Date: 28 Apr 1906
Place: Midland Hotel, Manchester
James Ashburner Storey was found dead in an air shaft at the Midland Hotel in Manchester on Saturday 28 April 1906.
His head was found to have been crushed and it was thought that his death had been instantaneous. When he was found he had been clad in night clothes.
When a hotel manager was questioned by the press, he said, 'It is a very complicated matter, and we do not think it possible to say anything about it at present. We do not even know that it was an accident. In my opinion, it was not an accident', although it was said that there was no suspicion of foul play.
James Storey was the managing partner of the Heron Chemical Works in Lancaster and a member of the County Club as well as having previously been a prominent figure in the cricket field.
He had been staying at the hotel for a few days and on the Saturday morning the chambermaid, whilst engaged on her round of duties, found his bedroom door fastened from the inside. An entrance was then effected and James Ashburner Storey's ordinary clothes were found lying about, but James Storey was missing. His body was found in the airshaft, which was some distance from his room, later that same day by the police.
It was conjectured that James Storey had left his bedroom for some purpose during the Thursday night or early Friday morning and that he might have stumbled into the air shaft in the dark, or otherwise, and that he had remained there until he was found on the Saturday.
It was said that his absence did not cause any particular remark owing to the enormous size of the hotel and its floating population.
After James Storey was found missing, the police were called and they made a search for him. His room was on the sixth floor and when the police went out onto the veranda they saw an airshaft that was broad enough to admit a man's body and that when they looked down the well they saw the crushed body of James Storey.
The police said that he would have had considerable difficulty in getting over the veranda which was several feet above the level of the bedroom floor.
see Lancashire Evening Post - Monday 30 April 1906