Rough on Rats

page28

Rough on Rats was a poison composed of arsenic, with a little coal added for colouring, was used to kill vermin. Advertisements for its sale began appearing in the 1880s and it became a household name.

It was easily obtainable from chemists. Unfortunately, people started using it to take their own lives, especially those from the lower echelons of colonial society.

-NELSON HISTORICAL SOCIETY JOURNAL

Our interest in “rough on rats” began with our passing acquaintance with it in relation to the life of prominent crank  Dr Henry Bakewell  a man drawn to many esoteric fancies (see the bottom of this post for some examples), specifically this sad incident involving his daughter.

SUICIDE—THE RESULT OF OVER-STUDY.

Northern Advocate , 10 June 1893, Page 4

NA18930610.2.27-a1-439w-c32-4596-3571-878-173 NA18930610.2.27-a2-443w-c32-4593-3755-885-840

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&cl=search&d=NA18930610.2.27&srpos=216&e=——-100–121—-0%22rough+on+rats%22+suicide–

This poignant incident we assumed would be easily found,  so it came as a surprise to us to see over one thousand stories hinting at an unspoken despair, then as now, infusing New Zealand society .

2951760376_f0400bde9d

the following is a mix of singular and representative stories showing the broad effect the easy availability of this product had on society

MELANCHOLY SUICIDE.

Marlborough Express, Volume XXIII, Issue 235, 7 November 1887, Page 2

MEX18871107.2.9-a1-367w-c32-4171-5292-733-144 MEX18871107.2.9-a2-405w-c32-4168-5448-809-1160

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&cl=search&d=MEX18871107.2.9&srpos=182&e=——-100–121—-0%22rough+on+rats%22+suicide–

SUICIDE BY A SERVANT GIRL.

Marlborough Express, Volume XXI, Issue 153, 10 July 1885, Page 2

MEX18850710.2.11-a1-270w-c32-4626-4259-540-29

MEX18850710.2.11-a2-300w-c32-4600-4351-600-29

MEX18850710.2.11-a3-230w-c32-4669-4425-459-34

MEX18850710.2.11-a4-302w-c32-4595-4475-604-425

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&cl=search&d=MEX18850710.2.11&srpos=99&e=——-10–91—-0%22rough+on+rats%22+suicide–

SUICIDE IN AN AUCKLAND PARK.

Evening Post, Volume LIV, Issue 89, 12 October 1897, Page 5

 EP18971012.2.34-a1-389w-c32-3462-5196-777-118 EP18971012.2.34-a2-391w-c32-3459-5341-782-485

SUICIDE OF A GUMDIGGER.

New Zealand Herald, Volume XXVII, Issue 8358, 11 September 1890, Page 5

NZH18900911.2.34-a1-373w-c32-3607-8787-746-44 NZH18900911.2.34-a2-413w-c32-3568-8891-826-292

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&cl=search&d=NZH18900911.2.34&srpos=8&e=——-10–1—-0%22rough+on+rats%22+suicide–

SUICIDE AT INVERCARGILL.

Otago Daily Times , Issue 8890, 22 August 1890, Page 2

ODT18900822.2.14-a1-296w-c32-2242-5516-592-33

ODT18900822.2.14-a2-249w-c32-2289-5606-497-29

ODT18900822.2.14-a3-176w-c32-2478-5650-352-29

ODT18900822.2.14-a4-329w-c32-2211-5689-658-141

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&cl=search&d=ODT18900822.2.14&srpos=43&e=——-10–41—-0%22rough+on+rats%22+suicide–

SELF-DESTRUCTION.

Marlborough Express, Volume XXXVIII, Issue 29, 4 February 1905, Page 4

MEX19050204.2.41-a1-275w-c32-2042-1535-549-59 MEX19050204.2.41-a2-394w-c32-1919-1662-788-42

MEX19050204.2.41-a3-109w-c32-2206-1710-217-44

MEX19050204.2.41-a4-405w-c32-1913-1770-809-319

 

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&cl=search&d=MEX19050204.2.41&srpos=104&e=——-10–101—-0%22rough+on+rats%22+suicide–

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SUICIDE AND CRIME INCREASING.

Northern Advocate , 15 July 1893, Page 4

NA18930715.2.21-a1-437w-c32-3697-6944-874-108 NA18930715.2.21-a2-434w-c32-3703-7074-867-409

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&cl=search&d=NA18930715.2.21&srpos=144&e=——-100–121—-0%22rough+on+rats%22+suicide–

“ROUGH ON RATS” AGAIN.

Grey River Argus, Volume XXXI, Issue 5269, 15 August 1885, Page 2

GRA18850815.2.7.1-a1-342w-c32-3748-481-683-37

GRA18850815.2.7.1-a2-208w-c32-4037-549-415-44

GRA18850815.2.7.1-a3-422w-c32-3672-606-844-272

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&cl=search&d=GRA18850815.2.7.1&srpos=24&e=——-10–21—-0%22rough+on+rats%22+suicide–

THE SUICIDE MANIA.

Auckland Star, Volume XXV, Issue 84, 9 April 1894, Page 3

AS18940409.2.26-a1-298w-c32-4368-5527-596-36 AS18940409.2.26-a2-342w-c32-4338-5645-683-33 AS18940409.2.26-a3-402w-c32-4272-5724-804-253

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&cl=search&d=AS18940409.2.26&srpos=86&e=——-10–81—-0″rough+on+rats”+suicide–

SUICIDE OF A WELL-KNOWN AUCKLANDER. [BY TELEGRAPH—PRESS ASSOCIATION.] Auckland, 8th March.

Evening Post, Volume LV, Issue 57, 9 March 1898, Page 5

EP18980309.2.37-a1-434w-c32-3804-6897-867-340 EP18980309.2.37-a2-435w-c32-3793-7253-870-770

 

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&cl=search&d=EP18980309.2.37&srpos=207&e=——-100–121—-0%22rough+on+rats%22+suicide–

THE SUICIDE MANIA-

Auckland Star, Volume XXV, Issue 50, 27 February 1894, Page 5

AS18940227.2.35-a1-315w-c32-2886-2614-629-58

AS18940227.2.35-a2-313w-c32-2836-2719-625-67 AS18940227.2.35-a3-358w-c32-2847-2828-716-44 AS18940227.2.35-a4-424w-c32-2779-2916-847-214

AS18940227.2.35-a5-85w-c32-2777-3140-170-33

 

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&cl=search&d=AS18940227.2.35&srpos=6&e=——-10–1—-0%22rough+on+rats%22+suicide–

COMMITTED FOR TRIAL FOR ATTEMPTED SUICIDE.

Daily Telegraph , Issue 3944, 11 March 1884, Page 3

DTN18840311.2.16.4-a1-389w-c32-982-7242-777-97 DTN18840311.2.16.4-a2-394w-c32-981-7349-787-193

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&cl=search&d=DTN18840311.2.16.4&srpos=45&e=——-10–41—-0%22rough+on+rats%22+suicide–

A MOTHERS SUICIDE.

Wairarapa Daily Times, Volume XVI, Issue 6578, 15 June 1900, Page 2

WDT19000615.2.9-a1-212w-c32-3105-7776-423-85

WDT19000615.2.9-a2-244w-c32-3105-7861-488-429

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&cl=search&d=WDT19000615.2.9&srpos=51&e=——-10–51—-0%22rough+on+rats%22+suicide–

ANOTHER CASE OE “ROUGH ON RATS.”

Wanganui Chronicle, Volume XXIX, Issue 11219, 17 June 1886, Page 2

WC18860617.2.16-a1-454w-c32-3774-3763-907-125 WC18860617.2.16-a2-454w-c32-3774-3900-907-489

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&cl=search&d=WC18860617.2.16&srpos=25&e=——-10–21—-0%22rough+on+rats%22+suicide–

Rats

A “ROUGH ON RATS” SANDWICH.

Grey River Argus, Volume XXXI, Issue 5077, 5 January 1885, Page 2

GRA18850105.2.7.4-a1-424w-c32-3667-5872-848-83 GRA18850105.2.7.4-a2-435w-c32-3667-5966-869-697

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&cl=search&d=GRA18850105.2.7.4&srpos=101&e=——-10–101—-0%22rough+on+rats%22+suicide–

POISON IN THE TEAPOT.

Poverty Bay Herald, Volume XL, Issue 13152, 12 August 1913, Page 3

PBH19130812.2.16-a1-310w-c32-225-9140-620-58

PBH19130812.2.16-a2-276w-c32-259-9228-551-37 PBH19130812.2.16-a3-439w-c32-100-9305-877-96 PBH19130812.2.16-a4-448w-c32-94-9412-896-651

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&cl=search&d=PBH19130812.2.16&srpos=215&e=——-100–121—-0%22rough+on+rats%22+suicide–

DEATH TOO EXPENSIVE. Customer: Twa pen’oith o’ u Rough on Rats.1′ Chemist: We only sell it in sixpe… [truncated]

Free Lance, Volume VII, Issue 323, 8 September 1906, Page 15

NZFL19060908.2.14.4-a1-700w-c32-1275-310-1546-1724 NZFL19060908.2.14.4-a2-700w-c32-1168-2053-1737-285

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&cl=search&d=NZFL19060908.2.14.4&srpos=53&e=——-10–51—-0%22rough+on+rats%22+suicide–

with thanks to the national library of New Zealand

This entry was posted in Madness and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Rough on Rats

  1. nibor says:

    What strikes most is the way the deaths were reported. Can’t imagine a paper now stating that a woman who had taken her own life had been given to intemperate habits. One of the more interesting posts.

  2. Pingback: The Human Harms and Many Meanings of “Rough on Rats” | Inhabiting the Anthropocene

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