“Look Mum, I’m All Alight.”

Tragedy at Tyler Hill – extracted from Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald of 27 Jul 1935.

While engaged with her mother in washing in a yard at the rear of her house at Tyler Hill on Monday, Miss Edith Mary Kemp, aged 28, was fatally burned through her clothes being set alight owing to the door of the portable copper being open to provide a draught.

The inquest was held at the Guildhall, Canterbury, on Wednesday afternoon, by the City Coroner (Mr. C. A. Gardner), who sat without a jury.

Mrs. Mary Ann Kemp, widow of Thomas John Kemp, a farm waggoner, residing at Tyler Hill, stated that deceased lived with her and helped her in the house. Between 1 and 1.30 p.m. on Monday witness and deceased were washing and were using a portable copper in the yard close to the back door. The copper was full of water which was heated by faggot wood.

“I was indoors clearing the table,” said witness, “and my daughter went to take clothes out of the copper with a copper stick.”

The Coroner: Had you seen her using the stick before?

Witness: Yes.

What did you hear or see next? – I went into the yard and saw her take a dish of clothes off the edge of the copper. She was standing close to the edge of the copper door which was open to provide a draught. As she was going away she looked down and said “Look mum, I am all alight.”

Witness said deceased’s clothes caught fire in the front and spread upwards to the back of the head. Witness got rather confused. She obtained a jog of water and threw the water over deceased, who kept screaming and two neighbours went to her assistance. Deceased was taken indoors and the ambulance was sent for.

Witness said that the portable copper had been used since last summer. She purchased it from Mr. Goodban, Wincheap Street, Canterbury.

Dr. C. D. Russell, resident house surgeon, Kent and Canterbury Hospital, stated that deceased was admitted on Monday. She was conscious. She had extensive burns of the whole of both arms including the shoulders, excepting the arm pits, the upper part of the back, both thighs, etc., and the hair at the back of the neck was signed quite short. She died about 7 o’clock the next morning from shock from the burns.

The Coroner recorded a verdict of Accidental Death.

Edith Mary Kemp, my 5th cousin 1x times removed, was one of 6 children born to Thomas John Kemp and Mary Ann Hatson. She had been born in 1907 at Tyler Hill.

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