Let us sway to the dark side and allow our historian, Hilary McAra, to take us on a fiendish journey through Sheffield General Cemetery’s more scandalous and gruesome past.
For more tales of tragic accidents, rejected love, deep despair and sometimes plain foolishness click here to purchase ‘Danger and Despair - Sudden Death in Victorian Sheffield’ by Jane Horton.
I Am off My Head
An edition of the Sheffield Telegraph in 1914 tells the sad story of a young man – a silversmith from London - who killed himself in Endcliffe Park. The young man, who was lodging on Sharrow Vale Road, was known to be an athlete and ‘of a bright disposition’. He had, however, complained of headaches and had said ‘these pains will drive me mad’.
His body was found close by the wall which divides the park from the Hallamshire tennis club. His throat was cut.
In his pocket was found a photograph of his sister and another of a friend. On the back of one of these was written ‘I am off my head’.
The man was buried in the Cemetery on the 12th March 1914.
The Man in The Privy
In January 1883 a little girl, going out to use the privy, made a horrible discovery. A man was slumped inside the closet, apparently unconscious. She called her father, telling him that there was a drunken man in the privy. When the father went to investigate he found that the man, who was in a sitting position, was dead. His clothes were in disarray and his pockets had been turned out.
The man was later identified as George Ellis, who had gone out the previous evening in good humour, with money in his pocket. How he came to be found several miles from home, penniless and deceased remains a mystery. There was only one mark on his body – a bruise behind the right ear. An inquest was held at the local inn, as was common. The coroner took evidence from the man’s son and daughter and from a doctor. The doctor concluded that the man had died from natural causes as the man had a heart problem and bronchitis and there was no evidence of violence. The mark behind his ear could have occurred after death. The family of the child who found the man were quizzed about the missing items. They denied robbing the dead man. It was suggested that he could have given his watch, chain and money away. The jury returned an open verdict.