Henry Barsby

Henry Barsby, of No. 100, Paget Street, Loughborough, was employed by the firm as a moulder[1]. On the afternoon of 24th October 1932, he suffered an accident from which he never fully recovered and following a long illness, died almost three years later[2].

At the time of the accident, he was working with fellow moulder, Frederick Ernest Armstrong, of No. 47 Oxford Street, Loughborough[3]. There are differing accounts of the accident; the official accident report stated that he “tripped over moulding box and caught head against pattern board”, the other given that he gave to the doctor was that he “fell onto an iron casting striking the right side of the back of his head[4]. A third account of the accident was reported at the subsequent inquest, held on 30th July, 1935, Frederick Armstrong stated that “Barsby told him that he caught his foot under the structure of a machine and fell backwards. In doing so he struck his head a wooden platform[5].

Almost immediately following the accident, Armstrong found Barsby lying on his back, apparently unconscious and carried him to the firm’s ambulance room. Here he regained consciousness and was taken home by his workmates on the back of the firm’s lorry. Following a visit by his G.P., Dr McLeod, found that Harry Barsby was suffering from concussion and he was immediately dispatched to hospital, in Baxter Gate, where he remained until a day or two before Christmas.

In the meantime, the firm’s insurers, The Iron Trades Employers’ Insurance Association Ltd., sent their solicitors Messrs Eking, Manning, Morris & Foster, of No. 7, Park Row, Nottingham to investigate, whether the firm were liable. They found that Harry Barsby had a good claim for compensation and was duly awarded £1 3s. 4d. per week.

Following another doctor’s examination in early February 1933, by Dr Stamford, it was reported that he had still not fully recovered; he was mentally still very slow and rather muddled. Although there had been some improvement, since the accident he was still in no position to restart work. By May he his health had declined and he was confined to bed and described as being “in a very weak condition[6]. Following further examination by De. Stamford in July, which found the patient, was slowly recovering after his relapse. The prognosis was that nothing further could be done for him, apart from hoping that he would slowly recover.

By the end of September 1933, Harry Barsby’s condition had improved slightly and he was “able to walk further, with more easy and confidence”. As a result, the insurance company approached the firm to enquire whether they thought Barsby would be approachable regarding accepting a lump sum settlement in preference to continuing with the weekly compensation. The firm did make the approach but it was flatly rejected.

In early April, 1934, the insurers sought a further doctor’s examination, in which Barsby stated that “he has been rather better lately and that he varies very much”. However, whilst the strength in his hand was much better and his left leg stronger than it was, it was still markedly weaker than the right. He also had a swelling in his left leg, probably due to wasting due not being used.

Following another examination by Dr Stamford, in August, which showed little or no improvement, the insurers again made overtones regarding a lump sum payment. Again, this appears to have been rejected.

However, in January 1935 he engaged solicitors Bennett & Bennett, No. 73, Chancery Lane, London to argue for higher weekly compensation, arguing that their client’s earnings had never fallen below £3 per week, he was entitled to workmen’s compensation of £1 10s. 0d. per week, instead of the £1 3s. 4d. he had received since the accident. They also enquired as to the frim or their insurers would consider the possibility of a lump sum settlement. Conceivably they were using the weekly compensation increase, as a negotiating ploy to obtain a larger settlement.

However, having looked through their records, for the 12 months prior to the accident, they found that on average Harry Barsby had actually averaged about £1 13s. 3d., well less than the £3 claimed in the solicitor’s letter.

It was almost another six months before both parties agreed on a £200 lump sum settlement for Harry Barsby and 14 guineas for solicitors, Messrs Bennett, Bennett & Rabin.

Tragically, in late July Harry Barsby fell into unconsciousness and died six days later, on Saturday 27th July. At the inquest, the jury, who returned a verdict of death caused from injuries sustained as result of the accident, heard that he suffered from a heart condition diagnosed in 1928 and according to Dr McLeod he may have only lived a few more years.


  1. Private Records.
  2. The Loughborough Echo, 2nd August 1935.
  3. The Loughborough Echo, 2nd August 1935.
  4. Private Records.
  5. The Loughborough Echo, 2nd August 1935.
  6. Private Records.