9th June 1861


On Tuesday week, a number of boys were playing about the grating of the main sewer in Handbridge, Chester, when it was determined to try who should go furthest into the sewer. They entered, and all of them came out again with the exception of a lad named Thompson. The boys who came out at once put the grating down and went home.

Search was made for the missing lad, but nothing could be seen of him. The sewers were opened and men went through them, but were unsuccessful in their search.

On Monday, one of the branch sewers was again opened, and a man went to the bottom of it, where he found the lad lying on his face, dead. He was very much disfigured, the rats having evidently been eating at his face.


On Thursday, a most revolting case of murder and mutilation of a female child was discovered under the following circumstances:—Mr George Taylor, who is employed in Lincoln’s Inn, was proceeding to that place soon after five o’clock in the morning, when his attention was directed by a companion to a bundle lying on the ground at the Carey-street entrance to the Inn. On untying the cloth they found a basket which contained a disfigured mass of human remains.

Information was immediately given to the policeman on duty, who, accompanied by Mr Taylor, removed the parcel to King’s College Hospital. On examination the contents were found to be the mutilated remains of a female child, apparently about a week old, which presented a frightful appearance, much more violence than was necessary to cause death having been used; the arms were elongated, and appeared to have been torn out from, the shoulder blade, and the head flattened and disfigured; the remains in other respects were those of a full grown infant.

Application is intended to be made to the Secretary for the Home Department to offer a reward to discover the inhuman murderer. The police have also received instructions to endeavour to trace the brutal monster.


Edward Bartley, a lithographic printer, aged forty, was charged with deserting his two young children, and also with having cruelly treated them.

Mr Anderson, the assistant relieving officer of the Holborn union, said that on the 20th February last he received information that two children had been deserted at No 4, Leather lane, Holborn. He proceeded there, and found the prisoner’s two children, Catherine Bartley aged ten, and Alice Amelia Bartley, aged six, in a room by themselves, crying bitterly.

The children and the room were in a very dirty and miserable state, and they had but very little clothing, not nearly enough to keep them warm in that inclement weather. There was scarcely a vestige of furniture in the room, and there was no fire. He examined the children, and found their heads and bodies covered with vermin. When food was given them, they partook of it very ravenously.

Next day he found the defendant, and he came and took the children out. He was asked to stop in the house, so that he and his children might be passed to their proper parish, but he refused to remain.

On the 4th March last, a policeman brought the same two children to the Holborn union, and said he had found them deserted in the streets. When they were again admitted they were very dirty, half starved, and in an emaciated state from neglect. The defendant had since been out of the way.

That morning the witness received information that the defendant was cohabiting with a woman and two children in Drury-lane. Upon proceeding there Mr Anderson had great difficulty in finding him, as he was at first denied.

Mr Bartley’s wife was dead, but while she lived he had deserted her and his children in Southampton, and they had been in a workhouse at that place for nearly a twelvemonth.

The defendant, who repeatedly smiled while the evidence was being taken, and who treated the whole proceeding with the greatest levity, said that he had done the best he could for his children while he was in work, and he did not leave them until he was out of employ.

Mr Barker sentenced the prisoner, as a rogue and vagabond, to be imprisoned and kept to hard labour for two months.


2 thoughts on “9th June 1861

  1. Glad you’re enjoying them, Peter. Er, that is, most gratified that you find these educational selections conducive to your general moral improvement, sir. God save the Queen.

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