The Tragic Death of Emily Medhurst

Every so often, you come across a tale of tragedy in your own family tree.

My great-great grandmother Emily Medhurst was one of these tragic tales with her premature death aged just 25.

Emily was born on 26th September 1868 in Shoreditch, London to Edward Charles Medhurst and Elizabeth Ann Penn. She was baptized 11 weeks later on 13th December at St Mattias Church, Bethnal Green.    At the time of her baptism, the family was living at 6 New Inn Street, Shoreditch.

London, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1917, Emily Medhurst, 13 Dec 1868, St Matthias, Bethnal Green, database and images, Ancestry ( accessed 3 Jan 2020); citing LMA, Ref No: p72/mts/013. 


The family remained at 6 New Inn Street throughout the 1870s & 1880s and her father continued his work as a Book Binder.

By 1891, a now 22 year old Emily was living with her family at 12 Scratton Street, Shoreditch and she was working as a Shirt Collar Seamstress.

A year later, on 5th June 1892, Emily married William Torrance, a Yorkshire man, at St Holy Trinity Church, Islington.

London, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1932, entry for Torrance-Medhurst, 5 Jun 1892, Holy Trinity Islington, database and images, Ancestry ( accessed 3 Jan 2020); citing LMA, Ref No: p83/tri/018.


After their marriage, they moved to 44 Harwar Street, Haggerston.   Unfortunately, their happiness was not to last. Emily became pregnant and gave birth to a baby girl – Emily Edith on 29th March 1893.  The baby was born with a withered arm, but was otherwise healthy.  Emily died a week afterwards on 5th May 1893 from Erysipelas Exhaustion (a infection caused by streptoccus bacteria that can cause sepsis and death if it enters the bloodstream).

General Register Office. Death Certificate, Shoreditch, London, Emily Torrance, Apr-May-Jun 1893, Vol 1c, Page 95.  

The baby, Emily Edith, was adopted by family friends, the Chantlers and lived a long  happy life.



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