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  • #16
    Dark Deeds At HB

    CENTRAL CRIMINAL COURT, 19th October 1903.

    CHARLES JEREMIAH SLOWE (28), was indicted for and charged on the Coroner's inquisition with the wilful murder of Martha Jane Hardwick.

    MR. R. D. MUIR. MR. ARTHUR GILL, and MR. MURPHY Prosecuted; and MR. HAROLD MORRIS Defended.

    Frederick Humphreys (4 J.) produced a scale plan of the Lord Nelson public house and the immediate neighbourhood.

    MARTHA SOPHIA BRAYSHAW . I live with my niece, Mrs. Starkey at the Lord Nelson public house, and assist in its management—the deceased, Martha Jane Hardwick, was also my niece and a sister of Mrs. Starkey—we know the prisoner as a customer—on September 23rd, about 10 p.m., I was in the saloon outside the counter bar—the deceased was serving behind the bar—she came and spoke to me about 10.20—I went into the bar to serve—I saw the prisoner, who was known as Jerry, in the public bar—we had a little conversation—he stopped till close on eleven when he went out—the closing time is 12.30—I next saw him a little before twelve, when he came into the public bar and I served him with a glass of ale—the deceased was then in the saloon bar, and not serving—I came out of the bar about 12.15—the deceased was there—I served a couple in other compartments—my niece, Mrs. Starkey, went and served at 12.15, and I went and sat in the saloon bar—the prisoner came into the passage from the bar into the private bar—that is the compartment next where I was—I could see him—he had a glass of shandy bitter from Mrs. Starkey—he could see me and the deceased, because he looked into the saloon bar—when he had been served he stood drinking the shandy—then he went down the passage and out of the house about 12.20—we keep our clock about five minutes fast—T am giving the right time—it was approaching closing time—I saw Pealling preparing to close the house—the deceased got up and went down the passage on the public side, and I went and stood in the private bar—next I heard a scream—I ran down the passage out of the house—I saw Mrs. Starkey running and following the prisoner out—I next saw Mrs. Starkey and the prisoner outside our place and next to a shop in the street, and Pealling following the prisoner—I saw the prisoner strike at Pealling—I ran into the public bar—I saw my niece flat on her face on the ground—a gentleman from another box lifted her up—a doctor came—she never spoke—I had not heard any conversation nor seen my niece with the prisoner from 10 p.m. till 12.20, when I left the saloon bar—the prisoner may have kept a stall outside.

    Cross-examined. I have been at the Lord Nelson since Easter, 1902—I have seen Jerry come in occasionally—my niece said, "Are you coming in, there is Jerry in the bar?"—that was a little after ten—she did not say, "Jerry is in the bar, I served him with a glass of ale"—I was in the hospital when the hook incident occurred in March.

    Re-examined. The deceased had not talked to the prisoner for six months or more, only as a customer.

    HANNAH STARKEY. I am a widow—I manage the Lord Nelson—the deceased was my sister—she lived at the house, and acted as barmaid—I know the prisoner only as a customer—on Wednesday, September 23rd, he was in the public-bar when I went in at 12.15—the deceased was in the saloon bar, where I left her when I went to serve—about 12.15 she came and spoke to me at the public bar—she was in front of the counter—we were then closing—the prisoner was not there—I saw him come in and strike her right and left—I did not see anything in his hand—I called out to him, and jumped over the counter—he ran out—I ran after him—my sister was leaning on the seat—I ran into the road—I came back in two or three minutes—I found my sister in a state of collapse, flat on her face on the floor; a gentleman picked her up—in March my husband was ill, and I went to the hospital to see him on March 11th—I came back to the Lord Nelson about 11.30, when my sister told me something, in consequence of which I told the prisoner to get outside—it was in the middle bar—I gave him this hook—I took it from the drawer—I told him he ought to be ashamed of himself, we had got plenty of trouble without his coming—he went outside—he took the hook with him.

    Cross-examined. I may have said at the inquest, "I know of no other reason for the prisoner stabbing her than that she refused to have anything to do with him"—I do not remember that—I shall have been at the Lord Nelson four years next month—during that time my sister was barmaid—she was twenty last April—the prisoner was an occasional customer—my sister had a sweetheart—the prisoner met him at Easter twelve months—he may have stood the prisoner drink—he would treat him like others if he saw him—I never saw him treat him.

    Re-examined. The engagement to the sweetheart was broken off before Christmas, and his visits ceased at Easter, 1902.

    CHRISTOPHER HENRY PEALLING . I am a tobacco cutter—I live in the Lord Nelson public house, and assist in the management there. I know the prisoner as a customer—I saw him in the public box at 12.20—he walked out of the public bar, and went down the passage into the private bar—the potman, Musgrave, was bringing the gates to-me to close the house—the prisoner stood outside the window of the shop next door,; he then turned down the passage towards the private bar, when I lost Sight of him—I next heard a scream—I turned and saw the prisoner leave the public bar and go into the street—Mrs. Starkey came out and called to me, "Catch him and kill him"—I went and tried to get him by the throat, but he had a handkerchief on, which slipped—he was outside Milward's shop, close to the door—he knocked my arm up with his left hand, and struck me on the jaw with his right, which staggered me a bit—he ran across the road—I followed him down East Mount Street, and along Raven Row, turned into Cotton Street, then crossed the road, and came back into Raven Row again, and then walked into Bedford Street, where he turned round to me and said, "What do you want?"—I answered, "Never mind what I want"—I still followed him till we turned into Oxford Street, where I went half way across the road and said in the prisoner's hearing to Constable Bowden, "I want this man"—the constable came across and said, "What for?"—I said, "Assault"—the prisoner turned round and said, "I am going home to my lodgings"—I said to the constable, "Will you bring him back to the Lord Nelson?"—the constable caught hold of him and brought him back—when we got back, the girl was on the floor in the bar.
    Cross-examined. The prisoner passed out of the passage as I was standing outside—I do not think a minute passed before I heard a scream—I have known the prisoner six or seven years—I have known him sit in the Lord Nelson a long time, but I never had much to do with him.

    Re-examined. I knew when I spoke to the constable that there had been an assault, I thought it was on Mrs. Starkey—I knew the prisoner must be the man, because I saw him come out of the public bar—when I returned there were only a lady and gentleman and the deceased on that side of the bar.

    ROBERT CHRISTOPHER MUSGRAVE . I am potman at the Lord Nelson—I know the prisoner as a customer—some months ago I was with him in the bar when I heard him say of the deceased, "I will put her b----light out"—she was then walking behind the bar towards the big box in the Whitechapel Road—on September 23rd, near closing time, I had to put up the gates, and I was taking them from the private bar—the prisoner said, "Don't make such a noise"—I took the gates to Pealling—when I was putting a nut on a bolt which was on my knees I heard a scream—Pealling ran after the prisoner—I ran as far as I could go—I lost them—I went back to the house—I saw the deceased with her head in a lady's lap.

    Cross-examined. It happened between 12.20 and 12.30—I never before heard a threat like that to a lady—I do not know what scrapping is—I am not a boxer.

    GEORGE HOLLIS . I am a commercial traveller, of 10, Arcadia Street, Poplar—I was at the Lord Nelson public house shortly after 12 on September 24th in the second compartment from the front—about closing time I heard a piercing shriek from No. 1, the public bar—I put my foot on the form and jumped the partition—I saw no one but the deceased, falling with a pitch—I remained till the doctor came.

    HUBERT HADDOCK (459 J.) About 12.30 on September 24th I was in the Whitechapel Road—I heard shouting for police—I saw the prisoner running across the Whitechapel Road towards East Mount Street—several people were following—I saw Bowden stop him—I went about 1 a.m. with Bowden and searched the front of the Lord Nelson for a weapon likely to cause the death—outside the house, but in the doorway of a shop kept by Mr. Milward I found this knife—the blade was wet with blood—it was on the footway under the step—I handed it to the Inspector at the station.

    Cross-examined. I said at the Police Court that I found the knife against the iron railings at the coffee shop—it was by the step leading to the door in the centre of the shop and about eight yards from the Lord Nelson—Milward keeps two coffee shops—it was the second one from the public house.

    WILLIAM BOWDEN (416 H.) On September 24th, about 12.30, I was in Oxford Street—I saw the prisoner walking fast, and Pealling following him—Pealling said, "I want that man; he has assaulted the barmaid at the Lord Nelson"—I told the prisoner I should take him back to see what it was—on going through East Mount Street he said to me, "Hold me tight, I have stabbed a woman"—I took him to the Lord. Nelson—I' saw the deceased woman—I told the prisoner I should take him to the station—in the Cambridge Road he said, "Is she dead?"—Broom, 552 J., told him she was—the prisoner appeared excited.

    Cross-examined. I have never been in a murder case, only in one of attempted murder—the prisoner had been drinking.

    WILLIAM SMITH . I am a slaughterer, of 217, Devon's Road, Bow—I am employed by Harrison and Barber in Winthrop Street, Whitechapel—this knife belongs to me—I was using it on September 23rd, between 12 and 12.30—I went to the Grave Maurice, leaving my knife sheathed in my pouch after washing it—it is not so sharp as when I left it—I saw the man Vincent in the slaughter house as I left it—I returned about 12.30, went to my pouch, and the knife was gone—I have seen the prisoner in the slaughter yard to see his friend who is employed there—he has given me assistance in the yard—after seeing the prisoner about ten that night outside the gates I went to the Grave Maurice and had a drink with him.

    Cross-examined. The prisoner used to come and help a bit, for which he received a few pence—he started work again that night about 12.45—I begin night duty at 8 p.m.—I went out the second time before the houses closed—I always wash the knife before leaving it, because a pail of water stands there, or we could not hold the knife in our work; we generally dip it in the pail.

    JOHN VINCENT . I live at 38, Northampton Street—I am a carman employed by Harrison and Barber—on September 23rd I drove a cart with a dead horse in it, arriving at the yard about 11.15—there is a clock in the office, but I did not notice it—it may have been about 12 o'clock—about five minutes after I arrived, the men went out for their supper beer—I led the horse that had been drawing the cart to the stables, leaving the carcase on the cart in the yard—the gate was open—the stable is 54 feet from the front of the yard—I went out and returned in three or four minutes to the office in the yard.

    Cross-examined I did not take much notice of the time, but the men go out before the public houses close—I only know the prisoner by sight.

    ARTHUR SYDNEY DOWNTON . I am a registered medical practitioner, I assist Dr. Ambrose, and live at 174, Whitechapel Road—I was called to the Lord Nelson a minute or two before 12.30—I arrived about 12.40—the deceased was lying on the floor in the public bar—I examined her—I saw no evidence of life as far as I got—whilst examining her the police came in and the body was taken away.

    AUSTEN CLEMENT LE ROSSIGNOL . I am house physician at the London Hospital—I was in the receiving room about 12.30 on September 24th and received a summons to the Lord Nelson public house—I went there and saw the deceased—there was no indication of life—she was removed to the hospital where I found she was dead—the next day I made a post-mortem examination—I found two wounds—one was at the junction of the seventh rib by the breast bone on the right side, a horizontal wound, about an inch long; it had penetrated the flesh, entered the covering of the heart, and gone through the right ventricle into the muscles behind—the second wound was on the left side, about the tenth or eleventh rib; it had penetrated through the superficial structures, passed through the spleen, scraped the exterior walls of the stomach, not actually entering it, entered the left kidney, and buried itself in the vertical column—the knife produced might have inflicted, the injuries—considerable force was necessary—this knife is dented about an inch from the handle, the blade is blunt and turned a little at the point—that might have been caused by grazing on the stays or by having struck the breast bone—it looked as if it had been used recently; I saw it the same day—in my opinion the deceased could only have lived a few seconds after the injuries.

    Cross-examined. There was no blood on the knife when I saw it—the wound in the heart was the same size as the cut on the breast, within ordinary limits.

    JOHN BATE (Divisional Surgeon.) I practice at Victoria Park Square—I was called to the Bethnal Green Police Station at 1.20 a.m. on September 24th—I put questions to the prisoner which he answered in a perfectly rational manner—he was not drunk, but he appeared to have been drinking—he appeared accountable for his actions—on his right hand between the fore finger and thumb was a slight skin cut, with fresh blood—this knife had on it freshly dried blood, by the hilt—it is impossible to say whether it was human blood or that of the lower animals.

    JAMES CHRISTOPHER STOCKTON . I am a warehouseman, of 7, Fernley Street, Mile End—I know the prisoner—I was at the Lord Nelson in March when the deceased and Mrs. Starkey were behind the bar—the prisoner said, "Give me my f—g hook, or else somebody will have to go through it"—Mrs. Starkey and the deceased were standing side by side—the deceased walked away—I told him he ought to be ashamed of himself as they had already much trouble in the house—Mrs. Starkey got a hook like this (Produced) from a drawer behind the counter, put it on the counter, and the prisoner picked it up.

    Cross-examined. I have known the prisoner five or six years—I believe he works at a wool warehouse—the hook is used for pulling bales—the deceased did not take the slightest notice of the prisoner.

    HANNAH STARKEY (Re-examined.) The prisoner had left the hook to be called for—he had no difficulty in getting it back—other people leave hooks for their own convenience, to avoid carrying them—the prisoner said something about not being able to get his hook—the deceased did not know where it was and was looking for it.

    HENRY COLLINS (Police Inspector J.) On the morning of September 24th I saw the deceased woman's body at the London Hospital—I afterwards saw the prisoner at the Bethnal Green Police Station—I said, "I have just seen the dead body of a woman I believe to be Martha Jane Hardwick with a wound in her chest"; holding up this knife. I said, "You will be charged with her wilful murder by stabbing her with this knife"—he made no reply to that or the formal charge.



    • #17
      Hi Gary

      That 1903 Old Bailey case gives a great slice of East End life in terms of both the circumstances of the case, the characters, and the locations. Fantastic stuff -- many thanks for posting it. The case is also another example of the swiftness of justice back then.

      Best regards

      Christopher T. George, Lyricist & Co-Author, "Jack the Musical" Hear sample song at

      Organizer, RipperCon #JacktheRipper-#True Crime Conferences, April 2016 and 2018.
      Hear RipperCon 2016 & 2018 talks at


      • #18
        Hi Chris,

        Swift justice indeed.

        Wynne Baxter conducted the inquest on Martha Hardwick.

        He received a rather strange letter addressed to 'Mr Braxter Hicks ' :

        'We draw our attention to you about the Whitechapel barmaid - that is a lot witnesses who have nothing to do with this murder, while the man is gone. We supposed the right prisoner who murdered this barmaid is paying money to a lot of people to swear the accused prisoner's life away, but have the right prisoner, have the people who owns the public house? Cross-question the witnesses till you have them in prison. There is a lot of witness swearing the prison life away - if they come it too much put them into prison. We know this barmaid was planned out. Why not witnesses to murder? Stop the knife from killing the barmaid. We know what inquests is. Why not catch the right prisoner instead of the accused. Can the witnesses swear that he did it? We don't think they can.

        From your obedient servants,

        Truscott, Esq., and Schronter. "

        Slowe was committed for trial on a coroner's warrant and duly found guilty of murder. Despite a petition for clemency on the grounds that the act was not premeditated and there was a history of insanity in his family, he was hanged at Pentonville prison on 10th November, 1903.

        Gary .


        • #19
          The Lord Nelson

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          • #20
            Henry Mayhew's Observations:

            THE supply of food for cats and dogs is far greater than may be generally thought. “Vy, sir,” said one of the dealers to me, “can you tell me ‘ow many people’s in London?” On my replying, upwards of two millions; “I don’t know nothing vatever,” said my informant, “about millions, but I think there’s a cat to every ten people, aye, and more than that; and so, sire, you can reckon.” (I told him this gave a total of 200,000 cats in London; but the number of inhabited houses in the metropolis was 100, more than this, and though there was not a cat to every house, still as many lodger as well as householders kept cats, I added that I though the total number of cats in London might be taken at the same number as the inhabited houses, or 300,000 in all.) “There’s not near half so many dogs as cats. I must know, for they all knows me, and I sarves about 200 cats and 70 dogs. Mine’s a middling trade, but some does far better. Some cats has a hap’orth a day, some every other day; werry few can afford a penn’orth, but times is inferior. Dogs is better pay when you’ve a connection among ‘em.”

            The cat and dogs’ meat dealers, or “carriers,” as they call themselves, generally purchase the meat at the knackers’ (horse slaughterers’) yards. There are upwards of twenty of such yards in London; three or four are in Whitechapel, one in Wandsworth, two in Cow-cross - one of the two last mentioned is the largest establishment in London - and there are two about Bermondsey. The proprietors of these yards purchase live and dead horses. They contract for them with larger firms, such as brewers. Coal-merchants, and large cab and ‘bus yard; giving so much per head for their old live and dead horses through the year. The price varies from 2 pounds (sterling) to 50 shillings the carcass. The knackers also have contractors in the country (harness-makers and others), who bring or send up to town for them the live and dead horses of those parts. The dead horses are brought to the yard - two or three upon one cart, and sometimes five. The live ones are tied to the tail of these carts, and behind the tail of each other. Occasionally a string of fourteen or fifteen are brought up, head to tail, at one time. The live horses are purchased merely for slaughtering. If among the lot bought there should chance to be one that is young, but in bad condition, it is placed in the stable, fed up, and then put into the knacker’s carts, or sold by them, or let on hire. Occasionally a fine horse has been rescued from death in this manner. One person is known to have bought and animal for 15 shillings, for which he afterwards got 150 pounds (sterling). Frequently young horses that will not work in cabs -known as “jibs” - are sold to the horse-slaughterers as useless. They are kept in the yard, and after being well fed, often turn out good horses.

            The live horses are slaughtered by the persons called “knackers.” These men get upon average 4 shillings a day. They begin work at twelve at night, because some of the flesh is required to b boiled before six in the morning; indeed, a great part of the meat is delivered to the carriers before that hour. The horse to be slaughtered has his mane clipped, as short as possible (on account of the hair, which is valuable). It is then blinded with a piece of old apron smothered in blood, so that it may not see the slaughterman when about the strike. A pole-axe is used, and a cane, to put an immediate end to the animal’s sufferings. After the animal is slaughtered, the hide is taken off, and the flesh cut from the bones in large pieces. These pieces are termed, according to the part from which they are cut, hind-quarters, fore-quarters, cram-bones, throat necks, briskets, backs, ribs, kidney pieces, hearts, tongues, liver and lights. The bones (called “racks” by the knackers) are chopped up and boiled, in order to extract the fat, which is used for greasing common harness, and the wheels of carts and drags &c. The bones themselves are sold for manure.

            The pieces of flesh are thrown into larger coppers or pans, about nine feet in diameter and four feet deep. Each of these pans will hold about three good-sized horses. Sometimes two large brewers’ horses will fill them, and sometimes as many as four “poor” cab-horses may be put into them. The flesh is boiled about an hour and 20 minutes for a “killed” horse, and from two hours and 20 minutes for a dead horse (a horse dying from age or disease). The flesh, when boiled, is taken from the coppers, laid on the stones, and sprinkled with water to cool it. It is then weighed out in pieces 112, 56, 28, 21,14, 7, and 3-and-a-half lbs weight. These are either taken round in a cart to the “carriers,” or, at about five, the carriers call at the yard to purchase, and continue doing so till twelve in the day. The price is 14 shillings per cwt in winter, and 16 shillings in summer. The tripe is served out at 12 lb for 6d. All this is for cats and dogs.

            The carriers then take the meat round town, wherever their “walk” may lie. The sell it to the public at the rate of 2-and-a-half pence per lb, and in small pieces, on skewers, at a farthing, a halfpenny and penny each. Some carriers will sell as much as a hundred-weight in a day and about half a hundred-weight is the average quantity disposed of by the carriers in London. Some sell much cheaper than others. These dealers will frequently knock at the doors of persons whom they have seen served by another on the previous day, and show them that they can let them have a larger quantity of meat for the same money.

            The class of persons belonging to the business are mostly those who have been unable to obtain employment at their trade. Occasionally a person is bred to it, having been engaged as a lad by some carrier to go round with the barrow and assist him in his business. The boys will, after a time, find a “walk” for themselves, beginning first with a basket and ultimately rising to a barrow. Many of the carriers give light weight to the extent of 2 oz and 4 oz in the pound (weight).

            At one yard alone near upon 100 carriers purchase meat, and there are, upon an average, 150 horses slaughtered there every week. Each slaughter-house may be said to do, one with another, 60 horses per week throughout the year, which, reckoning the London slaughter*houses at 12, gives a total of 720 horses killed every week in the metropolis, or, in round numbers, 37,500 in the course of the year.

            The London cat and dogs’-meat carriers or seller - nearly all are men - number at the least 1,000. The slaughtermen are said to reap large fortunes very rapidly - indeed, the carriers say they coin the money. Many of them retire after a few years, and take larger farms. One, after 12 years’ business, retired with several thousand pounds (sterling), and has now three large farms. The carriers are men, women, and boys. Very few women do as well as the men at it. The carriers “are generally sad drunkards. Out of five hundred, it is said that three hundred at least spend 1 pound (sterling) a week in drink. One party in the trade told me that he knew a carrier who would often spend 10 shillings in liquor at one sitting. The profit carriers make upon the meat is at present only a penny per pound (weight). In the summer time the profit per pound (sterling) is reduced to a half-penny, owing to the meat being dearer on account of its scarcity. The carriers give a great deal of credit - indeed they take but little ready money. On some days they do not come home with more than 2 shillings. One with a middling walk pays for his meat 7s 6d per day. For this he has a hundred-weight. This produces him as much as us 6d, so that his profit is 4 shillings; which, I am assured, is about a fair average of the earnings of the trade. One carrier is said to have amassed 1,000 pounds (sterling) at the business. He usually sold from one-and-a-half to 2 cwt every morning, so that his profits were generally from 16 shillings to 1 pound (sterling) per day. But the trade is much worse now. There are so many at it, they say, that there is barely a living for any. A carrier assured me that he seldom went less than 30, and frequently 40 miles, through the streets every day. The best districts are among the houses of tradesmen, mechanics, and labourers. The coachmen in the mews at the back of the squares are very good customers. “The work lays thicker there,” said my informant. Old maids are bad, though very plentiful, customers. They cheapen the carriers down so that they can scarcely live at the business. “They will pay one halfpenny and owe another, and forget that after a day or two.” The cats’ meat dealers generally complain of their losses from bad debts. Their customers require credit frequently to the extent of 1 pound (sterling). “one party owes me 15s now,” said a carrier to me, “and many 10s; in fact, very few people pay ready money for the meat.”

            The carriers frequently serve as much as ten pennyworths to one person in a day. One gentleman has as much as 4lbs of meat each morning for two Newfoundland dogs; and there was one woman - a black - who used to have as much as 16 pennyworths each day. This person used to go out on the roof of the house and throw it to the cats on the tiles. By this she brought so many stray cats round about the neighbourhood, that the parties in the vicinity complained; it was quite a nuisance. She would have the meat always brought to her before ten in the morning, or else she would send to a shop for it, and between ten and eleven in the morning the noise and cries of the hundreds of stray cats attracted to the spot was “terrible to hear.” When ‘the meat was thrown to the cats on the roof, the riot, and confusion, and fighting, was beyond description. “A beer-shop man,” I was told, “was obliged to keep five or six dogs to drive the cats from his walls.” There was also a mad woman in Islington, who used to have 14 lbs of meat a day. The party who supplied her had his money often at 2 pounds and 3 pounds (sterling) at a time. She had as many as thirty cats at times in her house. Every stray one that came she would take in and support. The stench was so great that she was obliged to be ejected. The best days for the cats’ meat business are Mondays, Tuesdays, and Saturdays. A double quantity of meat is sold on the Saturday; and on that day and Monday and Tuesday the weekly customers generally pay.

            “My father was a baker by trade,” said a carrier to me, “but through an enlargement of the heart he was obliged to give up working at his trade; leaning over the trough increased his complaint so severely that he used to fall down, and he obliged to be brought home. This made him take to the cats’ and dogs’ meat trade, and he brought me up to it. I do pretty comfortably. I have a very good business, having been all my life at it. If it wasn’t for the bad debts I should do much better; but some of the people I trust leave the houses, and actually take in a double quantity of meat the day before. I suppose there is at the present moment as much as 20 pounds (sterling) owing to me that I never expect to see a farthing of.”

            The generality of the dealers wear a shiny hat, black, plush waistcoat and sleeves, a blue apron, corduroy trousers, and a blue and white spotted handkerchief round their necks. Some indeed, will wear two and three handkerchiefs round their necks, this being fashionable among them. A great many meet every Friday afternoon in the donkey-market, Smithfield, and retire to a public-house adjoining, to spend the evening.

            A “cats’ meat carrier” who supplied me with information was more comfortably situated than any of the poorer classes that I have yet seen. he lived in the front room of a second floor, in an open and respectable quarter of the town, and his lodgings were the perfection of comfort and cleanliness in an humble sphere. It was late in the evening when I reached the house. I found the “carrier” and his family preparing for supper. In a large morocco leather easy chair sat the cats’ meat carrier himself; his “blue apron and black shiny hat” had disappeared, and he wore a dress coat and a black satin waistcoat instead. His wife, who was a remarkably pretty woman, and of very attractive manners, wore a “Dolly Varden” cap, placed jauntily at the back of her head, and a drab merino dress. The room was cosily carpeted, and in one corner stood a mahogany “crib” with cane-work sides, in which one of the children was asleep. On the table was a clean white table-cloth, and the room was savoury with the steaks, and mashed potatoes that were cooking on the fire. Indeed, I have never yet seen greater comfort in the abodes of the poor. The cleanliness and wholesomeness of the apartment were the more striking from the unpleasant associations connected with the calling.

            It is believed by one who has been engaged in the business for 25 years, that there are from 900 to 1,000 horses, averaging 2 cwt of meat each - little and big - boiled down every week; so that the quantity of cats’ and dogs’ meat used throughout London is about 200,000 lbs per week, and this, sold at the rate of 2 and-a-half pence per lb, gives 2,000 pounds (sterling) a week for the money spent in cats’ and dogs’ meat, or upwards of 1000,000 pounds (sterling) a year, which is at the rate of 100 pounds sterling worth sold annually by each carrier. The profits of the carriers may be estimated at about 50 pounds (sterling) each per annum.

            The capital required to start in this business varies from 1 pound sterling to 2 pounds (sterling). The stock-money needed is between 5 shillings and 10 shillings. The barrow and basket, weights and scales, knife and steel, or black-stone, cost around 2 pounds sterling when new, and from 15 shillings to 4 shillings second-hand.

            Mayhew totalled up the capital value of these street-vendors, based on there being 500 with harrows and 500 with baskets:
            500 barrows, 18 shillings each; 1,000 baskets, 1 shilling and sixpence each; 500 sets of weights and scales, 4 shillings each; 1,000 knives, 8 pence each; 1,000 steels, 1. shilling each; stock *money of 1,500 vendors, 7 shillings and sixpence per head.... 1,083 pounds (sterling) 6 shillings and 8 pence total.

            Mayhew also calculated the annual worth of the trade based on 46,800 - 52,000 horse rendered for meat each year (37,500 slaughtered within London; the rest being collection of dead horses and the carcasses brought into London from elsewhere).

            There are 300,000 cats in the metropolis, and from 900 to 1,000 horses averaging 2 cwt of meat each, boiled down every week; the quantity of cats’ and dogs’ meat used throughout London is about 200,000 lbs per week, and this, sold at the rate of two-and-a-half-pence per pound (weight) gives 2,000 pounds (sterling) a week for the money spent in cats’ and dogs’ meat, or per year upwards of.... 100,000 pounds (sterling)


            • #21
              A Pole-Axe Man

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              • #22
                Looking into this horse-slaughtering malarkey has given me a new insight into what Messrs Britten, Mumford and Tomkins were up to in Winthrop Street in the early hours of the morning of Polly Nichol's murder.

                I had imagined them pole-axing and gralloching horses all night long, but it seems their night work would more likely have involved butchery and the boiling of horse-flesh on an industrial scale. And by all accounts, Winthrop Street would have been choc-a-bloc with carriers' carts by 5 or 6 in the morning.

                Edit: I now believe HB’s wholesale activities were carried out from a railway arch in Coventry Street. Which raises the interesting question of who would’ve transported the horse flesh from Winthrop Street to Coventry Street each morning.


                • #23
                  Slaughter Yard

                  Judging by the number of doors visible along the northern terrace, I think HB's slaughter yard was just beyond where the bollard (or possibly the fire hydrant shown in the Goad map?) is.

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                  • #24
                    HB Competition

                    Ist prize is a year's supply of cat's meat

                    What is this?

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                    • #25

                      Here's a clue, from The Birmingham Post, 3/8/1916:

                      At the Southwark Coroner's Court, on Saturday, Mr F. Danford Thomas held an inquest on Henry Sanders, 30, labourer, employed by Messrs Harrison, Barber, horse slaughterers who committed suicide in an unusual manner.

                      His brother, William Sanders, stated that Henry suffered from a weak heart, the result of rheumatic fever. He had complained of his heart for three months. In the course of his work the deceased used a humane cattle-killer, which discharged a bullet, and it was with this his brother killed himself. He was found huddled up in a corner with the "killer" beside him, also a brick.

                      The doctor who had been attending Sanders for heart disease and dropsy said that when called to him he found the mark of a bullet wound in his left chest. He had evidently pressed the "gun" against his chest and tapped the trigger with the brick, the bullet going through his heart. The man's heart weighed three pounds, instead of about twelve ounces, and he could have lived only a few weeks longer.

                      The jury returned a verdict of suicide during temporary insanity.


                      • #26
                        It must be an example of said 'gun.'


                        • #27
                          Almost, Robert.

                          The image is of a 'Greener's Humane Horse-killer'. The HB man killed himself with the Cattle version.

                          Do you have a cat?


                          • #28

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                            • #29
                              The Granddaddy of London horse slaughterers was Jack Atcheler. He held the royal warrant and, as 'Knacker to the Queen' and something of a sporting man, he was a minor mid-Victorian celebrity.

                              His first premises were in Sharpe's Alley, Cow Cross, near Smithfield market. When the area was demolished to make way for the railway into Farringdon station, he moved his main operation to Belle Isle in Islington. Those premises were later taken over by John Harrison and then in 1886 became part of Harrison, Barber.

                              A sign on the wall outside Atcheler's office at 186, York Road read :

                              "John Atcheler
                              Horse Slaughterer
                              To Her Majesty
                              Horse Grease Harness Oils
                              Patent Grease For Axles
                              Orders Promptly Attended To

                              Commit No Nuisance"

                              You can just about make it out in the photo of the Fortune of War I (or, rather, Debra Arif) posted above.

                              The office building is still there. It is now the premises of Comfort Cars, a local mini-cab firm.

                              Edit: It seems unlikely that Atcheler did hold a royal warrant. His relationship with the royal stables was probably a more informal one.

                              Comfort Cars moved out some time ago and the ground floor of ‘Jack’s Castle’ is now occupied by an estate agent. 9/2/2024


                              • #30
                                Jack the Knacker

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