Gale, Charles 1884 October 18th
Sudden Death of “Taffy Gale.”
An inquest was held at the Council Chamber, Salisbury, on Thursday afternoon, on the body of a well-known local celebrity popularly spoken of as “Taffy” – but christened Charles – Gale. The poor fellow, who most good-humoredly received the butts and gibes of the boys who interrupted his monotonous idleness, had long been seen to be in a very declining state, and to the observer it was patent that his life would not be a much longer one. Early, however, on the morning of the day of his death, he was seen wearily wandering about the streets.
Mr G Butt was foreman of the jury.
The first witness called was John Bradley, scavenger, who resides at 270, Milford-hill, which is in the front of Derby-court in which Gale lived. He said that on that morning at about a quarter past twelve he saw Gale standing by his door, with his elbow on the doorpost and his head resting on it. He did not complain of being unwell; and it was strange that they had not heard him cough that morning as they had heard him on other mornings. As he was observing him he saw blood run from his mouth and nose. His wife had in the meantime caught him in her arms, and he then went for Dr Darke. When he returned, Gale was lying back in a chair quite dead, his wife still being with him. Gale lived in the house alone and had no one to “do” for him. He got his living by hawking. He believed the deceased was about 45.
Matilda Bradley, the wife of the last witness, said that at about half-past eight that morning she saw Gale go and get a half-penny worth of milk of a boy in the street. She then thought that he looked rather better then usual. Just after 12, she heard the deceased call her three times. She went to him; and found him standing by the door in the position her husband had described. “Mrs Bradley,” he said, “I shall not be here many minutes.” She then said, “Look to the One above, Charley.” As he was standing there blood was continually teeming from his mouth and nose. She at once put him into a chair. Before the doctor arrived the deceased had expired. Of late the deceased had coughed very much in the mornings, but he did not cough that morning.
Mr Supt Mathews deposed that that morning he was sent for to go to Gale’s house. He found Gale lying dead in a downstair room. He searched the body but found no property on him beyond a begging petition. Some time ago he sent him to the workhouse in a cab, and he was then spitting blood. He had now been ill for something like 12 months.
Mr F P Darke, surgeon, said that at about 12.30 he was sent for to come and see the deceased. When he arrived at his house he found him dead. He was unable to certify the cause of death, but from what he had heard and his observation his opinion was that he died from the rupture of a blood vessel in the lungs.
The jury returned a verdict of “Died from natural causes.”