A Walk around Sugar Lane – Deputy Matron Cameron

A Walk around Sugar Lane, Wakefield

Don’t you find when walking around a churchyard or cemetery the headstone and monuments give answers to unsolved mysteries, but some only give rise to questions and curiosity.

Another headstone in this series is fairly low to the ground, is simple in its design with straight sides, a small pointed top with a plain set of symbolic ivy being carved into a shallow box, centrally situated just below the pointed top.

Margaret V Cameron headstone © C Sklinar 2015

Margaret V Cameron headstone © C Sklinar 2015

I would have walked past this marker had I not noticed a few words as I scanned read the headstones : In Loving Memory of Margaret Veronica Cameron, Deputy Matron, Stanley Royd Hospital. Died 7th December 1951. Aged 46 years. R.I.P.

Where was Margaret born? Was she born in Scotland as her name may suggest? She was in fact born on the 5th of January 1905 and Freebmd confirms there was a Margaret Veronica Cameron born in the Bristol Registration District in the March Quarter. Could this be her?

I have found information on Margaret later in her life, but I’ll come back to that a little later. In the meantime, the 1911 census tells of Margaret Cameron born 5th January 1905, if this is my Margaret, living with her grandmother, Margaret Donovan, her uncle, Edward Donovan and her three siblings; Ronald aged 6, Jeffrey aged 5 and Bernard aged 3. Home was 15 Wood Terrace, Worcester. Margaret’s grandmother, was aged 61 and had given birth to eight children – four surviving to be included in the census, somewhere. Uncle Edward, aged 28 was a Land Agents Clerk and it appears that the four children were not at school or that information had been omitted by whoever completed the form. By the way, Margaret’s younger brother was born in Wakefield. A fair bit of information has been gleaned from the document but still no information on her parents. Were they away for the night, were they working away, could they not afford to keep their children or had they died? I told you more questions arise when you walk around churchyards!

Jumping forward to 1923 and one of the newest sets of information on Ancestry are the Nursing Registers for UK and Ireland and Scotland, which had been accessible from the 4th of August 2016. When I found these I was like a woman possessed looking for my aunt Frances Siddle, cousin Walter Siddle and other people in my family who I knew had been in the nursing profession. Back to Margaret, she is there, being Registered on 18th of May 1923, London and living at 24 College Grove Road, Wakefield. Margaret gained her Certificate in General Nursing at Cumberland Infirmary. Other permanent addresses in the registers include: Council Offices, Rothwell, Leeds and 14 Second Avenue, Rothwell, Leeds. By 1950 Margaret, her full name used this time, on the Mental Register for nurses, no address has been given for this register but her qualification is – R.M.P.A. Certificate.

Hatfeild Hall c 1925

Hatfeild Hall c 1925

Back to 1939 – the 1939 Register to be precise. Margaret Veronica Cameron is listed as a General Trained Nurse – Assistant Matron at Hatfeild Hall, Stanley W, Wakefield along with a list of people classed as ‘In Hospital’. How nice it is to see names for people in hospital and not just initials.

In the 1946 and 1947 Register of Electors Margaret’s address is given as Stanley Hall, Stanley, Wakefield – as local people know, Stanley Hall was used for a home for nurses at one time.

We know quite a bit about Margaret but there are still a few more questions that need to be answered. Firstly, who were her parents? Secondly, she died quite young, was there a reason? And finally, did she leave a will? All important questions if you are tracing your family’s history.

The answer to the first question is a simple ‘don’t know’. But question two, that one I can answer. When visiting Findmypast for the 1939 Register I took a look at the newspaper section……bonus! There were two entries came up from a search of Margaret’s name. The first was the death notice in the Yorkshire Post for the 8th of December which read ‘CAMERON – December 7, at Leeds General Infirmary, MARGARET VERONICA CAMERON, Deputy Matron Stanley Royd Hosptal, Wakefield – Service at Stanley Royd Hospital, Wednesday, December 12. at 2.30 followed by interment at Wakefield Cemetery.’

The second entry was from the Yorkshire Post December 8 1951. On the front cover we find that Henry Moore’s ‘Reclining Man’ was taken by van from Temple Newsam to Leeds Art Gallery the day before and would be on display for 10 days before returning to Temple Newsaam. In a smaller entry in the next column is the heading ‘Deputy Matron dies after injuries’, the small article follows ‘ Miss Margaret Veronica Cameron, deputy matron of Stanley Royd Hospital, Wakefield, died in the General Infirmary at Leeds Yesterday. She received severe head injuries when she was knocked down by a motor cycle in Dewsbury Road, Wakefield on Wednesday night.

The funeral service will be held in the hospital next Wednesday, followed by interment at Wakefield cemetery.’

Another excerpt, this time from the Wakefield Express tells more – “Pedestrians Injured – Miss E (wrong initial – could be a mis-hearing of ‘V’), assistant matron of Stanley Royd Hospital, was taken to Clayton Hospital with a fractured skull on Wednesday night, after being struck by a motor-cycle while she was waiting for a bus in Dewsbury Road, Wakefield. On Thursday she was transferred to Leeds General Infirmary and yesterday was reported to be ‘still very poorly.’ The motor-cycle driven by John Mulvaney of Wood Lane, Rothwell, also collided with a pedestrian, Mr A Benton, of West Street, Horbury. Both men were taken to Clayton Hospital, Mulvaney with a fractured skull and hand injuries, and Benton, with a broken leg. Yesterday, both were stated to be ‘fairly comfortable.’

About a week later the Wakefield Express edition for 12 December 1951 give more details – ‘ Assistant Matron’s Funeral – A funeral service for Miss Margaret Veronica Cameron (46). assistance matron at Stanley Royd Hospital, who died in Leeds General Infirmary last week, after being knocked down by a motor-cycle in Dewsbury Road, Wakefield, was held at the hospital on Wednesday. After the service, members of staff walked in procession to the hospital gates and several of them went with the cortege to the Wakefield cemetery where the internment took place. An inquest on Miss Cameron was opened in Leeds on Monday but was adjourned until December 20 by the Coroner (Dr A J Swanton). Trained for hospital work in the South of England, Miss Cameron had been at Stanley Royd since 1937 and was very well liked by patients and staff.;

I know from the previous newspaper article there would be a Coroner’s hearing, so my trusted ‘partner in family history crime’, who had found the same death notice I had also found, for 12th December and the above notices from the Wakefield Express, continued to look for the Coroner’s entry in the local paper after 20th December and early into the new year – nothing to be found. While I was including Elsie’s finds in this virtual walk, I gave FindmyPast one last try for the Coroner’s verdict, coming up trumps with one more entry in the Yorkshire Post – ‘Woman Died After Motor-Cycle Crash. ‘ ‘Accidental Death’ was the verdict at the resumed inquest in Leeds today on Miss Margaret Cameron (46), deputy matron of Stanley Royd Hospital, Wakefield, who was knocked down by a motor-cycle on December 5 and died the following day in Leeds Infirmary from a fractured skull.

Leeds University via Wikipedia

Leeds University via Wikipedia

The driver of the motor-cycle, Mr John Mulvaney, Leeds University student, Wood Lane, Rothwell, said he was travelling from Ossett to Wakefield when a pedestrian appeared ‘from nowhere’ in the dark, patchy night and the road was wet. Before I had time to pull up the pedestrian, who appeared immediately in front of me, was under the bike. I don’t remember anything after the impact,’ he said.

The Coroner told the jury that after Mulvaney collided with the pedestrian he lost control of the machine which, mounted the pavement and knocked down Miss Cameron, who was waiting for a Wakefield bus with a friend.’

Margaret is listed in the Probate Calender of 1955 and reads ‘ CAMERON Margaret Veronica otherwise Margaret Josephine otherwise Margaret Veronica Josephine or ADAMS Murlie Alice of The Stanley Royd Hospital Wakefield spinster died 7 December 1951 Administration London 16 February to H.M. Treasury Solicitor. Effects £1931 8s 5d. Another mystery has been created by the Probate Calendar’s entry for Margaret – why is Margaret also known as Murlie Alice Adams? Over a cup of coffee, my partner in ‘family history crime’ and I have spent an evening looking for her. Do you know what the link is to Margaret Veronica Cameron?

When deciding to tell you all about this headstone, I did not expect the story to have such an ending. But at least a few more people know about a little headstone in Sugar Lane and a lady called Margaret.