Newspapers and journals: Wash Tub Tragedy



Mrs. Alice Maude Gumbleton, of 92. St. James's, was found on Monday morning lying dead by her wash-tub. But a few minutes before she had. been chatting and joking in the shop of Mr. Albert Dean, and was apparently in her usual good health. The deceased was the wife of Mr. Charles Gumbleton, who, as bailiff of the County Court, is known all over the Shaftesbury district. The sincere sympathy of the whole neighbourhood has gone out to him in his great loss.

An enquiry into the circumstances of the death was made byt he Coroner for North Dorset (Mr. W. H. Creech) on Tuesday morning. There was no jury.

Charles Gumbleton, the husband, said his wife was 47, enjoyed good health and had not been attended by a doctor for a considerable time. On Monday morning she got breakfast for all the family, and when he left the house to go to the County Court office she was putting on her shoes to go across the road for some starch as she was going washing. When he returned shortly before eleven o'clock he found her lying on the floor. She had apparently started washing.

Albert Dean, of the Post-office, St. James, said that when Mrs. Gumbleton came into the shop she stayed there for a few minutes laughing and joking with other customers.

Dr. W. J. Harris said he had not attended the deceased for many years. When he got to the house he found her lying on the floor quite dead. There was nothing external to indicate the cause of death, and he made a post-mortem examiniation. All the organs were healthy with the exception that at the base of the brain there was hemorrhage.

Asked by the Coroner whether he could suggest any circumstances to account for this hemorrage Dr. Harris said it was quite likely Mrs. Gumbleton had high blood pressure, and the lifting of the wash-tub perhaps might have ruptured the blood vessel. A woman's blood pressure was apt to be up a bit on a change of life.

The Coroner, returning a verdict in accordance with the medical testimony, said he had known Mr Gumbleton for many years, and he was sure he was voicing the feelings not only of himself, but all who knew him when he said that they deeply sympathised with him in his great loss.

Police Inspector Swain associated himself with the Coroner in This expression of sympathy.

Western Gazette
2 Nov 1923

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