Sunday, 5 October 2014


After the last tale where the unfortunate Mr Pygot came to a fiery end for his religious beliefs, we are back tonight with good old fashioned murder. 

WISBECH, Spring 1895. What was happening in the world? What did the town look like? If we were transported back in time, what would we recognise? Here's an OS map of the town, dating from 1900. 
 Queen Victoria was nearing the end of her wonderful reign, Wilde's The Importance Of Being Ernest had premiered in London, Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery was Prime Minister, and Arthur Brand was MP for Wisbech. Leach's Mill still towered above the town, the canal was still open for business, and Robert Godard's high class tailor shop first opened for business. You could also walk along Norfolk Street and not hear another language except English - or at least NE Cambridgeshire's strange version of English.
Arthur Brand M.P.

Meanwhile, unaware of the golden glow of an empire on which the sun never set, a deluded and mentally fragile local man was on the verge of murdering his dear old mum. He and said mater lived at 26 Upper Hill Street, more or less where Prams  & Toys is now. Let the newspapers tell the lurid tale.

MARCH 1895 - MURDER OF A MOTHER. The Press Association's Wisbech correspondent telegraphs that David Bullamore (35), hairdresser, was arrested there this morning charged with murdering his mother, an old woman aged 70, evidently by strangulation. Bullamore is subject to fits of mental derangement, and has been in an asylum. At five o'clock on Saturday morning, a neighbour - a man named Dunn -  heard shrieks and summoned the police, who forcibly entered the house and found the woman dead, having been strangled. Another witness, Porter Smith said that Bullamore was so strange in his manner that he had sat up with him until the early hours of the morning.
26 Hill Street
The inquest on the body of the woman was opened on Saturday. Robert Bullamore, brother of the man in custody, deposed that David had been queer in his manner all the week. He was an inmate of asylum eight years ago. Brant Smith, a porter, said he saw David at ten on Friday night, and he asked the witness whether he had seen a doctor go in his house. He was strange in his manner, and would not enter the house unless the witness went in with him. Witness did so, and then Mrs. Bullamore went to bed, but afterwards got up owing to the noisy behaviour of David. Mrs. Bullamore made some tea, and when witness left at half-past two the morning, David being then quiet, the table was set and a large bread knife was upon it. The knife was afterwards found on the floor near the dead woman. The inquest was adjourned.

The inquest was resumed on Monday. Dr. Groom deposed that death was due to asphyxia, which must have been caused by the son standing on her throat The arteries were gorged, and the symptoms were not compatible with death from natural causes. On Tuesday the police produced a shawl which was found near to the deceased, and also a large carving knife. Dr. H. Groom declared that the shawl had been placed over the deceased’s mouth with sufficient pressure that it would produce the asphyxia, which was the cause of death. There would then be no marks on the trachea or larynx. The police evidence showed that a struggle had taken place near the window, that some flower pots were broken, that a small table was smashed, that chairs were overturned and broken, that the window blinds were torn down, and that a part of a curtain was over the deceased’s face.
The coroner, in summing up, referred to the tardiness of the neighbours in rendering assistance when the shrieks of the deceased were heard, and said that in the face of the medical evidence there was no alternative but to return a verdict of wilful murder. After twenty minutes’ deliberation the jury unanimously returned verdict of Wilful Murder” against David Bullamore, and added a rider to the effect that the proper authorities were greatly to blame in not having had David Bullamore taken care of.
MARCH - WISBECH MURDER. PRISONER AGAIN BEFORE THE MAGISTRATES. David Bullamore was again charged with murdering his mother at Wisbech today. P.C.'s Green and Jacobs repeated their evidence and Dr. Harry Groom, Dr. William Groom, and Dr. Wherry, of Cambridge, gave evidence as to the cause of death, which they all agreed was to asphyxia. Dr. Wherry stated that he had made a fresh post mortem examination on Friday. Bullamore appeared perfectly calm and rational whilst before the Court. The magistrates committed him for trial at Cambridge Assizes. 

THE WISBECH MURDER, APRIL 1895. The man Bullamore, who is awaiting trial for the murder of his mother in Wisbech, is confined at H. M. Prison at Chesterton. He Is being closely observed by the prison doctor, as there is no doubt that the defence of insanity will be set up. Bullamore will arraigned at the next Cambridge Assizes which open on the 1st June.
Fulbourne Hospital
MONDAY 3 JUNE 1895 - THE WISBECH MURDER PRISONER DECLARED INSANE. David Bullamore, accused of murdering his mother. Bullamore, of 26, Upper Hill Street, Wisbech, on  9 March last, was brought before the Lord Chief Justice at Cambridge Assizes on Saturday. The circumstances of the case were reported in these columns at the time of the murder. Since he was committed for trial Bullamore has been carefully watched in gaol by medical men, and at the trial on Saturday it was decided that his mental condition was such that he was unable to plead. Medical gentlemen were called to give evidence as to the state of the prisoner's mind, and they declared that be was insane. Under these circumstances the Lord Chief Justice ordered Bullamore to be detailed at a criminal lunatic asylum during her Majesty's pleasure. As was leaving the dock Bullamore explained that be would rather be tried, as he was perfectly sane. Bullamore probably went for a prolonged stay in Fulbourne Hospital, and the exact nature of his illness is not known, but as the register of patients shows, there were only a few conditions recognised by medical science in those days, one of the most catch-all being 'mania'

The title of this latest blog? Well, it comes from a dire sentimental song from the early years of the twentieth century. Clearly David Bullamore had never heard these plaintive tones, or if he did, they meant nothing to him.