GLASS HOUSE Kingsland Road
The following is a transcription of a newspaper article, first published in the Bristol Evening News on January 21st 1897. Kindly provided by Bob Cole it concerns Thomas Cole, the brother of Bob’s Great Grandfather. Thomas Cole was at the Glass House from 1894 to 1896 the pub was situated by the railway bridge close to Princess Street.
THE BRISTOL EVENING NEWS JANUARY 21, 1897
SHOCKING TRAGEDY IN BRISTOL.
ATTEMPTED DOUBLE MURDER AND SUICIDE.
Last evening a shocking tragedy occurred in Kingsland Road St.Philip’s. A man called Thomas Coles, of no fixed abode, but formerly landlord of the Glass House, Kingsland Road, attempted, it is alleged, to take the lives of Mr and Mrs John Withey, confectioners, of 57, Kingsland Road, and subsequently took his own life. Constable Watts, 50 D, states that at 9.50 p.m., while on duty in Kingsland Road, he heard the report of firearms, and observed Thomas Coles running down Sweets Court. In company with Constable Hunt, who had arrived on the scene, he pursued Coles, and heard another shot fired. Coles was found in a stooping position at the bottom of the court, and, knowing him by name, the constable called, but getting no answer, turned him on his back. It was then discovered that he had a six-chambered revolver in his right hand, and, on an examination being made, a wound was discovered in the head. A truck was procured, and on this he was taken to the infirmary, where it was found that, a bullet had penetrated the right side of the head. Prior to the removal of Coles, Constable Hunt was informed by some bystanders that Coles had shot at Mr and Mrs Withey, and proceeding to the shop the officer found Mrs Withey sitting in a chair. She stated that she had been shot in the back by Coles. A cab was procured, and in company with her daughter she was conveyed to the infirmary, where her injury, a bullet wound in the side, received attention. The occurrence, which took place in the sittng room behind the shop was said to have been witnessed by Frank Barrett, a young man employed by Mr Withey, and lodging in the house.
Coles, who was admitted at the infirmary at about ten o’clock, expired at 11.15, the bullet, which entered behind the right ear, passing nearly through the head. Mrs Withey was admitted about 20 minutes after Coles, and, although the wound is of a serious nature, she was reported to be progressing favouraby at midnight.
John Withey informed our representative that Coles, who was at one time a sailor, formerly lodged with him. About nine months ago he left their house, and was afterwards sued at the county court for money due for board and lodging, which he was ordered to pay. Since that day, Mr Withey states, he had not been to their house until that night. He then came to the shop door and said “Have you had any new nuts lately.” and Withey replied in the negative. Withey was then about to put some money on the shelf, when he saw Coles level a pistol at him, and he felt a shot graze his hand, which he had placed to his head. Withey then ran to the back door and heard another shot fired, subsequently finding that his wife had a wound in the back. Fred Barrett, a lodger, was in the room at the time. Withey adds that Coles, who was about 55 years of age, has done no work since giving up the Glass House, but had had money to live upon.
The shocking occurence of last evening was the theme of conversation in the vicinity of Kingsland Road this morning, but little information that is not now generally known was to be obtained. Our representative this morning visited the scene where the tragedy was enacted, and, in course of conversation with Mrs Withey’s daughter, learnt that Coles lodged with her father and mother after he had given up the Glass House Inn. He helped Mr Withey in his business, and, according to an arrangment, paid him 5s a week for his lodgings. Subsequently, Coles objected to its continuance, asserting as he did work for Mr Withey, he should have his lodgings for nothing. Eventually some relatives of Mrs Withey came to reside with them, and Coles had notice to leave. He became very much annoyed, and would not pay his arrears. County Court proceedings were instituted against him, with the result that he was ordered to pay. In the daughter’s opinion this was the only reason that could have actuated Coles to take such desperate measures to satiate his revenge. Mr Withey saw him walk up and down outside the shop about 8 o’clock in the evening and informed his wife of the fact, but neither of them had any reason to fear him, although there was some estrangement between them. Coles has no relatives in the neighbourhood as far as it is known at present. He married a young wife nine months ago, but their matrimonial happiness was submerged in domestic trouble which caused them to separate. It is not known where his wife is. Deceased had a little money at the time he left the Glass House Inn, but since that time he had been considerably reduced in circumstances.
The condition of Mrs Withey is not of such a character to justify any fear on the part of her relatives. She underwent a successful operation last night, and although she suffers intense pain, her condition to-day is considered satisfactory.
BRISTOL’S LOST PUBS