Wallace Robert Lincoln Varley
Born: 1884, Gt Ellingham
Buried: 18 February 1913
Age: 29
Grave No: A99
Notes: also buried in A99 - John Varley, bur 28-12-1896, aged 52; Harry Lincoln Varley, bur 28-2-1917, aged 8; Elizabeth Schofield, bur 29-12-1920, aged 79; Margaret Harrison, bur 2-10-1929, aged 2 months.
Wallace Robert Lincoln Varley was born in Great Ellingham, Norfolk, around 1884 and we know little of his circumstances until in the 1901 census he is given as Wallace Robert Lincoln, living with grocer Samuel & Elizabeth Schofield at 52 Bingley Road, Shipley and Wallace is given as adopted On 1 April 1907, Wallace married Lily Riley of 1 Ada Street, Saltaire at St Paul’s Church, Shipley. His father is named as John Varley, dyer, deceased. So who was John Varley? It would appear that before marrying Samuel Schofield, Elizabeth had been married to John Varley and lived at 20 Mary Street, Saltaire. It seems it had been they who had initially adopted Wallace. We get a brief glimpse of John in a report in the local paper on 15 January 1895: John Varley, aged 58 years, of Mary Street, Saltaire, was admitted to Sir Titus Salt’s Hospital on Sunday, suffering from a fracture of the thigh sustained while attending to a horse. The animal was capering about in a field and on Varley attempting to get hold of it, it suddenly struck out with its hind legs and inflicted the injury. John having died in November 1896, Elizabeth purchased burial plot A99 at the recently opened Hirst Wood Burial Ground and the register helps us fill in the picture. Wallace was the next buried there, following the accident described below and four years later his eight-year-old son, Harry Lincoln Varley died of diphtheria and was committed to the family grave. Elizabeth joined her son on 29 December 1920. That left one mystery, how did two-month-old Margaret Harrison, buried on 2 October 1929, fit into the picture? Having seen the story online, Michael Murphy, a member of Windhill Facebook Group, did some research and found that after being widowed, Lily married John Harrison in 1920. Margaret was one of their children who, having died prematurely, was buried alongside her half- brother Harry. Michael also discovered that Lily lived until 1974 when she was living near to the Alma pub in Windhill.
The circumstances of Wallace’s death were given in a report in Shipley Times & Express: WINDHILL MAN KILLED Terrible Shafting Accident A WARNING TO WORKMEN Wallace Robert Lincoln Varley (29) of 6 George Street, Windhill, met with a fatal accident whilst following his employment as a woolwasher at the works of Shaw & Co, Wapping Road, Bradford, a branch of Woolcombers Ltd. He was in the act of placing a belt on a running pulley when he was caught in the shafting and whirled around. He sustained injuries from which he died before reaching the Infirmary. An inquest was held at the Town Hall, Bradford, before the City Coroner, Mr J G Hutchinson, on Tuesday. Mr F G Smith of FG & HE Smith, appeared for the employing firm and Mr W Trenholme, of Sutcliffe & Trenholme, was in court on behalf of the relatives of the deceased. Mr G A Taylor, Factory Inspector, was also present. Herbert Blackburn, wash-hand feeder, of 107 Gracechurch Street, said he had worked with the deceased for three months at Shaw’s at the same bowl. Last Thursday night a belt running the pump wash-bowl broke, falling to the ground. The deceased, using a metal fastener, mended this and after throwing it over the shaftline, limbed the frame to put it on again. Whirled around He placed his foot on the rails near to the wash bowl forks and was climbing when the witness saw him being whirled around the shafting near to the side of the bowl where he was going to put the belt. The deceased had never touched the belt after mending it. The engines were stopped within four seconds by the class of the automatic stopper being broken. When the witness looked again the deceased had fallen to the floor. He was torn to bits. Assistance was summoned but the man died the way to the Infirmary. Answering the Coroner, the witness aid that that was the first time he had seen the deceased put a belt on during the three months although on an average one belt would break a day.
The pump belts were always breaking but previously it had always been the overlooker who had put them on. He had always manipulated them by hand. The Coroner: “Is there a stick for that purpose?” Witness: “There is one in the combing- house but we did not know it. There was no stick in the wash-house.” Coroner: “When the deceased climbed up had he a loose smock on?” Witness: “He had no smock, only a shirt, with sleeves rolled up, trousers and braces.” Coroner: “Was the shaft rusty where he was caught?” Witness: “Yes, all over rusty?” Mr Taylor: “When was the shaft cleaned?” Witness: “I have never seen it cleaned.” Mr Smith: “If the pole had been used there could have been no accident?” Witness: “No.” Harry Leeming, a carding overlooker employed by Shaw’s, said the shafting in question was 2½in in diameter and made 124 revolutions a minute. He had put hundreds of belts on by hand. Coroner: “Are you going to continue it?” Witness: “Oh, no!” Foreman of the Jury: “Have you any instructions about using this pole for replacing belts?” Witness: “No; you can please yourself whether you use it or not.” Arm torn off Dr Maovie, house surgeon at the Royal Infirmary, said that death had already taken place when the deceased was brought to the Infirmary shortly after midnight. The right arm was completely torn off at the shoulder whilst the left foot had been wrenched away, the right foot being badly crushed. There were also external bruises practically all over the body and death was due to shock, consequent up on the injuries sustained. Herbert Asquith, Eccleshill, fireman, said that he noticed one of the deceased’s arms fastened to the shafting with part of the shirt and braces of the deceased. The jury returned a verdict of Accidental death. 21 February 1913
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