Bermuda features in ‘bizarre Victorian deaths’ list


A death in Bermuda waters, in which a sailor drowned while his crew mates refrained from disrobing because of the presence of ladies, is featured in a most-viewed clip on the BBC News website.

The drowning in 1892, as reported by the Western Daily Press, came seventh on the website’s top ten of “truly bizarre Victorian deaths”.

The man drowned after a fight broke out among a shore party, who were returning to their vessel by steamboat.

Knocked into the water, the stricken man displayed “increasingly frantic efforts” to keep afloat — but a fellow sailor who began to strip off to save him was “ordered immediately to stop by an officer who had spotted a boat with ladies on it nearby”.

By the time volunteers took to the water, the man had drowned.

The episode, “Drowned by Decorum”, falls between “Torn to pieces by cats” and “Killed by a drunken bear”.

Covering Queen Victoria’s reign from 1837 to 1901, the Victorian era of British history is popularly synonymous with prudishness.

“The Victorians were a bunch of hidebound, thin-lipped, punctilious, moralising, etiquette-obsessed fun-sponges who would reach for the smelling salts at the mere glimpse of a table leg,” the article adds.

The clip from the BBC News Magazine came fifth on the website’s most-read.

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Published Dec 27, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated Dec 26, 2013 at 9:58 pm)

Bermuda features in ‘bizarre Victorian deaths’ list

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