Minster Street, Reading
Accident Report 1862

Fatal Accident

We regret to record an accident which resulted fatally to Mr. Tutty, of King Street, well-known and much respected tradesman. It appears that on Saturday [11th October 1862] evening, about nine o'clock, Mr. Tutty was returning from Castle Street, and when passing Messrs. Heelas' in Minster Street, as the shutters were being shut up, a young lady who was on the footway, and very near to him, started back to avoid collision with the shutter, as did also Mr. Tutty, who was thereby accidentally overbalanced and fell. In the fall he dislocated his thumb, and it soon so greatly affected him, that on Tuesday [14th October 1862] sank under it, dying from the shock to the system, and not, as reported, from tetanus or lock-jaw. It may possibly account somewhat for this fatal termination when we state that Mr. Tutty met with a serious accident while in London some eighteen months since, from which he was a long time recovering, and it impaired his health, and affected his nervous system so severely, that his constitution was unable to resist the effect of the injury of Saturday. He was, as were his family, of long standing here, and a consistent member of the Society of Friends. An inquest will be held on the body this afternoon.
Berkshire Chronicle
18th Oct 1862

Inquest on the Late Mr. Tutty of Reading

An inquest was held on Saturday afternoon, before the Borough Coroner, J J Blandy Esq, on the body of Mr. Henry Tutty, who had died on the 19th inst. [actually 14th October 1862]. We gave in our impression last week the principal facts relating the cause of death, but the full particulars will be found in the following evidence:

Graham Tutty, of Queen's Crescent, Reading, said he was the son of the deceased, who was 60 years old. The deceased had been a baker and confectioner. Charles Dyne, of Salem Chapel Yard, Minster Street, said that he was errand boy at Messrs. Heelas', Minster Street. Part of his duty was to put up shutters at night. They were kept in the cellar, and were put up through the grating. On Saturday [11th October 1862] night, at about twenty minutes past eight, he was outside the shop receiving the shutters from below in the usual way. A shutter was just put up, but he did not pull it up, as someone was passing. He saw that there was Mr. Tutty and a young lady. The young lady was nearly close to the shutter, and Mr. Tutty was just behind her. The young lady went to step out of the way. The shutter was half across the pavement. The young lady and Mr. Tutty were coming the same way. Mr. Tutty then stepped by the side of the pavement, and fell down across the gutter on his stomach. Mr. Tutty got up directly without any help. The shutter did not fall upon him. He did not make any noise as though he was hurt.

Alice Attwells said that she lived in High Street. At about a quarter to nine on Saturday evening she was walking along Minster Street. When she had got by Mr. Heelas's, she saw the boy putting up the shutters. To avoid the shutter she stepped from the kerb of the pavement to the gutter. Mr. Tutty was just at her elbow, and as she stepped back touched him slightly, and he fell forward. The ground was rather loose, it having been recently disturbed. Mr. Tutty got up directly, and she said that she begged his pardon. Mr. Tutty said, “You could not help it." He did not complain that was hurt, nor did she think at the time he was hurt. He went on towards his home.

Mr. Isaac Harrinson, surgeon, said that on Saturday evening about nine o'clock he was called to Mr. Tutty, who stated that he met with an accident. On examination, he (Mr. Harrinson) found there was a compound fracture of the bone of the right thumb. He (witness) reduced the dislocation, and during the operation there was do expression of feeling on the part of deceased. The operation is ordinarily a very painful one. During the operation the deceased was very pale and sick, and required stimulants. The wound was dressed, and he seemed pretty comfortable. The witness was sent for again on Sunday [12th October 1862] evening, and he then found that Mr. Tutty had been vomiting, and had bad diarrhoea. He (Mr. Harrinson) prescribed for him. On Mouday [13th October 1862] morning he saw the deceased again, and heard that had had a rather restless night. He found him free from pain, dressed the wound, which was looking very well. The witness saw him again in the evening, and it was reported that he had not been so well - that he had been drowsy and extremely weak. He (Mr. Harrinson) gave directions for his management. At 10 o'clock the same evening he saw him again, and found him not so well. His circulation was extremely irregular. He (Mr. Harrinson) was alarmed at the condition of the deceased, and had a consultation with Dr. Cowan; and directions were given for the night. The witness was called up between five and six o'clock on Tuesday [14th October] morning, and found the deceased worse. From that time he rapidly sank, and died about five o'clock the afternoon. The absence of pain in reducing the dislocation was, in his opinion, consequent upon the shock to the system which had been sustained. He (Mr. Harrinson) repeatedly asked Mr. Tutty during the operation whether it hurt him, and he replied that it did not. He made a post mortem examination of the body on Friday [17th October 1862], when he found that the brain was healthy, the heart was small but healthy, and the other organs were healthy. A person with a heart so small as that in this instance was more susceptible to the effects of shocks to the nervous system than others. His (Mr. Harrinson's) opinion was that the deceased died from the shock to the system caused the accident. The jury returned verdict in accordance with the medical evidence.
Berkshire Chronicle 25th Oct 1862

The Late Fatal Accident to Mr. Henry Tutty - Coroner's Inquiry

On Saturday [18th October 1862] afternoon last, an inquest was held at the Magistrates' Room, Reading, before J J Blandy Esq, Coroner, on the body of Mr. Henry Tutty, confectioner & co, of King Street, whose sudden decease, resulting from an accident, we reported last week.

The following composed the jury: Messrs. G Botly (Foreman), J Adnams, TE Castle, J Challen, DJ Cook, S Cosburn, H Cottrell, WH Ferguson, W Jessett, L Livings, JP Marks, W Martin, A Reed, J Silver and TB Smith. Mr. Dryland, solicitor, attended on behalf of the deceased's family; and Mr. G May Junior, surgeon, was present as the medical referee this town for the Railway Passengers' Assurance Company, in which the deceased took out a policy for £1,000 in May last. Mr. E. Fardon, of Queen's Crescent, deposed that ho had seen the body, and identified it as that of Henry Tutty, who was 60 years of age last birthday.

Charles Dyne, a boy living in Salem Chapel Yard, Minster Street, deposed that he was errand boy to Mr. Heelas, chemist, King Street. It was his business to put up the shutters, which were kept down in the cellar. It was usual for the young man to shove them up from the cellar through the grating, the witness being outside the shop to receive them, and put them in their proper places. Last Saturday [11th October 1862] night, at about 20 minutes past eight o'clock, the witness was receiving the shutters in the usual way; and when the shutter came, he did not pull it up, as Mr. Tutty and a young lady were passing by. The witness was standing on the pavement. The young lady was nearly close to the shutter, and Mr. Tutty was just behind her. They were both coming one way.

The Foreman —How far was the shutter out?
Witness.—The shutter was about halfway across the pavement.
In answer to another question, witness said he was standing on one side of the shutter. The Foreman said it was a great pity shutters should be sent out in that way, without something in front of them.

Examination of the witness continued. The young lady and Mr. Tutty were coming from the direction of Minster Street. The young lady stepped off the pavement; Mr. Tutty stepped off, too, and fell forwards across the gutter. He put his hand out, and fell on his thumb. He got up directly without any help. He said something, but the witness did not know what it was, or whether he said it to the young lady or the witness. He went away with the young lady as soon he got up. The witness let the shutter remain until Mr. Tutty got up and went away. The shutter did not touch him. He did not groan or make a noise as if he was hurt. The witness saw no more after he walked away. The Coroner asked the witness if he received directions from his employer to stand in a particular position when he was putting up the shutters.

Witness —Yes. Witness was standing at the side of the shutter, going to pull it up.
The Coroner —Could he not pull up the shutters from the front?
The Coroner—Then why go the side of them?
Witness —Because it was easier.

Mr. Jessett said a person must go at the side of a shutter to pull it up. The Foreman said it struck him that the young man should have been on the pavement, instead of in the cellar. Mr. Heelas informed the jury that the shutters were obliged to lie flat on the ground in the cellar, and it required greater strength to lift the shutter from the ground than, when it was on the roller, to pull it up. That was the reason he had the stronger boy below. Each separate shutter was not carried to its place at once, and put up, but they were put in a row, and so the boy remained in the same spot all the time.

The Foreman —That was a protection; or, at least, it ought to be.
The boy Dyne, in reply to questions put by the Coroner and Foreman, said he did not see Mr. Tutty strike against the young lady. Mr. Tutty slipped and fell when he was going to step from the kerbstone, to get out of the way of the shutter.
The Coroner—Had any one complained before of the shutters put in that careless way?
Witness —No, sir.
The Coroner—He should be more careful in future.
He now saw what happened from the want of a little precaution.

Miss Alice Attwells, of 15 High Street, stated she was coming along Minster Street on Saturday [11th October 1862] night, and she thought it was about quarter to nine o'clock. When she got as far as Mr. Heelas's, she stepped out in the road to avoid the shutters, which were coming up very fast, and in doing so she touched Mr. Tutty, who was walking along, a little way in the road. The witness was even with him, and did not see him. She touched him, threw him off his balance, and he fell forward on both his hands. Witness did not think her leg was in advance, that Mr. Tutty stumbled over it. She would not undertake to say it was not. She did not think it was.

The Coroner—The deceased gave that description of it himself.
Mr. Smith asked witness if she felt a kick.
Witness —No.
The Foreman —Did his feet catch the witness's dress at all?
The Coroner —Was the road firm or loose?
Witness —The ground on which the witness walked was rather loose. Gas pipes had been taken up there.
Mr. Silver —The uneven state of the road probably made him trip more quickly than he otherwise would.

Witness proceeded—She begged Mr. Tutty's pardon, and said she could not help it, it was no fault of hers. He then went on, and the witness did not think he was hurt. He did not complain, or say anything more, and went on towards his own home. When the witness got home, her father went in to see if Mr. Tutty was hurt, and they said he had cut his thumb.

Mr. I Harrinson, surgeon, of Castle Street, deposed that on Saturday [11th October 1862] evening, about nine o'clock, he was called to the deceased, who stated he had met with an accident. On examination, the witness found a compound dislocation of the end of the right thumb. When the flesh was torn, it was simply called dislocation, but when the bone came through the flesh, they called it compound dislocation. The bone was sticking out, and witness reduced it, with some difficulty. The deceased bore the operation without any expression of feeling pain. The Coroner believed that the operation was in itself often very painful one.

Witness—Very painful. During the operation, the deceased was extremely pale, sick and required stimulants. The thumb was reduced, and the witness left him pretty comfortable. On the next morning (Sunday) [12th October 1862] the witness found him in the sitting room pretty comfortable. In the evening, the witness was sent for, and found the deceased vomiting, and it was said he had had diarrhea during the afternoon. The witness prescribed for him. On Monday [13th October 1862] morning, it was reported that he had had rather a restless night. The witness found him free from pain. The witness dressed his thumb, which was looking very well. The witness saw him again in the evening, and it was reported that he had not been so well, that he had been drowsy and extremely weak. The Witness meant by 'reported' that he was told by Miss Tutty, when he asked how the deceased had been during the day. The witness gave directions for his management. At ten o'clock the same evening, he found him not so well. His circulation was extremely irregular. The witness felt alarmed at his condition, and requested consultation immediately. Dr. Cowan saw him immediately, between 10 and 11 o'clock on Monday [13th October 1862] evening. They gave directions for the night. The witness was called up between four and five o'clock on Tuesday [14th October 1862] morning to see him, and found his condition much worse From that time, he rapidly sank, and died about five in the evening.

The Coroner asked if there was anything in the variations which Mr. Harrinson had described that led him to suppose there was anything that operated upon him to occasion those variations of symptoms. Was there anything that gave him reason to suppose there was any other cause than that the accident?

Witness—The cause was the accident, and the effects of it.
The Coroner—Mr. Harrinson had stated that such an operation as that which Mr. Tutty underwent was ordinarily attended with very considerable pain. Did he suppose that the absence of pain on that occasion was superinduced by the general shock to the system?
Witness —No doubt that was it. The nervous system was so depressed at the time that the deceased was almost insensible to pain.
The Coroner asked whether the absence of pain was not to be traced to the shock the system had sustained by reason of the accident
Witness—It was so.
Mr. Dryland asked if the deceased told the witness whether he was suffering pain or not
Witness—He asked the deceased whether he felt pain, and he replied "No."

A post mortem examination was made yesterday [24th October 1862]. The brain was found healthy; the heart small, but healthy; the rest of the organs were healthy.
The Coroner —Was the heart more than ordinarily small?
Witness —More than ordinarily small. It was very small.
The Coroner—Was it not consistent with persons of that description, having that organ so small, to be more subject to shocks to the system any kind that might happen than those of a full heart, with all the operations freely going from that organ?
Witness—Undoubtedly. The heart was not able to resist the shock of an accident, as if it was of the usual size. A person having such a heart was more susceptible to the effects of shock to the nervous system than others. The witness's opinion was that the deceased died from the shock caused by the accident. A shock of that kind reversed all the functions.

The Coroner remarked that he thought it right at that stage of the proceedings to say that he understood an insurance upon the deceased's life was effected in the Railway Passengers' Assurance Company, and if any person was present, representing that company, he would invite him to ask any question which he thought proper.

Mr. George May Junior, surgeon, said he had been requested to attend as the medical referee of the company, and he should like to ask Mr. Harrinson whether it was his opinion that death arose from the accident alone and through the effect of the injury? Was Mr. Harrinson of the opinion that that was the sole cause, or whether anything else caused death. The Witness said that that was the entire cause. The deceased died from the symptom which, rationally explained, was a reversion of all the functions of the body, from beginning o end

The Coroner —Was Mr. Harrinson of the opinion that if disease existed before, that disease would be aggravated the shock?
Witness—He had doubt about it. Mr. Tutty, rather less than two years ago, met with a severe accident in London. He sustained a compound fracture of the leg, which laid him on his back for weeks and months, and he had scarcely recovered. He was extremely cautious in his walking, especially on a wet night. On Saturday [11th October 1862] evening he saw him (Mr. Harrinson) and when returning home, and endeavouring not to meet with an accident, such befell him. He never saw a man so depressed on account of a slight accident as the deceased, and from that depression he never recovered.

The Foreman said that in a conversation he had with Mr. Tutty, he told him several times that he never felt any pain from the moment he broke his leg to the time he came to Reading. So there might be something peculiar in his system, and the absence of pain in this instance might not have been caused by disease.

The Coroner said all that remained to be done was for the jury to consider their verdict. The jury having briefly consulted, the foreman said they were of the opinion that Mr. Tutty died from the shock caused by his accidentally falling in the street. The jury had desired him to express their hope that parties who were under the necessity of sending their shutters out in the way described, should use every precaution. It was desirable that persons whose shutters were so put up should take care to have someone on the pavement in front of them. If that was done, parties passing by would feel no dread.

Mr. Ferguson considered there ought to be some mode of preventing shutters being forced across the pavement. If they were sent up perpendicularly there would be less danger. He was aware of an instance in which a shutter, forced up at the late shop of Mr. Todman, took the skin off a child's cheekbone, and he was once passing by himself, when, if he had not put up his hand, he would have had a shutter his face. it was a very careless way of putting shutters up.

The Coroner said he quite approved of the observations the jury had made, and he would give effect to them by requesting that the comments made should be noticed in the newspapers. Addressing Miss Attwells, the Coroner remarked that he was sure the jury agreed with him in saying that no blame was attributable to her. The occurrence was purely accidental and if she had felt uncomfortable by thinking the accident was caused by her, she might wholly relive herself of such an impression

the usual fees were then handed to the jury, but returned to the Coroner, with the request that he would pay the amount into the Lancashire Distress Account. The Coroner undertook to give the sum to the Mayor, the treasurer of the fund, and expressed the wish that the Act of Parliament allowed higher fees to jurors.
Reading Mercury 25th Oct 1862

Valuable Freehold Property, King Street, Reading

Messrs. CJ Butler and Sons are favoured with instructions from the trustees, under the Will of the late Mr. Henry Tutty, shortly to sell by auction (unless previously disposed of by private contract), all those two substantial freehold dwelling houses, with the modern shops, and very complete business premises, most desirably situated, Nos 22 and 23, King Street, Reading. Full particulars will be given in future papers, and in the meantime may be obtained of Messrs. Whatley and Dryland, solicitors, Butter Market; and of the Auctioneers, 2 Forbury, Reading.
December 4th, 1862.

Berkshire Chronicle 6th Dec 1862


  • Henry Tutty (1803-1862) was a confectioner at 23 King Street.

  • The shutters were those of the chemist shop of Henry Martyn Heelas (1832-1866) on the north-east corner, at 64 Minster Street (aka 8 King Street). It is now Prezzo. The Chronicle report incorrectly implies it was his brothers' more famous drapery shop at the other end of the street.

  • Alice Attwells (born 1848) was the daughter of Richard Binfield Attwells (1810-1868), hairdresser & perfumer, of 15 High Street. She was the younger sister of the better known, Frank Attwells (1846-1892), the music shop proprietor of 163 Friar Street.


    © Nash Ford Publishing 2017. All Rights Reserved.