Tragic death of Mr. Rainbow

Mr. George Rainbow was the landlord of the Admiral Codrington Inn in St. Columbus Close, opposite the Coventry Canal Basin.  It was a very popular public house. Mr. Rainbow was a licensed victualler which means he also brewed his own beer.

In December 1899, he was set to make his usual brew. Lighting the fire under the large copper boiler full of water he got ready gathering his ingredients. The water would be ready for him to start his malt at twelve o’clock. While the water was heating up he went into town, but when he returned he knew that the water was boiling and commenced mashing.

He stood on a stool, which was placed on a box, in order to have more control of the water. His wife Elizabeth was attracted to the brewing house from across the yard by shouting. She called out “Oh, what have you done?” He replied “Oh, Liz, save me”. She could see he was at the side in the boiler struggling to get out.

She caught hold of him and helped him to get out. He said “its my death blow”-  he was dreadfully scalded, as she pulled his clothes off, his skin came off his body as well. He was covered in blankets and taken to Coventry and Warwickshire Hospital. He died that night of shock having been practically scalded all over.

The inquest into his death was held at St. Mary’s Hall. The lawyer Mr. H. Maddocks represented the relatives of the deceased. A verdict of ‘Accidental Death’ was returned. He was buried in London Road Cemetery.

The head stone reads – George Rainbow Who Died Dec. 13th 1899, Aged 35 Years.

This article is based on a story in CovSoc member Ian Woolley’s book A Victorian Resting Place for a Growing Industrial City: Coventry’s London Road Cemetery, Pie Historic Press, 2015 with grateful thanks to the author.

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