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Those that died in the Theatre Royal fire - 1887

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Illustrated Theatre Royal Fire

This list of victims from the 1886 Theatre Royal fire is compiled from the list put up at the Guildhall (shown with a *) of those dead and printed in the Western Mail, and the Times. A few names were specifically mentioned at the inquest. Additional information has been taken from a list compiled by Janet Henwood in 2000. Duplicate names have been removed, alternative spellings are in brackets, and additional notes added where information is available. Out of the 186 victims of the fire, 139 are named here, along with those originally listed as missing, but were found alive; it was impossible to identify many of the victims. It was estimated that there were more than 50 orphans from the disaster; in one case the parents and two eldest children were killed, leaving six younger children ranging from 2 to 17 years old, for the authorities to make provision. 

On the 8 September the Times reported "The unidentified remains were buried yesterday afternoon at the Higher Cemetery, at the Heavitree end. It is computed that about 2,000 persons were present. Fourteen coffins contained the charred remains of 46 persons, and were interred in seven graves..... Most of the inscriptions on the coffins ran as follows:- "Remains of six unidentified bodies of persons burnt in a fire which destroyed Exeter Theatre, September 5, 1887."

Apart from a mass funeral, some victims had their own burial services on the 9 September. Bombardier Scattergood who received a posthumous bravery award had a full military funeral. The Times reported the procession thus - "Promptly at 3 o'clock the coffin of the deceased soldier, covered by the Union Jack, was brought out from the hospital and placed on a gun carriage drawn by six coal-black horses. At the head and foot of the coffin were wreaths of white blossoms, while between rested the helmet and sword and other accoutrements of the deceased. All was soon in readiness, and then, amidst the reverential and almost painful silence of the serried lines of spectators, the word of command was given by the officer in charge, and the march to the graveside began. At the head of the procession the firing party stepped out with slow and measured tread, and then came the band of the Devonshire Regiment (the old 11th). Immediately behind rolled the gun-carriage, attended by two chief mourners - Mr Samuel Scattergood, the brother of the deceased, and Mr Hunt, the sergeant of the officers mess. The most pathetic picture of all in the sad and stately procession was the horse which Scattergood was wont to ride. The animal was led by two of the old comrades of the deceased." On the same day, 19 other victims from the fire were buried.

Note - the inclusion of a name on this list is not proof they were a victim of the fire - to increase accuracy, those names marked BMD have been found in the list of deaths for that quarter.  body never found   body identified  * indicates the name was on the list posted at the Guildhall.

Hospitalised - some may be fatalities but not recorded at inquest - 8 died in hospital.
Bessie Marks Kings Arms 17 injured and recovered; paid £20 compensation.
Thomas Coombes Weir Place - injured and recovered; paid £10 compensation.
Kate Coombes Weir Place - injured and recovered; paid £10 compensation.
William Partridge Paris Street - -
William Parsons Coffins Court - injured and recovered; paid £4 compensation.
John Vanstone Heavitree -
(Branstone)
Died or Missing - compiled from the first list of dead and missing after the fire and the list of the dead at the inquest.
Baggs 21 Lower North Street - * cork cutter - listed in error.
Henry (Harry) Baggs Sandford Street, Newtown 19 * porter - was a porter in Queen Street. His body was identified by his father and his funeral was at Yeovil. BMD
William Bailey Exe Street 19 he was a railway porter who was dead on arrival at the hospital. His body was identified by his mother. railway porter BMD
Catherine Jane Baker Duke of York Inn, Sidwell Street 14 * she was at the theatre with a friend, who also died. She was identified by her father, landlord of the Duke of York. BMD
Enoch Philip Baker Ewings Lane 19 * a labourer who was single. He was identified by his aunt. BMD
John Robert Baker 93 Summerland Street 14 * he was an errand boy for Mr Hoskins, baker of St Sidwell's, and identified by his father. BMD
Henry James Bale Coombe Street 18 (* Ball) he was a waiter at the theatre. His body was identified by his step father John Trethewey. BMD
John Balsom 13, Bartholomew Street - (* Balcom) he was reported missing but later found to have survived.
Eliza Banks Honiton - * listed as missing but not known if she was at the theatre. Probable victim.
Samuel Bastin Tighe Place, Rack Street 25 * he was a porter at Kennaways, the wine merchant. Eliza Hatchett identified his body as his wife, Kate was not allowed to, presumably because of the nature of his injuries. He was a keen footballer in the Rougemont & St Thomas Football club. BMD
Albert Beer 21 Lower North Street 45 a Plymouth man residing with his employer William Gale as a cork cutter. Identified by Gale. BMD
Harry (Henry) Belcher 13 Mary Arches Street 16 * employed by the GWR as a greaser. His brother escaped the inferno. His body identified by his mother. BMD
James Bennellick Coombe Street 47 * a house painter. None of the Bennellick's were ever identified. BMD
Matilda Bennelick Coombe Street 44 * wife of James.  None of the Bennellick's were ever identified.
George Bennelick Coombe Street 20 * None of the Bennellick's were ever identified.
Bessie Coombe Street 18 * None of the Bennellick's were ever identified.
Louisa Berry Pancras Lane 56 * wife of John Berry - they had four children. Her body was never identified.
William Berry Guinea Street 27  * a brushmaker. Brother in law of Loiusa Berry above.
E Blan Longbrook Street - (* Le Blan) probably listed as missing in error
Harriet Blatchley Preston Street 30 * (Blatchlen) married to Edward below. Body identified by her father in law. BMD
Edward Blatchley James Street 29 * a labourer married to Harriet above. His body was identified by his father. BMD
Ellen Bower Kenn village - * probably listed as missing in error
John Brewer Coombe Street - * was at theatre, listed as missing.
Thomas Burns Stepcote Hill - * listed as missing, was at the theatre.
James Tuck Burrington 2 Park Close, Heavitree 16 * an apprentice of Mr Luscombe, a cabinet maker of St Sidwells. His body was identified by his father. BMD
Fredrick William Cann 119 Clifton Street 24 a letter press printer who was identified by his father. BMD
Thomas Campbell 22 High Street - * listed as missing, later found alive.
Frederick Thomas Cann Mary Arches Street - * a group of 'compositor' work mates attended his funeral. The Times gave Mary Arches Street as his address.
Bernard Civell London - * probably listed as missing in error - not known to be at theatre.
John Chapple 10 Rack Street 72  he was a sawyer by profession. He survived the fire but died of his burns in hospital. He had been an abstainer for many years and was noted for working with those who had problems. As he had been a member, his funeral was attended by the Good Templars.
Elizabeth Clapp Stepcote Hill - * listed as missing and was at the theatre with her husband who escaped.
Miss Cole Bradninch - * listed as missing, body never found.
Louisa Coombes Parrs Cottage, St Sidwells 36 Also listed as Lucy. She died in hospital on 25th September from her injuries. BMD
James Cork Commercial Road 14 * (Corke) he was a carter. His body was identified by his brother. BMD
George Cornish Commercial Road 56 * listed as missing. Appears in the death register for that quarter. BMD
Fanny Crowley Coombe Street - * listed as missing, and was at the theatre.
Joseph Dart 44 Coombe Street 28 * a masons labourer, married to Harriet below, they left three children, one described as a cripple. His body was identified by his mother. BMD
Harriet Dart 44 Coombe Street 24 * fish dealer - her body was never identified. BMD
Henry Perkins Davie Oakfield Street, Heavitree 31 * (Davey) a shoemaker who was identified by his brother, also a shoemaker. His body was found with his child, Willie closely clutched to his chest. BMD
Sarah Davie Oakfield Street, Heavitree 27 * (Davey) wife of Henry Perkins above, her body was never identified.
Willie Davie Oakfield Street, Heavitree 9 months * (Davey) found clutched to his father's chest. Identified by his uncle, John Davie.
Elizabeth Davies Bartholomew Street - * probably listed as missing in error - not known to be at theatre.
James Dunn Crediton - * probably listed as missing in error - not known to be at theatre.
David Davies Bridge Street 26  a boot riveter by profession from Wales. His body was identified by John Quick. He was buried at Crediton, the home of his fiancée. BMD
Mary Anne Edworthy Preston Street 35 * also known as Polly, she went to the theatre with her boyfriend, Edward Lyons.
Sarah Ellis Shilhay - * probably listed as missing in error - not known to be at theatre.
John Elston Wonford 23 * (Elson) he was a maltster and gardener, He went to the theatre with his wife Rhoda. His body was identified by his father.
Rhoda Elston Wonford 24 * (Elson) she had a four month old daughter that was adopted.
James Henry Evans 9 Paul Street 21 * a single man who lived with his mother, and was a porter. He escaped, but went back to rescue others and died. BMD
James Froome Chudleigh Court, Coombe Street 45 * a mason's labourer, he was identified by his father.
Mr Percy Stuart Moncrieff Gossett Christ Church, Oxford - on a walking holiday on Dartmoor, was staying at the White Lion Hotel, Sidwell Street. His watch and chain were found in the burnt out shell.
William Francis Gray Blackboy Road 64 * (Grey) listed as missing and then reported as alive. However, a William Grey was registered at having died in Exeter during that quarter. BMD
Henry Gange 17 Holloway Street 18 * (Gage) his funeral cortège was accompanied by 60 members of St Sidwell's Football Club, for whom, he was a promising player. He was identified by his father. BMD
Edith Greenslade Crediton - * listed as missing but survived the fire.
Alfred Gill Crediton - * listed as missing by mistake, but later reported by his father to be alive.
George Hannaford Exe Island 51 * labourer - the funeral of Mr and Mrs Hannaford was attended by the St Edmunds Choir who sang a funeral hymn. He was identified by his daughter.
Ann Hannaford Exe Island 46 * (Hannah Hannaford) she was identified by her daughter.
Charles Hannaford Exe Island 24 * he was a hawker. His remains have never been found.
Alfred Harris Bartholomew Street - * listed as missing and was at the theatre.
John Harris 4 Ada Cottages 37 * a rough rider who was identified by his wife. He left two sons. He escaped but went back into the theatre to rescue others.
Sarah Havill 52 Preston Street 22 * initially listed living in Paul Street. She was the wife of William, a fish hawker. Her body was identified by Sarah Halse.
William Henry Heard 8 Regent Street, St Thomas 25 * was formerly of the Army Hospital Corps. He attended the performance with his wife, who also died. Body identified by his mother.
Alice Heard Red Cow Village - * initially mis-named Ellis Heard. Wife of William above.
John Hickman 5 North Street - listed as missing but was reported later to have survived.
Rosa Hickman 5 North Street - listed as missing and was at the theatre with her husband and son.
William R Hickman 5 North Street - listed as missing and was at the theatre with his son and wife.
Thomas Hill Smythen Street - listed a missing and was at the theatre.
William Hill King Street - * listed as missing but was reported later to have survived.
J W Hitchman Iron Bridge - * probably listed as missing in error.
Mrs Hitchman Iron Bridge - * probably listed as missing in error.
Jessie Hitt 12 Smythen Street - * listed as missing and was at the theatre.
Mary Jane Hedgecock Frog Street 26 * (Hitchcock) wife of Hermin Hedgecock, a travelling musician. Identified by her father who lived in Frog Street.
Thomas Henry Hole Alphington Road 20 * (Hale) an improver at Luscombe Price & Co. Identified by his mother.
James Howard Coombe Street 16 * worked with his father as a stone breaker. He was identified by his mother.
William Hunt Portland Street - * listed as missing but was found to have survived.
George Hunt Portland Street - * listed as missing but was found to have survived.
Frank Daniel Jackman Oddfellows Arms, New North Road 14 (* Frederick Jackman) a telegraph messenger known as 'Little' Jackman, his funeral was attended by 80 postal and telegraph staff. Identified by his father, landlord of the Oddfellows Arms.
Henry Knight Coombe Street - * a labourer reported missing and was at the theatre.
Rosalind Knight 5 King Street 24 (* Rosina Knight) attended the theatre with Mr and Mrs Gillard and Sandford, another victim. Identified by her brother.
John Lake Preston Street 40 * his body was found lying on top of his son. He was identified by his brother.
Hannah Lake Preston Street 39 * died with her husband and baby son.
Charles Lake Preston Street 8 months * son of above; he was found under his father's body.
John Lashbrook 44 Coombe Street 30 * a plasterer who was identified by Richard Mudge a neighbour.
Mary Jane Lear Black Dog PH Lower North Street 24 * a spinster who lived with her mother at the pub. Died in hospital and identified by a builder named John Slee.
Christina Lee 34 Coombe Street - * listed as missing and was at the theatre.
Edward John Ley Frog Street 54 * a brickmaker who was at the theatre with his wife and three of his children. Body identified by his daughter.
Margaret Ley Frog Street - * she went with her husband and three of her children. Her body was identified by her daughter.
Edward John Ley Frog Street 26 * son of above, he was a labourer. He was identified by his sister.
Samuel Ley Frog Street 20 * son of above, he was a labourer. He was identified by his sister.
Lucy Ley Frog Street - * daughter of the above. Listed as missing and was at the theatre
Mary Lipscombe 2 Melbourne Street 17 she went to the theatre with her cousin, Liza Thorn. Her body was identified by her mother, who received £10 14s insurance.
Mark Lockyer Rack Street 36 an ostler at the Golden Ball, Mary Arches Street.
Mary Lockyer Rock Street - (* Lockyear)
John Luscombe Coombe Street - * listed as missing, was at the theatre.
Edward Lyons Ewings Lane 35 * labourer
James A McBean Victoria Road, St James 16 (M'Bean) a clerk with Mr Sharpe, a timber merchant, he died in hospital on 6th September. Identified by his mother.
William Mardon Devonport Passage, Stepcote Hill 18 * (Murdon) a labourer who lived with his mother - she identified his body. BMD
Charles Martin St Sidwell - * listed as missing and was at the theatre.
Amelia Miller Gibbs Court, Paris Street 23  * (Minnie Miller) wife of Edward Miller a sailor. Her body was identified by her brother, who was a stage hand at the theatre and escaped. A second brother, John Partridge, also died.
Joseph Milman 50 Coombe Street 28 * fish hawker, married with two children. He was listed as missing and was at the theatre. His widow received £7 1s insurance.
Sarah Grace Minton Shaldon - * listed as missing and was at the theatre.
Anne Moore Clarence Street - * listed as missing and was at the theatre. Mother of Maria Moore below.
Maria Moore 16 Clarence Street 12 * listed as missing and was at the theatre. BMD
Susan Morris Whitestone - (* Morrish) her body was identified by Mrs Slogs of Whitestone - however, she was found to have survived when she called on Mrs Slogs.
Elizabeth Mortimore Coombe Street 47 a widower she died in hospital. Her body was identified by her son. BMD
Charlotte Mudge West Street 42 listed as missing and known to have gone to the theatre with several friends.
Elizabeth Mudge Stepcote Hill 42 * listed as missing and was at the theatre. BMD
Joseph Newman Coombe Street 28 a married man who was a fish hawker. His body was identified by his brother.
Charles O'Donoghue Devonshire Place 13 (* Donoghue) he was a pupil at Hele's School and attended the theatre with a friend. Identified by Charles Piper of the Western Times.
William Page Commercial Road - * listed as missing and was at the theatre.
Polly Palk Shaldon - * listed as missing but survived.
Henry Parker Exmouth - * probably listed as missing in error.
James Samuel Parsons Coffin's Court, Smythen Street 35 * a fish hawker. His body was identified by his wife. BMD
Oliver Parsons Friernhay Street - (* Thomas Parsons) listed as missing but survived.
Albert Parsons Friernhay Street - * listed as missing but survived. These two seemed to have caused some confusion.
John Partridge Gibbs Court, Paris Street 14 * an errand boy who was listed as missing and was at the theatre that night. His mother, Amelia Miller also died in the fire. BMD
Frederick Payne Well Street - * was listed as missing and was at the theatre. His father received £9 compensation.
Albert Percy Paris Street 27 he was married and was in the upper circle, at the theatre, with his sister, Mrs Rhoda Sampson. He died in hospital on 16 September. BMD
unknown Percy Mary Arches Street - listed as missing and was at the theatre. Husband of Annie Percy.
Ernest Phillips Ewings Lane - * listed as missing and was at the theatre.
Harriette Piprell Paul Street - * (Pepperell) listed as missing and was at the theatre. Insurance paid of £10 13s.
William George Pollard Rack Street 17 * he was employed by a grocer in the High Street. His body was identified by John Folland who saw him at the theatre. BMD
Henry Pope Crediton - * listed as missing but was reported to have survived.
Joseph Pym Cheeke Street - * listed as missing and was at the theatre.
John Rice West Quarter - * probably listed as missing in error. May have been confused with Charles or Walter Rice below.
John T Rawlings West Quarter - * listed as missing and was at the theatre.
Sarah Rawlings West Quarter - * listed as missing and was at the theatre.
Charles Rice West Gate - listed as missing and was at the theatre.
Walter Rice Bartholomew Street 21 * a fireman on the GWR. Dead by the time he arrived at hospital, he was identified by his father. Originally listed at Alphington.
Maude Alice Richards Madras Villas, Eltham, Kent 32 she was visiting Exeter, and staying with Charles Edwards at the Port Royal. He two companions escaped, although one suffered shock. She was identified by her husband.
Edward Robbins 76 Paris Street 15 (* Robins) telegraph messenger. He was identified by his father, a telegraph engineer. His funeral was attended by 16 postmen and telegraph messengers.
Albert William Seage Commercial Road 13 * (Page) identified by his father. He had recently left school and was working at a ginger beer factory.
Rhoda Sampson - - sister of Albert Percy above, she went to the theatre with her brother, but escaped.
Bombardier Francis Scattergood Royal Artillery 25 a single man, he is considered one of the heroes of the night trying to rescue others. He died on his way to hospital from very bad burns and was identified by his brother, a police officer. See his grave.
William Sharland Stepcote Hill - * listed as missing and was at the theatre.
Emma Shears Clarence Street, St Thomas - * her body was identified by her husband Edward Shears. She had three children.
Bessie Skinner Withycombe - * listed as missing but she reported to the police, unhurt, having escaped the inferno
Edward Snell Duke Place, Fore Street 12 * (Emmanuel Snell) he went to the theatre with his brother who escaped. His body was identified by his father, a miller.
Eliza Snow Kennford - * probably listed in error.
Emily Spencer Ide - (* Spence) listed as missing and was at the theatre.
Sarah Spiller Greyhound Inn, Paris Street 55 * wife Charles Spiller of the Greyhound Inn, who identified her body.
Maud Spiller Greyhound Inn, Paris Street 15 * (Mandy Spiller) daughter of Sarah Spiller above. She was identified by her father, landlord of the Greyhound Inn..
Jessie Squires Church Street, St Sidwell 18 (* Jane/Mary Anne Squire) an assistant Seward's the poulterer, where she lived. Identified by Eliza Hutching of Church Street.
Frederick Stephens Well Street - * listed as missing and was at the theatre.
William Sterland Stepcote Hill - * probably listed in error.
Robert Stevens Mary Arches Street - * left a wife and four children.
William Stevens Sandford - * listed as missing and was at the theatre.
William Stoneman 29 Friernhay Street 18 as single man who was a labourer, and identified by his father.
Mr Robert Morgan Tamplin Keble College, Oxford - on a walking holiday on Dartmoor, he was staying at the White Lion Hotel, Sidwell Street. Listed as missing and was at the theatre.
Henry Taylor Exmouth - * probably listed as missing in error.
John Taylor Frog Street - * a flyman at the theatre, he was married and had six children. He told his brother that he thought the theatre was dangerous.
William Taylor Silverton - * listed as missing and was at the theatre.
Thomas Henry Taverner Holloway Street 22 a porter - his funeral cortège was followed by a procession of Druids in full regalia. He was identified by his mother.
Mary Jane Teed Summerland Street - (* Tead) listed as missing and was at the theatre.
Annie Thorn Bradninch - * possibly listed as missing in error.
Deborah Thorn Crediton - * possibly listed as missing in error.
Eliza Thorn 7 Cowick Street 20 * a domestic servant at Mr Lisle's of Cowick Street. She attended the theatre with her cousin Mary Lipscombe who also died. Identified by her father.
Elias/Eliza Thorne Bradninch - * listed as missing but was found to have survived. Possible confusion with Eliza Thorn above.
Edwin Tout Mary Arches Street - * listed as missing and was at the theatre. Insurance was paid.
Thomas Tucker 10 Preston Street 49 * a shoemaker who attended the theatre with his wife, who was rescued. Identified by his father.
William James Tucker 15 Goldsmith Street 15 * an apprentice tailor, he attended the theatre with a friend who escaped. Identified by his father.
William Upham Red Cow Village 29 * late of the Royal Horse Artillery, he had recently applied to join the Tiverton police force. He was identified by his brother.
Thomas Warren 83 Regent Street - husband of Eliza Warren, he was at the theatre. His wife had a baby a few days later.
Stephen Waldren Pancras Lane - * (Weldron) married to Katherine Waldren, he left four children.
George Walker Crediton - (* Watkin) probably listed as missing in error.
Thomas Warner Paul Street - * probably listed as missing in error.
Thomas Webber London - * probably listed as missing in error.
Anna Maria Wellington North Street 19 * (Willington) she was identified by her brother, a cellar man at the hospital.
George Westcott Coombe Street - listed as missing and was at the theatre.
John Westcott Stepcote Hill 19 * a labourer who was identified by his sister.
Miss Whitfield Dukes Place, Fore Street - * probably listed as missing in error.
Hetty Willey Lion's Holt - * listed as missing, was at theatre.
John H Willey Penryn - * listed as missing, was at theatre. Records indicate he was found.
Ella Willey Lions Holt - * (Woolway)
George Henry Wood - 57 general labourer - He died of shock on 14 September in hospital.
John J Wood - - Insurance of £1 10s was paid out for his death.
Mary Ann Wood Plantation Buildings, Newtown 40 * wife of William Wood below.
William Wood Plantation Buildings, Newtown 43 * a labourer married to Mary Ann above. He was identified by his brother.
Thomas Woodbury Heavitree Road - * listed as missing, but found alive. Was at the theatre.
Arnista Woodrow Pennsylvania - * listed as missing, was at theatre.
William Woolway Cowick Street - * listed as missing, but found alive. Was at the theatre.

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