Personal information about Edward Marshall

Below is all the information we have about Edward Marshall. As far as we know, the information is correct. However, if you find any errors or have additional information, certificates or pictures, please contact us so that we can update this page. Thank you.

Burial Information

Name on burial register:
   Edward Marshall
Burial register image
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Age at death:
Date of burial:
   30 June 1914
Abode at death:
(according to burial register)
   Workhouse Infirmary,, Newbury.
Burial register information:
Book number: 1899
Page number: 260
Record number: 9278
Official at burial:
   H W Trotter
Source of information:
  Burial Register

Memorial Details

No memorial information available at this time.



Obituaries and Newspaper announcements

Article source:    Newbury Weekly News
Date of source:    02 July 1914
Copyright:    © Newbury Weekly News










An inquest touching the death of Edward Marshall, who died from the effects of phosphorus poisoning in the Union Infirmary on Thursday in last week, was held at the Board Room of the Workhouse on Saturday before Dr. Heywood, the borough coroner. Deceased, who originally came from Glasgow, had been an inmate of the Newbury Union for the past four or five years. He used to carry out small duties in a room set apart for the engineer, a man named Morvan. It would appear that when Morvan had more food than he could consume, he either gave it to Marshall or told him he could have it. One morning Marshall entered the room and ate what he apparently thought to be food left over by Morvan, but was really pieces of bread spread with rat poison. Morvan happened to meet Marshall as he was leaving the room and jokingly inquired if he had had a good breakfast. According to the evidence, Marshall only laughed, but subsequently Morvan found the poison, which he knew to be in the room at the time, missing. Morvan became frightened and said nothing about the matter to the authorities. He, however, spoke to Marshall, who did not satisfy him if he had taken it or had not. Indeed, Morvan seems to have been under the impression that Marshall had thrown it away, and when a day or two passed and nothing happened, his fears diminished. It was subsequently realised that Marshall had eaten the poisoned bread, which ultimately led to his death. Naturally the inquiry extended as to the reason for this poisoned bread being accessible to an inmate of the house. The explanation for this was that the discovery that the Workhouse was infested with rats, owing to which the night nurses had complained to the Master that they could not stay there with rats running about. The Master accordingly purchased a two-shilling tin of rat poison, which was used on bread and put in a place where the rodents appeared. Morvan, who was present with the Master, was instructed to remove what was left the first thing in the morning. The next morning Morvan was up betimes and removed the few pieces of bread that remained, placing them on a broken piece of plate behind the looking glass in his room. It was from here that Marshall took the bread, which he consumed. Mr. Stephen King, the foreman of the jury, attached much importance to the selling of the poison, which, if sold as a poison under the schedule ought to have been signed for. The jury retired to deliberate, and took nearly half an hour to arrive at a verdict.


The Jury, after viewing the body, proceeded to hear the following evidence:




William Woollacott, the Master, said deceased Edward Marshall, was a labourer, aged 63 years. He had been an inmate of the Workhouse four or five years. The nurses had complained of rats in the Infirmary, and on June the 4th or 5th he put 14 pieces of bread with rat poison on in some outbuildings. Twelve pieces were removed by rats. On June 14th he put down some more inside and outside the scullery. Some of the pieces were eaten by rats and the other removed. On the following morning, Saturday, June 20th, he found Marshall had not done some of his work. He walked up to where he was sitting with the other men and asked him why he had not done certain work. Marshall looked up and said he felt unwell and giddy. The Master noticed a yellowness about his eyes and thought he was going to have jaundice. He said he should send for the doctor, although Marshall told him he was all right. The nurse gave him some medicine but he was up again on Sunday and did his work in the week until Monday morning when Dr. Thompson saw him. Marshall confessed having eaten the rat poison, but even then he did not seem to trouble over it. He was ordered to the Infirmary and treatment prescribed. On Thursday morning about 7 o'clock he was taken worse and died in the afternoon (June 25th) about 2.45. Marshall was a very good man and never gave any trouble.

The Foreman – I should like to know if this poison was bought locally and whether it was sold as a poison and signed for.

The Master- It was bought from London through an advertisement. I was most careful with it and keep it under lock and key.




Edward Morvan, employed at the Workhouse as engineer, said on Sunday, June 14th, the Master asked him to put some stuff down for the rats. They laid some in the scullery and where the hot-water apparatus was and in the stoke hole. They put down twenty pieces altogether. About quarter to nine, when they were coming away the Master said to him “Be careful to take away what remains the first thing in the morning. Again as he was going to bed, the Master reminded him of what he was to do in the morning..” He was up the next morning just after five and found three or four pieces had not been touched. He removed them to his room and put them on a piece of broken plate behind the looking glass standing on a cupboard inside the room. He left, and, on returning saw Marshall and asked him in a joking manner if he had had his breakfast. Marshall only laughed, and entering the room, Morvan found the pieces of poisoned bread missing. Between 10 and 11 0'clock he met Marshall again and questioned him about it, but again Marshall only laughed. They did not put down any more poison, and as Marshall did his work he saw no cause for alarm and believed he had not eaten any. On Wednesday he saw Marshall sitting near the water pump and he went across and asked him why he had not made his bed as he usually did. Marshall was not looking well and he again asked him if he has eaten that which he had told him was poison. This time, Marshall said “Well if I have, for God's sake don't tell anybody.” When the Master asked him if he had taken the rat poison up safe, he said “Yes, I have.”

In answer to the Coroner, witness said he usually let marshall have what remained of his food.

The Foreman: When you found the poison missing, did you report it to the Master? No sir, that 's where I was wrong.

A juror: Do you have your meals in your bedroom?-Yes, sir.

Did you keep the tin of poison, or did the Master take charge of it.

If you had suspicions as to where the poison had disappeared, why didn't you tell the Master?- That's where I'm wrong sir. Marshall had fits and I thought that was the matter with him.

If he had immediately become ill would you then have told the Master?- Yes, sir, but he went to work.

John Gibbs, an inmate, said on Wednesday June17th, he asked Marshall how he was, and he told him he felt a little better and also what he had done. He told him he had picked up some pieces of bread in the fitter's room with stuff on it that tasted bitter, and had eaten them.

The Foreman: Did you tell anybody about this? - No sir, because I had no idea then what the bread was. The engineer gave him permission to go to his room and often gave him some of his food.



Nurse Simmons, a nurse in the Infirmary, said Marshall came to her on Saturday morning, the 20th, and she gave him some medicine. He complained of feeling bilious She did not hear of him again until Monday night when she sent over a dose of castor oil. She had him as a patient on Wednesday morning, when he was moved to the Infirmary. He looked very yellow and she asked him if he felt any pain. Marshall said that he did not, and all he required was rest. His temperature was just below normal, and nothing to cause anxiety. In the evening he became more restless and the Master sent for the doctor. He was carefully watched during the night. In the morning she thought he was worse, so the doctor was sent for again. Marshall never made any complaint, and died at 2.45pm, the same day.



Dr Thompson said on Monday morning, the 22nd, the Master asked him up to see Marshall. He saw Marshall who wanted to get up. Witness questioned him and found he had eaten some rat poison on bread. Marshall told him he first ate one piece which tasted rather funny, but he thought it was cake and ate three or four pieces. He asked him when he had eaten it and he told him the previous Monday He also told him he had vomited directly afterwards. He would not let Marshall get up, but could do little but await the result. When he saw him on Wednesday, he showed signs of phosphorus poisoning. On Thursday he saw him again, he was delirious and gradually got worse. In his opinion he died of phosphorus poisoning.

The Coroner: Would the result have been different had you seen him within 24 hours?-It would largely depend on how much he had taken.

The Foreman: If you had seen him the same morning, might there have been a chance? -Yes there might have been.

A Juror: Did he tell you it was poison? - Yes, he knew it was poison afterwards, but not at the time. He knew he was subject to giddiness but not fits.

The Master was then asked how much he put on the bread , and in reply produced the tin containing the poison, and explained the quantity.

Did you ask the fitter if he had taken away what remained? - Yes, and he said he had.


The Coroner said they now had the facts before them they could not prove there was negligence on the part of one, if there was also negligence on the part of the other. Had the poison been placed where children might have reached it, the circumstances would have been different.

The Jury then retired to consider their verdict and found the following: That the deceased died from phosphorus poisoning on June 25th, inadvertently taken by himself. The Jury were of the opinion that more care should have been exercised in the purchase and use of the poison by the authorities.

Mr. Stephen Knight said if it was not outside their province, they might make enquiries as to whether it was a poison that could be sold without a signature. The Coroner said if it was a poison under the schedule, it could not be, and he would undertake to find out.

Newbury Weekly News 2 July 1914

Not in Mrs. P.

BMD Deaths Jun Q 1914

Edward Marshall aged 63

Newbury 2c 293


This obituary entry is awaiting verification.
Edward Marshall
Article source:    Reading Mercury
Date of source:    04 July 1914
Copyright:    © Reading Mercury


Board of Guardians.—At their meeting on Tuesday the Board of Guardians received formal report of the death of the inmate Edward Marshall, as the result of his eating bread spread with rat poison, as reported below. 
The Master was present and closely questioned. He said that it would have been impossible to take more care than he had done in  regard to gathering up the pieces of bread that were not consumed by the rats. The unfortunate man had no business in the room where he found the pieces put aside by the engineer, until eight o’clock in the morning, when he went to make the bed. 
After considerable discussion a resolution was passed that the engineer should reprimanded, and he was called before the chairman Rev. F W. Thoyts who told him that the Board considered that he was wrong in not informing the Master that the pieces were missing.  It was also decided by the Board that in future any death necessitating an inquest should at once be notified lo the Clerk, so that he and any member of the Board might be present if necessary.
This obituary entry is awaiting verification.

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