Weaste Cemetery

Biographies of people buried between 1880 & 89

James Halsall (1854 - 1882)

 James Halsall was a Railway Guard and died when he fell off a moving train in Blackpool, Lancashire, in the course of his duty.

He was born in the first quarter of 1854. His father was John Halsall (b.1820 in Manchester), who was a Railway Guard. His mother was Matilda (nee Cooper) Halsall (b.1820 in Manchester). The 1861 census shows James was one of 6 children living at 3 Trafalgar Square, Salford: Mary aged 12, John aged 10, James aged 8, Elizabeth aged 6, Margaret aged 2 and Martha aged 0. In 1871 the family lived at Myrtle Street Salford, where James was 18.

On 12th October 1873 James Halsall married Mary Smith at St Mary the Virgin Church, Eccles. James was aged 19, a Railway Porter, living at 4 Vine Street, Eccles. Mary (b.1855 in Frodsham, Cheshire) was the daughter of John Smith, Labourer. She was aged 18 and living at Wellington Road, Eccles. In 1881 James and Mary lived at 18 Myrtle Street, Salford with their children James jnr (b.1876 in Salford) aged 5 and Amy A (b.1881 in Salford) aged 0.

Tragedy struck on 7th April 1882 when James Halsall was killed during the course of his work at Blackpool, Lancashire. The Manchester Courier of 15th April 1882 records "A Salford Railway Guard Killed." On Monday evening Dr Gilbertson, Deputy Coroner, held an Inquest at the Queen's Hotel, Blackpool on the body of JAMES HALSALL, Railway Guard, aged 28 years, of Salford, Manchester. Mr John Halsall, Beerseller of 237 Cross Lane, Salford identified the deceased as his son.

Charles Coxon, Goods Guard of Salford said that he assisted the deceased on Good Friday to work a train from Victoria Station, Manchester to Blackpool. At about seven o'clock at night, when the train was standing at the Bispham starting signal, the witness and the deceased got upon the carriages to light the lamps. They had lighted all but three, when the witness got down as the train began to move. He was walking down the side of the train when the driver called out to him that the Guard had been knocked off the carriages. The train had by then passed under the bridge within 200 yards of the starting signal. The deceased was on the line and was removed to Blackpool. It would appear that the deceased, who was bruised on the side of the head had been swept off the carriage he was standing on when the train was passing under the bridge. A finding of Accidental Death was recorded.

The body of James Halsall was returned to Salford and he was buried at Weaste Cemetery. A month later, on 5th May 1882, his son James jnr died, aged 6 years and 6 months and was buried with his father. The gravestone also records that James's father John Halsall died on 9th July 1884 aged 63. In 1891, the census shows that James's mother Matilda was living with her eldest son John, but on 18th May 1896 she died aged 75. A search for James's widow Mary and daughter Amy Alice was unsuccessful.