View Full Version : Newspaper report on a suicide
25-01-2005, 1:04 PM
My ancestor Henry Layland Woolfenden commited suicide in 1880 at the age of 53. I have his death certificate which states the informant was the MANCHESTER coroner and the inquest was held on 20th December 1880 (the same day as his death)
Does anybody know where I could get further information about the circumstances (eg a newspaper report of the time)?
You will need to trace which newspaper might have carried a report of the suicide. In this case, it might be one of the main Manchester papers, or, if the suicide took place in the surrounding area, it might appear in a more provincial paper. If you go to http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/Newspapers.html you should be able to find a source which will lead you to which newspaper covered the area where the event took place. Copies of newpapers are usually to be found in the record office/main library/local studies library of the area concerned, as well as, of course, the British Library Newspaper Library at Colindale. If you do track down a report, be prepared for a no-holds barred report of the suicide - we think today's papers sometimes go too far, but these earlier reports of suicides and accidents can make very harrowing reading.
25-01-2005, 2:24 PM
I'll take a look at the newspaper files when I get a chance.
25-01-2005, 6:34 PM
Many thanks AnnB for the useful information and also the tip re harrowing details, although I am prepared to find out everything!
Many thanks uksearch for your offer. On the death certificate it it says Reg district CHORLTON and Death in Sub District of HULME. I know both of these are in the Manchester area so guess it would have been in a Manchester newspaper of that time. Hope that helps. Anne K
25-01-2005, 7:40 PM
I have spent a couple of hours going through the Manchester papers of the day.It wasn't an exhaustive look but the inquest report did not jump out at me.A typical paper size is only 8 broadsheet pages.All the papers, both daily and weekly reported the death & inquest of a Rev WJ Kidd who was the Rector of Didsbury.Some of these reports could have been measured in column feet rather inches,so it maybe they just did not have the space to cover Mr Woolfenden's inquest.I'll take another look in the next day or two.
If you need any other details,let me know.
25-01-2005, 11:54 PM
Many thanks uksearch - I really do appreciate you searching the papers for me. I wonder if coroners reports are available to the public anywhere? Would you know? Anne
26-01-2005, 1:38 PM
I think that I am correct in saying that old inquest reports for Manchester are held at the Greater Manchester County Records Office in Marshall St, Manchester.They do not have any inquest reports prior to 1900.
26-01-2005, 4:40 PM
Thanks, appreciate your input - at least now I know that its unlikely I will ever know the history of it. A bit disappointed but I will move on knowing that the info is not available. Thanks again for your time. Regards Anne
I don't know which newspapers uksearch kindly looked at for you, but I've just had a quick search for a newspaper (other than a mainstream Manchester edition) which might carry a report of the suicide. I've discovered that there was a paper called the Hulme Gazette & Advertiser (you say on the death cert, the death was in the sub district of Hulme) and that the British Library Newspaper Library has film of the papers from 4.1.1870 to 5.5.1883. Their web site is at http://www.bl.uk/collections/newspapers.html and if you can furnish them with the full details of the name, place, date of death, etc (there are e-mail contact details on the site) it shouldn't prove too difficult for them to have alook at the appropriate paper. They have done just that for me in the past (although my queries always drew a blank!) Anyway, it might be worth a go, even if nothing comes of it.
26-01-2005, 10:08 PM
Thanks Ann, I have sent them an email, as you say it's worth a go. I will let you know if they come up with anything.
31-01-2005, 2:00 PM
I did not look at The Hulme Gazette & Advertiser.They don't have film of that publication.
31-01-2005, 6:53 PM
Thanks uk for searching anyway. I will post news on this thread if I get any response from my enquiry at the British Library.
04-02-2005, 11:31 PM
An update for reference to all of you who have been of so much help to me. Accoridng to their reply to me, they said the Hulme Gazette and Advertiser for 1880 has been classified as in very poor condition and is unavailable for public consultation in the reading room. It is now awaiting conservation treatment or preservation through microfilming. They have kindly checked the publication for 1st and 8th January 1881 but found no relevant article.
They also said that copies of the Hulme Gazette MAY be held at Manchester Central Library but uksearch has aleady covered this for me. I think it's now closure time for this particular line of enquiry.
Thanks to you all for your time and information. I have learned a lot from this thread.
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