History of Fazeley Street in Birmingham in the county of Warwickshire

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Some history of Fazeley Street

More information on Fazeley Street to follow. I probably created the page as I had a link to Fazeley Street from another page. When building the site it is easier to place links as they crop up rather than go back later on. I realise this is frustrating if you were specifically looking for information on Fazeley Street. There is plenty of other information on Birmingham dotted around the website - click here for a good starting place.

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Related Newspaper Articles

"At a late hour on Monday evening a shocking occurrence took place at Mr. Samuel Walker's brass foundry and rolling mills, Fazeley Street, by which three men lost their lives from suffocation. Inside the yard of Mr. Walker's works, which are situated at the western end of Fazeley Street, and cover about a quarter of an acre of ground, there is a well about 100 feet deep, which furnishes the necessary water supply for the engine and other purposes. This well has frequently been cleaned out, and though in some cases the presence of foul air had been detected, it has never happened before that any serious inconvenience, or even danger, resulted there from. Although no order had been given for the cleaning or inspection of the well, it appears that Mr. Walker's engineer, named Joseph Dainty, an old man, about 60 years of age, descended the shaft, which is not more than four feet square, on Monday night, shortly after half-past six o'clock, at which hour the workmen on the premises leave off work. All the workmen had left except the foreman, Mr. Brett, who stays, with his wife, on the premises. Brett was aware that Dainty had not left, and as the latter did not make his appearance, Brett went to look for him. He saw his jacket, cap, and dinner-basin lying beside the engine, and close by he observed the cover of the well shaft turned up. The most natural conjecture from all this was, that Dainty had gone into the well, and Brett shouted down, but received no answer. Becoming alarmed, he sent for a man named James Farrow, who had formerly been a striker at Mr. Walker's, and who had gone down the well several times before. Farrow at once descended the shaft by means of a rope, which, however, was not, as should have been, tied round his waist. After remaining a short time, he gave the signal to be pulled up. There was about twenty feet of water in the well, and Farrow reported that he could not find Dainty. When he came up Farrow looked stupefied, and this confirmed the fears of Mr. Brett and one or two bystanders that the engineer had been overcome by the foul air in the well, and had fallen into the water. Farrow went down a second time, taking with him a walking-stick, which he poked into the water, but without feeling Dainty's body. He came up again, and this time was evidently so overcome that he was dissuaded from going down again. He, however, persisted in descending once more, taking a rake with him. It was agreed that he should keep speaking to those above, to show that he was safe. Mrs. Wheeldon, wife of Mr. Wheeldon, of the Forge Inn, Fazeley Street, was present, and she relates that Farrow called up several times, "Ail right, Aunt Sally," but the people at the top of the shaft, listening eagerly for another signal, were shocked to hear a splash, which gave conclusive proof that Farrow, too, had been overcome. A man named William Camwell, one Mr. Walker's men, now insisted on making the perilous descent, and, with a rope round his body, he went down four or five times, and was pulled up again each time in a faint condition, and without finding any trace of the missing men. The excitement and alarm of those who had been watching the search now became intense, and a messenger was despatched for the police and for a doctor. Superintendent Wilcox and Mr. Smith, assistant to Mr. Porter, surgeon, both arrived on the spot, and were of much service. Mr. Walker, proprietor of the works, was also sent for, and when he came took an active part in superintending the further operations. After Camwell ascended, another man, Henry Jones, the third who lost his life, and who had been at the Forge Inn while the alarm was raised, came to the yard and volunteered to go down, as he said he knew the well, and was not afraid of the gas. A rope was tied round his body, and he stuck two candles together, lighted them, and went down. Had he allowed the rope to remain round his body, all would have been well, as far as he was concerned, but it is supposed that he found Farrow's body, and taking the rope from his own prepared to tie it round the dead man; but just at this point his strength failed him, and another splash told of another life sacrificed in the deadly shaft. Further attempts to descend the well until something was done to ventilate it, were now desisted from, and Mr. Henry Powell, well-sinker and pump maker, Lower Trinity Street, Bordesley, was sent for. He had the pump set to work, and the water in the well was gradually reduced. A fan was brought and kept in motion at the mouth of the well, and in an hour or two the air was considered pure enough to allow of Mr. Powell descending, with Thomas Weston and Joseph Farley. After much exertion, the bodies of the three men were got out, the first found being that of Farrow, who was brought up about four o'clock on Tuesday morning. Every means of restoration that could be devised was resorted to with the most unremitting effort by Mr. Smith, Mrs. Brett, and Mrs. Wheeldon, but had been too long extinct to render these of any avail. An hour or two afterwards Jones's body was recovered, but the last - that of Dainty - was not brought to the surface till ten o'clock. There were marks as of a fall on the face of the latter, and blood issued from an incised wound; as if he had fallen on some sharp substance when overpowered by the foul atmosphere. All the deceased men leave widows and large families. Dainty's family are all grown up, but he has a daughter at home in consumption. Farrow, it appears, had been out of work for some time, and he and his wife, and family of six children, had been in a state of great poverty and destitution. His wife was confined only nine days since, and the circumstances in which the family are now placed by the loss of their head, who met his death in the bravest and most commendable manner, is one specially appealing to the benevolent. Jones, who was a millwright working with Messrs. Sharp and Brown, leaves a widow and three young children. The inquest was held on Wednesday, at the Minerva Inn, Montague Street, before Dr. Birt Davies. The circumstances having been given in evidence, the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental death."
"Three Men Suffocated in a Well"
Birmingham Journal : December 21st 1867 Page 5

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