‘Wednesday, 3rd January 1894 – . . . A house at Hellesveor was burnt down and a little child burnt to death.’
Gordon’s diary entries are matter-of-fact but I do wonder what was in his mind when he wrote:
‘Thursday, 11th January 1894 – In the morning went up to Charlotte’s with some clothing for the people burnt out of house and home. Charlotte said she would give them to someone else more deserving.’
The following day, he writes, ‘In the afternoon went with Charlotte to see the house that had been burnt down.’
Charlotte was Gordon’s step-sister, who was aged 25 at the time. She was married to the Vicar of St John’s church, Rev Richard Griffin. The Vicarage was not far from the scene of the fire.
There are three reports of the tragedy in the local newspapers of the time, all of which give differing accounts. This is the report of the inquest from the Royal Cornwall Gazette, 11 January 1894:
The transcript of Gordon’s diary contains his diary entries from almost every day from 15 December 1893 to 15 May 1894.