K is for Killings

Sir Edmund and Lady HillaryNot entirely the gruesome subject you might expect. The subjects come from the area where I live and grew up and the first example shows that killings can be commercial as well as violent.

William Kenyon and Son was a company established in Dukinfield in 1866 to take advantage of the cotton driving rope which distributed power from a single steam engine across several floors of a cotton mill through a series of pulleys.

Launched just after the end of the cotton famine caused by the American Civil War, the product was sold around the world, enabling mills to be built on a larger scale and with improved production rates.

The company still exists today and the Kenyon family has prospered and became pillars of local life over the years. But perhaps their greatest claim to fame is that they provided the ropes used to climb Mount Everest in 1953, hence the photograph above which shows Edmund Hillary during a visit to Dukinfield in 1960.

Should you ever need to splice a rope, Kenyon’s give instructions here or, if you prefer, here is how they did it with rather thicker cable in Kenyon’s Epitome of Lectures on the Transmission of Power by Ropes.

This is the peaceful setting of Hunters Tower at what used to be Gorse Hall on the hill between Dukinfield and Stalybridge looking towards Hobson Moor. But on the night of 1 November 1909, Gorse Hall was a less than tranquil place.

Shortly after nine o’clock an intruder entered the hall armed with a gun, startling Mary Evans, the cook. Her cries of alarm brought the master of the house to the scene. George Harry Storrs was a powerful man who overcame and disarmed the intruder and the police were sent for. When they arrived, they found Storrs dying from multiple stab wounds.

The photo, right, shows the police searching the area around the quarry pits around Hunters Towers  at the time of the murder and a far cry from the scene above.

It is a complex story worthy of Agatha Christie. Was the murderer a hit-man hired by Storrs’ brother, James? Was it the brother of the Bavarian governess who had committed suicide two years earlier having been ‘wronged’ by Storrs? Or was it an opportunist thief?

Two men were tried and acquitted of murder and a year later Storrs’ widow had Gorse Hall torn down. You can read a much fuller account on the web or see the centenary reenactment on YouTube. And someone who thinks he knows whodunnit.

The last killing was an accidental one. This plaque commemorates the death of Howard Beckwith who was the Superintendent of the Stockport Fire Brigade from 1897 until he died on 29 December 1926.

Beckwith died on his way to a fire in the early hours of the morning when his engine, the Mary Dalziel, crashed through the parapet of the Wellington Bridge and fell to the street below which is where I took my photo of the memorial

He was succeeded by John Rushby, a survivor of the crash, and there is an office block,  Beckwith House, which also commemorates the former fire chief.

ABC Wednesday Round 7

Kimono at View Thru My Global Lens

Kennedy by the Pedalogue

K is for Keys at Through The Photographs

Kandariya Mahadeva Temple at My India

Kaleidoscope by Nanka

Kournas Lake by Ackworth Gone West

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

7 comments… Add yours
  • Yorkshire Pudding 29th September 2010

    Struming my pain with his fingers
    Singing my life with his words
    Killing me softy with his song
    Killing me softly with his song
    Telling my whole life
    With his words
    Killing me softly with his song

    Also, what about Kentucky Fried Chicken? Recently voted Hyde’s Number One restaurant.

  • Sylvia Kirkwood 29th September 2010

    A really interesting post for the K Day and what an intriguing story! Always love a mystery and this is a great one! Have a great evening!


  • Ann 29th September 2010

    Whew… That was quite a story about the killing of the Master of the House. I agree it would make a good Agatha Christie novel. I remember the Killing Me Softly song also. Now it will be in my head the rest of the evening. LOL.. And I love KFC… yummy.. finger lickin’ good.

  • rog 29th September 2010

    I did killing too, different take.

    That photo, in miniature, I thought was Bobby Kennedy!

    interesting take

    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  • Polly 29th September 2010

    YP: I saw Roberta Flack perform the song at the Free Trade Hall. I should have included it under Parrot Muzak as part of the post. No finger lickin’ good in Hyde I’m afarid. the nearest one is in Gorton.

    Sylvia and Ann: Many thanks for stopping by.

    Roger: The same thought occured to me, but only after I’d read the JFK entry at the Pedalogue.

  • Francisca 2nd October 2010

    You don’t mind if I prefer “making a killing” on a commercial venture to mystery killings, do you? Good K post! 🙂

  • Polly 5th October 2010

    Thanks Fransica. I figured I’d need an alternative to such a gruesome topic.


Your email will not be published on this site, but note that this and any other personal data you choose to share is stored here. Please see the Privacy Policy for more information.

Spelling error report

The following text will be sent to our editors: