The dose taken is often all that separates a useful medicine from a deadly poison. Before the days of clinical trials and accurate laboratory tests, poisoning was a common cause of death. Poisons were sometimes taken in the mistaken belief that they would cure disease or were administered secretly by a third party with more sinister motives. A third category of poisoning became common in the nineteenth century - accidental poisoning by objects in the home. A new middle class emerged following the industrial revolution, with a large number of people having disposable income and opportunities for leisure activities for the first time. People decorated their homes and themselves with brightly coloured textiles but there was deadly poison in their new wallpapers and pretty dresses.
Find out more about one of the hidden killers in the Victorian home from pathologist Dr Suzy Lishman. With the help of a live model, Dr Lishman will describe what an autopsy involves and what signs the pathologist would look for to diagnose death from poisoning.