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Two Grenadiers rescue troubled woman from the Serpentine

Year 1775

Read by Charles Spicer – Deputy Chair, Royal Humane Society

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March 10, 1775

A decent, well dressed woman, was observed to wander about the Serpentine River in Hyde Park; for the space of three hours; at length she threw herself into it. Fortunately two horse grenadiers, Leonard Cowley and William Mason by name, were witnesses to the fact from a window near the Park wall. They immediately ran to the place and drew her out of the water. She continued apparently dead for about ten minutes after she was taken out, but when they had shaken and rubbed her some time, they perceived a trembling in her under jaw; they immediately carried her to St. George’s Hospital, where the surgeons belonging to the hospital, by continuing in the use of the proper means, were so happy as to recover her.

The above particulars were communicated to us by Mr. Jackson, surgeon, at Knightsbridge, one of the medical assistants, who was sent for soon after the event, but before he could arrive, the patient was conveyed to the hospital.

We have since learned that the name of this unfortunate woman is Frances Pickup; she keeps a chandler’s shop in the Borough. She was induced to make this horrid attempt to destroy herself, by the embarrassed situation of her husband’s affairs, being in hourly expectation of an arrest.

It is with the utmost pleasure we are enabled to inform the public, that our attempts to recover those who endeavour to destroy themselves are not as has been surmised, entirely vain and nugatory. This unhappy person is sensible of her great deliverance, and entertains the warmest gratitude to the instruments of her preservation. These are the sentiments she expressed to Mr. Lane, Brewer, in the Borough, to whose house the honest creature went a little time after this event, and paid some money she owed him.

We have since learned that the indulgence of her husband’s creditors, and humanity of many made acquainted with her distress, have placed this poor honest woman in a comfortable situation.

The soldiers received the reward promised by the society. The beadle at Knightsbridge received also a satisfactory gratuity.

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