The Black Museum

Based on factual occurrences

The Black Museum was a syndicated series, produced in London, and heard in the USA on the Mutual radio network during 1952. As mentioned in Frank Passage's log, the series was based on items in or records of Scotland Yard's Crime Museum.

Tony West (TWBrighton@aol.com), who lives in London, researched the show, and correlated the various episode titles with the actual events that stimulated the writing of the episode. What follows is a list of titles (from Frank's log) associated with Tony's background information.

Episode TitleBackground information
The .22 Caliber PistolThe Shooting of Michael Scott Stephen by his lover Elvira Barney on May 31st, 1932, in Belgravia London. She was found not guilty of his murder.
A .32 Caliber BulletThis was the murder of Alec D'Antiquis on April 29th, 1947, by Christopher James Geraghty aged 21, Charles Harry Jenkins aged 23 and Terence Rolt. Geraghty and Jenkins were hung. Rolt was under age and was imprisoned.
The Bath Tub"The Brides in the Bath Murders", the murders of Margaret Lofty in Highgate London, Alice Burnham, Bessie Mundy at Blackpool during 1914 commited by George Joseph Smith who was executed on August 13th 1915.
The Black Gladstone BagThe murder of Emily Beilby Kaye by Patrick Herbert Mahon on April 15th, 1924, at The Crumbles, Eastbourne, Sussex.
The Blood Stained BrickbatThe murder of architect Francis Rattenbury by their 18 year old handyman, George Stoner, during March 1935. Francis Rattenbury's wife Alma was also implicated but acquitted at trial. Three days after the trial Alma Rattenbury commited suicide, Stoner was sentenced to hang but was reprieved by the Home Secretary. Francis Rattenbury was the architect who designed the Provincial government buildings in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
The Brass ButtonThe murder of Joan Pearl Wolfe by Native Indian French-Canadian soldier August Sangret at Hankley Common near Godalming Surrey in September, 1942. Sangret was hanged at Wandsworth prison April 2nd, 1943.
A Can (or Tin) of Weed KillerHarold Greenwood of Carmarthen Wales was found not guilty at trial in the poisoning death of his wife Mabel who died June 16th, 1919. He was arrested and charged with her murder on account of village gossip!
The Canvas Bag~
The Car Tire (The Gas Receipt)The murder of Police Constable George W. Gutteridge on a lonely country road between Ongar and Romford in Essex on September 27th, 1927, by Frederick Guy Browne and William Kennedy. They were hanged May 31st, 1928. This is an alternate version of The Gas Receipt
The Champagne GlassMajor Herbert Rowse Armstrong executed at Gloucester prison on May 31st, 1922, for the murder of his wife in February 1921, at Hay-on-Wye South Wales.
A Claw Hammer~
The Door Key~
The Faded Tartan Scarf~
Four Small BottlesThe poisoning of Edwin Bartlett by his wife Adelaide Bartlett on January 1st, 1886, at Pimlico, London. She was acquitted of the murder.
A French-English DictionaryThe poisoning of Alfred George Poynter Jones by Jean Pierre Vaquier at Byfleet, Surrey, March 29th, 1924.
The Gas Receipt~
Glass Shards~
The HammerheadKnown as the Brighton Trunk Mystery. The murder of Violette Kaye on May 10th, 1933, at Brighton Sussex. Her lover Tony Mancini (real name Cecil Louis England who also used the aliases Hyman Gold and Jack Notyre), was found not guilty.
The Jack HandleThe murder of George Heath by U.S. soldier Karl Gustav Hulten and Elizabeth Maud Jones, alias Georgina Grayson, at Staines London Oct. 7th, 1944. Hulton was hanged Mar. 8th, 1945. Jones was also sentenced to death but commuted to a prison term, she was released in May 1954.
A Jar of AcidThe murders of Mrs Olive Durand-Deacon, Mr & Mrs McSwann and their son, Dr & Mrs Henderson and possibly others by John George Haigh during the period 1944 to 1949. He was hanged at Wandsworth prison Aug. 6th, 1949. (You'll notice that in Britain there is no lengthy appeals process, his last murder was commited less than six months before he was executed)!
The Khaki HandkerchiefThe murders of Doreen Hearne & Kathleen Trendle by Harold Hill at Penn in Buckinghamshire in 1941
A Lady's ShoeThe murder of Camille Cecily Holland by her common-law husband Samuel Herbert Dougal at Saffron Waldon, Essex on May 19th 1899.
The Leather BagSee "The Tan Shoe"
A LetterBarrister fraudster James Townsend Saward (alias "Jim the Penman" to the criminal fraternity), crimes of fraud at Yarmouth England during 1857, sentenced to penal servitude in Australia.
The Mandolin String~
Meat JuiceThe Murder of James Maybrick by his wife Florence, May 11th, 1889, at Liverpool. Florence Maybrick was born Florence Elizabeth Chandler in Alabama. She was sentenced to death but reprieved three days before her execution date. She spent fifteen years in jail, released in January, 1904 and died in poverty in Connecticut on October 23rd 1941.
The Notes~
The Old Wooden MalletOne of the most famous of all the English murder cases, the murder of an unknown tramp by Alfred Arthur Rouse on the evening of November 5th/6th 1930, near the village of Hardingstone, Northamptonshire. November 5th is an English custom called Guy Fawkes night or Bonfire night.
The Open End Wrench~
The Pair of SpectaclesSee "The Wool Jacket"
A Piece of Iron Chain~
The Pink Powder PuffThe Murders of Margery Gardner at Notting Hill London and Doreen Marshall in Bournemouth during June and July of 1946 by Neville George Clevely Heath. These were quite sadistic and perverted murders the details of which are not accurately portrayed in the episode. Heath was hanged on Oct. 26th, 1946.
The Post CardThe Murder of Phyllis Dimmock at Camden Town, London on Sept.12th 1907. An artist-engraver Robert Wood was charged with her murder. He was found not guilty at trial, the murder remained unsolved.
A PrescriptionThe murder of Ada Baguley by Nurse Dorothea Waddingham on Sept. 11th, 1935, at Nottingham. Waddingham was hanged Apr.16th 1936.
The RaincoatThe arrest of William Wallace for the murder of his wife Julia, Liverpool 1931. Sentence later quashed by criminal court on appeal and he was freed.
The Sash Cord~
A Service CardThe Murder of Mr & Mrs Giffard by their son Miles Giffard in November, 1952 at Cornwall.
The Sheath Knife~
A Shilling~
The Shopping Bag~
A Silencer~
The Small White BoxesThe poisoning of Emile L'Angelier by Madeleine Smith on March 23rd, 1857, at Glasgow, Scotland. At her trial in Edinburgh Scotland on June 30th that year the case was found "Not Proven", a verdict that is unique to Scotland whereas in the rest of the British Isles the equivalent verdict would be Not Guilty.
The Spotted BedsheetThe murder of minor actress Gay Gibson by James Camb aboard the liner Durban Castle, cabin 126, off the west coast of Africa, October 18th, 1947. James Camb was sentenced to death but reprieved owing to a suspension of capital punishment.
The Straight RazorLondon 1903, George Chapman murdered three women and believed by some to have been Jack the Ripper.
The Tan ShoeThe murder of John Innes Nesbit, a wages clerk, on a train near Newcastle by John Alexander Dickman, March 18th 1910. This is an alternate version of "The Leather Bag"
The TelegramThe murder of Irene May Wilkins by Thomas Henry Allaway at Bournemouth, Dec. 22nd, 1921.
A TrunkThe Murder of Minnie Bonati by John Robinson in London 1927.
Two BulletsThe Murder of Police Constable Miles by Christopher Craig and Derek Bentley at Croydon London, Nov. 2nd 1952. Craig was only 16 at the time and was sentenced to be "detained at Her Majesty's pleasure" and was released in 1963. Bentley at age 18 was what is termed "feeble minded" with the mental age of perhaps a 12 year old and was executed. There was a recommendation for mercy from the jury which was ignored by the judge and he was hanged whilst 5000 people demonstrated against the sentence outside the prison.

This was one of Britain's most controversial executions and after 50 years of campaigning by his family and public figures he was just recently given a posthumous free pardon. It should be noted that Bentley had been in police custody for twenty minutes BEFORE PC Miles was shot dead by Craig and there is a strong rumour that the bullet that killed the policeman was fired by another policeman! It was never produced in court and there was no ballistics match done on the fatal bullet. There is a movie that can still be found at some video stores titled "Let Him Have It" which is about the Craig & Bentley case.

As a point of interest I picked up Christopher Craig's older brother Niven in my taxi way back in 1973. He was a small time gangster during the 1950's whom Chris Craig strived to emulate.
The Walking StickDr Edward Pritchard murdered his wife and his mother-in-law in Glasgow Scotland during February and March of 1865. He was hanged four months later.
A Woman's Pigskin Glove~
The Wool JacketThe murder of Elsie Cameron by Norman Thorne at Crowborough, Sussex in Dec., 1924 This is an alternate version of "The Pair of Spectacles"
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