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The Yarmouth Bridge disaster of 2nd May 1845 was an unusual accident. Not only circumstances, where everyone turned out to see a clown being towed down the river, but in the number of children who died. 60 out of 82 people who died were under 18 years of age.
Based on the articles in the Norfolk Chronicle and Norwich Gazette 10 May 1845 and the Norwich Mercury, the people named can be seen by clicking on the button below. In some cases the papers reported the names, ages and addresses differently.
Our interest is in the name Gotts, and we can see that Alice the mother and Alice the daughter both drowned. William Gotts, exciseman of the Conge, was father and husband. Strangely, in the civil indexes, only Alice the mother is recorded, and this is shown in the March quarter of 1846. Alice the daughter does not seem to have made it in the FRC records.
The verdict of the jury was made on a test case of Louisa Utting, and concluded that she had died by falling into the river from the bridge on 2nd May 1845 due to a defect in the joint or welding of the iron bar that first gave way, and to the quality of the workmanship being inferior to the original requirement.
The boatmen had sent bills for bodies taken from the water, which amounted to more than the number of dead, even when including those which were taken out but not via boats.
William Cory, the builder of the bridge (and presumably of Wm Cory’s construction companies) provided a sum of money with B Dowson esq, secretary to the Ladies District Visiting Society for burial of any who required it.
Here is an account of William & Alice and the effect this would have had on them by Ian Gotts Kings Lynn & Ian Gotts St Albans .