George Tilbury, Greengrocer & Fruiterer


From "Reynolds's Newspaper" - London, Sunday, August 8, 1852

... The second fire took place in the premises belonging to Mr. G. TILBURY, greengrocer and fruiterer, situate at No. 11, James-street, Kensington. It commenced on the ground floor, used as a general store for baskets and fruit. It appears, from the inquiries instituted, that a boy named George HARDIMAN, thirteen years of age, was employed by Mr. TILBURY to assist him in his business, and that he occasionally slept in the basket-room. It is presumed that on Sunday morning he went to sleep in the same place, taking with him a lighted candle; for all of a sudden a cry was raised of "Fire and help". In a very few seconds some of the neighbours hastened to the sport, when they found flames issuing from the front windows, and a considerable body of fire on the ground floor. At that time the unfortunate boy HARDIMAN was in the middle of the flames, and all attempts to get at him proved futile.

The inhabitants and inmates, with the aid of buckets of water, managed to beat down the fire sufficiently to allow some of the persons to enter, when they found the poor boy burned almost as black as coal. Upon pulling him out, life was found to be quite extinct. The engines of the parish and two of the London brigade were soon on the spot, and owing to the assistance of all present the flames were confined to the ground floor.

Mr. TILBURY was uninsured.



From "Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper" - London, Sunday, August 8, 1852

Mr. G. S. BRENT, the deputy-coroner, held an inquiry, on Tuesday evening, in the board-room of the Kensington Workhouse, touching the death of George HARDIMAN, a boy aged fourteen, who was suffocated to death in a fire, which occurred on Sunday morning last. Deceased was the son of a poor widow, residing at No. 1, Palace-place, Kensington, and was in the service of a greengrocer, named George TILBURY, at No. 11, James-street, in the same locality. It appears that deceased had been in his employ about three weeks.

- George FURNESS, a brickmaker, stated that hearing an alarm of fire on Sunday morning, about a quarter before three o'clock, he rushed out of bed to Mr. TILBURY's house, and found that a large crowd had assembled, and the flames were coming through the shutters. He forced them open, and got into the burning house. Mrs. TILBURY was in the street, crying out "The child! the child!" Witness rushed into the back store room and found it was filled with baskets up to the ceiling, which were in flames, and also a sack of straw. Witness groped about, and found the poor little fellow on his knees, with his head forced up among the baskets, as if to get out of the way from the flames and smoke. Witness pulled him out, but he was quite dead, and part of his jacket sleeve was burnt off. Witness was so overpowered by the smoke that he let the body fall twice, and had it not been for the assistance of another man, named POOLE, he must have perished.

- The coroner and jury complimented witness highly for his humanity and intrepidity.

- The boy's master stated that the boy had gone to bed very tired, and probably had removed the candle to unlace his boots, and falling asleep in the act, left the candle burning among the straw and baskets.

- The jury returned a verdict of "Accidental death," not attributing blame to any party.


(On the death certificate, George HARDIMAN's death was recorded as "Suffocation from accidental burning of a room in which he slept".)

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