A WEDDING PARTY POISONED.
A case of poisoning has just been brought to light at Carlisle. Last week
Mr. John R. LAWSON, of Botcherby, near Carlisle, was married at St. John's
Church to Miss Rebecca HODGSON, daughter of a Cumberland yeoman, and the
wedding breakfast was given by Mrs. LAWSON, aunt of the bride. The newly
married couple started for Edinburgh on their honeymoon, and were taken ill
there. Mr. LAWSON gradually improved, but his bride became worse and died on
Wednesday evening. Meanwhile, Mrs. LAWSON and 12 of the guests at the
wedding breakfast had also been taken ill, but in no case with fatal
results. The medical men connected with the case say the symptoms are
clearly those of poisoning, but how the poison came to be in the food is
still a mystery. The fact that one of the guests who did not eat of the
jellies was not affected seems to afford a possible clue. The body of the
young bride has been brought back to Carlisle.
The Times, 10 September 1886 (page 6, column A)
THE CARLISLE POISONING CASE.
The investigations made into the circumstances of the poisoning of a wedding
party at Carlisle have now made considerable progress. Dr. BARNES of that
city has prepared an exhaustive table showing what food was eaten at the
breakfast and at a tea later in the day by the 19 guests and servants. The
result of his inquiries and observations has been to throw the strongest
suspicion upon an American ham which formed an item in the bill of fare. The
symptoms of the persons poisoned resembled those manifested by the people
poisoned at the Wellback Abbey sale, six years ago, in which case the
illness was traced by Dr. BALLARD, Government medical inspector and Dr.
KLEIN, of St. Bartholomew's Hospital to the bacilli developed in American
hams. Portions of the ham provided at the Carlisle wedding breakfast are
being examined microscopically for similar organisms. The whole of the
patients who suffered from the effects of the poison are now recovered,
except Miss LAWSON, aunt of the deceased bride, and she may now be
The Times, 14 September 1886 (page 7, column C)
THE CARLISLE POISONING CASE
Dr. BARNES, of Carlisle, who has been conducting the investigation into the
recent case of the poisoning of a wedding party in that city, has received
from Dr. WALKER, of Newcastle, the public analyst for Carlisle, a letter
announcing that his microscopic examination of the ham, which was suspected
as the cause of all the mischief, has resulted in the discovery on several
occasions of a bacillus which he is now cultivating in different media. This
discovery, it is hoped, may lead to a satisfactory elucidation of the
mystery which so long surrounded the case. Dr. BARNES has placed himself in
communication with the Medical Department before this discovery was made and
he had also sent to Dr. Watson CHEYNE and to Professor GREENFIELD, London,
portions of the ham for microscopic examination.
The Times, 21 September 1886 (page 11, column F)
THE CARLISLE POISONING CASE.
Dr. PAGE, a medical inspector of the Local Government Board, has visited
Carlisle to consult with Dr. BARNES, of that city, respecting the recent
poisoning of a wedding party, and to afford such additional information as
could be found in reports in possession of the department concerning other
cases of illness caused by food poisoning. Dr. PAGE visited 14 of the
persons who had eaten of the wedding breakfast, ten of whom had been very
ill, and ascertained what their symptoms had been. Paying particular
attention to the sequence of the symptoms, he arrived at the conclusion that
they were not the symptoms of any known mineral or vegetable irritant
poison, and after investigating all the circumstances satisfied himself that
a prima facie case had been made out against the ham, a portion of which he
took away with other articles for microscopic examination by the experts of
the department. He called upon the vendor of the ham, who informed him that
it was one of a consignment of 46 American hams which he had received from
Liverpool in August and the whole of which had since been sold, mostly in
small quantities for immediate consumption, and no complaint had been made
about any of the lot nor about 100 more of the same brand since disposed of.
Dr. PAGE will report to the department in due course; meanwhile he asked Dr.
BARNES to continue his inquiries on the same lines.