Monday 1 June 2009

Morbid Stuff


Two random items from Bell's Life in London ... a typical account of graveyard overcrowding in the 1830s and its unfortunate miasmatic consequences ...

" ... Mr. Ed. Cheeper, the master of the workhouse, stated, that about 11 o'clock he heard the loud screams of a female in the churchyard, and he instantly hastened to the spot, and looking into a grave about 20 feet deep, at the north-side of the churchyard, he saw the deceased grave-digger, Oakes, lying on his back, apparently dead ..."

plus a great account of a visit to Scotland Yard in the 1880s, including a walk through the Black Museum ...

" ... There is the pistol with which Oxford shot at the Queen in Birdcage-walk in 1840, and underneath the weapon the ill-written farrago of rubbish which he addressed to Her Majesty in the form of a petition. A relic from France - characteristic enough. A portrait of a gendarme who committed a murder, then hacked the body of his victim into pieces and distributed them all over Paris. Murderer, victim, pieces, photographed upon two sheets and framed. The Labrador spear with which the Lennie mutineers "prodded" their captain. Jemmies by the dozen, and blood-stained razors, knives and daggers ... "

[image - slightly unrelated - grave-robbers from The Mysteries of London!]

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