James William Ashton was a Labourer at Salford Docks and was struck by a falling barrel of glucose and died of his injuries, 10 months later.
The Salford Reporter of 20th December 1902, records an Inquest held at the Duke of Lancaster Hotel, Bexley Square on Friday 12th December, into the death of James William Ashton, aged 49, of New Bury Street, Salford. It was attended by Major Roe, Factory Inspector.
William Dixon, ship foreman employed at the docks said that on a night in early February the deceased was engaged in carrying pigs of copper from the quay on the south side of No.7 Dock into the shed used by Manchester Liners. The SS Manchester Corporation was being unloaded, and by means of a hydraulic crane, four barrels of glucose were hoisted out of No.1 hold. Each barrel was attached to the crane by a can hook. One of the barrels fell although the can hook was intact after the accident. As the crane jibbed around, the barrels were caught against the derrick on board the ship. The barrel fell to the quay and seemed to graze the shoulders of the deceased who was afterwards found lying face down.
William Mitchell of Gleadhill Street, Salford, said that on the 6th February, he was working an hydraulic crane at the docks and had four barrels of glucose attached to his crane. When he got the signal to hoist he did not feel the jerk. He heaved steadily. A barrel fell out and caught against the derrick. The barrel caught the back of the deceased and knocked him on his face. Each barrel weighed six hundredweight. He went to assist and James Ashton was removed to hospital. He had never seen barrels fall out before.
Dr William Crosby Johnson, House Surgeon at Salford Royal Hospital said that the deceased was admitted on 6th February suffering contusions on his back and an effusion of blood at the side of the contusion. It was treated by Dr Boutflower. He was discharged as cured in April after spending 2 months in hospital.
Dr Charles H Bradbury, 1 Great George Street, Salford, said that he first visited the deceased on 17th October and treated him up until his death. Death was due to non-tubercular phthisis, which meant chronic bronchitis. This might have been caused by a succession of colds on a weakened constitution. The shock due to the accident may have hastened his death. There is no doubt that without the accident he would have died in a few months. The barrel struck his head which lead to concussion.
The jury returned a verdict of "non-tubercular phthisis, probably hastened by a shock to the system caused by being struck by a barrel from a crane".
The funeral was held on 15th December when James was interred in a common grave in the C of E portion of Weaste Cemetery. The Reverend G Northridge officiated.