The inquest into the deaths of Hannah Calladine and her children.
Glossop Advertiser 15 June 1923
GLOSSOP JURY'S TRIPLE MURDER VERDICT!
Sensational Revelations at Inquest.
“IT IS A SECRET BETWEEN HER AND ME.”
AMAZING LETTERS AND POSTCARDS.
“I HAVE FOUND THEM A GOOD HOME.”
How Female Clothing and Boots Were Disposed Of.
STORY OF CHILD'S LAST WALK.
Dramatic Outburst by Burrows.
The Funeral of Hannah Calladine and her children.
15 June 1923.
One of the most remarkable inquests ever held in Derbyshire, indeed in the whole country, opened at the Glossop Town Hall on Monday morning, when Mr G. H. Wilson (Deputy Coroner for the High Peak Hundred) and a jury, over whom Mr. H. Goddard was foreman, held a full investigation into the discovery of the human remains at the Simmondley air-shaft.
There was tremendous subdued interest when it was seen that there was present in court, in company of two warders from Strangeways Gaol, Albert Edward Burrows, who has been committed to take his trial at the Derbyshire Assizes on a charge of having murdered little Tommy Wood, whose body was recovered from the self same air-shaft some weeks ago, and Burrows followed the whole proceedings with cool, keen interest, occasionally making notes of the statements of the various witnesses.
There were tense periods as the tragic story was gradually unfolded by witness after witness, and an exciting climax when burrows strongly denounced one of the witness at the close with the words:- “I have nothing to say only with regard to that man. It is a wonder he does not drop dead! He was not there at all.”
The jury having been sworn, they proceeded to the mortuary at the Borough Police Station to view the remains of the children, and were accompanied by the Coroner (Mr. Wilson), the Chief Constable (Mr. Wilkie), and Inspector Chadwick.
On returning to Court, the Coroner, addressing the jury, stated that they had met together that morning to inquire into the deaths of three persons, the first of whom was Hannah Calladine, the inquest on whose body was opened last Monday; also two children, Elsie Large, and Albert Edward Burrows, “and after identification of the children.” continued the Coroner, “I propose to take the whole of the evidence on the three bodies together, as it is similar in each case”. The witness Mary Elizabeth Calladine, he added, had not yet arrived, and he would go on with other witnesses.
Eliza Hammond, widow, 94, Back Kershaw Street, Glossop, the first witness called, said: I live directly opposite Burrows' house.
The Coroner: What distance is there between them? ,
Witness: About two or three yards.
The Coroner: There is only one door to each house, and they open into a common yard? — Yes.
I think you were friends with Burrows? — Yes, I have seen him and his family several times each week.
Do you remember Mrs, Burrows summonsing Burrows for desertion? — Oh, yes.
Do you remember the time? — I believe it was in January, 1920.
And do you remember anybody coming to the house before the Police Court proceedings? — Yes, Hannah Calladine and her two children.
How long before? — About three weeks.
On the Sunday following the Thursday they came, did Burrows call you into his house? — Yes,
I think he sent for a pint of beer? — Yes.
And you had a drink together? — Yes.
Did he introduce the woman to you? — Yes, he said “This is Nance,” pointing to Hannah Calladine, and “This is Albert Edward.” pointing to the youngest child. The little boy was about fourteen months old.
Was there a little girl there too? — Yea, she was playing, and appeared to be between three and four years old.
Did you hear Burrows call Mrs. Calladine by her name, Hannah? — No, it was always “Nance” to me.
During the three weeks they were there, did you occasionally see the children? — Yes, I them several times, but not every day.
Where did you see them? — I used to see them when she came out to the coal-place.
Do you remember the Sunday before the Police Court proceedings? — Yes.
That would be the 11th of January, 1920? — Yes.
Did you see Hannah Calladine that day? — I saw her at night, standing at Burrows' door. That would be between 6 o’clock and five past.
Did you notice how she was dressed? — No. I could not see very well, but she was dressed in something dark.
Did you ever see her again? — No.
That was the last time you saw her? — Yes.
Did you see the two children that day? — No.
In reply to a further question by the Coroner, witness said; “I might have done, but I have forgotten. l remember seeing Burrows the following morning, Monday, the 12th of January. The first time I saw him would be about 6 o'clock — he was then going into his house.
Had he anything with him? —Yes, he had a stick in his hand.
Did he come out of the house again? —Yes, he wasn’t many minutes before he came out again.
Did you see him later that morning? —Yes, but I could not say the exact time.
Did you say anything to him? — Yes.
What? — I said “You have been having your walks early this morning,” and he replied that “he had been taking Elsie to her mother” (meaning Hannah Calladine's little girl).
Did you ask him where they had gone? — Yes.
What did he say? — He said “That is a secret between me and her,"” and he added that “he had promised her he never would tell.”
Did he make any remark about Mrs. Burrows? — No.
Did he say anything about her waiting for him? — Yes, he said “Nance says she will wait for me — Mrs. Burrows won't last for ever” or words to that effect.
Did he say anything about the children? — Yes, he said they would be all right — “he had found them a good home.”
Did he say anything else? — Yes, he said “They would never trouble him any more for anything,”
Have you seen Hannah Calladine since then? — No.
Have you ever asked him about the children? — Yes, he said they were all right; they had got good shops. I asked him where, and he said “She is working in a bacon shop”
Did he say where? — Yes, somewhere down Stretford way.
Did you ask for the address? — Yes, and he said he would rather not give it me, because he had always promised to keep it a secret.
After Hannah Calladine and the children left, did Burrows go to work at Manchester? — Yes.
And did you receive anything from him whilst he was working there? — I had a post card from him, which was supposed to come from Nance — it was signed “Nance.”
Can you remember what he said? — He said the children were all right, and Albert Edward was like his father.
When Burrows returned home at the weekend, did he say any anything about the post card? — Yes, he said “Did you get the post card”? and I replied “Yes.” I said “You’ve sent that” and he then said “How can you tell I sent it”? and then he started laughing.
He didn't deny he had sent it? — No.
You have not seen either the woman or the two children since the 11th of January, 1920? — No.
When Hannah Calladine took the children out, can you tell us how she took them? — Yes, she sometimes took the youngest one in a go-cart.
Could you tell it again? — Yes. The go-cart now produced in Court, added witness, was the one. I can tell it by the back and the brass nails in the front.
Burrows: Will you please tell me whether it was a plain card or a picture post card you received from me?
Witness: It was a picture post card.
Burrows: Was she and the children on? — No.
You are certain? — Yes. It was a picture of a works of a big building. It was not a portrait.
Burrows: I sent her several photograph post cards — two different ones.
In reply to another question by Burrows, witness said, “It was not a photograph of a woman and a lot of children playing in a field, I have only had one post card from him”.
Ernest Batty, photographer, Norfolk Street, Glossop, stated that on the 1st June, 1923, he attended at the Police Station, Ellison Street, where Inspector Chadwick produced a print copy.
Inspector Chadwick stated: I remember serving a summons on Burrows on December 20th, 1919, being a summons taken out by his wife for an order under the Married Women's Summary Jurisdiction Act, 1895, on the grounds of cruelty and desertion. I served the summons personally at his house. A woman and two children were in the house, and during some conversation with Burrows he introduced the woman as Nance Calladine, and showed me the baby as well. The baby was very young, and there was also a little fair haired girl there apparently about 3 or 4 years of age. I attended the Court in January, 1920, when an order was made on Burrows, on the application of his wife, the usual order of maintenance. On March 7th, 1923, I sent for Burrows to attend the Police Office. At that time I was making enquiries respecting the missing boy, Thomas Wood. There was a long conversation before I took a statement from him and during that conversation Calladine’s name was mentioned and I said to him casually “Where has the lady got to now”? He replied “She’s in Manchester and has got a good situation.” I told him I was very pleased to hear it.”. Sometime later I received instructions to make enquiries for the woman Calladine, and as the result of those enquiries I recommended that the disused air-shaft at Simmondley be again searched. That is the air-shaft at the bottom of which the body of Thomas Wood was found in March of this year. Operations were commenced on the 7th May and were carried on daily until the 6th of June. We first got out of the shaft several tons of stone and debris before we found any remains. On Wednesday, the 23rd of May, some human remains and clothing were sent up by P.C. Roe and James Hilton, the colliery deputy, who were engaged in searching the bottom of the shaft. These remains were removed to the Glossop mortuary. In the same box which was sent up to the top of the shaft containing the remains was a white handled table knife. Judging by its appearance it had been in the water a long time. The table knife now produced is the one, and is very much corroded through long immersion in water. From my knowledge the bones sent up were apparently those of a child and an adult. On the 31st of May the lining of a woman's coat was sent up from the bottom of the shaft, also a quantity of blue woollen cloth (these articles which had been placed in a cardboard box were produced and inspected by the jury).
Witness continuing said: — Further human bones, with portions of flesh adhering were also sent up on that date. On the following day, 1st of June, further human remains were recovered and a pair of child's clogs. Amongst the portion of cloth recovered was a small piece to which a button was attached. In the clogs were the stockings containing the bones of the feet, and in one the bone of the leg. The stockings and clogs were produced. There were also recovered some small portions of red rubber, produced. A large quantity of human remains were found on that date. On Tuesday, the 5th of June, I went to Nantwich and saw Philip George Robinson, a master clogger, and showed him the clogs, now produced, and he identified them as a pair he made in 1919, and a pair of these clogs wore sold to Hannah Calladine in 1919. On the same day he saw the witness, Mary Elizabeth Calladine, and showed her a portion of a girl's green striped coat which she identified as one belonging to her sister, Hannah Calladine, and had made it for her sister's little girl, Elsie, which she had in her possession when she left home for Glossop.
On Saturday, the 9th of June, I took certain articles of clothing which had been recovered from the air-shaft and produced them, to Mary Elizabeth Calladine. These articles (now produced) included pieces of woollen cloth, embroidery, lace, a quantity of under clothing which was taken from the human flesh; pieces of a pair of child's corsets, which she identified as a pair made by her for the child Elsie; two pieces of cloth which was found adhering to the flesh of an upper arm of the child, one portion of which cloth witness Mary Elizabeth Calladine identified as being part of a calico bodice made by her for Elsie; a pair of button boots, with pair of stockings inside, containing the bones of human feet; a portion of cloth which had been identified as a portion of grey skirt in the possession of Hannah Calladine when she came to Glossop; other portions of stockings, and four large and one small black buttons, which she also identified as belonging to and being in the possession of her sister when she and her children left to come to Glossop in 1919. On my return from Nantwich I visited Burrows' house in the evening, and recovered a large tin trunk and a small tin hat box, now produced.
The Coroner (to Burrows): Have you anything to ask the witness?
Burrows (rising, and answering promptly), “No, sir”; and he added — “Not at present.”
The Court, then adjourned for lunch.
Ruth Rowbottom, matron at the High Peak Isolation Hospital, Chinley, deposed: I keep the admission register and produce it here today.
The Coroner: Was there any child of the name of Calladine, Large, or Burrows in the Hospital suffering from diphtheria or any illness during the months of December, 1922, and January of this year? Witness: No.
Burrows was asked if he had any question to ask the witness, and he replied in the negative.
John Sebastian Bach Stopford, the Professor of Anatomy at the Manchester University, gave in detail the results of the examinations he had made of the human remains at the Glossop Borough Police Mortuary.
He minutely described the skull and larger bones, and stated that from his investigation of them he was of the opinion that they were adult female bones. His observations were consistent with them belonging to one skeleton. “In my opinion,” said witness, “the bones are probably those of an adult female, and I estimate the height to be about 4 ft. 10½in. Amongst the bones he examined on June 1st, 4th and 8th were a number of immature bones, which it was possible to divide into two groups, since some of these bones were in a more advanced state of development than the others. Belonging to the older group were a number of skull bones. These bones were in that state of development which was found between the ages of three and six years, and in his opinion, they were probably much nearer to the former that the latter age. A part of the genital organ established the sex as a female. The bones were consistent with being part of one skeleton. Belonging to the younger group of immature human bones were certain bones of the skull, and all the bones of this younger group were consistent with them being part of one skeleton. As regarded the age and stage of development, it showed them to be in the condition found during the second year of life.
The Coroner: Did the appearance of the skull give you the impression that there had been a blow on the head?
Witness: I could form no opinion.
The Coroner: There were no bruises on the skull.
Witness: None that I noticed sir.
Can you tell us from the condition of the bones how long they had probably been at the bottom of the air-shaft? — I could form no opinion sir.
Could you say they had been in longer of March this year? — All the opinion I could form from the condition of the flesh and bones I have seen is that they had been immersed a long time. I can form no nearer opinion than that.
Would the condition of the bones be consistent with them only having been immersed since March of this year? — It is improbable, sir, in my opinion.
Would the condition of the bones and flesh be consistent with them having been immersed since December of 1919? — It would, sir.
From your examination you found nothing to indicate the cause of death? — Nothing, sir.
Dr. James Henry Dibble, senior assistant in the department or pathology at Manchester University, gave similar evidence. In his examination of the skeleton of the adult female he recognised both breasts, the nipples of which had disappeared leaving ragged cavities. The skull contained parts of the brain in an advanced state of decomposition. Witness also gave details of his examination of other bones which he identified to be those of two children, and consistent with the ages given by Professor Stopford. In answer to the Coroner witness said the bodies had been immersed for six months but he could not say how much longer.
The Coroner: They would not be consistent with having been only immersed since March this year?
Witness: No, I do not think so.
Philip George Robinson, master clogger, of 5, Beam Street, Nantwich, stated; On Tuesday, the 5th of June, 1923, Inspector Chadwick, of the Glossop Borough Police, showed me a pair of child's clogs at my place of business at Nantwich. I identify the clogs as having been made by me in the latter end of 1918 or beginning of 1919. I recognise them by the leather; we had to get a special sort of leather which we had to get during the war, we could not get the ordinary kip leather owing to it being all required by the Army. It is a brown kind of leather. I also recognise them by the iron nails in the brass plates round the toe plates. These are specially made for country wear. I further recognise them by the fact that the nailing in of the welt starts after the brass plate. The majority of cloggers fix the welt on under the brass plate. I also recognise the clogs by the large eyelet; we always use the same size of eyelets for all sizes of clogs, adults and children.
The Coroner: Was Hannah Calladine a customer at your shop? — Yes, sir.
Have you sold clogs to her? — Her name is not in our register, but we have sold similar clogs to her mother and sister.
The Coroner (to Burrows): Do you want to ask the witness any questions?
Burrows: Not at present.
The next witness called was Miss Mary Elizabeth Calladine, sister of Hannah Calladine, and proceeding quietly into the witness box, she was accommodated with a seat therein, and gave her replies to questions in a very low tone of voice. At the outset she corroborated the evidence given by her at the opening of the inquest on the previous Monday, her statement then being to the following effect:—
The Coroner: What age was your sister?
Witness: She would have been 33 on the 18th of April last.
The Coroner: Have you been to the Borough Police mortuary at Glossop, and there viewed certain remains?
Witness: I have.
The Coroner: Do you identify the body as that of your sister?
Witness (faintly): Yes.
The Coroner: You identify the skull, I believe?
The Coroner: Can you tell the jury how you are able to identify it?
Witness: I identify it by the very prominent teeth.
The Coroner here handed to witness a photograph of the skull, and asked, “Do you identify it by the curious formation of the teeth?”
Witness: Yes. The eye tooth protrudes from the gums as shown in the photograph.
The Coroner: You refer to the eye tooth on the right side?
The Coroner: I think you have also viewed a quantity of clothing?
The Coroner; Did you notice five black bone buttons?
The Coroner: And are these buttons similar to some your sister Hannah was wearing when you last saw her?
Witness: They are.
The Coroner: You saw her last, on Wednesday, December 17th, 1919, at 3 p.m.
Witness: About 3 p.m.
The Coroner: Was that when your sister was leaving home, saying she was going to Glossop?
Witness: Yes, she came to me at my house and stated she was going to Glossop.
The Coroner: What height would your sister be?
Witness: Not quite so tall as me. She would be about to my shoulders, and I am 5ft. 5in.
Proceeding, witness, replying to questions by the Coroner, stated: I have been to the
Mortuary again to-day and viewed the remains of the two children which have been found down the pit shaft at Simmondley. I have also been shown certain articles of clothing.
When my sister left home for Glossop she was accompanied by by two illegitimate children — Elsie Large, aged about 4 years, and Albert Edward Burrows, aged about fourteen months. They all three left home on the 17th of December, 1919, to come to Glossop. The younger child was in a go-cart. The go-cart produced in Court was the one which my sister took to Glossop but it has since had a new seat put in.
The Coroner: Have you heard or seen your sister or the two children since they left home in December, 1919?
Witness: I have not.
On former occasions when your sister has left home, has she corresponded with you regularly? — Yes, sir, she has.
Have any letters or post cards been received at home since 1919? — Yes, numerous letters and post cards have been received from Burrows.
Did they refer to your sister and the children? — Yes, they did.
As being still with him at Glossop? — Yes.
I think most of these have been destroyed? — Yes, they have.
Who were they addressed to? — Some of these letters and post cards were addressed to me, and some to my mother; but I opened and read all of them, as father and mother are old and can neither read nor write.
The Coroner: Will you just look at this (handing up a letter). It bears the date stamp “9th, Ja., 25.” This had the letter produced inside it when you received it? — Yes.
It was addressed to Mrs. J. Calladine, Royles Wood, Aston, near Nantwich? — Yes.
And the letter refers to the two children being in Chinley Hospital with diphtheria? — Yes.
This letter was read by the Coroner as follows:—
94, Back Kershaw Street, Glossop.
“Dear Mrs. Calladine. I am writing these few lines wishing you all a happy New Year. I am writing to you to see if you will send me Elsie's birthday certificate and Albert Edward’s as well, as I have them both in a burial club at a penny a week each, and the inspector wanted to see the birth certificates. It will make it very awkward if anything happens to them as I should have to bury them without the club money. It is my duty to see to it, don't you think? I do. Both are in Chinley Hospital with diphtheria which is going about the country very bad. I hope they will get well and strong again soon. We registered Elsie at Wrenbury four years ago. I hope Robert is all right and all and you and little Dot and others. I take the “Guardian” every week but don’t see much in it except a few deaths and sales. I think that is all with best wishes to you at Aston.
Albert Edward Burrows
P. S. — I returned the birth certificates to you a long time ago and the two 'peace' medals, if you remember. I don't want only the birth certificate for a day or two.”
Witness stated that a further letter was also received asking for her sister's clothing to be sent to Kershaw Street, Glossop.
The Coroner: Did you send the clothing along? — Yes.
What in? — In two tin boxes (now produced).
Do you know when you sent them? — It would be in January, 1920.
You have given a list of articles which you say your sister either took away, or you sent to her when Burrows wrote? — Yes.
The list, read out by the Coroner, was as follows: Lady's dark brown coat made of curly material; navy blue skirt made of woollen material (the exhibit produced in Court formed a portion of such material); black fine serge costume; two flannelette skirts with broad calico bands attached; brown serge costume; navy blue serge coat, lined with white silk; black blouse, made of fine corded material; cream satin blouse; two striped flannelette nightgowns; pair of boots, size 6, newly repaired; pair of black boots, size 6, well worn (witness identified those produced in Court as belonging to her sister she recognised them by the galosh make).
The following children's articles, continued witness, in reply to the Coroner, were also
taken or sent to Glossop to fit Elsie Large: Blue overcoat made of curly material; red frock with white braid; red felt hat; blue frock; pair of black shoes; pair of black clogs (which witness said were similar to those produced in Court); baby’s white fur coat; white woollen hat; two flannel petticoats; white skin shoes, with white hair outside; exhibit No. 12 (now produced) was portion of green coat which (said witness) I made into a child's frock for Elsie. The boy, Albert Edward Burrows, was ruptured, and wore a truss made of red rubber. The pieces of rubber produced in Court appear to be similar to the rubber of the band on the truss worn by the child.
The Coroner: On Saturday, the 9th of June, did Inspector Chadwick come to your house?
Witness: Yes; he showed me certain articles, which are now produced, and which I identify as follows: Pieces of black lining which are similar to the lining in a black costume which was worn by my sister when she went to Glossop; small piece of cloth, with embroidery on, which is similar to what was on a white blouse which was in my sister’s possession, small piece of lace, which I recognise as part of a cream satin blouse worn by my sister, and it was either in her possession when she went to Glossop or was sent to her; portions of underclothing, now produced, and which I recognise as similar to underclothing worn by my sister; pieces of child's corset, worn by Elsie Large, and I recognise those as having been made by me; two pieces of cloth, which I recognise as portions of a calico bodice which was made by me for Elsie Large; button boots, which I identify as being boots worn by my sister when she came to Glossop. They are the boots my mother used to wear; piece of cloth, which I recognise as part of my sister’s grey skirt; piece of natural wool coloured material, similar to underclothing my sister wore; piece of stocking (produced) similar in appearance to the stockings worn by my sister Hannah; pair of child's black stockings, which I gave to my sister and which I identify because they are black cashmere, and by the darns on them; and portion of cloth, with button attached, which I recognise as being part of a child's knickers belonging to the child Elsie.
Further questioned, witness said: I did not know that my sister had another child, except that between the 17th of April, and the 16th of December, 1920, I received a post card from Burrows saying that my sister had had twins.
The post card now produced, dated 21st November, 1921, being a past card of the baby, was addressed to my mother and was read by me. It was sent by Burrows; I recognise the handwriting. On this was the following
“Mrs. Calladine, Royles Wood, Aston, near Nantwich.
I send you this photo of your grandson. Hope you will like it. We have called him Ernest. With love from Albert, Elsie, and all of us. It will soon be two years since Nance came here — 17th December We are all happy. E.B.”
Another post card, dated 1st October 1920 was received by mother and read by me, asking for blackberries for the two children. This was as follows:—
“If you won’t answer my letters you might send some blackberries for the the two children, as there are none here, or I would not have asked. I know there are plenty at Aston. Neither me nor the children can help what Nance does. She wont write. Albert is two years old this month. — A E Burrows.”
There was next read by the coroner a letter sent by Burrows from Strangeways Prison,
Manchester, dated May 12th, this being as follows:—
“Dear Friend. — Just a line to ask you if you will please send me your daughter, Hannah Calladine's, address, if you have any idea where she is since Sunday, March 4th. We was together on that day. Her, and Albert Edward, my son, but she did not bring Elsie with her. Albert was playing with a little boy Thomas Wood. They were throwing a rabbit at each other that I caught for them. Albert’s mother told them to go and play and they went a distance away, and were romping and playing round the shaft while me and Nance talked over several things. About half an-hour later little Thomas Wood was missing and we had no idea where he was. The rabbit was gone too. It was dead. Little Albert was crying because his mother smacked him and we had a few words over it, and I can tell you Nance has not been the woman yet to come forward and speak and own up. She was with me, but she has no need to be ashamed. It will all have to come out no matter if she likes it or not. She was the last person to be near him while I went after two men who had been 'hedging' us, and when I came back Thomas was missing and she had smacked Albert for climbing through a hole in the wall. She said I was vexed because she had beat him and he was sobbing hard. She tried often to get me to go over to Wrenbury to meet Robert coming out of school to fetch him away in the train, but I would not agree as you have always had the trouble with him ever since he was born, and which she has not done anything for him at all. She told me to meet her on Good Friday in Altrincham or Stretford. If she had come forward at first I should never have been here on the serious charge.
I am sure she must have read the papers and the Cheshire police are trying to find her for me. She has no need to hide herself, nobody has done any harm to the boy. Will you please send Albert Edward's birth certificate to the address in Wrenbury when you get one.
Albert Edward Burrows.
Beatrice Cheetham, manageress at the Raphael Photographic Studio, 40, St. Petersgate, Stockport, said that on the 7th of June, Detective-Sergeant Wilson, of the Glossop Borough Police Force, called to see her, and showed her a post card photograph of a baby, bearing a post mark date 21st November, 1921. The photograph had been taken at their studio and she produced the negative, which was taken on the 9th September, 1921. The name in the book of the person who ordered the photo was Williamson. His original order was for one dozen post cards and three were printed from the negative and possibly one print made for the show case. There were no copies sold beyond the dozen ordered.
James Hilton, colliery deputy, residing at 12, Ethel Street, Oldham, said: On Wednesday, the 9th of May, 1923, I was instructed to proceed to Glossop and assist the police in searching a disused air-shaft at Simmondley, Dinting. I commenced to search the shaft along with P.C. Roe, and found a quantity of stone and debris at the bottom. The shaft was flooded with water and we commenced pumping operations. After clearing away about 6 feet in depth of the stone and debris we came across some sheets of tin which covered the shaft bottom. On removing these we came across certain human remains which were sent to the top of the shaft. I have been engaged there about a month. After working at the shaft a fortnight the water got the upper-hand of us which impeded the operations about a week. At the end of another week we again got to the bottom and found certain human remains, also portions of clothing. We also found a large portion of what appeared to be animal bones. In my opinion the remains of the adult person appeared to be on the left hand side of the shaft away from the road. The remains of the older child appeared to be at a higher level than the others. The little clogs stood straight up. I noticed bones sticking out at the top of the clogs. I could not say the position of the remains of the younger child, as the bones were scattered all round. The stones which had fallen down the shaft had crushed the bones into the debris and scattered them about. When down the shaft I could find no opening by which the bodies could have been washed into the pit it was impossible for a body to get in except from the top.
Constable Sam Roe of the Borough Police Force stated that on Monday, the 7th of May, he received instructions to search the air-shaft at Simmondley for the remains of a woman and two children which were believed to be down the shaft. After working a fortnight they reached a level which appeared to be the bottom of the shaft three or four years ago. They cleared out some tons of stone and debris and came upon some sheets of tin, which appeared to cover the bottom of the shaft. On removing them they came across human remains which were sent up to the top of the shaft, and afterwards he (witness) conveyed them to the Glossop Police mortuary. For about eight days after this they were impeded by the inflow of water. On the 31st of May they however found further remains which were sent to the top and removed to the mortuary. On succeeding days — almost every day — they continued to find further human remains, also portions of of clothing. The sheets of tin which covered the bottom of the shaft were rusty and appeared to have been done some considerable time.
At this juncture Officer Roe detailed and identified the articles produced as those taken from the air-shaft. Also photographs of the skull and bones, all of which articles were recovered between the 6th of May and the 6th of June, both dates inclusive. The skull was recovered on the 31st May, and, in his opinion, the remains of the children were on the top, as they found the clogs of the child three or four days before they recovered the boots. He could not tell the position of the remains of the younger child as they were all mixed up with the other bones.
At this stage the Court adjourned until the following day at 10-30 a.m. The jury having sat from 10-30 until 7-15, with a couple of short intervals for refreshments.
When the inquest proceedings were resumed on Tuesday morning the first witness called was Constable S. Roe, who, replying to the Coroner, stated that the height of the wall round the disused pit shaft at Simmondley, when the search commenced there in March, was 6ft 6in.; and there was an aperture, a jagged hole, in the wall on the lower side about two feet one way.
The Coroner: Was it sufficiently wide to allow a body to pass through?
Witness: I should not think so.
Replying to further questions, witness stated that when they first went to search the shaft the depth to the bottom of the shaft was 105 feet.
The Foreman: What depth is it now?
Witness: From about 115 to 120 feet.
Margaret Ann Streets, widow of Hollincross Lane, Glossop, said: I remember the day that Burrows was summoned to appear at the Glossop Police Court in January 1920 to meet a charge of desertion
The Coroner: Did you see Burrows on that day? — Yes, my husband, who has since died, saw him first, and called my attention to him. My husband was going to his work between quarter past six and twenty minutes to seven, and he called my attention to Burrows, who was passing with a little girl. I saw him, and he had just got by the Church Gates, and he was going down Hollincross Lane towards Pikes Lane.
The Coroner: And I think that is also in the direction of Simmondley? — Yes.
Had he anybody with him? — Only this child — a little girl about four years of age.
Had he hold of the child? — Yes, sir.
Where? — By the hand.
Was it dark or daylight? — It was just breaking day.
How far do you live from the Church Gates? — I live almost facing.
How far would they be away? — They were just across the road from our house.
You didn't see what the child was dressed in? — No, sir, it was too dark.
Did you see Burrows again that morning? — Yes, it would be about half-past nine.
Where was he then? —- He was coming up Hollincross Lane, and he passed my house and had a little stick in his hand, as if he had broken it off a branch. It seemed like the branch of a tree.
Was it thick? — I did not notice that particularly.
Were there leaves on it? — No, sir.
Just a straight stick? — Yes.
Was the little girl with him than? — No, he was alone.
Did you see Burrows after that? — Yes many a time. He came to me when I was going up the street about four or five days after and said “Nan has got a good shop.” I said “What doing” and he said “In a bacon shop, with a relative of mine.”
Did he say anything else? — I asked him where the children were, and he said “he had put them in a home — they had got a good home.”
Did he say anything else? — I asked him what they were going to live on? and he said “that was between him and Nan,” and he added “she will never trouble me any more — they had made it up never to come here to bother him again.” I asked him where the bacon shop was? and he replied “That is a secret between me and her which I shall never tell.”
Have you seen Burrows since then? — Yes, many a time. I have asked him many a time where Hannah Calladine and the children were, and how they were going on? and he always gave me the same answer — it was a secret, and I could never get anything out of him.
Do you remember Hannah Calladine and her two children coming to Glossop? — Yes.
How do you remember? — Because Burrows' wife came to live with me on the Friday night after they came on the Thursday.
How long was she with you? — She went back again on the Friday night after the Court proceedings on the Monday, having been with me about a month. She came on a Friday and went on a Friday.
Do you know whether Hannah Calladine and the two children had then left Burrows? —Yes, she went on the Sunday night.
Anyway, you know they had gone away before Mrs. Burrows went back? — Yes, he came for her; he called her out.
The Coroner: You don’t know for certain that they had gone?
Witness: No, but I took it they had gone.
Burrows (to witness): Where did your husband see me?
Witness: It was on the Monday morning you took the child away.
Burrows: Are you certain?
Witness: Yes, certain.
Burrows: You are certain he stopped talking to me? — No, it was me he was talking to.
Where did Mister Streets meet me on the Monday morning? — You were going by our house; my husband saw you from the doorstep, and he drew my attention to it.
Where was he working? — On the Filter Beds — he was working either at the Filter
Beds or the Park.
It was neither of the two places. — Well, where was it?
He was late for his work that morning. — He was never late to my recollection; he was always up soon.
The Coroner: What time had he to be at his work?
Witness: Seven o’clock.
Burrows: You are sure he had to be there at seven o'clock?
Witness: Yes, always.
Burrows: What day did Mrs Burrows leave your house and come home?
Witness: It was on the Friday night when she fetched the clothes.
Burrows: And she had been at your house a month?
Burrows: You are certain?
Witness: I am certain that she came the day after Hannah Calladine came to your house.
Burrows: You say I came to fetch her?
Witness: You came for her one night; you said she had no need to be “freetened.” It was in the middle of the week he came for her, but they had made it up to go together on the Friday.
The Coroner: Were you there?
Witness: Yes, he knocked at the door, and asked if Mrs. Burrows was there. I did not hear him ask Mrs. Burrows to go back — I did not hear the conversation — all that I can say is that she went back on the Friday.
Burrows: On the Friday night that she came to our house do you remember what was said?
Witness: I might remember if you tell me.
Burrows: I shall tell you later on.
Witness, answering further questions by the Coroner, said that on the Friday night that Mrs. Burrows went back she (witness) went to Burrows' house, and asked her if she was coming back? Burrows was in the house, and he said something about “I ought not be frightened, he should pay me”
The Coroner: Did he say anything about Mrs. Burrows not going back, to him?
Witness: Not to my recollection.
Burrows: You say I stopped you several times in the street?
Witness: You stopped me twice. I know.
Burrows: You are certain it is me that has pulled you up?
Witness: I have never stopped you, I am certain.
Burrows: You want to pull yourself together!
Witness: I have done!
Burrows (resuming his seat with some show of indignation): You are not worth bothering with.
Arthur Dearnaley, parcel van man in the employ of the L. and N. E. Railway Co., who resides at 3, Armitage Place, off Arundel Street, Glossop, said: I remember delivering a tin trunk and a small round tin box at Burrows' house. The boxes now produced are the same. I delivered them at 94, Kershaw Street, Glossop on the 15th of January, 1920, and handed them to Burrows who signed for them on the delivery sheet now produced. The boxes were from Wrenbury Station.
Harriet Mellor, married and residing at 98, Kershaw Street, Glossop, said she remembered Hannah Calladine and her two children being at Burrows' house. She saw them about three times. It was after Mrs. Burrows had left. Burrows came to see her (witness) about a fortnight after Hannah Calladine had left, and said “You make your little boy's trousers?” and she replied “Yes.” Burrows then said “I will give you a jacket,” to which witness replied “Oh, thanks” Burrows then said “It will come in to make some of the boy’s trousers.”
Burrows then went away and returned with a lady’s navy blue costume jacket. It was torn as if it had been ripped off someone. She drew his attention to this, and he said “it's one Nance left, she gave it to my wife, and I tore it off her back” (meaning his wife's back). He also added “I was not going to let her wear it after what she had said about her” (meaning Hannah Calladine). He also added “Don’t let my wife see it by all means.” She (witness) made the coat into a pair of trousers but she had none of the material left as it was a long time since, and the trousers had been worn out.
Marie Hibbert, a married woman residing at 101, Kershaw Street, in reply to the Coroner, said: I remember Burrows selling me a child’s “go-cart.” The one now produced is the same. Burrows sold me the “go-cart” in the month of January, 1919.
Questioned by the Coroner as to the exact date, witness said my little boy was six months old when I bought it and he was four on the 7th of this month.
The Coroner; That would be January, 1920 then? — Yes. I thought it was 1919.
What did Burrows say when he asked you to buy the chair? He asked me if I would like to buy a child's carriage, as it was too much lumber to take on the train. He asked me 7s. 6d. for it, which I paid him.
The Coroner: Did he bring the cart to your house? — I think I fetched it, sir, on the Wednesday or Thursday. It was the same day as I bought it.
Do you know if it was after Hannah Calladine and the children had gone away?
It was after, but I could not say how long afterwards.
Questioned by Burrows: You say you bought the “go-cart” from me?
Witness: Yes, quite certain.
You paid for it? — Yes, I paid for it. (Laughter.)
Where was you? — At my mother-in-law’s, 42 Kershaw Street.
Who sent a message for me? — I don't know. You came to the house
You stick to it you paid me? — Witness (with emphasis): I paid you.
What did I ask for it, at first? — Seven and six.
Witness further added that when she paid Burrows the money he said “I will go and buy some Maggie Ann” meaning margarine. (Laughter.)
William Cartwright, a labourer, residing at 15, Kershaw Street, Glossop, said he remembered Burrows coming to his house some time during 1920 and selling a parcel of clothing. He could not remember the month, but it would be early on in 1920. He could not say what the parcel contained as he handed it to his wife. He asked me (continued witness) if I wanted to buy some women's and girl’s clothing, and I went across to his house. There was no one else in Burrows' house at that time The clothing included blouses, and other things, but I did not take particular notice of them as Burrows told me he had got the things from his sister, and that he was hard up and had not had anything to eat. Burrows said his sister was a lady and well-to-do, and the clothing consisted of some lady's wear.
By the Coroner: There were no ladies' or children's boots in that parcel. I bought the things from him and paid him six or eight shillings for them. The next day Burrows again came to my house and brought with him two pairs of laced boots. One pair was a lady's that had been newly soled and heeled. The other pair were girl’s boots. I bought the lady's boots and gave him 6s. for them, the child's boots were worn out.
Sergt.-Detective Richard Wilson, of the Borough Police Force, stated that on the 5th of June, 1923, he received at the Mortuary, Police Office, Glossop, a human pelvis which had been recovered from the air-shaft at Simmondley. He conveyed it to Manchester and handed it over to Prof. Stopford. On the 7th of June he went to Stockport, and at the '‘Wray” Studio interviewed the manageress — Beatrice Cheetham. He showed her a photograph of the baby (produced) and received from her the negative of the photograph.
Inspector Chadwick, recalled, said: I remember arresting Burrows for arrears of a bastardy order, on a warrant issued from Nantwich, about 10 a.m. on the 7th of November, 1919. He was locked up, and handed over to P.C. Gaskill, of the Nantwich Police, about 5 p.m. the same day. I accompanied them to the railway station, and Burrows left by the 5-9 p.m. train.
The Coroner: Was there anybody else taken away the same day?
Witness: Yes, another person called Thomas Taylor Mellor, who was handed over at the same time to P. C. Prince, of Wigan.
The Coroner: Do you know on whose behalf the warrant had been issued?
Witness: No, I would not swear to that now.
The Coroner: It was issued from Nantwich?
Continuing, witness said, we were met on the station platform by some members of Mellor’s family. I left them on the platform just as the train was about to leave.
Robert Shanton Mellor, labourer, 51, Bernard Street, Glossop, said: I remember being on the Glossop Railway station platform, but cannot remember the day. I was on the platform to see my brother, Thomas Taylor Mellor, off.
The Coroner: Where was he going?
Witness: He was going to the same place as him (Burrows). (Laughter.)
What for? — For arrears under a bastardy order.
Was there anybody else on the platform? — I did not take particular notice but I saw Burrows there — he gave me to understand that he was going with a policeman to Nantwich.
Did he say anything to you? — No, I heard him say to my brother Tom “When I have done my time I will get this woman” and he said he would “either do her or put her down a pit shaft”.
Are you sure he mentioned a pit shaft? — Yes, I am certain; he knows he did.
Can you remember when this was? — No, but the police should know. I don't remember the date but my brother had only just come out of the army” and it was the only time he had been taken away on a charge of this kind. My brother has been dead about two years.
A Juror: What woman was he referring to?
Witness: Well, I only heard him say “He would do that woman in; I don't know what woman he meant”.
The Coroner: Did you hear him say where he was going?
Witness: I heard him say he was going to Nantwich, and he asked my brother where he was going and he said “Wigan”.
After the witness Mellor had given his evidence, Burrows rose dramatically and said “I want to have a private conversation with the Chief Constable and Inspector Chadwick at once — or Inspector Chadwick will do”.
The Chief Constable (to the Coroner): This is your enquiry and it is rather an extraordinary request. After you have finished with this enquiry, if Burrows wants to make a statement to the police he can do so.
Burrows: I want to draw your attention to every word this man is saying. It is not true.
The witness Mellor (warmly): It is the truth, and if my brother was here to back me out he could tell more!
The Coroner (to Burrows): If you want to make a statement to the police you can do so after the inquiry. If you wish to make a statement now I must warn you.
Burrows: The Inspector knows the day. There was no time for anything.
Mellor: There was time to catch the train.
Burrows: It was a rush to catch the train. Detective Wilson went with me. That man there is telling nothing but lies.
Mellor: I am telling the truth. If my brother was here he could say I was telling the truth, so don’t want to make me into a liar!
The Coroner asked Burrows, at the close of the evidence, if he intended to make any statement?
Burrows: I have nothing to say only with regard to that man (meaning Mellor). It is a wonder he does not drop dead. He was not there at all!
The evidence having been concluded, the Coroner addressed the Jury, and, in the course of an able summing up, reviewed all the main features and details of the case, reiterating some of the chief statements of the various witnesses. He referred to the evidence which showed that Burrows tried to dispose of the clothing of Hannah Calladine and the two children after they left the house, and stated that Burrows had sent letters to people which, he thought, had been proved to be absolutely false. He did not think they could bring it in that Hannah Calladine had committed suicide. They had heard that the walls round this pit shaft were six feet high, and it was not probable that Hannah Calladine would have climbed up that wall and thrown herself down the pit shaft. Further, the evidence of P.C. Roe and James Hilton, mining deputy, went to show that from the position of the remains at the bottom of the shaft, the girl, Elsie Large, was on top, and that was consistent with Hannah Calladine and the younger child having been put down the shaft first and the little girl afterwards. There was no doubt that the woman and children came to their deaths by violent means, and if they were satisfied that Burrows was responsible for their deaths, he thought they ought to bring in a verdict of wilful murder against him. In conclusion, he asked the jury to keep out of their minds the statement alleged to have been made by Burrows to Mellor that he would “do her in or put her down the pit shaft”.
The jury retired to consider their verdict at 12-50 an, after an absence of forty minutes, returned into court.
The Coroner (addressing them) said: Have you reached a verdict?
The Foreman: Yes we have. The Foreman then read out the verdict of the Jury, which was to the effect that Albert Edward Burrows did “feloniously, wilfully and with malice aforethought” murder Hannah Calladine, Elsie Large and Albert Edward Burrows, this being in effect a verdict of wilful murder.
The Jury added that there was not sufficient evidence to show how the three came by their deaths.
After the verdict had been given, the Coroner said he desired to make a few remarks, and he. thought they ought to commend Police Constable Roe for the manner in which he and James Hilton had worked in the pit shaft, during the search operations. (Applause m Court). He added that but for the way in which they had performed a difficult and disagreeable task and brought the remains up in the condition they did, it would have been very difficult to have proved the sex of the female child.
He also expressed commendation of the way in which the Chief Constable, Inspector Chadwick, and the whole of his staff had conducted the search operations.
The Jury associated themselves with the Coroner’s recommendation.
The Foreman said: I am sure we all agree on that. We all admire the work they have done.
The Coroner: I think the Jury, in commending Roe, wish he should have some distinction.
The Foreman: Yes sir. (Applause in Court).
When Burrows heard the verdict he rose to his feet and, in a dramatic manner, exclaimed “Can I speak a minute?” He repeated this question a second time and the Coroner gave him permission.
Burrows then said “Well, I wish you all to know that Albert Edward Burrows is alive, and was alive on March 4, and was passed by that juryman (pointing to one of the jurors) and me at the top of the Cannocks this year. Has has passed us twice this year, once with his wife and once by himself.”
Burrows was marched out of the Court into an adjoining room between two warders, and a few minutes later was brought back again, and a special sitting of the Police Court was held, at which the Mayor (Mr. S. Bamforth) and Alderman Malkin were the magistrates.
The Chief Constable stated that Burrows was charged with the wilful murder of Hannah Calladine and her two children. He intended to submit evidence of arrest only, and then to ask for a remand until Tuesday next so that he could send the papers to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Inspector Chadwick said. I took the prisoner, Albert Edward Burrows into custody today on this charge.
The Mayor (to Burrows): You have heard the verdict of the Jury, and also of the charge of the Chief Constable. You will be remanded on this charge until 10 a.m. on Tuesday next, the 19th inst.
Burrows: Thank you!
Prisoner was later conveyed back to Strangeways Gaol, in charge of the warders, and escorted up to the Station by members of the Borough Police Force, a considerable number of the public witnessing his departure by the 3-5 p.m train and some hooting and booing being indulged in.
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Last updated: 29 September 2023