The Death Of George Treays

Hook Road Railway Bridge looking towards East Street
Hook Road Railway Bridge looking towards East Street in October 2012
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2012

Shoemaker Arthur Treays and his wife, Elizabeth, lived at 1 Bookham Cottages, Hook Road, Epsom and in March 1902, having recently moved from Lewisham, they lost their daughter, Daisy, at the age of only 16 months. Much worse was to come for the family in that year.

The Treays had been having trouble with their son, George Walter, aged 13, and, for example he had been staying out all night. Apparently the boy had been behaving strangely since he was three or four years old and his doctor described him as a 'moral imbecile'. His father attributed the behaviour to the full moon, since it became worse at the end of each month.

For about four months in 1902 George was employed as an errand boy, but was dismissed on the morning of Tuesday 14 October 1902 for dishonesty. At 2.30 in the afternoon of that same day he saw his nine year old brother, Frank, die at home from inflammation of the brain. George then went missing and, despite a search by his father, he could not be found. He was discovered dead and decapitated early next morning on the up line of the South Western Railway between Hook Road Bridge and the station, presumably having been struck by the last train the previous night.

Another lad, Thomas Sanders, told the inquest that he had encountered George at 8 pm on the Tuesday under the railway arch in Hook Road. George had seemed strange, gave Thomas his handkerchief and knife with instructions to pass them to Arthur Treays, said that his brother, Charlie, was to have his pigeons and mice and that he was going to do away with himself. Thomas tried to take him home, but George escaped.

The Coroner recorded a verdict of suicide whilst temporarily insane.

The terrible luck of the Treays family did not end there. Even by 1911 they had lost five of their original nine children and on 23 March 1916 their son John, an officers' steward on 'HMS Victory', died of cerebrospinal meningitis, aged only 21. (Link To WarMemorialsSurnamesT.html#TreaysJ)

Linda Jackson October 2012




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