Christopher Strapp Poulter, 1871 - 1930
by Brian Stevenson
last updated November, 2016
Figure 1. Male and female Pulex gallinae (now Ceratophyllus gallinae), prepared by C.S. Poulter. The address indicates that it was made between 1906 and 1930.
This amateur microscopist left very few records of his hobby, other than his slide collection. Poulter joined the Quekett Microscopical Club on June 21, 1895, and remained a member until the end of his life. The Club’s Journal records only one exhibit by Poulter, a slide of “wing of small tortoiseshell butterfly” at the annual Conversazione on May 4, 1897.
Christopher was born on June 4, 1871, in Southwark, London. Strapp was the maiden name of his mother, Elizabeth. His father, also named Christopher, was a meat merchant, presumably a wholesale butcher. The Poulters enjoyed a comfortable life, with a live-in domestic sevant. However, mother Elizabeth died during the 1880s, when Christopher was only a teenager.
Poulter worked from his teen years onward as a clerk to shipping companies. He married Emilie Henriette (last name not known) in 1899, with whom he had three children.
In 1895, when he joined the QMC, Poulter lived at 57 Belvedere Road, Upper Norwood, London. The 1901 census located the family at 1 Clyde Road, South Beddington, Wallington, London. Bracegirdle’s Microscopical Mounts and Mounters illustrates a Poulter slide with that address, on plate 30-F.
He sent some unmounted material to the editors of Knowledge in 1904, who reported: “Microscopical Material - By the kindness of Mr. C.S. Poulter, of Wallington, I am able to offer to the microscopical readers of Knowledge some leaves of Deutzia scabra, showing stellate hairs, and of Elaeagnus edulis, showing peculiar scales. Those who desire to avail themselves of this material, should send me a stamped addressed envelope, together with the coupon appearing in the advertisement columns of this journal”.
By 1906, the Poulters were living at “Mount Lodge”, Parkhurst Road, Bexley, Kent. The microscope slide shown in Figure 1 carries that address. He lived at Mount Lodge until the end of his life, passing away on November 7, 1930.
Figure 2. Hen flea, Ceratophyllus gallinae, prepared by C.S. Poulter. Photographed using a 3.4x objective lens and C-mounted SLR camera.
Bracegirdle, Brian (1998) Microscopical Mounts and Mounters, Quekett Microscopical Club, London, pages 77 and 164, and plate 30-F
Brinck-Lindroth, Gunvor, and Frans G.A.M. Smit (2007) The fleas (Siphonaptera) of Fennoscandia and Denmark, Fauna Entomologica Scandinavica, Vol. 41, Brill, Leiden, pages 69-70
Christening record of Christopher Strapp Poulter (1871) Parish records of All Souls Newington, Southwark, accessed through ancestry.com
England census and other vital records, accessed through ancestry.com
Journal of the Quekett Microscopical Club (1895) “June 21st, 1895 - Ordinary Meeting. E.M. Nelson, Esq., F.R.M.S., President, in the chair. The minutes of the preceding meeting were read and confirmed. The following gentlemen were balloted for and duly elected Members of the Club: Mr. F. Newstead and Mr. Christopher Poulter”, Series 2, Vol. 5, page 165
Journal of the Quekett Microscopical Club (1897) List of objects exhibited at the Conversazione held at Queen’s Hall, May 4th, 1897, Series 2, Vol. 5, page 454
Journal of the Quekett Microscopical Club (1906) List of members, Series 2, Vol. 9
Journal of the Quekett Microscopical Club (1927) List of members, Series 2, Vol. 15
Knowledge (1904) Microscopical material, Vol. 27, page 21
Probate of Christopher Strapp Poulter (1930) “Poulter Christopher Strapp of Mount Lodge Parkhurst-road Bexley Kent died 7 November 1930 Probate London 19 December to Emilie Henriette Poulter widow. Effects £1260 18s 11d”, accessed through ancestry.com