1858 Bradford Lozenge Poisoning
“The most dreadful calamity that perhaps ever befell this district has occurred within the last few days. The careless and negligent use of a deadly poison – arsenic – has had the unhappy result already depriving no fewer than 17 persons of life and filling innumerable homes throughout the district with suffering, mourning and woe.” Bradford Observer 4th Nov 1858
In total 18 people died, mainly children, and it was estimated that there were 193 cases of illness but there may have been many more as no complete and accurate list could be compiled. They had all eaten peppermint lozenges and were struck by sudden and violent vomiting; sudden deaths were occurring all over the city as though a dreadful plague had come.
The lozenges had been brought from William Hardacre in Green Market who was also suffering from eating one of his own lozenges. He had brought the lozenges from a wholesaler dealer in confectionary, Mr Joseph Neal, of Stone Street.
Mr Neal made the lozenges partly from sugar and partly from a mineral technically called terra alba or “daft” and described by the chemist as Plaster of Paris used as a substitute for sugar. By alteration he could produce lozenges at about 8d per pound which would normally cost 10d or 1s per pound. These lozenges had been made by Mr Neal by the order of Mr Hardacre.
There had obviously been some mistake in the supply of the daft which was purchased from the shop of a druggist in Shipley named Hodgson. A fortnight ago Mr Charles Hodgson being ill in bed left a young assistant Mr William Goddard in charge, he had only been in his employ a few weeks having recently left school. He had been asked by a man from Bradford (James Archer, who lived with Mr Neal) for 12lb of daft not knowing where it was placed he asked Mr Hodgson who directed him to a corner of the cellar. Unfortunately Mr Goddard went to the wrong cask, which had no mark or label, and actually contained arsenic. Mr Archer then delivered the arsenic back to James Appleton one of Mr Neal’s men who had made up 40lbs of lozenges.
Immediate steps were taken to publish the news far and wide in order to induce caution and safety. The quiet sleep of people was broken at midnight by the sound of the bellman’s warning and notices were put up in around the neighbourhood and in public houses asking people to return any lozenges to the police station.
Mr Leveratt the chief constable had been able to obtain about 35lbs of the lozenges which were analysed by Mr Rimmington a chemist. He discovered that just one lozenge contained enough arsenic as would be sufficient to poison a man.
James Appleton confirmed that “daft has always been used ever since I have been in the trade. I have been in the trade 6 years... we do not put draft in always; it is just according to price. When lozenges are sold as these were at 2oz for 1½d it could not be expected that they were genuine. But I did not expect there would be poison in them. They are made of sugar and gum and daft put in to adulterate – to cheapen... it is the custom to use daft in all adulterated lozenges.”
Charles Hodgson, William Goddard and Joseph Neal faced manslaughter charges. However all parties were set free without trial “the only thing criminal in the whole affair was what the law could not touch – the practice of adulteration and the supply of daft for that purpose”
A relief fund was established to help the families of those who had been affected. The case resulted in a change to the legislation regarding the sale of poisons.
Orlando Burran, aged 5 and John Henry Burran, aged 3, sons of Mark Burran, 30, Jowett Street, Manchester Road, Bradford.
Elizabeth Mary Midgley, aged 7 - Margerison Street, Bermondsey.
Elijah Wright, aged 9 - 63 Queen Street Bradford.
Joseph Scott, aged 14 - 5 Railway Street Bradford.
Joseph Crabtree, aged 16 - Jacob Street, Bradford.
Ann Shutt, aged 38 wife of John Shutt - Leeds Road, Bradford.
Herbert Holdsworth, a child Rutland Street, Bradford.
John McCormack, aged 4 Heaton Syke.
Adela Lee, aged 3, Heaton Syke.
John Broadley, aged 21, labourer, Heaton Syke.
Mark Green, aged 17 months, Low Moor.
Mrs Shackleton, aged 30 residing at East Ardsley.
John Lupton Constantine, aged 69, Tyersall.
— Wright, a married woman, residing at Wibsey.
Briggs Ramaden, clogger, aged 24 Thornton.
Robinson Wood, aged 3, East Ardsley.
Thomas Wright, child, Thompson’s House.
Armitage, Martha, adult, Nursery Lane.
Bairstow, Martha, adult, Marsh Place.
Bairstow, Abraham, adult, March Place.
Cluster, Grace and Elizabeth adults, Preston Place.
Cooper, James, adult, Scarr Hill.
Cosgrane, John, adult, Eastbrook Lane.
Crusher, Walter, adult, Crowe Street.
Dennison, John, two children, Scarr Hill.
Dixon, Thomas, five adults, Thompson's Houses.
Downbrough, Elisabeth adult, Preston Place.
Fletcher, Elizabeth, adult, Marsh Place.
Frankleton, -, three children, Thornton Street.
Freeman, John, one adult and one child, Scarr Hill.
Graces, Leah, adult, Nursery Lane.
Hartley, Richard, child, Scarr Hill.
Hudson, Abraham, three children, Seymour Street.
Isles, Hannah, two children, Swaine Green.
Jowett, Elizabeth, adult, Bower Street.
Lawson, William, three children, Buck Spring Row.
Laycock, Mary, an adult and a child, Fitzgerald Street.
Mann, Samuel, adult, Daisy Hill.
Mann, John, three children and two adults, Daisy Hill.
Midgeley, Sarah, adult, Margerison Street.
Murgatroyd, Richard, two children, Scarr Hill.
Neamont, Hannah, adult and child, Croft Street.
Pattchett, John, two adults, Scarr Hill.
Pease, - , three adults and two children, Manchester Road.
Smith, Rebecca, adult, Preston Street.
Smith, Ann, Preston Street.
Smith, James, Preston Street.
Smith, John, 4 adult family members, Four Lane Ends.
Stead, William, adult, Crown Street.
Stott, Joseph adult and two children, Croft Street.
Swaine, John, six children and two adults, Bowling Back Lane.
Taylor, Mrs, one child, Scarr Hill.
Tetley, Benjamin, two adults, Swaine Green.
Thompson, Eliza, adult. Mulgrave Street.
Watson, Elizabeth, adult, Jury Street.
White, Martha, adult, Little Horton Lane.
Whitehead, James, one child, Scarr Hill.
Wilkinson, Mary, child, Daisy Hill.
Holmes, family, four adults.
Wilcock, Henry, 55, toll bar keeper.
Wilcock, Sarah, 53, wife of the above.
Wilcock, Hannah, 23, daughter of the above.
Wilcock, Mary, 9, daughter of the above.
Curtis, Thomas, 18, joiner.
Denison, Emma, 13, Millhand.
Denison, Abram, 9, schoolboy.
Duxbury, Catherine, 6, schoolgirl.
Hartley, Samuel, 10, schoolboy.
Murgatroyd, Ann, 20, millhand.
Paget, Charlotte 42, no trade.
Paget, Grace 16, no trade.
Patchet, John, 46, mason.
Taylor, Richard, 16, labourer.
Waterhouse, Benjamin, 48, weaver.
Waterhouse, Martha, 44, no trade.
Beaumont, John, adult.
Beaumont, Mary, adult.
Bennett, Hannah, two adults.
Priestley, Hannah, Child.
Thompson, Thomas, four children.
Ardester, Kester, 23, delver.
Child, Samuel 22, delver.
Child, Zilpha, 53, no trade.
Greenwood, Joseph, 41, delver.
Greenwood, Ruth, 12, servant.
Hollingworth, William, 13, labourer.
Ardester, Grace, 63, no trade.
Ardester, Grace, 17, mill hand.
Chatband, Mary Elizabeth, 5, mill hand.
Child, Sophia, 94, mill hand.
Waterhouse, Sarah, 26, mill hand.
Skirrow, George 30, clothier.
Skirrow, Sarah Ann 8.
Bartle, Lea, 10.
Bartle, James, 19.
Bartle, Samuel, 17.
Bottomley, Elizabeth, 33.
Bottomley, Elizabeth, 60.
Bottomley, Henry 3½.
Bottomley, Mary, 30.
Burnett, Deborah, 5½.
Green, James, 20.
Mason, John 18½.
Tordoff, Love, 6.
Taylor, Joseph, 20.
Walker, Jane, 5½.
Walker, Samuel, 35.
Walker, Susannah, 6.
QUEENROW, near Thirsk
Clark, Henry and John, adults.
Boston, Jacob, 10, schoolboy.
Boston, Jane, 22, mill hand.
Golden, John, 21, mill hand.
Golden, Mary, 53, no trade.
Sutcliffe, Ingham, 14, mill hand.
Sutcliffe, Jane, 48, no trade.
Wood, Margaret Ann, 25, weaver.
Boston, James, 14, mill hand.
Boston, Mary 16, mill hand.
Boston, Mary, 55, no trade.
Fortune, David, 58, comber.
Garth, Isaac, 15, mill hand.
Golden, Mary, 21, weaver.
Sutcliffe, John, 27, weaver.
Sutcliffe, William, 56, weaver.
Wood, Jemima, 35, weaver.
Northrop, Betty, 63.
Ramsden, Elizabeth, 2½.
Brook, Elizabeth, 35, mill hand.
Brook, John, 40, labourer.
Chapman, Elizabeth, mill hand.
Chapman, Margaret, 23, mill hand.
Chapman, Milly, 27, mill hand.
Dalton, George, 35, mill hand.
Pitts, Ellen, 11.
Wright, Mary, 40, married woman.
There is a lot of detail relating to the lozenge poisoning including inquests into the deaths. Was your ancestor one of those affected? Want to find out more details please contact me.
Bradford Observer, 4th November 1858
Bradford Observer 23rd December 1858
Bradford Observer 23rd December 1858
Leeds Mercury, 2nd November 1858Leeds Mercury, 4th November 1858