High Peak News

17 March 1888

The sudden death of a woman at whaley bridge

To the Editor


May I be allowed to give an answer to the letter sent to you by Dr Allan, of Whaley Bridge, dated March 7th, respecting the death of and inquest on my wife?

The inquest, he says, was held without his knowledge; but if he had had his ears and eyes open he would both have seen and heard what was going on, as the sad occurrence was the whole village gossip.

In his letter he says that my wife was “manipulated for four hours by a charwoman.” I am prepared to state as truth that the charwoman never “manipulated” her at all, except to bandage her, which, I believe, was necessary in the case. As your readers will remember, I stated at the inquest that the child was born at ten minutes past twelve o’clock, and I was running about the village for assistance about one hour and twenty minutes. When I had got assistance at my wife’s request I went to lie down, as to all appearance everything was going on well.

I had been laid down about an hour when my sister-in-law and the charwoman came downstairs and told me I had better go for Dr Allan, as the case was dangerous, which I did.

I got to his door about twenty minutes to three o’clock, and was knocking there for thirty-five minutes before I could raise him from his bed. But had I been aware that I should have met with such an inhuman reception I should most certainly have gone for Dr Anderson, of Chapel-en-le-Frith, or Dr Nall, of Disley, either of whom I might have got while I was knocking at Dr Allan’s door, and without applying for the parish to pay the fee for me.

The next time I went I was knocking at his door about twenty minutes, and I am sure that he could not have had time to have gone to sleep again, as I was only away from his door about five minutes.

If Dr Allan thinks it would do him any good I am quite willing that my wife should be taken from her grave and a post-mortem examination made of her body, to show the country at large in what way the charwoman had “manipulated” her. Had I not done my duty as far as I could to secure medical aid the Coroner and his jury might have brought in a verdict of manslaughter against me, which would only have been my just reward; and I think that, instead of the doctor chastising the Coroner for what he said at the inquest he ought to be very thankful he did not speak in stronger words.

In his letter the doctor does not seem satisfied with the great loss that I have had to bear in the death of my wife, but he also wishes to rob me of my character, as he says my statement is untrue.

Every word that I spoke at the inquest I am fully prepared to repeat either before a Coroner and his jury or in a court of justice.

He also speaks of his good relationship with the club and the other clubs in the village.

Perhaps the reason is there are no other doctors resident in Whaley Bridge at present, and “Any port is acceptable in a storm.”

Yours, &c.,

Jonathan Jodrell

Whaley Bridge, March 12th, 1888.