Alfred Stead

A crane similar to the one used by Alfred Stead.

HOW QUARRY MAN CAME BY HIS DEATH. Yorkshire Evening Post, Tuesday 26 January 1897.

Yesterday afternoon an extraordinary scene took place at Oulton, in connection with an inquest held at the Three Horse Shoes, on the body Alfred Stead, quarryman, 55 years of age, who died, it was alleged, from injuries received whilst at work at Messrs. Armitage & Sons’ quarry, on the 15th inst.

It seems that shortly before breakfast, whilst deceased was trying to hook a chain on to a stone to be lifted by the crane, he slipped and fell on his side, but got up again, said he was not much hurt, and continued work throughout the day. On going home in the evening he complained to his wife of severe pain on his right side, and on his back and arm. He went to work on the Saturday, but on Sunday became much worse,and on Monday pneumonia set in.

Dr. Buck was called in, and attended him till death, which took place on Friday afternoon. There was a conflict in the evidence of the widow and of two of the deceased’s fellow workmen – the former stating that deceased enjoyed good health up to the accident, and the latter affirming that he had complained of being ill for about a fortnight past.

With such contradictory evidence before him the Coroner (Mr. P. P. Maitland) ordered that a post mortem examination should at once made by Dr. Buck, and that the inquest lie adjourned for two hours to enable this to done.

Immediately on hearing Mr. Maitland’s decision the widow ran out of the inn where the inquest was being held to her home, and at once proceeded barricade the house, bolting the doors and fastening the windows. She expressed her determination have no post mortem and the news getting abroad of what had occurred a large crowd soon assembled.

For two hours two policemen, some neighbour women, and others endeavoured in vain to persuade Mrs. Stead to open the door. She continued to refuse to do so, and during all this period was in a very excitable state, and actually threatened violence to Dr. Buck.

At length Mr. Maitland was seen to approach the house along with the two policemen, armed with a crowbar order to effect a forcible entrance. Before resorting to this extreme step Mr. Mailtand, as last resort, thought it would be better to see what influence the vicar of the parish could exercise.

Accordingly he proceeded to the Vicarage, but found that the rev. gentleman was away. His wife, however, and Mrs. Brook-Hunt, daughter of Mr. E. Calverley, of Oulton Hall, who happened to be calling at the vicarage, on hearing the state affairs went Mrs. Stead’s cottage.

The woman, evidently thinking they were coming on a parish visit, opened the door, and the coroner followed in along with the police and the doctor. It was still however, with great difficulty that Dr. Buck succeeded in getting upstairs and conducting the post mortem. Mrs. Stead appeared quite hysterical state, and by this time the excitement outside was very great.

Dr. Buck’s report was to the effect that the deceased had died from natural causes, and he reported so when the inquest was resumed. The jury, however, returned a verdict that death had been hastened by the accident.