Unsolved Murders

Skeletal Remains

Age: 0

Sex: male

Date: 26 Jul 1943

Place: Plough Hotel, Cheltenham

The skeletal remains of a newly-born child were found during demolition work at the Plough Hotel in Cheltenham.

It was wrapped up in newspaper that was dated 1915.

The remains were found by a bricklayer on 26 July 1943 as he was engaged in repair work at the pub which had recently been damaged by fire. He had been demolishing a lath and plaster wall between 2.45pm and 3pm in a small passage between what had previously been rooms 15 and 16.

He said, 'I noticed a small parcel resting between the wall and a small cupboard adjoining. This had obviously been used by housemaids, for there was a quantity of ashes and small coal above and below the parcel, and there was a dustpan and several pieces of cloth there. I pulled the parcel out and found that it contained a small skeleton. I thought it was the carcase of a foul'.

A policeman that examined the parcel said that the bones were wrapped in brown paper and within the wrappings he found a quantity of small pieces of newspaper that appeared to have been torn and nibbled by mice. He said that with some difficulty he was able to piece together portions of the newspaper and found that it was a copy of the Daily Telegraph dated Wednesday, June 15, 1915.

The policeman said that there was a label on the brown paper that was addressed to a notable character in the district who had been a frequent visitor to the hotel and who was addressed on the label by a former title. He added that there was also another label on the bearing the name of Liptons, Ltd and addressed to a woman who was apparently a previous visitor to the Plough Hotel. When a local manager of Liptons, Ltd was shown the label he stated that that type of label had not been used for 25 or 30 years.

A pathologist at Cheltenham General Hospital said that the skeleton was that of a newly born full term child, but that he was unable to determine its sex. He added that there were no obvious signs of disease or of a cause of death.

The coroner recorded an open verdict at the inquest stating that there was insufficient evidence to show the identity of the child, its cause or time of death, or its sex.

*map pointers are rough estimates based on known location details as per Place field above.

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Gloucestershire Echo - Tuesday 17 August 1943