heard the firework was one of those things that turn round and round.
The Coroner : I don't think it was, or else some of the men in the cart would have seen it. From inquiries that have been made none of those who were in the cart saw any fireworks.
Witness : I asked a man who was in the cart whether any of them saw a firework thrown at the horse, and he said none of them did.
Harry Facer, a carpenter, said he was standing on the pavement outside his father's shop when the accident happened. He first noticed one of the wheels of the conveyance lifted up, and directly afterwards he heard a noise as if something had struck the ground. He ran to the cart and picked Palmer up. He died in a few minutes without speaking. Witness did not see any fireworks thrown, but some fireworks were being let off on the Green. So far us he could see the horse did not stumble.
The witness Taylor was recalled, and in 'reply to a juror said hr had never known the horse to stumble.
Mr Callis said that he had heard that the cart collided with a van.
P.C. Kirby said he had examined the cart and there was no mark on it to show that there had been any collision.
The Coroner said it was quite evident that the poor fellow met his death by accident. How the accident was caused they did not know exactly but it was probably occasioned by a firework, the sharp crack of which would cause the horse to jump and swerve to one side. Those crackers which were sold to children were horribly dangerous things. The people in this cart were coming home with merriment, and the whole of the merriment was turned into grief by a very terrible accident at a moment’s notice, and an accident for which nobody seemed to be to blame. If there were any evidence as to who had let the cracker off the affair would be none the less an accident. He did not think there had been any collision between the carts.
The jury found that the deceased had met with his death by accident and misadventure.

 Submitted on: 2018-11-05
 Submitted by: Sue Templeman
 Artefact ID: 2033
 Print: View artefact in printer-friendly page

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