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Wellingborough News 21st September 1900, p.6. adapted, Eric Jenkins, 12th September 2000
Elsie Mary May Scholes

Rushden Echo, 14th September 1900, transcribed by Kay Collins

Lamp Accident—A serious accident occurred on Wednesday to the four year old daughter of Mr. H. Scholes, of Spencer Park. The child, who has only just recovered from an attack of pneumonia, by some means pulled over a lighted lamp, which exploded, injuring her seriously. Dr. Owen and Nurse Tinny were summoned and found the child’s cheeks and hands to be severely burnt. In spite of all that could be done the little sufferer died this morning.

Inquest, Friday evening, 14th September 1900, before J. T. Parker, Coroner, at the Queen Victoria Hotel, Rushden, into the cause of death of Elsie Mary May Scholes, fatally burned on Wednesday evening, 12th September 1900.

The body was viewed.

Lucy Scholes, right arm in a sling: I am the mother of the deceased. She was four years old last April. At 7.50p.m. on Wednesday, she was in the house with me and her smaller sister. I had the younger one on my lap. Elsie put her foot on the couch where I was sitting. She clutched the table-cloth which was close by, with a lighted lamp on it. The child was weak, and she clutched the cloth to steady herself. The lamp fell over and some of the oil went on her, and some on me. The globe of the lamp broke. The oil ran over the lamp and caught fire from the wick, and it set fire to the girl. Her hair was set on fire. I took her and put a mat over her head. I was screaming, and Mr. Knight came. A doctor was sent for, and the District Nurse. I got burnt trying to beat out the flames on the child. She was well looked after, but she died shortly after four o'clock on Thursday morning. Tea Rose paraffin oil was used in the lamp. It was a double burner, with a glass reservoir. I have had it six years.

William Knight: I am a builder's labourer. I live next door to Mrs. Scholes. On Wednesday, I heard her scream, and I went into the house. I found one of the children all in flames. I got the hearthrug and put the fire out. The lamp was broken, lying on the floor. I sent for Doctor Owen.

Dr. Owen: I was called on Wednesday evening, and saw the child. She was extensively burnt. Both hands and arms were burnt, extending up to the shoulders. The chin and mouth were burnt, also the hair. With the District Nurse, I dressed the wounds. The child got gradually worse, and died the following morning, from shock resulting from the burns. I attended several times.

Coroner: I urge that safety lamps should be more generally used. There are now lamps which, if tipped, automatically extinguish the flames by means of a weight, and these prevent such accidents as this. If such a lamp had been in use, it is probable that the burners would have been extinguished.

The verdict was "Accidental Death" and the Jury, on the suggestion of their Foreman, W. Webb, kindly donated their fees to the mother of the deceased child.

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