John William Howarth was a Knocker-up who scratched a varicose vein and bled to death.
The Salford City Reporter of 24th November 1933 ran the curious headline "Killed by a Scratch". It went on to record the Inquest into the death of John William Howarth, aged 69 of Lancia Street, Salford, at Pendleton Town Hall on Tuesday 21st November 1933.
The first witness was John's widow, Sarah Ann Howarth. She said that her husband had lost an arm in an accident 34 years ago and he had suffered with varicose veins in both legs for many years. This winter the veins had been much worse. In fact two months previously when he knocked his leg when walking along an entry to a house, it caused one of his veins to bleed a little. On Friday morning (17th November) at about 8 o'clock, he came home from his duties as a Knocker-up and went straight to bed. A little later he called to her to bring some cotton-wool. On entering the bedroom she found that one of the veins had burst and blood was spurting out. She bound it up, but could not stop the bleeding and she sent for an ambulance.
Joseph Murphy, who lodges at the house, said he went into the bedroom when he heard Howarth call. Howarth said he knocked his leg against the bed rail when undressing and had scratched a vein.
Dr D.S.P. Wilson, Resident Medical Officer at Salford Royal Hospital, said the man was absolutely blanched when he was brought into hospital. The only injury was a small puncture above the ankle on the anterior surface of one leg, which appeared to have ruptured a varicose vein. He died the same day. Death was due to haemorrhage. A finding of "Accidental Death" was returned.
The funeral of John William Howarth was held at Weaste Cemetery on Thursday 23rd November 1933. He was interred in plot 37 of the Dissenters portion. Rev. J. Phoenix officiated.