William Ellis GIBBS

Life story retold by Yota Dimitriadi

William Gibbs Ellis was a fishmonger, owner of the Sims & Ellis fishmongers, poulterers and game dealers company at 24 Market Place, Reading. This ornate grave belongs to him and his wife Sarah.

The inquest of his suicide was documented in detail in the local press. On 25th June he severed his throat with a fish knife at home and was found trying to jump off a window. His wife pulled him back, got him back to her room, laid him on the bed and realised what he had done. He could not speak to tell her why he had done it. He was admitted to hospital where he died at 3pm on Sunday 7th July 1907.

Lucy Ann Tucker, their domestic helper testified that on the morning in question she took the deceased a glass of hot water to the shop as usual. His wife said that he was always ‘depressed’ and worried about several little things, like the drains going wrong in a property. He had never attempted suicide before though he had threatened to kill himself before when he was drunk. Mr Ellis’s depression worsened since Easter as he was worried about depreciation of his property. At Easter he spent three weeks in bed as a result of gall stones. While people around him knew of his mental health state, there was no proactive help available in those days.

He was a regular communicant at Greyfriars Church.

The jury returned the verdict of ‘suicide during temporary insanity’.

Section 27, Row G, Plot 1