HC Deb 01 April 1884 vol 286 cc1273-4

asked the Vice President of the Council, If his attention has been directed to the death of Ellen Barker, aged eleven yours, at Habergham, near Burnley, which is believed to have been caused by over pressure of school work; at the inquest, held on the 14th instant, the girl's mother stated that her daughter came homo from the day school on Monday afternoon the 10th. At 7 o'clock that evening she complained of pain in her head and illness. She grew worse until Wednesday, when the doctor was sent for; but she died before his arrival. Witness could not say whether overwork at school had caused her daughter's illness; she had only complained about her "home lessons;" the coroner said he had had several cases of that kind, where overwork at school had apparently brought on the illness. A juror remarked that children were too heavily worked at school; and another juror said that there was scarcely a house in the village in which complaint was not made of such overwork; the jury returned a verdict of "Death from natural causes, probably accelerated by overwork at school;" and, whether he will make further inquiry into all the circumstances of this case?


Sir, Her Majesty's Inspector has made a full Report on the case of Mary Barker, of Habergham, of which the following is a summary is his own words:— Habergham, All Saints, N. S. (Gawthorpe, Lancashire). Mary (not Ellen) Barker died from a sharp attack of peritonitis, of which the first symptoms appeared in the evening of Tuesday, the 11th of March, and which ended fatally 24 hours later, in the evening of Wednesday, 11the 12th ult. The family doctor, who arrived after death, is definite on this point, and the parents agree in thinking the cause of death inflammation of the bowels. Two sisters were seven days later attacked with typhoid fever, said to be caused by smells from drains. The landlord is examining these drains, as I am told by his manager. The girls in question are now ill. Mary Barker was, apparently, in good ordinary state of health up to the night before her death, went to school, and worked in the mill as usual. There is nothing to lead to the belief that anything but the disease named cruised or conduced to death, and the statement of the parent expressly excludes school work. The school is in my own parish, is managed by Sir U. Kay-Shuttleworth and Colonel Dug-dale, has always done extremely well, and is very popular, I have lived here for nearly five years, and the charge appears to be baseless. (Signed) F. A. S. Freeland, H.M.T.