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Not Brentford

March News

The following items have been extracted from the British Newspaper Archive, also available on Findmypast. They are in date order and range from 1810 to 1921:

Notes follow some items: further research, useful links etc.

The Times Thursday 15 March 1810

In Saturday, two young men, of the names of
HARRIS and HAM, both inhabitants of Brentford, had
a dispute respecting a young woman, and fought on the
Butts. HARRIS provided victorious, and went home ap-
parently very little worse; but, in a short time after,
was taken very unwell; a doctor was sent for, who pro-
nounced him to be in a dangerous state, and on Sunday
morning he died of a bruise he received on his temple,
either from a blow or a fall. HAM has been apprehend-
ed in consequence, but is admitted to bail.

Tuesday morning, a boy entrusted with the care of a
boat, was unfortunately drowned at Brentford, owing to
a bank being flooded; in consequence of the late heavy
rains, and the flood from the river Brent.

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Berkshire Chronicle 17 Mar 1827

On Thursday, the inhabitants of Isleworth and Brentford, were surprised, in consequence of a man being discovered in the Duke of Northumberland's park, adjoining Sion house, with a wheel-barrow, containing a parcel in a bag, having the appearance of a bundle of dirty linen, but which was found to contain the corpse of an aged human being, which was bent double in the bag.

The fellow was traced back as far as Hounslow, where he had stopped at Mr Wilkinson's, a surgeon in that place, and where a boy seeing him go in, and after coming out, wheel the barrow away, suspected something, and comunicated the circumstances to some others, who followed him to Isleworth; where, it being circulated that the man was "wheeling a stiff one," curiosity was aroused, and to avoid detection, the fellow turned into Sion park, thinking, that by that means, to escape from his pursuers. He was, however, taken, and conveyed to the cage at Brentford, and subsequently underwent an examination, but nothing could be extracted from him excepting that he had been employed by two gentlemen to wheel the parcel to Wandsworth. The corpse was taken from the tool house in the park to Isleworth workhouse, to await the inquiry of the Coroner.

Notes

This raises several questions: who was the deceased (it is not clear if it was a man or woman)? Was Mr Wilkinson offering a corpse for dissection or was he trying to cover up a botched medical procedure? Who was the parcel going to in Wandsworth? What did the Coroner make of it all? Hopefully some other articles will answer these questions.

The Globe of 12 March answers one question: the corpse was of an 'aged female apparently between 70 and 80 ... the hair was quite grey and very masculine features of countenance ... measuring 5 feet 10 inches.' The jury returned a verdict of natural death.

Bell's Weekly Messenger of 18 March covers the same ground but includes more details, tracing the fellow with the wheelbarrow back to Egham bridge and his destination as 'the other side of the Haymarket.' It adds a final paragraph:

On Sunday, the body was interred in Isleworth Churchyard, and on Monday, the fellow who had been stopped with it, was suffered to go at large. On Tuesday morning, in consequence of the publication of the circumstances in one of the morning papers on Monday, a hue-and-cry came from a small village on a hill about three miles from Guildford, Surrey, to claim the body, and a sight of the fellow who had been taken, but under the circumstances stated, it may naturally be concluded that he was not to be found.

There is a burial recorded in the parish register of Isleworth 'A Woman Unknown By Coroners Warrant' on 11th March.

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Illustrated Police News Saturday 28 March 1896

MYSTERIOUS MURDER AT BRENTFORD
On Saturday the funeral of a woman named Elizabeth Quickfall, took place at Ealing Cemetery in the presence of a large crowd, attracted apparently by the mysterious circumstances surrounding her death.

It appears that on Thursday week a lighterman, named Gardner, walking along the tow-path of the Grand Junction Canal at Brentford, during the early hours of the morning, discovered what at first though to be a bundle lying in a dark corner of the path at the end of Boar's Head Yard.

On examining it, however, he found it to be the dead body of a woman. She was poorly clad, and to all appearances was between thirty and thirty-five years of age. The police were summoned, and the corpse was removed to the mortuary.

The following day the deceased woman was identified by her sister as Elizabeth Quickfall, married, of 82 Windmill Road, Brentford. She had been separated from her husband for some time past, and had given way to drink. Of late she had gained a precarious living among the barges on the canal.

The body having been deposited in the mortuary, nothing further occurred until the Saturday following the discovery, when the inquest was held. Dr. Dixon, who was called to the deceased, stated emphatically that he had found several wounds about the body, the spleen was ruptured, and the rupture was unquestionably cause by great violence. The injury could not have been caused by a fall. Dr., Bott, divisional surgeon, corroborated the testimony, and after three hours deliberation the jury returned a verdict that the deceased had been wilfully murdered by some person or persons unknown. Two men had been arrested on suspicion, but were subsequently liberated. The matter is now in the hands of the Scotland Yard authorities.

Notes

The death of Elizabeth Quickfall was registered in the first quarter of 1896, as would be expected, her age recorded as 35. Her burial took place on the 21st March and here her age was recorded as 34. She does not appear to have been a local woman, or at least she did not marry in the Brentford Registration District, as far as I can ascertain. There are two marriages in Middlesex of an Elizabeth to a Quickfall in the period 1880 to 1895 but both of these Elizabeths are found in the 1901 census.

Were her murderer(s) brought to justice by Scotland Yard? Sadly there is no evidence this was the case. After a flurry of newspaper reports in March there appear to be no references to Elizabeth later in the year, or subsequently (from searches of the British Newspaper Archive using Findmypast).

The lighterman named Gardner who found Elizabeth Quickfall may be part of one of the families of this name already noted on the website: search the home page for Gardner.

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Ealing Gazette and West Middlesex Observer 05 March 1921

SUNDAY SCHOOL UNION
... Mr W F Wickenden and Mr W Napier, retiring after nearly half a century of Sunday School work in connection respectively with the Brentford Park Baptist and the Hanwell Union churches, were presented by Mr Moule with a copy of the "Life of C H Spurgeon" (given by the secretaries of the branch) as a slight token of their appreciation.

A diploma of honour for 25 years' faithful service in Sunday school work was presented to Miss F E Francis, of St John's Sunday School, and Mr Jackson (Baker's Lane Mission) was handed for this year the Regular Attendance Shield, Brentford Primitive Methodist school having held it for six years.

Published March 2013; updated March 2021

Notes

Mr W F Wickenden lived at 282 High Street in the early 1900s and was an undertaker and builder.