On this day in 1890 at 11.15am, 50-year-old Thomas M’Cheane, the vice-consul for Russia, took a walk along Southsea Esplanade.
He lived in St Thomas’s Street and was a well-known man about town. He engaged in cheerful conversation with several people as he made his way to Southsea.
Mr M’Cheane spent some time looking at a public drinking fountain put up in memory of his dead brother Charles.
It had been paid for by members of the Royal Portsmouth Corinthian Yacht Club of which he was the founder.
The fountain had been installed six months earlier but was dry as no water supply had been connected. Mr M’Cheane walked on to Southsea Castle.
A little later some boys noticed a gap in the railings around the castle moat. The rails had been torn down. They entered the enclosure and found Mr M’Cheane lying dead in the moat, which was dry. Close by the boys found a revolver with one chamber discharged, and a walking stick.
At the inquest it was established that Mr M’Cheane had had his dog put down two days earlier. A verdict of suicide was recorded – from John Sadden’s The Portsmouth Book of Days.