1882: Brewer Boiled to Death

August 1882 “The Shocking Accident in Brewery.”

Brewing was an essential business in Victorian times, but also a very dangerous one. Poor Richard Crump, who was 39, had a nasty accident while helping out at Gullet Inn on Hill’s Lane in Shrewsbury:

Eddowes’s Journal, and General Advertiser for Shropshire, and the Principality of Wales – Wednesday 09 August 1882

His inquest was held two days later at the Inn. Inquests were mostly held in public houses during the 19th Century because they were generally large places, big enough for a jury of 12 as well as the witnesses, the coroner, and of course the body!

Mr William Luscott was the assistant brewer at the Gullet Inn working for Mr Crump’s sister-in-law who ran the place. Mr Crump would often help out.

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William was the main witness at the inquest and described exactly what had happened to Coroner Mr. R. E. Clarke after identifying the body to the jury.

Luscott: At a few minutes before four on Monday morning we got up to brew. We mashed two bags, laded all the hot water out, and pumped some more in.  The third bag was too low to get it into the tub. Mr Crump got up on the side of the boiler. He drew the butt of the bag, and I pushed it with a staff. When we got it high enough he was coming down the steps, and his foot slipped and he turned and fell backwards into the boiler. I ran to him. His feet and head were out of the water. I got hold of him and helped him out, and then put him quietly down on the floor.

boiling wort
Boiling wort – from Martyn Cornell’s http://zythophile.co.uk/ Beer now and then.

William raised the alarm and Dr Eddowes was there in 15-20 minutes and found him stripped of his clothes and terribly scalded. He died that morning.

After hearing the evidence, and viewing the body the jury immediately returned a verdict of accidental death.

st georges
St George’s Church Frankwell – Google Street view 2011 Drinkwater Street is named after the Drinkwater family, wool dealers who originally moved from Cheshire to Hodnet in the middle years of the 18th century. (shrewsburylocalhistory.org.uk)

It was a huge loss for the community. His funeral at St George’s Church in Frankwell was packed and there was a choir, of which he’d been a member of for the past 10 years.

Rev Charles Drinkwater (1831-1923) (Shropshire Historical and Archaeological Society)

Amongst the mourners was the entire the Shrewsbury Bowling Club of which he had also been a member.

His coffin was covered in wreaths and crosses and the service was carried out by Reverend Charles Drinkwater.

On the way to the grave A Few More Years Shall Roll  was sung.

After a few more hymns he was buried.

As a mark respect to Richard Crump most of the tradesmen in Mardol closed their shops during the day.

Mardol 1921
Mardol 1921


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