Yorkshire Evening Post - Monday 04 June 1894 - Suicide Epidemic At Methley

Suicide Epidemic At Methley – An Ill-Fated Bridge

Sad Case Of Religious Mania

There is some weird attraction for persons in a despondent state of mind which lures them towards the Methley Bridge. The suicides there have earned for it during the past month the name of the “glassblowers’ drop,” and the public are becoming very superstitious with regard to it. The local policeman says that he has begun to look forward to the grim spectacle of finding a body and laying it out as his regular and ordinary Sunday morning duty.

It appeared that Sarah Jane Gostling, aged 36, wife of John Gostling, station-master, Great Northern Railway, Methley Junction, has for some little time suffered from religious mania, but the symptoms were not such as to cause uneasiness until Friday last, when they developed to a remarkable degree. On that day Mr. Gostling wrote to his relatives and informed them of the condition of his wife, who was a church attender, but who had recently expressed a desire to leave the Church of England and become member of some other denomination at which “more good ” might be obtained.

On Saturday morning she got at four o’clock, and walked to a neighbour’s house, returning in safety. When the 7.44 train came in for Castleford, Mr. Gostling was surprised to notice that she was getting into the train, and on being interrogated, said she was going to Castleford to thank Mr. Loveland, chemist, for what had done for her. He begged her not to go then, and she replied, “You can trust me.” The husband waited until the 9.40 return train came to Methley, and as she did not return by this became uneasy and proceeded to Castleford to make inquiries, and was informed that a body had been picked from the river near to
Methley Bridge.

The health of the deceased had not been satisfactory for some time, and this may to some extent have caused the delusions from which she suffered. On Saturday Mr. Gostling secured the services of a neighbour to look after Mrs. Gostling. for she had been wandering about throughout Friday and talking in strange manner on religious subjects. Only a short time ago when at Holbeck Station she remarked it would be nice to lie down and let the train run over her. Much sympathy is expressed with Mr. Gostling, who is a steady, reliable servant of the Great Northern Company, and who has been stationed at Methley about six years.

An inquest was held at the Lord Raglan Inn, Whitwood Mere, this afternoon. A man named Hawes and a boy named Henry Whiteley were on the Methley Bridge and saw the form of a woman, about nine o’clock, playing with the water with her hands. Soon afterwards Hawes saw something floating, with a hat on the top, and he waited until a boat came, and the body was got out. The Coroner said it seemed a straightforward case of religious delusion, and the jury returned a verdict of “Suicide whilst of unsound mind.”

Suicide Epidemic At Methley

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The Yorkshire Evening Post is a daily evening publication (delivered to newsagents every morning) published by Yorkshire Post Newspapers in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. The paper provides a regional slant on the day’s news.

Founded 1890