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1848: Cuckfield Dr Byass attends arsenic poisoning

Two of Captain Rock’s servants, of Warninglid were in the habit of [unclear: drinking ...?] tea. it appears finding some white powder in a cupboard, they supposed it to be soda, and shortly after drinking their tea were seized with giddiness and vomiting; which increasing Mr Byass, surgeon, was sent for from Cuckfield, and no serious effects were experienced.

The remainder of the tea was sent by Mr Byass’s direction to Mr Newington, chemist, of Cuckfield who found on analyzing; it that it was impregnated with arsenic, which had also formed a considerable sediment; but when the tea was drunk it had not become sufficiently soluble to act very powerfully, and but a small quantity of the poison was swallowed.

Although no outcome is recorded we can assume that the servants survived. Although the suggestions is the servants mistook the powder for soda - perhaps they were actually thinking it was sugar.


Sussex Advertiser Tuesday 11 July 1848

Illustration based on a photograph 'Gates to the Poison Garden' at Alnwick Castle, Northumberland. Public domain image.

Contributed by Malcolm Davison.

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