MR Briggs' Hat: The True Story of a Victorian Railway Murder

By Kate Colquhoun

In July 1864, Thomas Briggs was once traveling domestic after vacationing his niece and her husband for dinner. He entered a first-class carriage at the 9.45pm Hackney carrier of the North London railway. At Hackney, financial institution clerks entered the carriage and came upon blood within the seat cushions; additionally at the flooring, home windows and facets of the carriage. A bloodstained hat was once stumbled on at the seat besides a damaged hyperlink from an eye fixed chain. The race to spot the killer and capture him as he flees on a ship to the US was once eagerly by means of electorate each side of the Atlantic. Kate Colquhoun tells a gripping story of a criminal offense that surprised the kingdom.

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If this have been actual, the place did it go away the London detectives? Mare highway Hackney, 1853. The church tower of St Augustine’s is within the heritage. the road of the North London Railway runs overhead. Hackney station and viaduct, 1851. Watercress fields stretched south from the road. the single identified picture of Senior Banking Clerk Thomas Briggs, taken from an illustrated newspaper circa 1914. The west aspect of Clapton sq., Hackney: the best addresses within the neighbourhood. Lombard highway, urban of London, 1849: a slender, curving thoroughfare whose tall stone constructions dwarfed the scuttling commuters. Fenchurch highway Station: London’s smallest terminus, tucked into the southeastern nook of town. Anxieties in regards to the defense of the railways grew. Left: George Cruikshank depicts the steam engine actually consuming up condo and residential within the overdue 1840s. less than: ‘Going through educate, sir? ’ – an undertaker offering his card to a railway passenger, 1852. previous Scotland backyard, the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police till 1890. Richard Mayne, Metropolitan Police Commissioner, circa 1869. the one identified pictures, taken from an illustrated newspaper circa 1914, of Detective Inspector Richard Tanner (left) and Detective Inspector Adolphus ‘Dolly’ Williamson (right). Liverpool Mercury, 20 July 1864. the days, 12 July 1864. Lloyd’s Weekly Newspaper, 17 July 1864. nationwide and local newspaper headlines one in every of Superintendent William Tiddey’s cost varieties. On 23 July he paid for numerous omnibus and cab fares, for Müller’s accommodations to be searched and for the airborne dirt and dust gap at sixteen Park Terrace to be emptied. Letters addressed to the police, containing recommendation or airing suspicions, arrived from everywhere in the kingdom. The London Docks, 1845. at the left, the North Quay and its warehouses, and at the correct the River Thames snaking out in the direction of the English Channel. Steamship town of Manchester, the boat Tanner took on his chase to ny. bankruptcy sixteen urban of Strangers a number of drunks in numerous districts of the capital had started to admit to the homicide. Hauled up in entrance of magistrates, them all have been judged to be lunatics or serial fabricators. Letters approximately being imprisoned in railway carriages with the delirious, the threatening or the downright strange nonetheless stuffed the papers and there have been stories that one of many City’s most outstanding younger solicitors, Thomas Beard, boarding a teach at Fenchurch road, have been alarmed via a sinister co-passenger staring covetously at his watch and chain whereas quizzing him concerning the contemporary homicide. The tall, black-clad guy looked to be concealing a leather-covered cosh. ailing with worry, Beard had leapt out on the subsequent station and raised the alarm, completely confident murderous outrage used to be purposed. Newspaper newshounds speculated at the growth of the ships crossing the Atlantic, couching their conjecture in prose useful of a suspense mystery. The London detectives and their witnesses have been heading in the direction of a divided kingdom exhausted by way of 3 years of demanding combating, to a rustic within which casualties fixed of their tens of millions, the place the cost of nutrition, gasoline, garments and hire compelled many into poverty and the place the odor of warfare suffused the air.

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