No. 1037: Neal’s Yard, WC2
Neal’s Yard, London, WC2. Photo ©RogerDean 2014
Times – Friday, August 28th, 1874:
A deplorable wife murder, the evident result of a ebullition of tempter on both sides, was committed at Camberwell yesterday morning. The murderer – for there is no question about the deed – kept a coffeeshop in Church-street, a short distance from Camberwell-green, and midway between that place and St. Giles’s Church. His name is John Walter Coppen. Yesterday morning, before 10 o’clock, he went to a neighbouring butcher’s shop, and saying that he had broken his knife, a knife used by butchers to cut up meat, which proved to be a fact, asked to borrow one. A knife was given to him, and he asked to have it sharpened. It was sharpened accordingly, and he returned to his house.
What occurred afterwards is briefly told. He employed himself in cutting up meat with which to form the beef-steak puddings sold at coffee and eating-houses to artisan classes, and while at this work his wife and he had what is a termed “a few words.” The upshot of the few words was that she said she would go out, and went upstairs and put on her outdoor dress. He must have heard her come down the stairs, for he went to meet her at the foot, when the ill words were renewed, and he, armed with the sharp butcher’s knife, stabbed her under the left breast.
[The full report of the murder can be read at www.victorianlondon.org. R.D.]