Murder on the Tracks - The Chain

Murder on the Tracks - The Chain

Thomas Briggs was found unconscious on the tracks of London’s Northern Railway in 1864, a short time after he died. In this second episode of Murder on the Tracks, delve into the early history of London’s Metropolitan Police, the streets, sounds and people of London and discover the investigation into Thomas Briggs death and how it all hinged on a chain and a hat before turning into a steamer chase across the Atlantic. 

Achtung! History is produced by The Berlin Tour Guide and presented by Simon J, James. You can follow Achtung! History on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram or support Achtung History and gain early access to the next episodes on Patreon for as little as 1€.

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Fleet Street was abuzz. The printer’s presses of the major newspapers were already rolling out page after page with the thick and bold typeface of headlines. Soon the stacks of folded paper were bundled together and thrown onto the horse drawn carriages that awaited outside the printing offices. The horses drew the carriages along the streets and into the sun that was breaking over a new week in London and to the corners of a city that was expanding far beyond the old walls the marked the old city.

As the cart drove forth, the boy pushed the bundles of papers to the curb where resellers collected the first news of the weekend to be shouted on the air and sold to the passers by as the week began. Criers cut the ribbons and read the headlines as quick as they could, but they need not read more than one. Soon every street corner in London had the words cried out, “First murder on the train, two hundred pound reward for information!”

Titles Welcome to the Achtung! History podcast. Written and presented by myself Simon J. James and produced by The Berlin Tour Guide. This week episode 2 of Murder on the Tracks – The Chain.

It was just before ten. The day was busy already, busy with the tread of feet upon the road ways, busy with the cart wheels throwing up dust into the warm summer air that had turned the normally mudden ways of an Imperial metropolis into ribbons of arid planes. The usual cacophony of tones mingled together, those of an elite class their noses held high as if rising above the stink of the local masses whose voices rose higher and shriller above one another as they flogged wares for pretty pennies and offers touted as irresistible. But, in the quiet darkness of this little shop, a little shop on Cheapside above which the dome of St Paul’s towered, whose wares were attractive for those who might be able to afford, there was a silence.

Before the counter stood a man. His eyes deep set within an oblong shaped head. A furrowed brow maintained a demeanour of calm. Hair was long but not unfashionable, it was greased but not stuck to the head like other who plastered their hair to the skull in fear it might make an escape. He stood before a counter, upon which he had just laid a chain before the proprietor, Mr. Goerge Death.

The Jewellers was in fact run by the brothers, George and John Death. Six days a week they opened their shop. A shop that sold the fine items purchased by the growing middle class as well as the trinkets that the love sick youth bought their desires. Every day through the door people stumbled their hearts full of happiness at the prospect of a love that awaited them, or they fell through the door as reality of hardships led them to sell even their most treasured possessions. For the Death brothers, it did not matter what the story was that lay being the item, only what its value was, for when the shutters came down at the end of the day, it was their business after all.

George Death looked at the chain that had been laid before him. He examined it closely. It was quite a fine example. Gold, he was quite certain of it. The man who had entered stood only the breadth of the glass display case away and seemed unconcerned at what George Death might think of the chain. Normally, George Death, was used to people watching him closely, as if they expected him to detect or extract some hidden information from the chain that they did not wish to miss. However, with this case, the seller seemed unconcerned, he stood in fact with his back to the case. In examining the chain George Death saw fit however that his brother should take a closer look and called for him to join him from the back room in which he was busying himself in dealing with the trinkets that the brothers had purchased to sell.

The brother, John, came forth and took the chain. He gave it a quick glance over. It was a chain that might be used to hold a pocket watch, it was actually, he was quite certain.The chain normally would be doubled over and held at the end with a jump ring, which was missing. Instead, he noted as he peered closer a common pin had been used and bent over. Slightly below this pin was a small knot of string. Apparently tied so that if the make shift jump ring gave way the two ends might hold together and the timepiece they normally would be carrying would not fall away. He placed the chain exactly as it was given to him, common pin and string, upon a small pair of jewellers scales. After a few small adjustments of the scale he came to a conclusion. It was only at this point, the first brother noted that the gentleman, who so far had remained quite silent, turned. Turned to examine the brother who weighed the chain upon the scale.

“Three pound, ten schillings, that’s what I’ll give you for it.” John Death spoke. The clean shaven man nodded. There was no argument, no bartering, which was highly uncommon considering the area in which the shop was located was full of people making a living of off bartering their daily wares for better prices. Just a nod of acceptance and agreement. John turned to the register, and was about to reach in for the large pound notes and coins to give to the customer in exchange before he suddenly spoke. “No,” said the man, his voice was deep and quite heavily accented. “I’m sorry sir? I thought we were agreed.” John Death responded with a tone of perplexion. “We are,” his accented voice triggered the ear of John Death as to where it originated. “I would rather take something in exchange.”“In exchange? Of course. What did Sir have in mind?”“Another chain, I could exchange the value of this one for.”“Of course,” John replied, still playing detective on the accent that the man carried. But it was London, London in the 1860s was awash with people from across not only the British Empire but with emigres from many of the European nations. Many of whom were finding their home in the bustling capital, and equally as many passing through on their journey to one of the British ports, be it Liverpool or Southampton from which they might embark upon one of the many great steamers of sailing ships that might take them on towards a new life over the Atlantic, even if the great new nation beyond was currently in the depths of a torrid civil disagreement. “I have a chain of similar worth, three pounds and fifteen shillings.” John Death brought another chain from the counter and laid it out upon a velvet sheet that rested upon the display case. The accented man took a closer look.“No.”“No Sir? It is a fine chain.”“I do not like these, these dangly things.”“The appendages Sir?”“Ja, whatever they are called. Do you have a similar chain to the one I trade in?” “But sir this is a very fine chain. The appendages only add to its luxury feel and mark of quality.”“No, not that one.” The accented man repeated. “Very well,” John Death spoke resigned to accepting defeat in his offering. Reaching into a cabinet he brought out another chain, very similar in appearance to the one the accented gentleman had just agreed to exchange. “This one is three pound and 5 shilling.” “That will be fine.” The man spoke, looking at the chain for a brief moment. “Very well Sir.” John Death retreived a small display box, in which there was a soft and plush velvet lining and within the top lid, in gold lettering the brothers Death’s shop’s address and name was printed. “And for the five shillings you have remaining?” The accented man, looked perplexed for a moment. He wasn’t apparently prepared to have to think more over than the the sale of the chain. “A finger ring!” His voice snapped curtly. John Death nodded. From another display case he withdrew a board, upon which, in tiny slots, there were many finger rings arranged. The accented man’s deep set eyes and furrowed brow moved closer and quickly scanned the board. “This one is five shillings exactly.” John Death pointed out. “That one, fine.” John Death removed it from the board and handed it to the man who immediately placed it upon his finger. It was a a golden ring with a white cornelian stone with an engraved head. John Death prepared another box and wrapped it in a parcel with the one that contained the new chain.

The deal was done. John Death had got a chain, that although in need of repair, might fetch a good value, and the customer was leaving happy, although his stoic expression did not display so. Then he left, back into the hustle and bustle of London.

* *

By now most of London had heard the news. Many could not believe it. They were used to the hearings of horrid goings on in the squalor and slums of the city, but for a murder to happen, the first murder infact, not only to happen upon the North London Railway but the first to ever have happened in Britain was sending shock waves throughout the Imperial Capital. The newspapers were selling out across the city and soon it was the talk of the town.

The Government so appalled by the heinous deed that had taken place, not only on the railway, but in a first class carriage of all things it was not only attack on the moral sensibility but an attack on the hierarchy, so therefore they offered one hundred pounds as a reward that might lead to a culprit being brought forth. Robarts and Co, also appalled but not wishing to be seen as uncaring or less powerful than the government matched the reward with one hundred pounds of their own money and soon chatter was filling the air as to whom may have committed the crime.

* *

The London police had been engaged in the events since the constable Edward Dougan had witnessed the shadowy figures run up and onto the railway lines on the night of the attack on poor Mr. Briggs.

Quickly the news of the attack which then, with the death of Mr. Briggs had developed into a murder, rose within the ranks and appropriate channels of information of the Metropolitan Police.

The London Metropolitan Police had been founded in 1829 with the passing of the Metropolitan Police Act of that same year under the keen eye of Home Secretary Sir Robert Peel. Although it wasn’t the first police force in London that title belonged to, arguably, the Marine Police Force, of 1798, it was the one that became all powerful. To the point its officers became known as Peelers after the home secretary’s and later Prime Ministers surname, only for the officers later to be nicknamed Bobbies, after his first name.

In 1864 command of the Metropolitan Police was with the commissioner Sir Richard Mayne, who had, by this point, been its only commissioner. Mayne was a wizened looking man, whose years of service showed in the deep lines that sat around his eyes, in his receding hair line of wiry hair but he still displayed prowess and power. His gaze was stern beneath still dark as coal eyebrows and he wore mutton chop sideburns. It was under Mayne that the new ideology of the Police had been created, where Police officers walked the streets to prevent crime but a new team was created through which crimes committed would be investigated. It was to one of these young hot shot detectives that Sir Richard Mayne charged the case that had risen to be presented before him, the murder of Mr. Briggs on the North London Railway.

The man he chose was Richard Tanner.

Born on the 30th October 1831 Tanner was still, very much, a young man, being just thirty-two when chosen to head the investigation. Tanner was smart, he had to be to be able to have been chosen already to lead an investigation by a man who’s years as police commissioner were greater than his own upon this earth.

Tanner knew that time was of the essence. The longer they waited on gathering eye witness accounts or details the more time there was for faces to be forgotten and suspicion to thrown around. He needed focus and he needed the basics.

The first stop was to visit the police officers who had already been involved in the case. Constable Dougan and Lambert.

Dougan was early on the scene and had searched Mr. Briggs when he lay unconscious on the table at the Mitford Castle, and Lambert had collected the items found within carriage 69, the carriage that had been splattered with blood, from the stationmaster George Greenwood at Chalk Farm. It was these items that were of paramount interest. Lambert having already taken the items to the son of Mr. Briggs who had identified the bag and cane but quite clearly not the hat. So Tanner travelled to Bow to enquire what had been done further.

Bow was one of the many working class districts of London’s East end. Laying itself just West of the slums of the Old Ford, and south of the Hertford Union Canal, the canal above which the train of Ekins and Timms had halted upon sight of the body of Mr. Briggs laying between the tracks.

Upon his arrival he found that the Constables had been busy. In the time since the discovery of Mr. Briggs’ unconscious body and the arrival of Tanner to the Bow station they had walked the line for clues.

“What do you have?” Tanner had asked of Dougan. “I walked the tracks Sir?” Dougan responded.“Did you find anything Dougan?” Tanner asked quizzically. “Nothing physical Sir, however I paced the distance.”“Go on.”“Just a shy over 1400 hundred yards after Bow the body was found, it was also a shy over 700 from Victoria Park.” “And what does that tell you?” Enquired Tanner further. “Well accounting for the train speeding up, I would say there was perhaps a window of littler over three minutes for the crime to have taken place.” “So more than likely it wasn’t premeditated.” “No.”“And Sir,” piped in Lambert, “the hat that was found doesn’t belong to the deceased.”“So,” pondered Tanner, “more than likely there was a scuffle between the victim and the assailant. How dark was the train compartment?”“As dark as any other compartment lit by the small glow of a gas lamp at night.” “Could it be that in the scuffle between the Mr. Briggs and the murderer that both parties lost their hats, and that in the dark they were so similar to one another that in the blind rush after committing the robbery and assault, fuelled by adrenaline the hats got swapped?” Tanner asked rhetorically.

* *

Well that was strange John Death thought. He had rarely seen someone so eager to part with their wares for a direct exchange. Sure it was common for those in dire need to rush through the door and part with family heir looms to settle an illicit debt but to have parted with a chain for one that was so similar and a simple gold ring was unusual. For a few moments after the stern faced man with the foreign accent had left he pondered it, before putting it to the back of his mind and turning his attention to the little hubub that was unfolding on the street as placards began to be posted to walls, and similar ones seemed to be attached to Omnibusses. “I wonder what is going on,” he muttered. “Murder on the North London Rail the other day,” George answered, “its in every paper, here, take a look.” There in black and white was detail after detail. The sensational news of a murder followed by the murdered ever possession found upon him as well as a detailed description of the person murdered. It even noted the clasp that Brereton had found between the seats of the number 69 carriage.“Funny,” muttered John again. “What is?” George replied once again to a rhetorical question.“That chain we just traded for, it’s missing a jump ring, or even a clasp.”“That is funny. What are you doing?” He now asked of his brother who had drawn out a piece of paper and pen.“Sending a note by courier to the Police. It could be something?”

* *

Not long passed for the brother’s Death before another visitor walked into the Jewellers shop at 55 Cheapside. But this time it was not a customer wishing to purchase or even to trade. Rather it was a gentleman who brandished a letter. “Do you have the chain still?” The man spoke. “The chain?” John Death responded. “You wrote this letter did you not? I’m Walter Kerressey, stationed at Bow, you wrote a letter of a chain received today?” John Death looked amazed.“I did.”“Do you still have it?”“I do.” John Death produced the chain. Kerressey inspected it. “I’m afraid I have to relieve you of this chain.” “I understand” John Death nodded.“Can you describe the person of off which you purchased it?”“I traded it, an almost equal in value golden chain and a gold ring. His coat was dark, but I do not remember the particulars of his dress. My first impression was that his trousers were light. I look back and I say that he tried to hide his appearance. But he had an accent.”“An accent?” Kerressey pushed. “Swiss perhaps, or even German, I cannot say.” “Thank you Mr. Death.”

* *

As Kerressey was returned to Bow from Cheapside, Tanner was himself making enquiries.

An inquest had already opened into the death of Mr. Briggs. And being London naturally that inquest had to take place in a pub. The Prince of Wales Tavern in Bow was selected by the coroner Mr. John Humphreys. Here the inquest was to be heard into if Mr. Briggs’ death did in fact constitute murder. A jury was gathered as were the doctors who had inspected Mr. Briggs whilst alive and dead and finally the son of the deceased.

However, with so many bodies within the room it was quite quickly realised that it was not a sufficient lodgings to host an inquiry of such note, such as the first murder on British rail constituted, so the decision was made to relocate to Hackney Town Hall.

Hackney Town Hall appeared as if it were a reduced Georgian Manor or Child’s doll house rather than a town hall. A grand doorway opened onto the street but other than that it was a fairly simple affair, two windows on the ground floor and four on the upper. The ground floor itself having much of its space taken up by the stair case to reach the upper floor and the entrance hall meant that the meeting, once it got under way took place on the upper. The members of the Hackney council had already decided that the town hall was too small and planning was well underway for a successive building that they hoped would be completed within the next two years. But that was the future, the present had the aforementioned gathered once again to debate the death of Mr. Briggs.

Forward first of all stepped the son, Thomas James Briggs, who identified the deceased body of his father that was lane at the centred of the room. Next came the doctors, the members of the Royal Collage of Surgeons, Brereton and Toulmin, who had examined him and they began to explain the cuts, including the damage that was found to the skull once they had inspected the body further. Their agreement came upon the fact that the damage was both inflicted upon the fall that Mr. Briggs received when ejected from cabin number 69 but also by an object that, they argued, must have been dull but heavy. Tanner listened closely. The question was posed, could the gentleman’s cane been used as a weapon against him? To which there was not so much unity. It was argued that it was not sufficient in weight, but Brereton argued it could.

John Humphreys, after the evidence of the inquest was all presented, withdrew, a decision, he announced, would be made available in a weeks time.

A week was a lot of time. It was a lot of time for the press to get haphazardly carried away in the spectacle of murder, murder on a train, something that had happened on the continent before but never within respectable Victorian society. They soon picked upon the small details. News somehow made it to the ears of the press that the key piece of evidence in the case at this point was not in fact the chain that John and George Death had come in to possession of, rather it was the hat.

The newspapers were widely speculating over the importance of the hat, and that it was evident that one was missing, namely the one belonging to Mr. Briggs and soon the police station at Bow was being inundated with all types of hats, let alone the funnel style of hat with which Mr. Briggs had been in possession of. All of London was abuzz, either appalled by the crime or, what is more likely, desperate to get some of the two-hundred pounds that was on offer, a sum which equated to roughly five times the yearly wage of the lowest class of London society. But if the 200 pounds was not enough, the next day, Tuesday 12th July 1864, the directors of North London Rail added a further hundred pounds to the reward.

But despite the rewards and the numerous hats that were now towering up within the police precinct of bow there was little else to go on, except that the hat they had, had an address within it. T. H. Walker of Crawford Street, a piece of information that was printed alongside the reward notice.

By the Wednesday the police were still at a lot. Tanner was taking to acting on the information that John and George Death had provided to Kerressey, that the culprit, the man who had traded the chain with the brother’s death was foreign and therefore, clutching at the straws that they had, Tanner and his inspectors made the decision to visit the areas populated by the foreign communities. The issue was that London was awash with people from across Europe. It was not a recent event either that London was populated not only by the English. The tower of London was built by the French, the headquarters of the German dominated Hanseatic league, the Stalhof or Steelyards was located by Dowgate, Dutch had helped cultivate London’s gardens and now with industrialisation people from across Europe were making it their home, but the German contingent was one of the largest.

The problem here in, that lay before Tanner was also that the German contingent was also the most diverse. With lowly workers drinking and working within sugar refineries, many working in crafts such as watchmaking, or as clerks and some, being amongst the most wealthy in any land such as the Rothschilds.

There was one particular area however that Tanner was able to narrow a search down to. If a German had committed the crime of murder for the sake of a few items of gold, than he would not be from wealth, that was obvious, but then again the stolen items he did not trade for money rather for other items, so he would not occupy the lowly slums of squalor either. Much of the German community of working class background was settled in the East End. St George’s German Lutheran Church in Aldgate was testament for this.

Itself was founded in the 18th century when there was high persecution of protestants within the German Catholic lands and in fleeing their supressors they settled an area of London that would become the largest German speaking area outside of German lands for a time. As populations grew they moved further and further east and this is what brought Tanner’s attention down on these areas. Which also was logical as it was through these areas that the North London Railway travelled.

With his deputies he walked through areas and asked those who lived their for information but some were unwilling to speak to the British police, for xenophobia against German’s in London was at a high since the Austrian and Prussian advance on Danish lands to which the Wife of the Heir apparent Edward was a princess of. They investigated German’s that had already a criminal history, knocked on doors, hounded people in the street but still Tanner and his men could not extrapolate information from anyone as to whom had committed the murder. They were practically at a dead end. If someone did not come forward with some information it would be the full weight and might of the British press and the opinion they controlled brought down on the still relatively new Metropolitan Police.

Come the Friday, the 15th of July, the shutters of shops across Hackney and other parts of London were brought down for an hour. Tanner still had no information and now a very public display of unified sorrow and horror of the murder of Mr. Thomas Briggs, Chief Clerk of Robarts and Co was playing out in the street for all to see. The final procession of the deceased accompanied by his son and mourners from Robarts and Co, representatives from the North London Railway and the local councils, standing together in solidarity against the heinous crime.

The funeral cortège left Clapton Square. The horse drawn carriage with the coffin of the late Mr. Thomas Briggs resting on top. It trundled over the cobbles, slowly, the cart wheels rattling as they slipped in the ruts between the stones. Those on the streets bowed their heads solemnly as it passed, the newspaper writers scribbled with their pens as they lapped up the emotions of a city in mourning. Solemnly to the Gravel Put Unitarian Chapel they first walked than onto the aptly named Paradise Fields to lay Mr. Briggs into the ground. For Tanner it was not only a funeral but a sign of the pressure that he had weighing upon his shoulders.

Through the weekend he and his colleagues worked. But many avenues that they delved along, chasing leads into the night came to nought but dead ends. Disappointment weighed at every turn and with every disappointment stress, anxiety and being at a loss grew heavier and heavier.

The Monday, the 18th of July, signalled that a week had passed. A week in which the corona John Humphreys had spent debating upon the information that had been presented before him, by Mr. Briggs’ son and by the Doctors. Now it was time to pass verdict, was Mr. Briggs death, indeed a murder as the press so desperately wished it to be as they leached on society.

The meeting was returned to the Prince of Wales Tavern rather than the Hackney Town Hall. Those who had spoken their pieces a week prior were invited to speak again and with any new information that may have come to them in the week past. The Jury that had been sworn in once again listened intently and a special outing had been arranged for them. For once all the information that needed to be said within the tavern was said, the jury was led outside and on a short walk, accompanied by the crowds that had gathered were brought to the railway carriage in which Mr. Briggs had been so viciously attacked. Upon inspection of the cabin numbered 69 most outrightly agreed that it could not have been suicide and it only could have been murder. Suspicion that had landed on Mr. Varnez and Jones who had discovered the grisly sight within the cabin at Hackney, suspicion that been stirred by the sewer rats of Fleet Street with out moral consciousness for the preceding few days as the they looked to sink their fanged teeth into new meat in order to sell more papers, was quickly dispelled when after the cabin was inspected the pair presented their story for the first time publicly to the tribunal.

* *

Mr. Matthews was a hard working man but his hard work did not amount too much in wealth. He toiled and toiled yet he still seemed to be stuck in a rut. He rented his horse that drove his cab in which he collected the wealthier members of society who could afford to travel by cab amongst the city streets, he could not gather the money together to purchase his own horse. Even though he had spent more than the cost of a horse on rent for the one he had already alone.

It was a Tuesday morning it was early and probably the 19th of July, but he wasn’t sure, he didn’t need to know the date and never read the paper so had no other means of being informed in passing of it. Sometimes he would go into a public house for a glass of ale but didn’t like to admit to it. For Mr. Matthews it was Monday to Saturday work days, Sunday a day off like most of the city and it was only a Sunday that he might read the newspaper, in particular Lloyd’s. There was a long day ahead but every day was a long day. Usually it began with travelling to where he stowed his cab and horse. Cleaning his horse down in its stable and mucking it out, that is to say, removing the manueur to a corner of the stable yard where someone within the week would collect it, probably for fertiliser, he didn’t know, didn’t care. Then once ready hitching the horse to the cab and starting the day by journeying to a cab stand, where, if he knew one or two of the other fellows, he might have a little natter but nothing much more. On this morning, this Tuesday morning he awoke at his home at 68 Earl Street, East Paddington and wandered about his home. There was a little light from the early sunrise of the summer but nevertheless he still managed to step on something that seemed to have been haphazardly laid upon the ground. In reaching down he picked it up, and examined it closely. Spinning it in his fingers he saw that it was a small box, the type of box that jewellery might come in. He didn’t have much money so he wasn’t often the purchaser of Jewellery but he still knew a box from a Jeweller. Curious, he opened its lid. There was nothing inside, however he did not that the Jeweller from which it came from was called Death Brothers. Snapping the lid closed, he placed it on the siding, left his home and went straight to his horse. Thinking nothing more of the box.

Continuing his day he retrieved his horse and cab and began the working day. Ferrying passengers to and throw through the city he focused on his job at hand. A good day sir, or madam here, a thank you, it was pleasantries and kindness that were as much his job as the driving. Occasionally he would have to wait at cab stands for work however, and this led to a fateful piece of information. Whilst chatting with the cab drivers before the Great Western Hotel Mr. Matthews looked up and saw a placard. There the information was, the murdered on the North London Railway, Mr. Briggs. A hat found not worn by the deceased came from T. H. Walker, funny that, thought Mr. Matthews, I got two hats from there. He had heard of the murder, but not being actively interested in the news or even society he hadn’t paid it much heed. But he kept reading, the suspect was presumed to be German and had visited a Jewellers by the name of Death. Suddenly for Mr. Matthews pieces began to fall into place.

His daughter, she’d been engaged to a German by the name of Franz Müller. He had known Müller for a few years, he’d even been to T. H. Walker’s himself twice because the second time was to buy a hat like his own for the German. He had to go. He took his horse and headed to the Hermitage Police Station at Paddington. At Paddington he fell before a Sergeant Steers who took interest almost with immediate effect. Wanting more information the two travelled by Mr. Matthews’s cab to his home on 68 Earl Street. With some haste the two ran in and retrieved the box along with a piece of paper. It was an address. An address for a Mr and Mrs Blyth of 16 Park Terrace Bow. The next stop was to see the investigator in charge, Tanner.

Tanner was at 4 Whitehall when the cab man and the Sergeant arrived to see him. He sat in chis chair and listened to the men who produced before him a box with the name death within, an address and most importantly a photo. Tanner, reached into a cupboard and produced the hat that had been found within the carriage. Placing it on the table he asked, “is this the hat you purchased for this Franz Müller?” Mr. Matthews looked at it carefully. He peered in and felt the lining, read the name, examined the curl of the brim and nodded. “Then gentleman, it appears we need to pay a visit to 16 Park Terrace.”

To 16 Park Terrace Bow, Matthews, Sergeant Steers and Tanner now raced. Along the streets that ran alongside the Thames that hid the new underground system and sewers that had saved the city from the stink, they raced. On wards towards the dome of St Pauls they hurried. Then through the areas that had been known as Little Germany and onto Bow.

At 16 Park Terrace Tanner wasted no time in exiting the cab, he jumped down and ran to the door, he didn’t even knock, instead his hand reached straight for the old iron lock and depressed it. The door sprung open. He heard the noise of people inside and charged sternly through the narrow corridor. His arrival shocked the family that was gathered in the kitchen at the back of the building. An older lady stood around a table populated by children. “Mrs Blyth?” Tanner demanded, the woman nodded, “Tanner Metropolitan Police! Where is the German Franz Müller?”

The woman stammered, “on, on a Steamship to America.”

Join us next week for the continuation of Murder on the 21:50 from Frenchchurch, when the hunt for the murder turns into a cross Atlantic chase and a trial that gripped the city.

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