Sunday, 22 November 2015

Postman's Park (32): Thomas Griffin

Garton Hill & Co were sugar refiners who had moved production from Southampton to Battersea in 1882. Their products included a specialist brewing sugar, Garton's Saccharum, described as fully inverted, free from impurities, and able to 'brew Beer surpassing even Burton Ales in brightness and endurance'. The company would continue (later under the name Manbre & Garton) until taken over by Tate & Lyle in 1976.

In 1899, 21-year-old labourer Thomas Griffin suffered a fatal accident at the refinery. He was working in the hydraulic room when he heard an explosion. It came from a room where his colleague F Briggs worked, and he rushed into the steam shouting 'my mate, my mate'. When he emerged a few minutes later, he was terribly scalded; his workmates covered him in wet cloths and rushed him to Bolingbroke Hospital in Wandsworth. 

At the hospital, scalded all over and in shock, Griffin soon died from his injuries - just a few days before his marriage was due to take place. Awfully, his death was in vain: Briggs had already escaped unhurt. 

THOMAS GRIFFIN, FITTERS LABOURER APRIL 12 1899, IN A BOILER EXPLOSION AT A BATTERSEA SUGAR REFINERY WAS FATALLY SCALDED IN RETURNING TO SEARCH FOR HIS MATE.



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