Accident at Elland in which Mary Bates was killed

On 4th April 1903, Mary, the daughter of Joshua Bates, died after being run over by a waggon.

The Yorkshire Evening Post [Monday 6th April 1903] reported

Horses Startled by Fire Bell
Coroner's Jury find no one to blame

Mr E. H. Hill, District Coroner, investigated a shocking accident at Elland on Saturday which resulted in Mary Bates, mill hand, Saddleworth Road, Elland being killed through having been run over by a waggon loaded with malt.

Two horses which were attached to the waggon were startled by a fire alarm bell and bolted. The road is only 13 ft to 14 ft wide at this point, there coming along the opposite direction a carriage in which were seated Alderman and Mrs J. W. Smithies.

Miss Ormerod – see below – companion of the deceased, said they worked at Messrs Joseph Smithies & Son Limited Albert Mills at Bank Bottom.

Seeing the horses startled the women turned and started to run back. Miss Ormerod thought her companion was following her but when she turned round, she saw the deceased under the waggon and saw a wheel pass over her neck.

Mrs Hanson who lives in the vicinity saw Miss Bates knocked down by the first horse which reared up. She had lived there for eleven years and never known horses to be startled by the fire alarm before.

The driver, Robert Thornton Jagger, who appeared with his arm in a sling, said he had lost half of one finger having been thrown under the waggon.

Mr Robert Wilson at whose premises the fire alarm was fixed said the bell was not rung to make a noise. One regulation of the insurance company was that it should be tested once a week.

Verdict: Accidental death with no blame attached to any one person.

The jury recommended that the bell be rung early in the morning


The 1901 census shows Mary E. Ormerod [b 1856] a widow, and family living at 3 Gog Hill – very near the Bates family. Children:

  1. Lena [b 1886]
  2. Mary E. [b 1884]

One of these girls could have been the companion of Mary Bates


© Malcolm Bull 2022
Revised 09:43 / 10th October 2022 / 4366

Page Ref: X487

search tips advanced search
site search by freefind