The Stories Behind London’s Streets (Part Two)
The streets of London flourish like possibly no other city on earth, with stories from its rich history, stories of death - fire - disease, of riots, and grisly murders, but also of tales of hope, happiness, determination and success. Behind every story and every street however, are the people who lived, worked, played, and even murdered there. Did you know for instance that when Great Scotland Yard was being built in 1890, that the dismembered body of a woman was discovered by workmen, dumped in the basement area? The body was thought to have been probably the final victim of Jack the Ripper!
Another interesting little tale is that of the infamous Ben Crouch, an ex-boxer, who owned a tavern just off Oxford Street during the 1700s. Crouch became a notorious body snatcher, and was known as the Corpse King. He carried out his evil profession in and around London during this period. With the Tyburn gallows only a short distance from his tavern, he was always one of the first to know of a criminal’s demise, and with the large demand from surgeons for fresh cadavers for their lectures, Crouch found this type of work far more lucrative than his profession as a boxer had ever been.
History isn’t just about digging up artefacts from the dim and distant past, history happens every day. It happened yesterday, and most people never even noticed it.
You might have thought you knew London, but this is the London most people never knew existed.
- Peter Thurgood, July 2011
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