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Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Dr Crippen’s salad bowl

Had events worked out a little differently Margate might have been the scene of Dr Hawley Harvey Crippen’s well remembered murder of his wife, for which he was hanged after the first arrest ever made through wireless.
So thought Mrs Sarah Forster in the 1930s, of 27 Addiscombe Road, former proprietress of a Marine Terrace boarding house where Crippen’s wife stayed in the early years of the century.
In the 1930s Mrs Foster donated a cut glass bowl to Margate Museum (bet the people in charge have no idea today and I wonder if it is still there?!). It was used by the notorious doctor to mix a salad for his wife.Crippen’s wife, Cora, was an actress and under her professional name Belle Elmore, came to Margate in October 1904 to play in “East Lynne” at The Hippodrome in Cecil Square, (then known as The Grand Theatre). During the run of the show she stayed at Mrs Fosters boarding house at 28 Marine Terrace (Now Wetherspoons) and was visited at the weekend by her husband.
They went for walks and Dr Crippen bought her some ice cream. Later she was taken ill and Dr Crippen remarked to Mrs Foster that she was always ready to make a fuss over the least little pain. He added that she would have more heart attacks.
Belle Elmore’s condition became worse and during the night, after Dr Crippen had returned to London, Dr Sawyer was summoned. Cora was suffering from poisoning and he thought it must have been from fish. But she had had no fish, so the ice cream may have been to blame.
Dr Crippen was not suspected of any responsibility in the matter.
Dr Crippen visited his wife several times while illness compelled her to remain at Margate. He asked Mrs Foster for a punch bowl in which to mix a special salad, which he always made his wife when she had a heart attack. There was no punch bowl at the house, so he went out to buy one.
But Margate traders had no demand for punch bowls, so a cut glass bowl was purchased.

Mrs Foster saw him produce bottles and watched while he mixed the ingredients of the salad.
Six years later Dr Crippen was accused of killing his wife by poisoning and hid the remains under the cellar floor at Cora’s London residence.
Was he trying to poison her at Margate?

Page from Margate history

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