CORRECT COPY, WITH FULL PARTICULARS.
LOSS OF LIFE.
A Full, True, and Particular Account of that Dreadful Accident
which occurred in this City on Saturday afternoon, by the Fall-
ing in of a House in Picardy Place, when crowded with com-
pany of the first respectability attending the sale of the late
Lord Eldon's Pictures,-Giving the full particulars of that me-
lancholy catastrophe, with the names of the unfortunate sufferers.
The sale of the Paintings belonging to the late Lord Eldon was
resumed for the third day, at one o'clock on Saturday last, in the
back drawing-room, on the second flat, in his Lordship's house,
No. 16. Picardy Place; when a company of about 150 had assem-
bled, among whom were from 12 to 14 ladies. The sale was pro-
ceeding with great spirit, when, at about half past two, the greater
part of the floor instantaneously gave way, and precipitated the
company into the flat below.
Such was the suddenness of the catastrophe, that not even a
warning was given by the cracking of the upholding joists ; and the
first intimation that the company received of their danger, was
their consciousness of having commenced a descent.
The first intimation which the people on the street received,
was one or two gentlemen rushing out at the front door, with blood
on their faces and covered with dust The clouds of dust which
burst from the door and windows, made it appear as if the house
was on Fire. A crowd was quickly attracted to the spot, who, on
learning the melancholy catastrophe, immediately broke open the
room-door, and set about extricating the unfortunate sufferers,
many of whose clothes were torn to tatters, and so covered with
dust that their features could scarcely be recognised.
About eight or ten feet of the floor near the north window did
not go down, and several persons who were standing in that part of
the room escaped. Mr Winstanley, the auctioneer, on the first
symptom of the floor giving way, laid hold of the mantle-piece,
but lost his grasp, and fell down among the other sufferers. His
clerk was more fortunate; he had also clung to the mantle-piece,
and retained his hold till relieved by a ladder.
On removing a chest of drawers, Alexander Smith, Esq. banker,
was found lying below it. He was conveyed into the front room,
when it was observed he had received a severe contusion on the
forehead, and several medical gentlemen being present, they at-
tempted to bleed him, but life was extinct. It is supposed he had
gone down among the first, and that his death was caused by con-
cussion of the brain, occasioned either by a blow from the corner
of the hearth-stone, or from the end of one of the beams. No
other person received any fatal injury, but we learn that the fol-
lowing gentlemen were bruised though, we are happy to state, all
doing well, viz. Lord Moncrieff slightly; Mr Sivewright of Meg-
getland, slightly ; Mr Marjoribanks of Marjoribanks, slightly; Dr
Maclagan, injury in the knee ; George Thomson, Esq. Trustees
Office, very severe blow in the chest; W. S. Watson, Esq. severe-
ly injured ; J. F. Williams, Esq three of his ribs broke ; James
Lang, Esq. W.S., severely hurt; Mr Ross, junior, of Inverleith
Row, leg fractured and ancle dislocated ; Mr Lorimer, merchant,
Elm Row, severely injured ; Mr Stewart, of the Custom-house,
and Mr Wright, auctioneer, much hurt: and Mr Younie, severe-
ly bruised. Mrs Keay of Snaigow, slightly hurt; and Mrs John
Anderson, junior, South Bridge, severely injured. We understand
that, had it not been that the carpet of the room broke the fall, a
number of lives would have been lost.
The cause of the accident was the breaking of a large beam
which extended across the centre of the room, and supported the
flooring. It appears to have been insufficient from the first, and
had joined to it a piece of wood by means of an iron bolt and screw,
which only served still farther to weaken it, for the bolt passed
through a large knot in the wood, and thus the beam was liable to
give way whenever there was any great weight on the floor.
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Probable date published:
1838- shelfmark: L.C.Fol.74(139)
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