Crinoline a Murderer (1863)

On a recent occasion, Dr. Lankester declared his belief that at least six deaths per month occur in London from burns through the wearing of crinoline, while deaths from machinery are also frequent. At another inquest he said that “deaths from wearing crinoline were now so common that many are never reported in the public journals. If every fatal crinoline accident were reported, the public would know of them, and then crinoline would soon be abandoned.”

The wife of an engineer, Mrs. M.A.B., was on a visit to a friend on Notting Hill when she met her death at the age of twenty-eight. She reached for something over the mantle-piece, and her skirt went into the fire.

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s African American Newspapers Collection. This enormous collection of African American newspapers contains a wealth of information about cultural life and history during the 1800s and is rich with first-hand reports of the major events and issues of the day.
She was carried to St. Mary’s hospital, and immediately died there. This was the way in which the guest of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Matthews perished lately. The sufferer and her daughter were from America; and probably there was the exaggeration in the style of dress which is usual in that country. She was standing before the fire when her hoop skirt touched the bars. She ran out upon the stairs, after setting on fire the drapery round the fire-place she had left.

Her screams will never be forgotten by her child, or any who heard them. Before night she was silent forever.

Source: The Christian Recorder, February 28, 1863

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