Dr. Pritchard's Box of Poison
Dr. Pritchard in 1864 purchased some poisons as his wife was standing in his way – he wanted to marry one of his servant-girls. He had a problem as this servant was pregnant. His wife suddenly became very ill and his mother-in-law came to look after her. Quite suddenly his mother-in-law died in his house, and her daughter, his wife, a few weeks later. They were both found to have been poisoned. Pritchard was hanged in 1865, the last man to be executed in public in Scotland. A crowd of 100,000 watched the execution.
When archiving the Edinburgh Court House where Dr. Pritchard was held during the trial, some of the original evidence was uncovered from the case. Vials with traces of the poisons arsenic, cyanide and antimony were kept in a wooden box with mounted photographs of the diabolical Dr. Pritchard’s victims. His wife Mary Jane Pritchard, mother-in-law Jane Taylor and possible mistress and accomplice Elizabeth McGrain.Inside the Sample Vials (now mostly safe from the poison – just don’t lick them!) are now parchments with the poisons listed on them.
The lower drawer of the box was empty at first… Then someone asked whilst examining the macabre antique – “I wonder who he enjoyed poisoning the most?” A strange question I know, but what happened next stunned the archivists….
A parchment appeared in the lower drawer with the name of a victim and the poison that was used!