Photograph Taken In Dingwall Sheriff Court
Gairloch Museum

Content warning. Some visitors may find this object upsetting.  

The Loch Maree Hotel was the site of the first recorded case of botulism in the UK.  Between the 15th and 21st August 1922, eight people staying or working at the hotel died unexpectedly of food poisoning. They had been on a fishing trip on the loch and had enjoyed a sandwich lunch packed for them by the hotel.    

The inquiry into the tragedy, held at Dingwall Sheriff Court the following year, found the source of the botulism to be a jar of potted duck paste.  Investigators had recovered and tested leftovers to confirm its presence.  The hotel was in no way to blame but its reputation was severely affected by the incident.    

This framed photograph was taken in Sheriff Court in Dingwall during the inquiry. As a result of this sad episode, regulations were introduced to control the home canning of food in Scotland and ensure the traceability of food.  Outbreaks of botulism are rare in the UK and there have only been a further 17 incidents reported since 1922.  

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Date: 1923
Materials : Paper, Wood
Size : 37cm x 30cm

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