1890: Hot Air Balloon Death

Horrible Balloon accident. Wellington Journal – Saturday 06 September 1890: “A telegram from Woodfield [Woodsfield], Ohio says:- Ten thousand people were present on Friday at the county fair, when a hot-air balloon ascent took place. The balloon was inflated over a furnace, and as it shot upward the spectators were horrified to see that a…

1895: Barman Ravaged by Eczema

Skin condition proves too much for Shrewsbury barman. James Lewis, 32, worked as a barman at his brother's pub, the Swan Inn at Castle Gates Shrewsbury. He'd battled with eczema for many years but in August 1895 it was particularly bad and he complained to his brother Samuel, who he also lived with, that "it made…

1862: Assault on Acrobat and a Newspaper’s Victorian Response

A newspaper's less than sympathetic (racist) take, on an attack on a circus worker at Bridgnorth. Sanger's Circus was probably Britain's most famous circus during the Victorian Period. Set up by Englishman 'Lord' George Sanger in 1854 with his brother John, they toured the UK and Europe for years. George built a reputation for flair and…

1883: Tough Times for Victorian Prostitute

"CANNOT MEND - Mary Roberts, alias “Zulu,” was charged with being drunk and disorderly in Mardol [Shrewsbury], on Saturday night. Police-constable Lloyd proved the case, it appearing that he found the prisoner drunk and shouting that she wanted her shilling. She was drunk and very violent, and on the way to the Police Station lay down,…

Paddle into the Past Special – part 2

After passing under the Welsh Bridge, a relatively shallow part of the river, to our left was The Waterfront, The Armoury, and the Riverbank restaurant. Go back to the 19th Century and this area was known as as the Muckhole or Mudhole. Archaeologist Nigel Baker had taken us the town's old waste disposal site where…

1867: Skeletons in Frankwell

“CURIOUS DISCOVERY OF SKELETONS. –  Last week as some navvies were excavating for the sewerage works in Frankwell they discovered, at the junctions of the road leading to The Stew, not four feet from the surface, two skeletons, the teeth in the skull of one quite perfect. Nothing in the shape of clothing was found…

Paddle into the Past Special- part 1

An archaeological tour of the River Severn. It was the perfect place to build a settlement, in the middle of the loop of a river with its wonderful natural moat to act as a defence. Since it was founded in the 9th Century the town has built up layers and layers of rich history throughout…

7th July 1892: Bridgnorth Cliff Railway Opens

The Mayor and Corporation met at the Town Hall 12 o’clock, and in their robes marched to the lower station, preceded by the Willenhall Prize Band. The Corporation got into the car and on arriving at the top  the Mayor said this was a red letter day in the history of Bridgnorth, the opening of…

1907: Britain’s Most Prolific Baby Traffickers – PART 5

Baby Kitching had been missing for weeks…presumed dead. Taken from his teenage single mother, in Grimsby, on the promise of a loving home, devoted parents and a bright future…and the Kitchings had paid £11 pounds to secure it. But Lily had been duped by a conjurer and his assistant; Herbert Smith – stage name Leo…

1907: Britain’s Most Prolific Baby Traffickers – Part 4

July 1907: In a stuffy Liverpool court room, the public gallery packed, and the press in full attendance, Sgt Moore appealed for the identities of the mothers and children to be kept secret from the public in order to protect them. The prosecutor then outlined the case against the young couple – the conjurer and…

1907: Britain’s Most Prolific Baby Traffickers – PART 3

“LADY without encumbrance would like healthy BABY; entire surrender requested; good comfortable home, premium £15 . – Write, Baker, 60 Islington, Liverpool.” It was just one of a series of different adverts that had been appearing in papers across the country for the past 6 months, placed there by Lottie and Herbert. They used different…

1907: Britain’s Most Prolific Baby Traffickers – PART 2

Herbert Smith, 21, and Lottie Roberts, 20, stood in the dock at the court room in Liverpool. The charges…obtaining £11 pounds with intent to defraud, and causing the death of the 14 day old baby boy of Lily Kitching from Grimsby. But their story started 18 months earlier. If you haven’t read part 1 –…