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Sunday, 15 May 2016

Tragedy for James Titheridge and Lily Bess Hand

This post continues the theme of Infant Mortality from two weeks ago.  The story below shows the conditions that our ancestors endured and the consequences of these conditions.

 James Titheridge of Portswood was born in 1856 the son of John Titheridge and Mary Ashton, he was the sixth child of eleven children. He was also the grandson of Maria Titheridge of Cheriton who was mentioned in an earlier post.  James married Lily Bess Hand on 6 September 1890 at West Dean, Wiltshire. James seems to have had many different occupations these being listed as a railway porter, blacksmith and bricklayer labourer on different censuses. We do not know when James died but Lily died in 1914 in Southampton.  James and Lily had 10 children born between 1892 and 1909

Their children were

  • Reginald Frank born on 14 May 1892 died in 1930 in Southampton and married to Violet Ethel Burton in 1919 (They had 1 known child)
  • Francis Ethel born 1893 married James Biddlecombe in 1913
  • Florence Lily born 7 November 1894 – nothing more known
  • Amelia Kathleen born 1896 died 1897
  • Edith Anna born 1898 – nothing more known
  • Violet Winifred Mary born in 1899 died in 1917 aged 17
  • Victor James born in 1901 and died in 1986 in Bournemouth (no known children)
  • Albert Edward Charles born in 1903 died in 1941 in Southampton. Married Violet Taylor in 1935. (They had 3 known children)
  • William John born in 1904 and died in 1978 in Southampton (no known children)
  • Frederick Sydney born in 1909 –nothing more known

Tragedy struck the family in July 1897 when nine month old Amelia developed diarrhoea and two days later died. The illness was caused by the insanitary condition of the property.  The story is best told by these two extracts from the report in the local paper.

Hampshire Advertiser - Saturday 17 July 1897  
The Coroner’s Warning to Property Owners

 “An inquest was held on Thursday morning at the Coroner’s Court concerning the death of an infant child named Amelia Kathleen Titheridge, whose parents reside in Brooklyn Road, Portswood.  Lily Bessie Titheridge, wife of James Titheridge a brick-layer’s labourer gave evidence to the effect that the deceased child was nine months old, and was first taken ill on Sunday morning, and in the afternoon the diarrhoea came on. She continued poorly, but slept all night. On Monday morning the child seemed very ill and the witness went to the relieving officer for a medical order, and took it to Dr Ive’s surgery.  A little later Dr Ives came to see the child, and prescribed brandy, milk and a hot bath. She followed the doctor’s orders, but the child continued ill from the complaint and died early on Tuesday morning in strong convulsions. There were bad smells in the house, and the sanitary inspector visited the premises on the previous Thursday and found that the drain was stopped. That was rectified.

Dr Ives stated that he attended the deceased child on receipt of a medical order, and found her in a state of collapse. He prescribed, but the child did not rally and died before he saw her again, from convulsions following diarrhoea which must have been accelerated by the insanitary condition of the house. The deceased was a fine child. He had since made a post mortem examination, and he found all the organs healthy and the body will nourished.

 Dr Barns, medical officer of Health for the borough, spoke of the difficulty in dealing with the drainage of the district where the child died and said that the owner of the house in question has done all that was possible in the matter.”

“The Coroner remarked that owing to the neglect of proper sanitary requirement they might get an epidemic which would do the town an immense amount of harm and it was now known for its heathy conditions.  The jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical testimony and hoped the Sanitary Authority would take steps to see that the proper sanitary measures were not neglected in the district.
The Coroner said Dr Harris would do all he could and it was their duty to assist him in every possible way.”

If you can add any more to this story please leave a comment

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