History and Information on Ravenhurst Street at Bordesley in Birmingham in the County of Warwickshire.


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Ravenhurst Street Pubs

Some history of Ravenhurst Street

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Street Scenes in Ravenhurst Street

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Related Newspaper Articles

"Yesterday, the inquest on the body of Charles William Cook, [42], farmer, of Walmley Ash, Minworth, a member of the Aston Board of Guardians, was resumed and concluded at the Public Offices, Moor Street. It will be remembered that the deceased expired at the General Hospital, on the 19th ult., soon after being brought in with a fractured skull; that he was said by a cabman to have sustained the injury by falling out of a cab; and that the circumstances preceding his death were involved in some uncertainty. Mr. Hawkes conducted the inquest. Mr. Hugo Young [instructed by Messrs. Horton and Redfern] appeared to watch the case for Mr. George Parrock, landlord of the Erdington Arms, where the deceased was said to have been supplied with drink out of hours. William Phelps, of 326, Coventry Road, said that he had often had business with the deceased. On the 18th ult. he met him at the Spread Eagle Inn, Spiceal Street, where he paid him £9. 10s. They had brandies-and-sodas, and went to the Criterion, where two gentlemen and two women came in and were treated to drinks by the deceased. They all stayed there till seven or eight o'clock, and continued drinking. The barman then refused to serve more liquor to them, and so they adjourned to the Black Swan Hotel, in Bromsgrove Street. There they went into the "cosy" and had about two drinks more all round. They were "neither drunk nor sober," but the Criterion proprietor turned them out because they began to sing. All the party, except the deceased and the two women, left the Black Swan at nine o'clock. Richard Field, 184, Darwin Street, greengrocer, said that he had done business with the deceased for fifteen years. At 4p.m. on the 15th ult. he saw him in the Criterion with Phelps and two married women, one of whom was named Luckett [otherwise Armstrong[. the other Sarsons. They stayed with the party till they were refused more drink, and then he went with them to the Black Swan. When the deceased left the latter public house, he accompanied him into the Bull Ring to engage a cabman, but instead of doing so the deceased called twice at the Pump Tavern and once at St. Martin's Hotel, where they had more brandies-and-sodas. When he left the deceased it was eleven o'clock. He had in his own pocket some money which he had intended to pay the deceased, but he withheld it. He thought it was prudent to do so. Jane Luckett, the wife of Frederick Luckett, landlord of the Woodman Inn, South Road, Birmingham, said that she and Mrs. Parsons, on meeting Mr. Cook in the Criterion, spoke to him because Mrs. Parsons knew him. The drink supply was not stopped on their account, but they did stay there for three or four hours. Questioned as to why they left, Mrs. Luckett would not acknowledge that the drink was stopped at all. She only had two drinks there. The Coroner: No doubt you are very abstemious; but we want to know the condition of this poor man. You are the wife of a landlord whose house is, or was, very respectable, and you ought to understand these things. I don't think you live with him now, by the bye? Witness: "No, I don't, sir." Did you go home with Mr. Cook? "No, sir, I went home alone." Who was the gentleman who walked up Ravenhurst Street with you? "I didn't go up that street at all." You fell down, didn't you, and had to be taken into a chemist's? "Well, yes sir, I did slip down." He can be called, remember. What condition were you in? "I wasn't so bad as you might think." Sarah Sarsons, the wife of James Sarsons, 67, Lombard Street, said that she had known the deceased for twenty years, but Mrs. Luckett had not. When she met him in the Criterion he said. "Hello, old girl, I thought you were dead and buried." So of course she stayed to have one with him, and her friend likewise. [Laughter.] The Coroner: How long did it take you to have one? Witness: "Well, I say as I had two with him." You were sitting there for three hours or so? "I can't say how long. Further examined, the witness was understood to say that the deceased and Field left her and Mrs. Luckett directly after they had quitted the Black Swan. Oswald Morley, Ravenhurst Street, said that about ten o'clock on the 18th ult. he saw Mrs. Luckett and a gentleman going up Ravenhurst Street, towards the Ship Inn. Neither of them was sober. They turned up Lowe Street, and went into an entry. When they came out Mrs. Luckett fell, and the man walked away hurriedly. He [witness] assisted her to walk into a chemist's shop. He did not know the man, and could not describe him. John Devis, potato merchant, said that he saw the deceased with Field in St. Martin's Lane just after eleven o'clock. The deceased was the worse for drink, but was not "incapable," for he asked witness to "Have another." [A laugh.] Charles Rose, cabman, Montgomery Street, said that the deceased got into his cab a little after eleven o'clock to go to Minworth. He was the worse for drink. On the journey the deceased called at the Muckman's Rest. The Coroner: Naturally, for repose. [Laughter.] That's hardly a respectable name for a Guardian's place of call. The Erdington Arms, isn't it.? Witness: "Well, the "Muckman's Rest" is what we cabmen call it. We had three brandies-and-sodas there and some champagne." But this being after hours you had, of course, to make some excuse? "No, sir; Mr. Cook spoke to the landlord, and they talked about my horse a bit. The champagne was proposed by Mr. Cook, after he and I and the landlord had had a brandy-and-soda each. Mr. Cook said "I'll pay for a bottle of champagne if you will," and the landlord said "Done." The wine was in pint bottles." In answer to further questions, the witness said that, after resuming the journey, they pulled up at the Acorn Inn, in High Street, Erdington, and deceased asked him to get down and kick the door. He did so, but could make no one hear. It was true that they exchanged some words then; but all he said was, "If you are going to mess and fiddle about like this I shall have to charge extra." That was because Mr. Cook wanted him to drive back to the Erdington Arms. He asked Mr. Cook for his fare, and was paid; but that was afterwards, at the Erdington Arms. He saw no gold in Mr. Cook;s hand. When he had gone about two hundred yards of the way back two men called out to him to come back and looking through the little trapdoor, he found that the deceased was not in the cab. He led the horse back and saw Mr. Cook lying in the road, groaning. One of the men helped him to lift Mr. Cook into the cab again, and he [witness] took him to the Aston Police Station, and then to the General Hospital. Examined by Mr. Young: Mr. Parrock and the deceased stood outside the Erdington Arms talking for some time. Mr. Cook was quite able to discuss the points of the horse. He [witness] could not swear that both bottles of champagne were opened, though he was sure that both were brought in. The wine was shared among four persons. Mr. Cook, Mr. Parrock, a waiter, and himself. Elizabeth Owen, the wife of George Owen, of High Street, Erdington. said that at 1 a.m. on the 19th ult. she was awakened by hearing voices in the road opposite the Acorn Inn. A man several times said, "Pay me my fare," and she looked out and saw two men haggling. The cabman said, "Don't keep me here, pay me my fare, and let me go home." Afterwards she heard the cab-door bang and the fare say, "Take me to the Plough." The cab, however, was turned round towards Birmingham and driven off. Then the same voice shouted, "Don't take me back again," and a few seconds later she heard a peculiar noise as if someone were trying to get out of the cab. Margaret Bevington, domestic servant at the Acorn, deposed to having heard voices at the same time. She thought that three people were talking. John Harborne, who lives about 200 yards nearer Birmingham than the Acorn Inn. said that at a quarter past one he was awakened by hearing a vehicle pass, travelling in the direction of Birmingham, and the sound of men's voices in quarrel. Directly afterwards he heard somebody groaning in the road, while the noise of the cab wheels grew fainter in the distance. He got out of bed, and looking through the window, saw a man lying on his back in the road. The cabman led back his horse, and someone said, "Now, guv'nor, get up." He next perceived that two men were bending over the prostrate man, and that they lifted him into the cab, which was driven away at a rapid pace. Ellen Jones, the wife of a county police-sergeant, residing next door but one to the last witness, corroborated his evidence. The groaning was that of a man in great pain. As soon as she heard it she heard also someone call out, "Cabby, come back." Police Constable Richardson [D 61] deposed to meeting the cab in Aston Road, and going with it to the hospital. There he searched the deceased's pockets, and found £3. 5s. 7d. in silver and copper, but no gold, Sergeant Jones, of the county police force, stated that on the morning after the occurrence some blood was found in the road, 236 yards nearer Birmingham than the Acorn Hotel. Dr. Farncombe, house surgeon at the General Hospital, stated that when the deceased was brought in he was seen to have sustained a scalp wound, and his breath smelled strongly of alcohol. His condition remained unchanged from 2.30 a.m. to 9.30, when he became suddenly worse, dying forty minutes afterwards. Post-mortem examination revealed the fact that five of his ribs were broken away from the spine, and five others on the right side from the breast-bone; that his diaphragm had been ruptured near the heart, and his stomach forced up into the thoracic cavity; and that there had been extravasations of blood into the peritoneum. Such injuries could not have been sustained by merely falling out of a cab; but they might have been caused by one of the wheels passing over his body. The cause of death was the internal haemorrhage. In summing up, the Coroner said that the enquiries which had elicited the evidence had gone somewhat at large, but had been absolutely necessary. The story disclosed was a very lamentable one. A Warwickshire gentleman, a guardian of the poor for the parish of Aston, a father in the prime of life and health, seemed to have devoted this afternoon to which the evidence had related to a carousal. It was known that he had at least £9. 15s. in his pocket, of which £4. was in gold; and it appeared that when he was received at the hospital he had only £3. 15s., among which there was no gold. It had, of course, been important to enquire whether this man had been dispossessed unlawfully of any portion of his money, and whether in that case the robbery had contributed to his death. The evidence did not sustain the grave possibility that there had been contributory violence; but the police would still have to enquire whether there had not been a robbery. As to the unsavoury part of the case connected with the two women, he did not say that men in business were not to enjoy themselves and refresh themselves in public houses; but here were two women, in a respectable position - that was to say, with no other reputation attached to them than that of inhabitants of the city - who had sat carousing with Mr. Cook, though one of them unblushingly described him as an absolute stranger. The shame of this would linger about the lives of these women till they mended their manners. As to the discrepant statement of the cabman, it might, of course, be that having got his full fare, and finding his customer troublesome he turned back to go to Birmingham, and that this half-drunken man leaped out of the cab and was run over. The jury returned a verdict of "Accidental death."
"The Strange Death of an Aston Guardian?"
Birmingham Daily Post : November 6th 1890 Page 5

Brummagem Boozers

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