North West Mills Group




This article was discovered by Richard Smith of Staining whilst researching into his family’s history (he has connections with the Nottingham family mentioned in the article) and passed to the Editor by Dave Hutton.


A transcription of a report in The Lytham Times,

Saturday April 7th, 1894,
Concerning the death of Joseph NOTTINGHAM.



On Wednesday morning at four o'clock a schoolboy named Joseph Nottingham, aged 8 years, son of Mr. Thomas Nottingham, coachman, of Westby Street,
Lytham, died from injuries sustained through being knocked down by the sails
of the windmill on the beach.   It seems that at five o'clock on Tuesday
afternoon, Nottingham went to the windmill in company with another schoolboy
named Wilder, of Clifton Street, who was taking   Mr. W. Swann, the miller,
his tea.   Swann was working on the third floor of the mill, and Wilder left
Nottingham on the bottom floor while he took up the tea.   The miller told
the lad to put his tea on the window, and when Wilder returned he found that
Nottingham had gone.   It is supposed that while Wilder was upstairs the
deceased climbed up on to the second floor and ventured out on the mill bank
and was struck by the sails of the mill.   Some repairs were taking place at
the mill and in order to see that they were done Swann had to go outside to
stop the mill sails from running.   He then found Nottingham lying on his
back on the mill bank unconscious  with blood flowing from his head and face.
  The miller immediately fetched Dr. Barlow and the little fellow  was
conveyed to the hospital in a dying state.   It was then found that deceased
had sustained a fracture of the skull and a compound fractured right jaw.  
He never regained consciousness and only lived ten hours after his admission
to the hospital.

THE INQUEST was held at the Cottage Hospital yesterday,
before Mr. Holden of Lancaster  (Deputy    Coroner) and a jury, of who Mr. W. Boothroyd was foreman.

Mrs. Elizabeth Nottingham, mother of the deceased, identified the body as
that of her son.   She saw him at one o'clock  on Tuesday afternoon when he
left to go to school.   She did not see him again until after the accident
had happened.   She did not think her son was in the habit of going to the
mill, which was about a quarter of a mile from her house.   She went to the
hospital and found deceased lying unconscious.

Christopher Wilder, aged 9 years, living in Clifton Street, said on
Tuesday he met Joseph Nottingham at school and asked him to go to the mill
afterwards.   Witness started(sic) at five o'clock.(sic).   He was taking tea
to    William Swann, the miller.  When he got to the mill he left Nottingham
on the bottom floor and witness went upstairs and gave Swann his tea.   He
then came down again to the floor level with the bank.   He did not go out on
the bank but put the tea down and then went to look for Joe, but he couldn't
find him.   When he could not find him Swann came down and went out and
stopped the mill and found deceased lying on the bank.   Witness then went for Mrs. Nottingham.

William Swann said he was in charge of the windmill on Lytham beach.  
Wilder brought his tea  to the mill on Tuesday when he was just going to
start the new machine.   Immediately after he saw another boy come upstairs
after him and he told the last witness to take him downstairs to the bottom. 
Witness followed them half of the way downstairs and told Wilder to leave
his tea in the window and that he would be down shortly after.   He turned
back when he got halfway up the ladder and put some new stones in to start
the new machinery.   He came down again after getting the machinery ready for
starting and went out to stop the mill in order to put the machine in gear.  

When he went out on the bank he saw a boy lying down beside the sails
apparently unconscious.   The other boy was in the mill bottom and while he
was busy with his work he thought the other boy had also gone down.   He went
to Wilder who told him he did not see Nottingham go out on the bank.  
Witness fetched the millwright down from upstairs and then ran for the
doctor.   The place where deceased was lying was just close to sails.  
Witness could not drag him away with safety without first stopping the mill. 
It would be about two minutes from the time he went down the ladder to the
time he stopped the mill.   He was lying on his back just out of reach of the
sails, just as if he had been struck down by them.   Deceased was bleeding
from jaw and head.   Witness did not move him but called for the millwright
and then ran for doctor.   The lad was lying cross ways on the bank facing
the sails.   Witness fancied that Nottingham walked out intending to get off
the bank and that the sails struck him.   The sails were not running over the
door and he would have to walk six or seven yards before he was struck by
them.   The sails were running very quick at the time - about a mile a
minute.   - By the foreman(sic);   He had always told Wilder to keep the lads
he brought downstairs, but it appeared this boy followed him up afterwards.  
When the doors were open they could not always stop them from coming in and
he was not always supposed to be working on the bottom floor.

Isabella Firth, matron of the hospital, said deceased was admitted to the
hospital on Tuesday evening suffering from concussion of the brain and
compound fracture of the jaw bone. He was bleeding very profusely from the
head and from the jaw. He was attended by Dr. Barlow and Dr. Fisher.   The
case was considered quite hopeless from the start;   he was dying when
brought in.   He died the following morning at 4o'clock.    

The boy Wilder was recalled and said when he went upstairs with Swann's
tea he left deceased on ground floor and told him not to follow him upstairs. 
He did not say anything to him when witness said that.   He did not see
Nottingham when he came down.   He never heard Swann tell him to take the boy
downstairs or saw him on the way down.   Mrs. Swann had told him not to take
boys with him to the mill.
The Coroner did not think the difference in the evidence on this point
mattered very much.   Probably this boy was very upset by the accident and he
might have forgotten about seeing Nottingham again.   In summing up he said
that he had heard sufficient evidence to arrive at a satisfactory verdict in
this unfortunate case.   The cause of death seemed very obvious and according
to the evidence of Swann, deceased must have been caught by one of the sails
of the mill.   The only other question was whether anyone was to blame for
the accident, but he did not think so and suggested that a verdict of
accidental death be returned.

The jury returned a verdict in accordance with the Coroner's suggestion. 
Several of the jury pointed out that the mill bank could easily be climbed
upon by children and to stop this they suggested that the bank should be
protected in some way.

The Coroner said that the bank was private property and anyone who went
on it was a trespasser and must take the consequences.   He was afraid  he
could not take any recommendation but perhaps   the reporters would take
notice of the matter.