Much about Samuel Lowdell's death follows a familiar pattern for the Watts Memorial cases, but there is also a rather odd feature.
Lowdell was a 24-year-old bargeman who lived in Bow Common. (Bargemen carried goods on the river, while watermen carried people.) He worked on a barge called the William and Mary, and jumped off it to rescue a boy who had fallen into the river. However, although he was a good swimmer, he was never seen alive again: it seems he got trapped under a boat moored alongside. More happily, the boy was saved by the crew of another boat.
His body was found about a month later by James Law at Battle Bridge Stairs, near London Bridge. Law, a waterman, spotted the body in the water and towed it ashore where it was identified as Lowdell, a man who had saved several other people from drowning in the past. The state of the body was described at the inquest: tattoos on the arms, a broken nose caused after death, and the trousers down below the knees. However, nothing more seems to have been said about the strange state of his dress; it may have been that he was attempting to remove his waterlogged clothing as he drowned.
The Royal Humane Society sent an award to Lowdell's widow.
SAMUEL LOWDELL, BARGEMAN, DROWNED WHEN RESCUING A BOY AT BLACKFRIARS FEB 25 1887. HE HAD SAVED TWO OTHER LIVES.
I very much enjoy reading this series of postings, and visited Postman's Park recently for the first time. Those wall plaques are quite unexpected.
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