Start of the search for Hannah Calladine and her children.

Glossop Advertiser 18 May 1923

Sensational Glossop Mystery.
Simmondley Pit Shaft Centre of More Activities.
Remarkable Scenes and Narrow Escapes.

Another Glossop Mystery is filling the Press of England. Three-and-a-half years ago a woman and two children mysteriously disappeared, and it is this fact, and the activities of Chief Constable Wilkie and his men, which has caused the Press of Great Britain to devote columns of their space to important investigations in this district.
An advertisement inserted in many papers in England asking for information as to the whereabouts of this woman and her two children having failed to produce any result, the Glossop police have been searching for the last seven days a disused pit, 105ft. deep, at Simmondley, a rumour having been circulated that the woman and her two children are at the bottom of the pit.
The pit is the one from which the body of the four-years-old boy, Tommy Wood, was taken two months ago.

Rev. W. R. Wilkie, chief constable of Glossop, in an interview with a reporter, said: — “We have nothing direct on which to work, but acting on information which has come to hand we are searching this pit, it having been pointed out to us that if this particular woman and her children are dead they may be found here.
“I understand that every effort to trace the woman and her children hae failed, and it is important, as will be readily recognised, that we should play our part in endeavouring to trace her whereabouts.”
The pit is in a hollow beneath the renowned Derbyshire hill known as “The Nab,” and is surrounded by the moors, which early this week were tipped with white, snow having fallen heavily.
The policemen engaged in the investigations are lowered into the depths in a wooden box attached to a rope worked by a winch by other officers. At the pit-head Inspector Chadwick has charge of the operations, and to protect his men from the extreme cold he has rigged up a tarpaulin-covered shed. A pulsometer is used to drain the pit of water.

There is now no mystery about the object of the police search. Three persons — a woman and two children — have disappeared, and the combined efforts of the police in all parts of the country have failed to trace them. The sinister suggestion now made is that their bodies may be at the bottom of the disused shaft.
Nearly three and a half years have elapsed since the woman, Hannah Calladine, and her two children vanished so mysteriously.

Advertisements inserted in newspapers by the woman's parents, who live at Royals Wood, Aston, Nantwich, have failed to elicit any reply, and investigations in other directions have been similarly fruitless. At the time she disappeared, in January, 1920, the woman was about 30 years of age. Her two children, Albert Edward and Elsie, were aged 14 months and four years respectively. The missing woman was tall and finely built. For some time before she disappeared she had been living in Glossop with a man who is said to be the father of the younger child.

Her arrival in Glossop produced a domestic storm, for on entering the man's home Hannah Calladine met his legal wife, of whose existence, it appears, she was not previously aware. After a heated altercation it was arranged that she should remain there overnight. Next morning the husband insisted that she should continue to live there. The wife immediately left the house and obtained a situation, where, for the next five weeks, she earned her own living.
After Calladine had been in Glossop three weeks the husband sought a reconciliation with his wife, saying the woman had gone away and he wanted his wife to come back and live with him.
The last time the woman was seen was on Sunday, January 11, 1920. As the church bells were ringing she set off in the darkness, in the company of a man, on the moorland road which leads to Simmondley. Calladine was then carrying a baby. The four-year-old girl disappeared subsequently
Did Hannah Calladine return from the moorland walk on that dark Sunday night? The police investigations of the next few days may provide the answer to that question, and determine, too, whether the search for the missing woman and children will have to be carried farther afield.
The mystery is intensified by the fact that up to quite recently various people have received letters believed to come from Calladine.

Yesterday (Thursday) a “Manchester Evening Chronicle” representative had a talk with Miss Calladine, the missing woman’s sister, who lives with her parents in a small cottage near Royals Wood Farm, Aston, near Nantwich, and learned from her a remarkable story.
The missing woman left her home at Royals Wood in December, 1919, and since that time her parents have not seen her, nor had any written word from her.
Miss Calladine said her sister went through a form of marriage in 1918 with a labouring man, who was subsequently found to have a wife living at Glossop. Miss Calladine accompanied by her two young children, left home and joined her “husband” in Glossop.
Although they have not heard from the missing woman, her parents have received letters and postcards from the “husband.”

“I was a bit worried through not hearing directly from my sister,” said Miss Calladine, “and I communicated with the police about June, 1920, but was not able to get any definite information about her, and having other pressing family affairs on my hands at the time, I was not able to follow up my inquiries.”
“Recently the police have visited our house to make inquiries about my sister and her children. I have told them all I know, but, so far, I have not heard anything of their whereabouts.
“My sister was 'married' at a chapel in Nantwich, and for a time her 'husband' sent her small sums of money weekly to our house. It was through my inquiries that it was found he had a wife and child living at Glossop ”
“His parents, I believe, belong to this part of Cheshire, and he often used to call at our house. I never liked him, and the last time he called I ordered him away from the place.
My sister had two children, a boy born in 1918, and a girl about two years older.
“We do not know what to think about the affair. We are very anxious to hear about my sister, whether the news be good or bad, as the suspense is killing.
“It has been a very worrying time for us all, and especially for me, for I have to keep my father and mother as free from worry as possible on account of their advancing age.
“My sister, who is about 33 years of age, seemed to come under the spell of her 'husband' and in spite of what she knew about him she was quite ready to join him when he wrote for her in December, 1919.”
Such then is the story, so far as it is it is possible to give it, and the knowledge of the facts has led to the public of Glossop being roused to a pitch of great excitement.

At the pit shaft, reticent police and fire men guard the apparatus which is slowly clearing the water from the bottom of the pit.
Operations have been delayed by the mass of shale and rock which fell down the shaft on Wednesday night, when the derrick suspended was crippled and collapsed.
The labours during the bleak watches of the night, when rain and hail swept the countryside, provided a big test of endurance
Mr. Greenwood, a local quarry owner, gave up to the public service a night which he might have spent in the comfort of his own home, and, donning trench waders, oilskin and sou'wester, he repeatedly descended into the depths of the pit to supervise the working of the pulsometer which was fast bringing the water from the pit.
When the derrick gave way, Mr. Greenwood and P. C. Roe were about 100 feet below the ground level, and the rush downwards extinguished their hurricane lamp and all but unseated them. Luckily the rope pulled up just short of the flooded section of the pit. But the winch had been put out of action and, working in the dark, the men on the top had to man-haul the two men from their perilous positions, first Greenwood, and a bit later the constable, being hauled to the surface.
It had been hoped to complete the pumping operations yesterday, and then commence further investigations of the shaft and the surrounding area, but the work is held up as a result of the collapse of rock which was occasioned by the breakdown of the tripod of the derrick.
Simultaneously with the Glossop operations inquiries and investigations are taking place at Nantwich and Chapel-en-Ie-frith.
Public interest in the events taking place at Simmondley, is evidenced by the fact that big crowds of people assemble daily along the road leading from Simmondley to Charlesworth, and hour by hour watch from places of vantage, the Glossop Borough Fire Engine trying to pump out the water faster than it is draining in through the brick sides of the now historical hole of death! ! !

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Last updated: 29 September 2023