Another Manchester Tragedy
(research courtesy of MGCTP team members Beannie and BarbaraH)
41 year old, Martha Ann Carr was found dead at her house in Harpurhey on July 5th 1912. She had been strangled. When the police arrived, they found her husband, who they believed committed the offence, sitting in a dazed state staring at his wife who lay on the rug in front of the fire. Two of the couple’s children, who were in the house at the time, raised the alarm by their screams. It seems that her husband, James, had been in poor health and unemployed for some time. Financially they were desperate and his former colleagues at Cawley’s bleach works in Blackley had made a collection which had raised more than £8. Just before Martha Ann was found dead, a workmate was on his way to the house to give them the money. James Carr, a finisher’s labourer, aged 44, was subsequently charged with murder. Evidence was given that he was a sober, industrious man who had lived happily with his wife, however, he had been out of work for some time and suffered from depression. When the case came to Crown Court in November 1912 the jury was dismissed as Mr Carr had been certified insane and had been sent to an asylum. Martha Ann was interred at Manchester General Cemetery on July 11th 1912.
John Alexander Moss (1808-1867) and Mary Moss (1812-1897)
(with thanks to Rootschatter, Dotty, for her research assistance)
The inscription reads:- “John A Moss, who departed this life, April 9th 1867, Aged 59 years.He was for 13 years Master of the Borough of Salford Ragged & Industrial School. Also Mary MOSS, Wife of the above, who died March 27th 1897, Aged 85 years”
Salford Ragged and Industrial School opened on August 14th 1854 in the former Salford Workhouse building at the junction of Broughton Road and Garden Lane. John Alexander Moss and his wife, Mary, were appointed Master and Matron of the School. They had previously worked at Mr Ashworth’s British School at Egerton, Bolton. Industrial schools were seen as a tool for “drying up the sources of juvenile vagrancy and criminality and for training young outcasts of society in the fear of God”. Children, of both sexes, who were living on the streets of Salford, unprotected, were to be brought to the school and “raised from their degraded state”. They received instruction in the scriptures, useful knowledge and industrial training. As nearly all the scholars would have been previously dependent upon begging, the schools also provided a daily supply of good, plain food.
Is this Manchester General Cemetery’s Oldest Resident?
The inscription reads:-
“In Memory of Fanny, wife of William Draper of Longsight, who died Feby 6th 1873, aged 62 years. Also Wiliam Draper, husband of the above, died March 21st 1903, aged 101 years.”
First Church of England Burial
The inscription reads:-
“Kate, daughter of Christopher and Sarah Eliza Sweeting of Manchester who departed this life December 2nd 1848, aged 18 months. First interment in this consecrated ground.”
Whilst Manchester General Cemetery opened in 1837 and the first burials were those of a still born child and Margaret Segate Watt on September 7th 1837, it wasn’t until 1848 that the Bishop of Manchester, the Right Reverend James Prince Lee consecrated part of the cemetery for Church of England burials. Kate Sweeting was the first person to be interred in this consecrated ground.
Mary Bradley (ca 1839–1866)
Mary Bradley was the first recorded deaf-blind person in the UK to learn to communicate by touch. She was buried at Manchester General Cemetery on June 19th 1866. As an inmate of an institution she was buried in a public grave so we are unlikely to come across a gravestone. According to a short obituary in the Manchester Times, Mary, born cira 1839, had been placed in the Swinton Industrial School, having lost her sight, speech and hearing due to illness at around the age of three. In July 1846 she was transferred to the Deaf and Dumb Institute at Old Trafford where the headmaster, Andrew Patterson, helped her learn to communicate by signing words and letters on her hand. Mr Patterson had the idea of teaching Mary to sign from Charles Dickens’ description of the deaf-blind American woman, Laura Bridgman, whom Dickens met during his travels round the US in the early 1840s. Mary Bradley eventually learned to read and write well enough to exchange letters with Laura Bridgman, and also helped Joseph Hague, another deaf-blind student at the Old Trafford institution, to learn signing by touch. Mary’s story is recorded in the 1888 book “The Deaf Mutes of Canada : A History Of Their Education” by Charles J Howe.
The "Glass Graves"
There are a number of graves belonging to glass manufacturers grouped together in a prominent position at the entrance to the Cemetery. In life their families and businesses were linked and it seems they planned to be buried together too. The graves belong to:- Thomas Molineaux (1799-1851), co-founder of Molineaux and Webb which opened in Kirby Street, Ancoats in 1827; Thomas Webb (1797-1873), co-founder of Molineaux and Webb and buried with him his son, Thomas George Webb (1827-1901), who ran the company after him until 1887. Thomas Webb's sister, Maria Webb, married Thomas Percival (1796-1850), founder of the Manchester Glass Bottle Works and their marriage linked the Webb and Percival families. Their son, Thomas Percival (1818-1875) was the co-founder of Percival and Vickers whose business was situated on Jersey Street, Ancoats. Finally, there is also the grave of Sarah, wife of John Woolfall, although he himself is not buried with her. John Woolfall (1802-1871) was the business partner of Thomas Percival senior at the Manchester Glass Bottle Works.