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Mitre Square and the Dynamitards of 1885

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Mitre Square and the Dynamitards of 1885

Post by Karen on Thu 1 Sep 2011 - 14:00

Very little more was disclosed on Monday when the two men Cunningham and Burton, who are charged with being concerned in the explosion at the Tower, were brought up again at Bow-street. However Mr. Poland stated that the case is as yet "in its infancy," for the police are gathering fresh evidence every day. The charges brought against the prisoners are those of high treason, and the capital felony of setting fire to military stores in the Tower. It would be shown, Mr. Poland said, that Burton came over to this country on Christmas Eve in the Oregon. At Liverpool he stayed one night, and the next day, Christmas Day, came to London; and it is remarkable that of these two persons, one being a dock labourer and the other a cabinetmaker, one comes to this country from New York, arriving on the 20th of December, and the other comes from New York, arriving on the 24th of December. The next remarkable fact is that one goes to live in the neighbourhood of the Tower - at Great Prescott-street - and the other at No. 5, Mitre-square. On the 13th of January, it being necessary for some purpose - whether Cunningham wanted to make it appear that he was not the person who lived in Liverpool and had possession of the mysterious brown trunk, or for some other reason - the trunk was clandestinely removed from that house, 30, Great Prescott-street. Cunningham says it was a friend of his who did it. Now the friend who did it was the prisoner Burton, who says he bought it off a stranger. It is material that Burton had been living from the 26th of December to the 10th of January at 5, Mitre-square. But there was living at that house a City police-constable named Wilson and his wife. Now, Wilson saw Burton from time to time, and as the latter was doing no work his manner of life attracted Wilson's attention, and it was thought right that a report should be made of the matter to the head-quarters of the City police in the Old Jewry. Consequently, a man in plain clothes named Roper was sent to the house, with instructions to watch Burton, and the result was that on that day Burton was seen by the constable in the company of Cunningham. For some reason or other, Burton determined to move from No. 5, Mitre-square, Aldgate, to the lodgings where he was found and taken into custody at No. 90, Turner's-road, Bow. Of course (said Mr. Poland) there is no question whatever that this treasonable conspiracy has its head-quarters in America. From time to time men come over to this country with Atlas dynamite of American manufacture, and by means of it they make attacks upon the public buildings of London. It is noticeable that both Cunningham and Burton came to this country last spring. How Cunningham can afford to make these journeys, being only a dock labourer, the magistrate might form his own opinion. It was very soon after the arrival of these two men in the country that the explosion near King's-cross and Gower-street stations occurred. There is evidence that on that occasion both the prisoners rode in a spare brake van of the Metropolitan train. It is stated also that the only books found in Burton's possession were guides to the Tower and to the Palace of Westminster. In giving an account of himself and the way in which he became possessed of the brown trunk, Burton was very circumstantial.

Source: The Guardian, February 11, 1885, Page 215

N.B. Could this City PC, named Wilson be the "Wilson" that can be found in an entry of the Special Branch Ledgers? He could have been either an informant or complicit in the outrages.

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Karen Trenouth
Author of: "Epiphany of the Whitechapel Murders"
Author of: "Jack the Ripper: The Satanic Team"
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