Francis Gray Bacon memorial, St. Lawrence

From Wightpedia
Undercliff Drive - Francis Gray Bacon memorial, Ventnor Isle of Wight
Undercliff Drive
Francis Gray Bacon

By the side of the Undercliff Drive from Niton to St. Lawrence (now, 2024, closed to through vehicular traffic at a point North-East of the memorial) is a memorial stone within white painted railings.  On the side of the stone facing the road is engraved “F. G. B." and "25th Feb 1892” which records the accident which led to the death of 12 year old Francis Gray Bacon, son of Mr. Hackley Bacon of New York, at the time (and later) living at Worsley Villa, Ventnor.

Francis Gray Bacon memorial, Niton, Isle of Wight
Francis Gray Bacon memorial

At the inquest[1] held at the Royal Marine Hotel, Ventnor, on 29 February, Mr. Hackley Bacon gave evidence that on the previous Thursday, he had ridden out with his son, Francis Gray Bacon, and while they were riding from Niton to St Lawrence, his son’s pony stumbled and fell; Francis lost his balance and fell to the ground, hitting his head.

His father found Francis unconscious with no visible injury whatsoever. The first carriage along the road was, by coincidence, Mr. Bacon’s own, carrying his wife. Francis was removed to their home, and Dr. Williamson and Dr. Lackie summoned. Francis never rallied and died on Saturday, 27 February, evening.

The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death”.

The funeral of 12 year old Francis Gray Bacon took place on Wednesday 2 March; the first part at St. Catherine’s Church, Ventnor, followed by interment at Ventnor Cemetery.

Bacon grave, Ventnor Cemetery, Isle of Wight
Bacon grave, Ventnor Cemetery

The triple plot in Ventnor Cemetery is also the resting place of the parents of young Francis (Hackley B. Bacon, March 1916 and Catherine G. Bacon, December 1921), and also the remains of Millicent R. Cooper (1911 Companion to Mrs. Bacon, who died 1953 in Surrey), and her sister and niece (Emilie M. Cooper, died 1947 in Surrey and Katherine M. M. Corbin, died 1967 in Sussex).

White Railing Bus Stop, Undercliffe Drive, Isle of Wight
White Railing Bus Stop, Undercliffe Drive

When Undercliff Drive was open to vehicles, there was a bus stop near to the memorial which took its name from the memorial - “White Railings” - for buses which ran on school days only – the ‘abandoned’ post remains (2024).

  1. Isle of Wight County Press 5 March 1892