Frederick Robert Gamble – Suicide in Norwich

This article is from the Norfolk Chronicle on 4 November 1882.

The Coroner (ES Bignold Esq) held an inquest on Monday at the Rose Valley Tavern, Unthank Road, on the body of Frederick Robert Gamble, 27, assistant schoolmaster of Lorne Terrace, Unthank Road, who was found dead on Saturday morning at his residence, under circumstances which showed that he had committed suicide.

The Coroner said that the jury were called together under very melancholy circumstances , namely, as to enquire as to the cause of the death of a gentleman named Frederick Robert Gamble. Mr Gamble was discovered dead in his bedroom on Saturday morning under circumstances which he thought would leave no doubt that he committed suicide by hanging.

As to the reason which prompted him to do the act, none, so far as he had heard, could be ascertained. There was a report – possibly the statement might be correct – that he received a blow on the head from a ball a few days ago. There was another fact, that his wife had just been confined of a second child. Deceased was engaged up to Friday night in giving private lessons to some little boys. The lady of the house where he was teaching, and whom he had thought it unnecessary to call, as there would be sufficient evidence to the fact without her testimony, had informed him that he was then in usual health and spirits. It may have been that the knock on the head from the ball injured his brain in some manner; but everything would tend to show that on Friday evening he was, so far as could be seen, in his usual health and spirits, and also that he was, if anything, in better pecuniary circumstances than he had been for some years past.

They would hear from Mr Pinder, the head master, that he had every reason to be satisfied with the work of the deceased, who was a light-hearted genial man. It would therefore seem that this act of self destruction must have been committed in a moment of temporary aberration of intellect.

The jury having viewed the body, the following evidence was adduced:-

Edward Robert Copeman said – I am a traveller for Mr. Norgate, wine merchant, and live next door to the house in which deceased resided. I have known deceased about two years. I did not see deceased on Friday last. About ten minutes to eight on Saturday morning, deceased’s servant girl called me and stated that both she and her mistress had been repeatedly knocking at her master’s bedroom door, and that they could not make him hear, nor could they get into the room as it was locked.

I went into the house, knocked at the bedroom door, and getting no reply, I sent for a ladder in order to get into the chamber by the window. On opening the window and entering the room, I noticed that the bed had not been slept on. The clothes were just turned down. On looking round the room I saw deceased in the corner – his feet were just touching the ground. I had to look a second time to see the cord – so thin was it – by which he was suspended from a clothes hook on the door.

I went to deceased, whom I found to be perfectly dead and cold. I called for assistance and cut down deceased. I then saw that the cord was small parcel cord that had been doubled. In the room stood a food bath containing water. The deceased was perfectly naked.

As if he had prepared for a bath before he committed the act? He would not strip to bathe his feet.

Have you had any conversation with him or seen anything in him to lead you to believe that his mind was in any way affected? No; never. He was always of a lively temperament and disposition.

Mr Thomas Richmond Pinder, had master of the Edward VI Boys Middle (Commercial) School said – deceased had been for about six years past assistant-master in my school. During that time I have never had occasion to say a reproving word to him. He had been most efficient in every way. He was under no notice to leave nor had he given any notice; neither was there the slightest unpleasantness of any kind. All the boys, as well as his fellow-masters, were very much attached to him. He was a general favourite. I think I may say that.

Did you hear anything about his having a blow at football? No. He was playing on Wednesday last with the boys, who have a club. I was present part of the time. I never heard him say anything about having received a blow on the head from the ball.

The Coroner remarked that of course persons who played football must expect to receive football knocks.

The Coroner thought it was unnecessary to call any further evidence, and the jury concurred.

Mr Pinder stated that one of the masters waited for deceased on Friday evening and walked with him to St Giles’ Gates. He could testify that when he left deceased he was in a cheerful mood. There was also present in the Court a little boy who boarded at deceased’s. About ten o’clock on Friday evening, after he and another little boy went to bed, deceased came into their room, and said “well, boys, are you warm? Would you like another blanket?”. The boys said that they were all right, and deceased, having tucked them up bade them “Good Night”. They were no doubt the last persons who saw him alive.

The Coroner thought that no further light could be thrown on the matter.

The jury, after consultation, found “that deceased committed suicide by hanging himself whilst of unsound mind”.