Harry (1) Woodhurst

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Brief biography

Harry (1) Woodhurst was born in 1855 to parents Richard William (1) Woodhurst (RWW) and his first wife Susannah Miller. The birth certificate [Birth Index: Stepney 1c 465, 1855 (Sept)] states that he was born on July 13th 1855 at his parents' address which was then 2, Lady Lake's Grove in the Mile End Old Town district of Stepney. His father was described as a straw and willow dyer, and his mother was the informant. There were no Woodhurst-related persons at this address - which was near Jubilee Street - in the 1851 Census, and by the time of the 1861 Census the address had ceased to exist.

Harry (1) was killed in a road accident at the age of 4. The death certificate [Death Index: Shoreditch 1c 154, 1859 (Sept)] states that he died on September 13th 1859 "in the street near Philip Street, Kingsland Road, Shoreditch". This street is correctly spelled Phillipp Street and lies immediately south of, and parallel to, Mill Row where the family was certainly living in 1858. Phillipp Street and Mill Row are interconnected by a short stretch of road. The cause of death is given as "Violent Death. Run over by an omnibus, severing head from body. Accidental. Inquest". Harry (1) is described as the "son of Richard Woodhurst, hat maker". The informant column states "Information received from John Humpherys [sic] Coroner for East Middlesex. Inquest held 15th September 1859".

The accident was reported as follows in The Shoreditch Observer, issue of September 17th 1859:

FRIGHTFUL ACCIDENT - On Tuesday afternoon, a child about six years of age, was knocked down and run over by one of Aston's omnibuses in the Kingsland Road, near the Workhouse, and his head was totally severed from his body, the vertebrae and the whole of the vital communication being completely torn asunder, the head being only left attached by a very small portion of skin. The child it is said was running behind another vehicle, and in leaving it, ran against the horses of the omnibus, and was knocked under the wheels in an instant. The body was taken to the Workhouse to be identified and an inquest held.

The same newspaper, in its issue of September 24th, noted that during the previous week four Coroner's inquests had been conducted, one of which had been for "a child run over by an omnibus, the head being severed from the body". The Coroner's surname was actually Humphreys. The Coroners' Reports and Registers for East Middlesex in that period appear not to have survived, according to the records of the London Metropolitan Archives.

Harry (1) was buried on September 20th in the (privately-owned, unconsecrated) Victoria Park Cemetery, Hackney. The burial register notes his former address as Mill Row, Kingsland Road. The site was later transformed into a public park leaving almost no trace of having once been a cemetery. Today it is known as Meath Gardens.