Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ratcliffe Highway Murders Map - Title

Ratcliffe Highway Murders Map - Title

At the beginning of the month I was asked by the Gentle Author of Spitalfields Life ( and publishers Faber & Faber ( to produce a map marking the bicentinary this month of the horrific Ratcliffe Highway Murders (December 1811), with vignettes indicating the location and dates of the pertinent events as their anniversaries occurred.

The vignettes were inspired by the book investigating the case 'The Maul and the Pear Tree', by P.D.James & T.A.Critchley, first published by Faber in 1971.

The map beneath was an 1811 map of the area, provided for me by the wonderful Stefan Dickers, archivist at the Bishopsgate Institute.

This is the title cartouche. The wording and text reflects the style of the time, the late Georgian/ Regency period. The skull above is flanked by two of the murder weapons, a maul and a chisel, and pear fruits, a reference to the Pear Tree pub in Wapping where the main suspect was arrested.

Note 'Pickle Herring Street' - they don't name roads like that anymore!

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