Home Site Map Back

Fall of Pottery at Deptford

with loss of Lives

Yesterday morning, about 11 o'clock, the most indescribable consternation was excited by the sudden fall of the extensive Sugar Mould Pottery belonging to Mr. Keeling, at Tanner's Hill, situate between the Broadway, Deptford, and Lewisham. At the time of the accident, there were ten persons employed, three men and seven boys; eight of them were on the ground-floor, and the other two on the upper part of the building. Mr. Keeling had but just left the premises when they fell in with a tremendous crash burying the unfortunate labourers beneath the fallen materials.

In an instant the dreadful circumstance spread around, and a number of persons hastened to rescue the sufferers. The first they came to was a man named Watts, whom they were on the point of saving when a part of the gable wall that was left standing gave way, and buried him again. This untoward and disastrous event intimidated the men in their exertions, although the groans of the poor creatures were still to be heard in all parts of the ruins, and nearly twenty minutes elapsed before they renewed their labours, when they finally removed Watts from the ruins, but he was quite dead, and his face crushed to atoms.

Another man, named Darvill, was next taken out dead; a third, named J. Bridgeland, aged 70, was also taken out, with his collar hone broken, his head dreadfully cut, and his shoulder much injured,—he was carried to St. Thomas's Hospital, where he now lies, without hope of recovery. James Arnold, who was at work with the unfortunate Watts on the third floor, was released, with his face severely wounded. William Symonds, John Brown, Richard Russell, a boy, W. Robinson, also a boy, and another boy named W. Bowsticks, although partially buried under the rubbish, were, from the manner in which the timbers fell, preserved from destruction. A man named William Greenwood, who was at work at the mill on the premises, grinding the clay, providentially, with his horse, escaped unhurt.

Watts was a single man, about 21 years of age, and was the whole support of a widowed mother, and eight brothers and sisters. Darvill was married, and has left four children to bewail his loss. The other unfortunate men were happily without families.

Source: Bell's Weekly Messenger, No.1770, Sunday, February 28, 1830

Search this web site for Surnames / Places