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Details of the Whitehall Mystery

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Details of the Whitehall Mystery

Post by Karen on Sat 30 Oct - 8:24

THE WHITEHALL MYSTERY.

INQUEST ON THE REMAINS.

Mr. John Troutbeck opened an inquest on Monday on the remains of the woman discovered in a vault of the new police office on the Thames embankment on the previous Tuesday. - The jury, after being sworn at the mortuary in Millbank-street, viewed the remains there, and then proceeded to the Sessions house, Broad Sanctuary, where the following evidence was taken. - Inspector Marshall represented the police authorities.
Frederick Wildborn said: I live at 17, Mansell-road, Clapham-junction, and am a carpenter employed by Messrs. Grover and Sons at the New Central Police office at Westminster. On Tuesday last I was at the buildings, and my work took me to all parts of the place during the day. At six o'clock on the morning of the previous day I had occasion to go to the vaults to find my tools, my labourer having taken them there on the Saturday. I then noticed what I took to be an old coat thrown on one side. It was lying in the corner of a recess. It was very dark there, even in the middle of the day. I could not find my tools - my labourer having, in fact, already removed them. In the evening at 5:30 I went once more to the vaults, and I then noticed the parcel again. There was no smell, not in the least. I drew my mate's attention to the parcel, and struck a wax vesta to look at it.
The Coroner: Was that the first time you had noticed it particularly? - Yes; but we did not know what it was, and came away.
Did you report the circumstance? - Not then. I saw the parcel again the next morning. About one o'clock Mr. Brown, the assistant foreman, came down to where I was at work, and I then informed him of what I had seen. We both went and looked at the parcel, and we thought it seemed curious.
Was it opened in your presence? - No.
Were you in the vault on the Saturday? - I was not there for a week before.
When you were last there did you perceive anything unusual? - No.
Did your labourer say anything to you about it? - No. I heard of the discovery of a body about three-quarters of an hour after Mr. Brown had seen the parcel.
Did the parcel remain in the same position from the Monday until you drew Mr. Brown's attention to it? - Yes; when I lit the match was the first time I had noticed anything particular. There was some debris in the place.
Has this vault been used for putting your tools in for any length of time? - For some weeks until the last three weeks. I always placed my tools there from Saturday to Monday, because I considered them safer there than in the locker. I have not noticed any similar parcel before.
No one carrying such a parcel? - No.
Is there any difficulty in getting to the vault? - Yes, to a stranger.
By the Jury: There is a hoarding all round the buildings. Each time I had to strike a match in order to see the parcel. I got to the vault not by means of a plank, but of a compo floor. I was not at the works at all from the Saturday to the Monday. When I saw the parcel first I thought it was a workman's old coat.

OPENING OF THE PARCEL AT WHITEHALL.

George Budgen deposed: I live in Salisbury-buildings, Walworth, and am a bricklayer's labourer, in the employ of Messrs. Grover. I was in this vault last Tuesday afternoon. Just before three o'clock I went there because my foreman, Mr. Cheney, told me there was a parcel there, and I was to examine it. I looked at it, and found that the top was bare, and the rest wrapped in some old cloth, but could make nothing of it. I thought it was some old bacon at first. I took hold of the strings around it, and dragged it into the light and cut the strings, three or four in number. On opening the old wrappers I saw that the parcel contained part of a human body.
How long before had you been in the vault? - Not for a long time. I had no occasion to go there.
Had you ever seen the parcel before? - No. I took a lamp down; without it I should not have been able to see anything. It was as dark as the darkest night. The police afterwards took charge of the remains.
What was said to you when you were sent to the vault? - The foreman only asked me to go and see what the parcel was.
Thomas Hawkins, detective, A division, said: About 20 minutes past three on Tuesday afternoon last Mr. Brown came to the King-street police-station, and from what he told the inspector I was despatched to the new police buildings. In one of the vaults I observed some human remains, wrapped in a piece of dress material. I left a constable in charge of the body while I went to the station, and also reported the discovery to Dr. Bond, who soon arrived at the spot. I directed all the witnesses to come to the station, where their statements were taken down. I fetched Detective-inspector Marshall, who came at five o'clock and took charge of the body.
What did you notice about the vaults? - They were very dark, so dark that it was impossible for a stranger to reach them without artificial light. The body was lying across a trench.

FINDING OF THE ARM AT MILLBANK.

Frederick Moore deposed: I live in Great Peter-street, and am a deal porter. About a quarter to one on Sept. 11 I was standing outside the gates of 113, Grosvenor-road - a deal wharf, where I work - when my attention was called by a few workmen looking over the Embankment to something which was lying in the mud of the river near the sluices from Millbank distillery. The men said they thought the object was an arm, but I did not think it was. However, a ladder was fetched, and we found that it was an arm.
Was it wrapped in anything? - Nothing.
Was there any string round it? - Yes, round the upper part. I put the arm on the timber, and gave information to the police.
You had not seen the arm before? - No.
And you do not think it was there the day before? - I could not say.
William James, Constable 127 B: About 12:45 on Sept. 11 I was on duty on Grosvenor embankment, when my attention was called to the arm by the last witness, and I conveyed it first to the police-station, and subsequently to the mortuary.
Did you find any other remains? - No. I was on special patrol on the Embankment for a week afterwards, but saw nothing else on the mud.
Charles William Brown: I reside at 5, Hampton-terrace, Hornsey, and am assistant foreman to Messrs. Grover, at the new police offices, Whitehall. The works are shut off from the surrounding streets by a hoarding about 7ft. high.
How many entrances are there? - Three; two in Cannon-row and one on the Embankment. There are gates at the entrances as high as the hoardings.
How long have these vaults been completed? - Three months.
Who was admitted to the works beside workmen? - No one, unless they had business. No one was kept at the gates.
So that any person who chose could walk in? - There was no one to prevent them. On Saturdays, all the gates are locked up, except a small one in Cannon-row.
Is there a watchman there? - No.
Who are left on the premises at night? - No one. The small gate in Cannon-row is secured by a latch, and it is not everybody who can undo it.
Is there any watchman outside? - No.
What were the approaches to the vaults? - A road made of planks laid two abreast. Once down in the vaults it is very dark. The floors have to be laid there and the drains put down. Carpenters were at work there the week before the discovery.
Did you observe anything about the state of the locks on the following Monday morning? - No.
Did they look as if they had been forced? - I did not notice.
Do you think previous knowledge was required to get to the vaults? - Yes, I do. I first saw the parcel about half-past two o'clock on Tuesday afternoon. I had been in the vaults on the Monday, but had not noticed any smell. I was there in the dark. On Tuesday the first witness called my attention to the parcel. He struck a light, and I saw in the corner what looked like an old coat with a piece of ham inside. I procured a lamp, and the parcel was afterwards got out and opened.
By the Jury: Tools have been stolen on the works. I do not think it possible that anyone could have lowered the parcel from Richmond-mews.
Mr. George Cheney: I live at 23, Berwick-street, Wandsworth-bridge, and am a foreman of bricklayers at the new police buildings. On Tuesday afternoon last Mr. Brown led me to this parcel, and on our striking a light we examined it, but could not make out what it was. We obtained a lamp, and removed the parcel to daylight, when we saw the remains of a woman.
How long before that had you been in the vault? - Not since it was finished, three months ago.
Ernest Edge, a general labourer, living in Peabody's-buildings, Farringdon-road, deposed: I was in this vault on Saturday week at 20 minutes to five in the evening, going there to get a hammer to nail the door of a locker. I struck a match, but nothing was in the vault then. I went across the trench, where we were measuring on the Friday. On the Saturday I was in the very corner where the parcel was discovered on the Tuesday.
There was no parcel there on the Saturday? - No. I might have been near the vault on the Monday; I certainly was on the Tuesday.
Are workmen constantly in the vault during the day? - Almost every day they go there to look for things. On the Saturday I locked up after everybody had gone, and left everything secure. As to the gate, which opens with a latch, I left that in the usual way. I am sure it was shut. To open the gate it was only necessary to pull the string.
By the Jury: The string would not attract the attention except of persons who knew about such buildings.

DR. BOND'S DESCRIPTION OF THE WOMAN.

Mr. Thomas Bond deposed: I am a surgeon and reside at the Sanctuary, Westminster Abbey. On Oct. 2, shortly before four o'clock, I was called to the new police buildings, where I was shown the decomposed trunk of a body. It was then lying in the basement partially unwrapped. I visited the place where it had been discovered, and found that the wall against which it had lain was stained black. The parcel seemed to have been there for several days, and it was taken to the mortuary that evening, and the remains placed in spirits. On the following morning, assisted by my colleague, I made an examination. The trunk was that of a woman of considerable stature and well nourished. The head had been separated from the trunk by means of a saw. The lower limbs and the pelvis had been removed in the same way. The length of the trunk was 17in., and the circumference of the chest 351/2 in. and the waist 281/2in. The parts were decomposed, and we could not discover any wounds. The breasts were large and prominent. The arms had been removed at the shoulder joints by several incisions, the cuts having apparently been made obliquely from above downward, and then around the arm. Over the body were clearly defined marks, where string had been tied. It appeared to have been wrapped up in a very skilful manner. We did not find marks indicating that the woman had borne any children. On opening the chest we found that the rib cartilages were not ossified, that one lung was healthy, but that the left lung showed signs of severe pleurisy. The substance of the heart was healthy, and there were indications that the woman had not died either of suffocation or of drowning. The liver and stomach, kidneys and spleen were normal. The uterus was gone. There were indications that the woman was of mature age - 24 or 25 years. She would have been large and well nourished, with fair skin and dark hair. The date of death would have been from six weeks to two months, and the decomposition occurred in the air, not the water. I subsequently examined the arm brought to the mortuary. It was the arm of a woman, and accurately fitted to the trunk; and the general contour of the arm corresponded to that of the body. The fingers were long and taper, and the nails well shaped; and the hand was quite that of a person not used to manual labour.
Was there anything to indicate the cause of death? - Nothing whatever.
Could you tell whether death was sudden or lingering? - All I can say is that death was not be suffocation or drowning. Most likely it was from hemorrhage or fainting.
Can you give any indication of the probable height of the woman? - From our measurements we believed the height to have been 5ft. 8in. That opinion depends more upon the measurements of the arm than those of the trunk itself.
Was the woman stout? - Not very stout, but thoroughly plump; fully developed, but not abnormally fat. The inference is that she was a tall, big woman. The hand was long, and was the hand of a woman not accustomed to manual labour.
Did the hand show any sign of refinement? - I do not know that a hand of that kind is always associated with any refinement of mind or body, but certainly it was a refined hand.
Mr. Charles Alfred Hibbert, assistant to Mr. Bond said: I examined the arm on Sept. 16. It was a right arm, and had been separated from the shoulder joint. It measured 31in. in length, and was 13in. in circumference at the point of separation, the wrist being 61/2in. round, and the hand 71/2in. long. The arm was surrounded at the upper part with a piece of string, which made an impression on the skin, and when it was loosened there was a great deal of blood in the arm. The hand was long, and the nails small and well shaped. It was the hand of a female. There were no scars or bruises. The arm had apparently been separated after death.
Did the arm seem to have been separated easily? - The operation was performed by a person who knew what he was doing - not by an anatomist, but by a person who knew the joints.
Had the cuts been done by a very sharp knife? - They were perfectly clean. I found that the skin cuts of the arm, corresponded with those of the trunk, and that the bones corresponded likewise. The same skill was manifested in both instances. The work was not the work of the dissecting room - that was obvious. A piece of paper was shown to me as having been picked up near the remains, and it was stained with the blood of an animal.
Was there the mark of any ring on the finger? - No.

EVIDENCE OF INSPECTOR MARSHALL.

Inspector Marshall, of the Criminal Investigation department, deposed: About five on Oct. 2 I went to the new police buildings on the Thames embankment, and in the basement saw the trunk referred to by previous witnesses. The corner from which it had been taken was pointed out to me, and I saw that the wall was a great deal stained. Examining the ground I found the piece of paper alluded to by the last witness, as well as a piece of string, apparently sash-cord. Dr. Hibbert handed me two pieces of material which had come from the remains. I at once made a thorough search of the vaults, but nothing more was discovered. On the following morning, with other officers, I made a further search of all the vaults, but nothing more was found nor anything suspicious observed. The piece of paper spoken to forms part of an Echo of Aug. 24. Dr. Hibbert handed me a number of small pieces of paper found on the body. They are pieces of the Daily Chronicle, but I cannot yet establish the date. It is not of this year's issue. With respect to the dress it is of broche satin cloth, of Bradford manufacture, but a pattern probably three years old.
Is it a common dress? - It is made of common material. There is one flounce six inches wide at the bottom. The material could probably be bought at 6d. per yard. I have examined the hoarding round the works.
Is it possible to get over it? - There is a place in Cannon-row where a person could easily get over, but there is no indication of anybody having done so. The latch which has been referred to is not likely to have been noticed except by a person acquainted with buildings. The string with which the parcel was tied was a miscellaneous lot. One piece is of sash-cord, and the rest is of different sizes, and there is also a piece of black tape.
Did you form any opinion as to how long the parcel had been where it was found? - From the stain on the wall I certainly thought several days, but the witness Edge told me he was sure it was not there on the previous Saturday.
Edge being recalled repeated his assertion that the remains were not in the vault on the Saturday, as they were discovered in the very place where he looked for the hammer.
The Coroner: Do you think it possible that the parcel was there without your seeing it? - I am sure it was not there.
The inquest was adjourned to the 22nd instant.

Source: Lloyd's Weekly London Newspaper, October 14, 1888, Page 8


Last edited by Karen on Mon 2 Dec - 21:30; edited 1 time in total

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Explaining A Clue

Post by Karen on Tue 2 Nov - 7:42

THE WHITEHALL MYSTERY.

EXPLAINING A PROBABLE "CLUE."

The information from a person at Llanelly, South Wales, to the effect that on the Saturday before the discovery at Whitehall he saw a man climb the railings, other men with a trunk on which there was a bag, being in waiting, has been investigated by the detective officers who have the case in hand. The result is that the incident has been ascertained to have no connection with the placing of the trunk in the vault. A workman got over the railings in Cannon-row to open a door which was fastened from the inside, so as to enable another man to carry in a bag of sand which was on the truck. Inspector Marshall and Sergeant Rose this morning were pursuing their inquiries in the neighbourhood of Pimlico.

THE MURDER MANIA.

A man named Birchin, who lives at Portsmouth, has exhibited a most extraordinary ferocity since the occurrence of the Whitechapel murders. He has frequently rushed about the house with a knife in his hand, declaring that he would repeat the Whitechapel atrocities upon his wife and three daughters. He was kneeling upon his wife on Sunday, and flourishing the knife over her head, when seized by the neighbours. Yesterday, at the Portsmouth Police-court, he was sentenced to three months' hard labour.

Source: The Echo, Tuesday October 16, 1888, Page 3

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Re: Details of the Whitehall Mystery

Post by Karen on Mon 2 Dec - 21:30

THE WHITEHALL MYSTERY.
A FURTHER DISCOVERY.

The Press Association says: On Wednesday morning a further discovery of human remains was made on the site of the police buildings at Whitehall, where works are now in progress. Mr. Jasper T.C. Waring obtained permission of the police and the contractor
to use a Spitzbergen dog in making a search of the premises, and with the dog in his charge Mr. Waring arrived on the site at half-past eleven o'clock. The dog was taken into the vault where the trunk of a woman was discovered a fortnight ago, and after a very short
lapse of time it began sniffing at a mound of earth which had been thrown back from an excavation over a drain made eight or ten weeks ago. A laborer who was with the search party was at once directed to throw over some of the soil, and at a depth of about a foot from the
surface an object was found, and was at once seized upon by the animal. An examination proved it to be a portion of a human leg. Decomposition was far advanced. The limb, when found, was lying 8 feet or 9 feet from the spot where the woman's trunk was discovered. Police-constable
Rutland, the officer on duty at the works, sent information of the discovery to King-street Police-station, ordering that the digging should in the meantime be discontinued. Sergeants Rose and Ferris, representing the Criminal Investigation Department, quickly arrived; and Dr. Bond, of 7, Broad
Sanctuary, Westminster, who it will be remembered was one of the surgeons who made the post-mortem examination of the trunk, was summoned. On his arrival he pronounced the limb to be that of a finely developed woman. It was the left leg and had been severed at the knee, and the doctor's
opinion was that it had been in the vault for a period of about six weeks. As the earth in which the leg was found had been thrown back for eight or ten weeks, Dr. Bond's estimate of time is, no doubt, correct. After that gentleman's inspection orders were given that the remains should be taken to the
mortuary at Millbank. In the presence of Inspector Peters and several constables, Sergeant Rose enclosed the limb in brown paper, sealed the parcel, and then conveyed it in a cab to the place mentioned. The person or persons by whom the limb was deposited where it was found must have had some
difficulty in carrying it to so secluded a part of the premises, as there are several subways which would of necessity be traversed before gaining the vault. During the past fortnight the strictest guard has been kept by the police, and access to the premises could not have been attempted within that time without
the certainty of detection. This is further confirmation of the theory as to the length of time which must have elapsed since the remains were hidden away.
After the departure of Sergeant Rose to the Millbank Mortuary, the digging in the vault was resumed, three or four constables being present, and light was diffused by the use of lamps. The unearthing of other buried remains were expected to be speedily effected, but the search was unsuccessfully carried on up
to half-past four o'clock, when the police gave directions that the work should be discontinued for the day.

Source: Aberystwyth Observer, 20 October 1888, Page 2

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Re: Details of the Whitehall Mystery

Post by Karen on Mon 2 Dec - 21:30

THE WHITEHALL MYSTERY.
INQUEST. - MEDICAL EVIDENCE.

Mr. John Troutbeck has opened an inquest in the Westminster Sessions House on an unidentified woman, a portion of whose body was found on the 2nd inst. in the new police offices in course of erection on the Embankment. Inspector Marshall represented the public authorities. Evidence having been given as to the discovery
of the remains, Dr. Bond deposed:

On October 2nd, shortly before four, I was called to the new police buildings, and there shown the decomposed trunk of a woman. It was then lying in the basement and partially unwrapped. I visited the vault where it was found, and saw that the wall against which it had lain was stained black. I should imagine the parcel must have
been in the vault more than three days. At the mortuary I superintended the placing of the remains in spirits. On the following morning I made an examination, assisted by Dr. Hibberd. The sixth cervical vertebra had been sawn through in removing the head from the trunk. The lower limbs and pelvis had been removed, and the four lumbar
vertebrae had been sawn through by a series of long, sweeping cuts. The length of the trunk was 17 inches, and the circumference of the chest 35-1/2 inches. The circumference of the waist was 28-1/2 inches. The trunk was very much decomposed. I examined the skin thoroughly, but did not detect any marks of wounds. In the neighbourhood
of the cut surfaces decomposition was especially advanced. The skin was light. Both arms had been removed at the shoulder joints by several incisions. The cuts had apparently been made obliquely from above downwards, and then round the arms. Disarticulation had been effected straight through the joints. Over the body were clearly-defined
marks, where the strings had been tied. The body appeared to have been wrapped up in a very skilful manner. The neck had been divided by several jagged incisions at the bottom of the larynx, which had been sawn through. On opening the chest we found that the left lung was healthy, but that the right lung was firmly adherent to the chest wall of the
diaphragm, showing that at some time the woman had suffered from severe pleurisy. The rib cartilages were not ossified. In connection with the heart there were indications that convinced me that the woman did not die of suffocation or drowning. The liver was normal, and the stomach contained about an ounce of partly digested food. Portions of the body
were missing. Appearances of the collar-bones indicated that the woman was of mature development - undoubtedly over 24 or 25 years of age. It appeared that she was full fleshed, well nourished, with a fair skin and dark hair. The appearances went to prove that deceased had never borne, or at any rate had never suckled, a child. The date of death, as far
as could be judged, was from six weeks to two months before the examination. The body had not been in the water. I examined an arm that was brought to the mortuary, and I found that it accurately fitted the trunk. The hand was long and appeared to be very well shaped. Apparently it was the hand of a person not used to manual labour. All the cuts on the trunk
seemed to have been made after death. There was nothing to indicate the cause of death, though as the inside of the heart was pale and free from clots, it possibly arose from hemhorrage or fainting. From a series of measurements we took we came to the conclusion that the woman was about 5ft. 8in. in height.
Dr. C.A. Hibberd deposed: I saw and examined the arm on the 16th September. It measured 31in. in length, and the hand measured 7-1/2in. There were no scars or marks of violence upon it, and it had apparently been separated after death. I thought the arm had been severed by a person who knew what he was about. It does not of course follow that he had any
dissecting-room experience, but he evidently knew where the joints could be reached readily. The six or seven cuts round the joint had evidently been done by a very sharp knife. I examined a piece of newspaper (produced) which was handed to me, and I ascertained that it was stained with blood. It was mammal blood, but I cannot say whether it was human blood.
There were no marks of rings on the fingers.
Other evidence having been taken, the enquiry was adjourned for a fortnight.

Source: Cardigan Observer, and General Advertiser For the Counties of Cardigan, Carmarthen and Pembroke, 13 October 1888, Page 2

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Re: Details of the Whitehall Mystery

Post by Karen on Mon 2 Dec - 21:31

THE WHITEHALL MYSTERY.
INQUEST AND VERDICT.

The adjourned inquest on the remains recently discovered in the foundations of the new police buildings at Whitehall, has been resumed and concluded at the Sessions House, Westminster, before the Coroner. Mr. Brown, the deputy foreman of the works, was of opinion that the trunk discovered on the 2nd October could not have been in the position in which it was found
on the 28th September, when witness was occupied in measuring the vault for the surveyor. George Erant, clerk of the works, deposed that he left the building at midday on the Saturday. On the Friday preceding the discovery he was in the vault, but saw nothing of the body. He must have noticed it had it been there. Arthur Franklin, surveyor, deposed that he was in the vault
on the Friday taking measurements. He did not go into the corner in which the body was discovered. He saw nothing beyond a quantity of rubbish. The body might have been there without attracting his attention. Jasper Waring, who refused to give his address publicly, and described himself as the Tilbury representative of a news agency, said that he visited the site of the police
buildings in Whitehall with a dog on the 17th inst. He gave a detailed description of the discovery of a woman's leg through the agency of his dog. The particulars of this discovery have already been published. Witness, in reply to a juryman, said he did not have the permission of the police to visit the ground. J. Hedges, a labourer, said he was the last person in the vault on the Saturday
in question. He went there for a hammer. He looked into the corner where the remains were unearthed, but saw nothing. Dr. Bond said that he was called on the 17th inst. by Sergeant Rose to Whitehall, where he found a leg and foot, which he judged had been in the vault for several weeks. The foot was in an advanced state of decomposition, but the leg was in a wonderful state of preservation.
The leg had been very carefully disarticulated, and corresponded in every way with the trunk which he had previously examined. He was certain that the body had lain in the vault for weeks uncovered and exposed to the air. The brickwork was saturated with the decomposing fluid from a human body. Death, in his opinion, must have taken place about the end of August. Mr. Herbert, of St. Thomas's Hospital,
gave anatomical particulars of the leg discovered on the 17th inst. He bore out Dr. Bond's evidence. He though the limb must have belonged to a woman of from 5 feet 8 to 5 feet 9 in height, and that death must have taken place about the middle of August. The coroner summed up, and the jury returned a verdict of "Found dead."

Source: Cardigan Observer, and General Advertiser For the Counties of Cardigan, Carmarthen and Pembroke, 27 October 1888, Page 2

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Re: Details of the Whitehall Mystery

Post by Karen on Mon 2 Dec - 21:31

THE WHITEHALL MYSTERY. - The place where the trunk of a woman was found in the new police buildings at Whitehall was further examined on Wednesday, when a Spitzbergen dog, belonging to Mr. Jasper T.C. Waring, was employed. The dog began to sniff at a mound of earth which was dug over, and when much of the soil had been removed the dog seized a strange looking object, which, on being examined
by a candle, was found to be a portion of a human leg which had been severed at the knee joint. Upon the leg was a portion of a stocking or some woollen substance. It is remarkable that the leg was found only a yard and a half distant from the spot where the body was found, and the police were supposed to have searched the whole of the ground. A medical man was summoned, and he at once took charge of the limb
with a view of making a detailed examination of it.

Source: Cambrian, 19 October 1888, Page 6

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