Weaste Cemetery

Biographies of people buried between 1880 & 89

Benjamin Lowe (1853 - 1885)

 Benjamin Lowe was a Blacksmith's Striker by trade, but due to poor health he had become unemployed, and had undertaken the job of Hawker in the last few months of his life. On 24th January 1885 he took his own life by drinking carbolic acid (phenol).

He was born in 1853 in Hulme, Manchester, the son of Robert Lowe and Margaret C (nee Welsh or Welch) Lowe, who were married at St Mark's Church, Cheetham, Manchester in 1853. In 1877, Benjamin married Annie Tearney at St Mark's Church, Hulme. The 1881 census shows that they lived at 21 Billington Street, Hulme, where Benjamin was aged 27 and a General Labourer and Annie was aged 23. Their children were Mary aged 3, Benjamin (jnr) aged 2 and Maggie aged 0.

The Coroner's Inquest into Benjamin's death was held at the Thistle Hotel, Silk Street, Salford. Police Constable Simpson said that on Saturday afternoon at about one o'clock he saw a crowd of children on Mile-Field, (which adjoins Trafford Road). On investigation he saw the deceased lying on the ground on his right side and foaming at the mouth. He found an empty bottle in the right hand trouser pocket. The deceased smelled strongly of carbolic acid, his mouth was swollen and presented a white appearance. He conveyed the deceased to Drs Crosby and John's surgery, and from there, removed to Salford Royal Dispensary, but he died before reaching it.

Benjamin's younger sister Mary Jane Walker, of 2 Spaw Street, off Chapel Street, Salford said that her brother had not enjoyed good health for the past two years. Eight weeks ago he cut his throat and was an inmate at the Manchester Infirmary. When she asked him why he wanted to kill himself, he couldn't remember. Since his discharge a month ago he had lived with his parents at 42 Mallow Street, Hulme. On Saturday morning he told Mary Jane that he was going to visit his estranged wife at Thomas Street, Deansgate Manchester, but did not turn up.

Joseph Ruston, Manager of Messrs Goadsby and Co, Chemists and Druggists, 246 Albert Bridge, Manchester said that between ten and twelve o'clock on Saturday morning he remembered selling twopenny worth of crude carbolic acid to a man. The bottle was labelled "Carbolic acid – Poison" and contained 2 ounces.

The jury returned a verdict that the deceased died from the effects of taking carbolic acid, and that he was temporarily insane at the time he administered it to himself.

Benjamin Lowe was buried in a common grave in the Church of England portion of Weaste Cemetery on Thursday 29th January 1885, Reverend E C Collier officiating. He was 31-years-old.