Ellen Coffey, 4yrs. RIP. | John Wake

tunnel-under-queen-street-st-darkest-cardiff

Old Cardiff.

Next time you walk the Queens Arcade, opposite the Friary, think of the Glamorgan Canal that used to run underneath. The Borough police were called there to many incidents in late Victorian times.

One tragedy always comes to mind when I walk past. Little Ellen, 4 years of age, who lived in Mill Lane Court (a short row of terrace houses, I have described the squalid interiors before, ran behind the Terminus pub from Mill Lane) was playing with friends on the canal path below where the Queens Arcade is now. On Sundays some of the canal waters were emptied into the main town sewers via trapdoors in the path. One of the sewer men forgot to close one of the traps and little Ellen fell through. Crowds gathered. Extensive searches at the time failed to find Ellen. Her body was found 24 hours later by constables and sewer men a long way from the trap.

The question I would ask today is what was a 4 year old doing so far from home, albeit her home was adjacent to the canal some way away. It has similarities to the Churchill Way incident with PC Farrow almost 100 years later. 

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Ellen Coffey, 4yrs. RIP. | John Wake

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