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1848: "Accidental Death" at Newbury Pond

Updated: Aug 30, 2021

Brighton Gazette - Thursday 07 September 1848

On Monday, an inquest was held before Inigo Gell, Esq., Deputy-Coroner, at the Talbot Inn, on the body of David John Elliott.

Frederick Cox, watch-maker, of Cuckfield, deposed that he knew deceased, who was a pawnbroker's assistant, in the Edgeware Road, Middlesex. The day previous he saw him at Cuckfield, when they agreed to go to Newbury pond for a bathe, just as the bells were tolling for church. Witness had a swim, and was out of the pond, when deceased went In. He plunged into the water; and soon afterwards witness heard him call out “Fred.” He was sinking; and it was impossible to save him.

Newbury Pond viewed from the public footpath to Cuckfield.

Many persons came, and several stripped and went into the water; but deceased was not got out for two hours. Deceased told him that bad been learning to swim in one of the London Baths, and that he was master of the art. He only swam two or three yards before he sank. Mr Smith and some boys were present. William Smith, butler to the Rev. T.A. Maberly corroborated; and Flanagan, Inspector of Police, proved the finding the body, and gave the greatest credit to Mr J. Hobbs and Mr J. Anscombe, iun., who, bearing of the accident, went to the spot and remained In the water an hour and a half, endeavouring to recover the body.

The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental Death.”

For more on Victorian efforts to teach Cuckfield children to swim please follow.....



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