Esoteric London

No. 1209: Wick Road, E9

Posted in Crime and Punishment, Pubs by esotericlondon on October 14, 2015

©RogerDean_RED_2056 copy

Wick Road, London, E9. Photo ©RogerDean 2014

The Gentleman’s Magazine – Jul.-Dec. 1872:

ANOTHER tragedy in Hoxton! The newspaper placards last month only stimulated my remembrance of Wednesday, July 10. The new incident of Hoxton history occurred within call of the shop where, in the middle of a bright summer day, Mrs. Squires and her daughter were done to death with a plasterer’s hammer. And the murderer is still at large. The latter fact has made me shudder whenever I have found myself even as near to Hoxton as Clerkenwell Green. This terrible crime has been allowed to drop out of public memory with a calm resignation which does not add to one’s peace of mind. When the Marrs were assassinated in Ratcliff Highway, in 1812, all England thrilled with the horror of the scene. The murderer left no clue behind, and the police were helpless; but London was wild with fear. The subject was never allowed to rest. The knowledge that the criminal was at large made the very heart of the nation beat with anxiety. When the “great artist” (as De Quincey called him in that marvellous essay, “Murder as a Fine Art “) followed up his first awful stroke of bloody business by a second crime, the populace of London seemed to arise en masse against him. Are we in these days becoming callously accustomed to foul deeds, or is the business of life so much more engrossing than it used to be, that we see criminal after criminal slipping away from justice, without some stirring protest? The police of London do the duty of keeping order, regulating the traffic, and catching ordinary thieves; but as a detective force dealing with artists in crime they are notably deficient. There is something singularly like the Marr murders in the Squires tragedy, only that the latter was done in the daylight, and in an open shop. A hammer was used by the modern assassin; a mallet served Williams’s purpose. The Ratcliff villain inflicted unnecessary injuries upon his victims; the Hoxton murderer beat his after they were dead. Williams got clean away and beyond suspicion after his first work; the Hoxton tiger is still abroad.

[The full article, from which the above excerpt was taken, can be read at www.victorianlondon.org. R.D.]

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