To commemorate the 350th birthday of Punch & Judy, let’s take a trip back to 1868 to read about the Punch & Judy Accident which occurred in Sheffield…
“PUNCH AND JUDY” ACCIDENT
An accident, fortunately unattended with fatal sequences, has occurred at Sheffield, at the Old Hay Market.
Immediately opposite the offices of Electric Telegraph Company, and adjoining the Yellow Lion Tap, a site has been cleared for the new Post Office. Two or three old buildings have been removed, but the cellars yet remain.
On the 26th the ground was occupied by a showman, who was exhibiting Punch and Judy.
About half-past nine o’clock, about 300 people had congregated in front of the show, and were eagerly watching Mr. Punch when , without warning, the flooring of one of the cellars fell in, and 20 or 30 persons were precipitated among the barrels belonging to the landlord of the Yellow Inn.
The screams of the women and children were frightful and in a moment a large crowd assembled.
As quickly as possible those who were thrown into the cellar were extricated, and it was found that a dozen or more people of both sexes had received slight injuries.
A married woman, named Morton, residing in Franklin-street had her legs crushed. It was rumoured that she had sustained fatal injury, but such is not the fact. Mrs. Morton was removed into a neighbouring house, and within an hour was able to walk home, though with difficulty.
Most of the other people were more frightened than hurt.
The owner of the exhibition and his show also came to grief, for, in addition to losing the coppers which he was about to collect, the figures of Mr. and Mrs. Punch were damaged.