INDUSTRIAL health and safety 100 years ago was not what it is today.

The mills of Barnoldswick in those days were probably no better or worse than anywhere else. Bancroft Mill was opened in March 1920 and only ten months later it recorded its first, and, so far as we know, only fatal accident.

Monday, January 18, 2021 marks the centenary of the death of Elizabeth Brown, a weaver, of Cobden Street. She was 28, married to Herbert Brown, who we believe was also a weaver at Bancroft.

Their son Frank was just five years old. Elizabeth had left the weaving shed and was walking into the warehouse to collect more weft when she was struck by two metal-clad sliding fire doors, which had not yet been fitted.

She was knocked to the ground and suffered a fractured skull. She was taken home where she died two hours later.

According to the Craven Herald, the inquest was concluded after only two hours on Friday, January 21 with a verdict of accidental death. It is very unlikely that such a verdict would be reached so quickly and with such scant investigation today.

Elizabeth was buried in Ghyll Cemetery on Saturday, January 22 1921. Frank, Herbert, and Herbert’s second wife Hannah Eliza (nee Ashworth) whom he married in 1942, are also now remembered on the gravestone.

Frank, Herbert and Elizabeth’s son, joined the King's Own Royal Regiment in 1940 having married a widow, Eunice Bodenham, from Blackpool. He was killed in Italy in July 1944 and is buried at Assisi. We have not found any evidence that Frank and Eunice had children.

Hannah died in 1966 and Herbert in 1968, they had been living at 5 Cornmill Terrace.

We do not want Elizabeth to be forgotten, and if she or Herbert have any living relations, we would like them to know that, and we hope that they might want to get in touch.

If anyone has any more information, we would be very pleased to hear from them.

Tony Nixon

Bancroft Mill Engine Museum, Barnoldswick.