Thursday, October 22, 2009

Nelson Girls Drown on Derwentwater

This is a true story that i read in a copy of Northern Life. It interested me as my Grandmother could have been one of these girls had she been born a few years earlier.
On the Friday the 12th August 1898,five girls fron the Lomeshaye area of Nelson,all weavers drowned on Derwentwater.
Nancy Pickles 20, Helena Clegg 21, Frances Crossley 21.Alice Reed 21, Mary Jane Smith 21.The girl were all best friends and were on Holiday at the 'Towers' in portinscale near Keswick.

On the Friday before they returned to Nelson the girls were out on Derwentwater in a
'Skiff' that they had hired.
The boat was 20 feet long,4 feet wide but only 17 inches deep in the middle. It was only supposed to carry six passengers but the boat men said it could safely carry 8.They had 2 men rowing and and another man sat in the bow.

After leaving good weather behind the wind started to blow and the water became choppy.Its unlikely that any of them could swim as their hometown of Nelson did not have any municipal baths at the time.Something i found interesting as i learned how to swim at Nelson Municipal Baths.

In the choppy waters the boat began to take on water and began to sink. The girls in their heavy clothing were unable to save themselves and their bodies were recovered a few hours after. The 3 men were able to stay alive and were rescued by other boats on lake.

All 5 girls were buried at Walton lane in Nelson and a Hugh monument was built to remember the five friends who died far too soon.

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