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Charles Dickens’s Deputy, or, The Other Mystery of Edwin Drood

On an August Friday in 1888, with the temperature at 80o in the shade, two seemingly mismatched friends met up in London.  The older of the two, William Richard Hughes, was in his late fifties, while the younger, Frederic George Kitton, was in his early thirties.  Hughes was an important financial official, the Treasurer of the City of Birmingham.  Kitton …

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Charbonnel et Walker: Sweet Rivalry

The prestigious chocolatiers Charbonnel et Walker have been in business since 1875; now their flagship shop can be found at One, The Royal Arcade — the end that opens on to Old Bond Street end.  But who were Charbonnel and Walker?  A quick look on the company’s website will tell you that the founders — Mademoiselle Charbonnel and Mrs Walker …

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Wife Beater, Cheater and Abductor?  Mr Cambray Asks to Go to Prison

Those present at the Clerkenwell Police Court on Saturday the 13th of May 1871 probably sighed inwardly when the case against Leonard Albert Cambray was called.  Yet again a member of the working classes had drunk too much and attacked his wife.  For the forward thinking the only way of ending this vicious cycle was to encourage temperance, educate the …

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The Crimes of the Light-Fingered Clerk

Although Mrs Jane Carolan had not wanted to take a lodger, at least it was some comfort to her that the young man occupying a room in her house at 16 Union Road in Clapham was respectable.  A solicitor’s clerk, he was always well-dressed, and he seemed intent on self-improvement, if the large number of library books he borrowed was …