Weaste Cemetery

Biographies of people buried between 1900 & 09

Ellen Gill & Mary Ellen Gill (N/A - 1906)

This story concerns the suicide of a mother and daughter, Ellen Gill aged 50 and her daughter Mary Ellen Gill aged 27, in the River Irwell.


The Salford Reporter of 2nd June 1906 records the following "A sad drowning affair took place in Salford on Tuesday (29th May). A man named Cook, living in Bonsall Street, Hulme informed a Salford Police Officer that he had seen two women jump into the River Irwell near Regent Road Bridge. The Constable proceeded to the spot and found that two other men, in a boat, had got one of the women out still alive, but unconscious and then they recovered the body of the other". Mary had drowned and her mother Ellen, was taken to Salford Royal Hospital.


Ellen and Mary were living with Ellen's other daughter, Kate Daley at 8, Garrett Street, off Regent Road, Salford. On the day of the tragedy, Ellen was in the yard doing some washing when her daughter Mary came into the yard at about 2.30 pm and said "leave the washing and come with me". The pair called at the Queen's Arms public house where they each had a glass of stout. On leaving the public house, they went straight to the riverbank and jumped into the water.


The Inquest into the death of the daughter, Mary Ellen Gill, took place on Friday 1st June at Pendleton Town Hall. The first witness was Kate Daly, sister of Mary Ellen. She said that her sister was a Domestic Servant and up to 2 weeks ago had been in service at Norbreck, Blackpool. She was no longer employed and asked to lodge with her sister. She had the intention of going back to Blackpool for work. Kate said that since Friday night she had seemed strange and had threatened to drown herself. She also said that her sister had fits now and again. Six months previously she had borrowed money from a man named Jack Morgan. However, Kate was not aware that Mary had recently been fined at Salford Police Court for being drunk. After the Coroner explained that that part of the river was now the Manchester Ship Canal, the Verdict was "drowned in the waters of the Manchester Ship Canal, but there is no evidence to show the state of the woman's mind".


The Inquest into the death of the mother, Ellen Gill, took place on Tuesday 5th June at Pendleton Town Hall. Once again, Kate Daly gave evidence. She said that her mother was 50 years old. She suffered from rheumatism and had been to Hope Hospital twice. She was a sober woman and had never threatened to kill herself. However, about 5 years previously she had taken something with that intention, but it "did her no harm". When she heard about the tragedy, she went to visit her mother at Salford Royal Hospital. Ellen did not appear to know what she had done.


William Lambert, 21,Sunnyside Street, Salford said that at about 3.30pm on Tuesday he was overlooking the Irwell when he saw the two women walk about 20 yards down the embankment from Regent Road and then they both jumped into the river. He shouted to a man with a boat, who came and they managed to get the older woman to the bank, but the younger woman sank. Her body was recovered 20 minutes later and taken to the mortuary.


Dr Edwin Coulson of Salford Royal Hospital said that the deceased was admitted at 5 past 4 on 29th May and she died at 9.30 am on 2nd June. She suffered from shock from immersion in the water. She recovered from the shock, but developed pneumonia 2 days afterwards and died from heart failure. She made no statement to him as to how she got into the water. The jury returned a verdict of "Suicide whilst temporarily insane".


The interments took place at Weaste Cemetery. Mary Ellen Gill was buried on 4th June and her mother Ellen Gill was buried on 7th June.