BOOK REVIEW - Murder most horrid as Newhaven expands in 19th century

Newhaven High Street in the 1920s - Picture from Newhaven Museum

Newhaven High Street in the 1920s - Picture from Newhaven Museum

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A captain beat his wife to death with a fire shovel in Newhaven after returning home from sea.

Harry Winter carried out the brutal attack in October 1830 when he was the part owner of a trading vessel.

The Blue Anchor pub in 1880 - picture from Newhaven Museum

The Blue Anchor pub in 1880 - picture from Newhaven Museum

This is just one of the stories in Stanley Bernard’s new book News from Victorian Newhaven.

The court case was held in the Bridge Inn in Newhaven where it was concluded that the murder was caused by the couple being drunk.

A jury found him guilty of manslaughter and he was sentenced to transportation for life.

It emerged that the couple lived unhappily together for 30 years but in the past year they had both started to drink heavily which made their arguments worse.

During the day of the murder witnesses saw Harry hit his wife with a burning candle and later saw her kneeling naked by the riverside when he hit her again.

She fell to the ground, crying: “Murder! Oh forgive me this time.”

Tragically in those days a certain amount of violence was accepted towards women so the witnesses took no action when they saw him hitting her.

Stanley’s book explores famous murders carried out in the town during this era, as well as detailing how the town expanded after the advent of the railway.

Did you know for instance that the town grew from just 900 people in 1841 to a large port and railway town by 1889 with more than 6,500 inhabitants?

Local historian Stanley, who lives in Peacehaven, explains the book looks at what was an up and coming town centred on the arrival of the railway in 1847.

During the early 19th century visitors would have seen large houses where today there are housing estates.

Shops were built to serve the expanding population, while today many of them are boarded up.

The new employment opportunities attracted people from all around the country to live in the town.

News from Victorian Newhaven gives a fascinating insight into how the town changed dramatically.

It is published by Paths Publishing and costs £10.99.