Bernard Mulvey 1928-1931

Bernard Mulvey was born in Newmains, Lanarkshire in 1928.  His mother, Mary Cooper was my maternal grandmother’s half sister.

My mother told me a story about her aunt’s son dying in a tragic accident. The story goes that the family lived in tenement accommodation with no running water. Mary was in the communal area doing some chores and needed hot water. Back in those days the washing was done in a communal space. Mary collected a bucket of boiling water from the wash house and returned to the back court.


Little Bernard was playing on his tricycle and pedalled towards the bucket. Unable to stop in time he went over the handle bars and into the bucket.

The story stuck with me and I wanted to find out what happened to Bernard. The following documents show that little Bernard died on 24 April 1931. The cause of death was scalds and shock.  He died in hospital at 11pm some hours after the accident.  The record shows that his father, Thomas was with him when he died. I can only assume that Mary would have been there too. I would’ve thought the incident might have made the local paper but I haven’t found anything as yet.

The circumstances of Bernard’s death must surely have shaken the family and the whole community.  It certainly led to a further tragic event. If you look at the death register you will see that the second name on the page is also Bernard Mulvey. He was young Bernard’s grandfather. On the day of the toddler’s death his grandfather suffered a cerebral haemorrhage and died 3 days later. I don’t know if Bernard Snr witnessed the accident or if he was present at the hospital but whatever the case it would seem that the shock of it was too much for him.

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