THE STORY of one of Staffordshire’s most notorious residents – and the Newsletter’s sister paper’s coverage of his murder trial – have taken centre stage in a new TV documentary about Britain’s grisly past.
A Very British Murder, currently appearing on BBC4, focuses on the British public’s fascination with murder in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
One of the killers who caused the biggest shockwaves in Victorian England was Rugeley doctor William Palmer – also known as the Rugeley Poisoner – because of his respectable middle class background.
His crimes, court trial and public execution were detailed in Monday’s episode of A Very British Murder by presenter and historian Dr Lucy Worsley.
The Staffordshire Advertiser’s account of Palmer’s trial featured in the programme, as did two local landmarks.
A room in Stafford’s Ancient High House was used to recreate Palmer’s parlour, while Dr Worsley was also filmed examining Palmer’s medical bag and visiting The Shrew in Rugeley’s Market Square.
Known in Palmer’s day as The Talbot the town centre pub, opposite Palmer’s former home, was where he poisoned his friend John Parsons Cook.
Palmer, who trained and worked at the old Staffordshire General Infirmary in Foregate Street, was hanged at Stafford Gaol in 1856, attracting 35,000 spectators. His wife’s family owned the Noah’s Ark Inn in Crabbery Street, more recently known as the Stafford Ale House.