First victim of the outbreak
d.Sept 23rd 1849
The very first recorded victim of the cholera outbreak was Ann Egdell, a spinster living at 19 Clayport Street. She was one of many from that street who died in the outbreak, and the first of 12 Alnwick residents to die on the 23rd September 1849.
Ann is described as a dressmaker- as were many single women at that time whose career options were extremely limited. Some might know that “dressmaker” was the euphemism used on the census reports around that time for a prostitute, although we have no reason to slur Ann’s good name.
Despite Egdell being a common name in Alnwick we could not find a direct link from Ann to any of the other Egdell families. She is something of a mystery, as is where the cholera bacterium had come from to reach her.
One of the characteristics of the cholera bacterium is that not everyone who is infected with cholera goes on to develop symptoms. It is therefore possible that a carrier like a travelling salesman or delivery driver had brought the disease into the town, whilst appearing quite well.
Eleanor Taylor was present at Ann’s death-see certificate above. She also lived at 19 Clayport Street, but did not die in the epidemic. An original building still exists at number 19, Clayport St and is now Alnwick Launderette.