First name(s)
Robert Arthur Poole
Position(s) held at King's College London Ref: *3
  • Laboratory assistant for Alfred Kirby Huntingdon, Professor of Metallurgy at Kings College (1889-1891)
  • Demonstrator in Metallurgy and Evening Class teacher of Metallurgy (1891-1908)

Education & professional details

School, college and/or university attended
  • Sydenham Park College, Forest Hill (1871-)
  • RSM (Royal School of Mines) (1875-1878)

Associate in Metallurgy RSM

Position(s) held (non King's College London)

Position with Metallurgist Mr Edward Riley (1878-1889)

Personal details

Date of birth Ref: *1
3rd August 1857
Place of birth Ref: *1
Norwood, Croydon, Surrey
Date of death Ref: *2
20th April 1921
Place of death Ref: *2
Heavitree, Exeter, Devon

“Prussic Acid. Retired Chemist's Suicide at Heavitree.” An inquest was held at Heavitree Police Station yesterday by the City Coroner (Mr W. Linford Brown) on Robert Davison of Homefield Lodge, Heavitree. Margaret Harriet Davison, widow, gave evidence of identification. Deceased was 63 years of age, and a chemist, but had retired over four years. He had been on the staff at King's College London, for 24 years. He suffered from heart trouble. On Tuesday he was as usual, and witness had arranged to go to London on Wednesday morning. She last saw deceased alive on Wednesday morning, about a quarter to eleven. Witness had a fall about a fortnight ago, and deceased had been very anxious over it. She let him sleep on that morning. She went upstairs, told him the time, and, as she was afraid she would not catch the train, came down again. She put the kettle on for him to make a cup of tea. As he was longer than usual, she went up and found him in an unconscious condition on the bed. He was very eccentric. Twelve years ago he threatened to take his life, and went away. The following day, she made inquiries but no one knew of his whereabouts. Two days later she received a registered letter from him stating where he would be found, that it was useless for anyone to attempt to look for him except his brother, and that if there were anything found of him it would be in a gorge in South Wales. Later the same day, she received a telegram saying he was coming home at once. He later told her it was thinking of her at the last moment that prevented him from doing it. Mrs Annie Westcott said Mrs Davison called her and she fetched a doctor. She did what she could to revive the deceased, but he died just before the doctor came. Inspector Snell said he was sent for by Dr Hipwell and saw deceased lying on the bed. He was partly dressed. By the side of the bed were two small glasses and also a jug containing water. Under the deceased's pillow was a huge sheathed knife. Deceased was eccentric in manner and carried another knife about with him. Dr A. Hipwell said deceased's mouth was open and there was a smell of prussic acid. Immediately witness saw he was dead, he tried to find out where the acid came from, and found two glasses mentioned by Inspector Snell. There was prussic acid in one and a preparation of arsenic in the other. A verdict of "Suicide from poisoning while of unsound mind" was recorded. Devon & Exeter Gazette 23 April 192, p3.

Shorter accounts appear in the Western Times 21 April 1921, 4; The Chemist and Druggist 20 April 1921, 574.

Family details Ref: *4

Son of  Edward Thomas Healey Davison, Gentleman & Member of Inner Temple, (1829-1900), and Eleanor Moss; Brother of Frederick J Davison born 1860 also at Sydenham Park College in 1871; married Margaret Harriet Matthews on 17th August 1887 at St Cyprian's Church, West Derby, Lancs; their son Robert Arthur Poole Davison, born 1888, was killed in action 25th September 1915 [Battle of Loos]


In Census 1881 and in his marriage record Davison describes himself as an " analytical chemist". In Censuses 1891, 1901 & 1911 he is "Metallurgist" .

Davison was in charge of the lab of Alfred Kirby Huntingdon, Professor of Metallurgy at Kings College, who requested his appointment as Demonstrator in a letter to the Secretary in 1891.

* References

  1. BMD 1857 2A 140 and birth certificate
  2. National Probate Calendar 1921 p47
  3. KA/IC/H94 1891; King's College London Calendars 1891/92 to 1907/08 incl
  4. Census 1861, 1871 (School), 1881, 1891, 1901, 1911 Marriage BMD 1887 8B p567 West Derby and parish register entry in Liverpool Marriages & Banns Edge Hill, St Cyprian (FindMyPast); Son first appears in Census 1891; Son christened at Holy Trinity, Penge, Surrey 12th August 1888; Death of son in (i) Moore, Henry Keatley & Sayers William Charles Berwick 'Croydon and the Great War ' Croydon Central Library, 1920 full entry in section 'The Glorious Dead' p287 (ii) WW1 'Soldiers died in the Great War (FMPast) and (iii) Medal Index Cards Transcription National Archives for Private R A P Davison, service no. 2424.
ARCHIOS™ | Total time:0.2830 s | Source:database | Platform: NX