The fracture of the gas main in Westwood Street had a fatal sequel this weekend. On this Saturday Thomas Ladds, the licensee of the Three Tuns in Westwood Street, noticed a strong smell of gas apparently coming from the street. During the morning, his customers complained of the odour. One came over faint in the taproom and was taken home in Ladds' car. At the evening opening, he again noticed a strong smell of gas. During the evening his assistant Mr Sam Bray and the maid were both taken ill, and a customer, Mr William Ball, was so overcome by the fumes that he fell down in the yard and cut his head. Still nothing was done about it. On Sunday morning, corporation employee Julius Kebball came on duty. About two hour later he heard people knocking at a door; they were concerned about the occupant, as they could get no reply. Kebball smashed the door open with a pickaxe and found the elderly lady lying dead on her chair-bed, Witnesses at Monday's inquest reported noticing the smell for a fortnight. Dr H. Clapham said indications were quite consistent with death from coal gas poisoning and the jury returned a verdict of 'accidental death due to gas poisoning'. (Stamford Mercury)
Taken from The Peterborough Book of Days by Brian Jones, The History Press, 2014.