Photograph of Dr Neill Cream's medicine chest, England, 1892-1920
When Dr Neill Cream was arrested for the murders of four prostitutes in 1892, he was found with his medicine chest, of which this is a photograph. Known as the ‘Lambeth Poisoner’, Dr Neill Cream (1850-92) was convicted and hung on 15 November 1892. Strychnine was his weapon of choice. At the time, the drug was used in small doses as a stimulant and a laxative and was commonly found in physicians’ medicine chests. Cream is famously said to have claimed to be the infamous Jack the Ripper when he was executed in Billingsgate, London, supposedly uttering the words “I am Jack…” as the rope went taut. This was unlikely to have been true as he was imprisoned in Chicago, Illinois, for another murder at the time of the Ripper murders. Shown here with other photographs (A652022, A625046) and a letter written by Cream on blue paper (A652050).
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Glossary: medicine chest
Small chests fitted for bottles and intended to hold medical supplies; of a type made in the 18th and early 19th centuries.
A naturally occurring drug derived from trees. In small doses strychnine functions as a central nervous system stimulant, but in higher doses it is extremely poisonous.
An agent that acts to encourage evacuation of the bowels