Wapping High Street, London, E1. Photo ©RogerDean 2014
The Times – Thursday, August 22nd, 1872:
SUSPECTED MURDER – Last night, Mr. Richards the deputy coroner for Eastern Middlesex, held a lengthened inquiry at the Town of Ramsgate Tavern, Wapping Old Stairs, into the circumstances under which a gentleman whose name is believed to be Arthur Bernard, aged 35, came by his death. John Roberts, a constable of the Thames Police, said that on Monday morning, about 4.30, he discovered the dead body of the deceased floating in the River Thames off Wapping Dock Stairs, and he conveyed it to the mortuary. The deceased had apparently been in the water 10 days or so, and the body was much decomposed. There was a large wound in the centre of the forehead, and extensive bruises all over the right side of the head and face. The wound might have been caused by a pistol shot. The deceased was dressed in a black suit, brown overcoat, white shirt, socks, and collar, black necktie and Wellington boots. On the body he found an aluminum watch with the initials “A.B” engraved at the back, a dagger-knife, pockethandkerchief marked “A.B” a French voting-paper dated the 23d of April 1870 in which “Arthur Bernard” was given as the name of the voter (Department of the Seine, Arrondissement No.9) and whose birth is therein registered as in 1838, making him 34 or 35 years old, the apparent age of the deceased. He also found two silver coins of 50 centimes each, a black leather pouch, and various memoranda, relating to past commercial transactions, but nothing to positively identify him. He had ascertained at last that he was travelling for Messrs. Mellier and Deloute of Margaret-street, Cavendish-square, agents for Emile Domenge 22, Rue Richer, Paris, and that he quitted them on 20th of August 1870, to join the ranks of the French Army. He was believed to have taken part with the Commune, and to have fled to England after the fall of that body. The wound on his head might perhaps have been caused by a fall, but he doubted it very much.
[The above newspaper article was sourced from the website www.victorianlondon.org. R.D.]