yes, the boltons continue to read like a victorian melodrama!

Spent an afternoon visiting two lcoal history archives in London, Southwark and Camden, looking for newspaper reports of coroners inquests. Camden proved fruitless as there is no sign of anything in the local paper for Holborn about George Jannion Bond and why there was an inquest held into his death. This means that i am currently stymied as to what happened with his second marriage and possible bigamy. I shall have to try different avenues.

Southwark, however gave me the report of the inquest into Thomas Varney’s suicide in 1883. The transcript of the newspaper article – printed in the Southwark Recorder and Bermondsey and Rotherhithe Advertiser, Saturday March 3 1883 – is as follows:


On Friday afternoon an inquest was held at the Britannia public-house, Marine Street, Bermondsey, before Mr. W. Carter, coroner, on the body of Thomas Varney, of 18m Frederick Street, Abbey Street, who was found in a water tank on his premises on Tuesday last under the following circumstances –
James Fisher, of 32, Riley Street, Bermondsey, deposed that deceased had carried on the business of a mineral water manufacturer at the above address for upwards of thirty years. On Tuesday morning witness, who had been in his employ for six years, went to work at half-past nine o’clock. He found the door open and entered, expecting to find deceased at business. He saw his hat on the counter, but could not find him; he then noticed some chalk writing on the muffin stove in the shop; he knew it to be that of Mr. Varney’s. It was “Oh that good wife. Oh that pretty wife, what did she say?” T. V.” The water supply having been cut off on Monday, witness went up the ladder, leading to the tank, which was outside the building, and saw the body of deceased in the tank, which was full of water. He was fully dressed, excepting his hat. Witness went to his private house No. 1, Marine Street, and told Mrs. Varney what he had seen. She went with him, and he afterwards fetched the police, who pulled him out of the water; he was quite dead. He considered that deceased had caused his own death. The water rate was not paid, the amount due being £12 9s 6d. witness saw deceased on the previous night at 9.40. He had since been put in possession of the premises under a bill of sale on the same.
Mrs. Varney deposed that she had been married to deceased last year. She was not certain as to his age. On Tuesday morning about 7 o’clock, deceased rose, dressed himself and left the house for the purpose he said, of getting up the steam. On the previous night he had appeared greatly distressed in mind, because the water supply had been cut off, and he could not meet the demands of the company. He had applied to his son for the loan of the money but could not obtain it, whilst he had recently pawned some of witness’s jewellery to raise money. She believed his financial difficulties led him to cause his own death. On Monday he said, “If I do not get the money I will make a hole in the water.”
After considering the evidence the jury returned a verdict of Suicide whilst suffering from temporary insanity.

I was interested to note that Thomas Varney had remarried after his first wife’s death in 1880. I also wonder if Henry Charles was the son who could/would not advance money to his father. All in all, though, it’s just horribly sad and poignant.






5 responses to “yes, the boltons continue to read like a victorian melodrama!”

  1. james Delaney Avatar
    james Delaney

    That’s a sad story. Reading all the articles and history a lot has happened to our extended family over the years… Fascinating, Jaq xx

  2. jaq Avatar

    It is incredibly sad. I do think, though, that one of the things I find most positive about doing this is that such stories are made known to people who actually care. These people who lived their lives, sometimes in great difficulties and hardship, are remembered by those who came after. For me, family history is about the stories and not simply about how far back you can go. x

  3. Martin Delaney Avatar
    Martin Delaney

    like the fact that the inquest was held in a pub!!
    Martin x

  4. jaq Avatar

    Yes! I thought that as well. Funny the places they chose to hold inquests then. Can’t see it happening these days, eh? X

  5. Roy Varney Avatar
    Roy Varney

    I find it very strange that my great grand dad many times over
    Married Hanna five months before in Dulwich why not Bermondsey? signed the register with a X indicating that he could not read or write,
    How comes he left a message ?
    Also he left £130.00 in his will to Hanna – even though he had many children
    My conclusion is the person signing the marriage certificate with an X was not Thomas Varney but a co conspirator in murder,

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