HC Deb 08 July 1880 vol 253 cc1904-5

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, If his attention has been called to an inquest held on the bodies of three men who were killed by a fall of staging at Cleveland Ironworks, Middlesborough, a report of which appeared in the "Northern Echo" on 2nd instant; if his notice has been directed to the fact that the coroner suggested to the jury— That they should not add any recommendation to their verdict as to the prevention of similar accidents in future. There were able men at the head of the firm of Bolckow, Vaughan, and Co. who would take the matter into their consideration and devise whatever they could to prevent the recurrence of a similar accident in future; whether it be true that the Coroner is himself a partner in the Linthorpe Ironworks, Solicitor to the firm of Bolckow, Vaughan, and Co., to Bell Brothers, and to many others of the Ironmakers near Middlesborough; and, if it is customary that the legal representatives of large employers are appointed to act as coroners in the district where they may be situated, where they may be called upon to make inquiries relating to deaths that may take place at their own works, or at those they may frequently be called upon to represent in their professional character?


in reply, said, he had received a communication from the Coroner, who stated that the report quoted in the Question of what he told the jury was inaccurate, as clearly appeared from the correct reports given by several other newspapers. What the Coroner really said was that no doubt the jury would recommend the manager of the firm of Bolckow, Vaughan & Co. to take steps to prevent the recurrence of such an accident; but he advised them, instead of expressing an opinion as to the precise course to be adopted, to leave that to the able manager of the concern. A statement from the foreman of the jury fully confirmed this account of what the Coroner actually said. The Coroner denied that he was, directly or indirectly, interested in any of the works either as a partner or shareholder. That gentleman said he had been Coroner for many years, and no doubt as to his impartiality had ever yet been raised. Eminent solicitors were very often and very properly employed as Coroners; indeed, they were the best men who could be found to fill the office. Of course, it constantly happened that when a person was the best solicitor in a neighbourhood he was employed by persons of all descriptions. No doubt in that sense this gentleman had been employed by individuals who required legal advice and assistance. He thought that the hon. Member's Question was founded on the inaccurate report given in a newspaper of what the Coroner said.