Continuing our peek behind the scenes of our Museum of the Month, the Cuming Museum.
This is the Tombstone of Maria Manning who was executed, alongside her husband Frederick for the murder of Maria's lover Patrick O'Connor on 9 August 1849.
The unfortunate O'Connor was murdered at the couple's house in Bermondsey via a pistol shot to the head from Maria and a follow-on attack with a chisel by the husband. The body was subsequently buried beneath their kitchen flagstones. Maria then raided O'Conner's home for valuables, and the pair fled separately to Edinburgh and Jersey. The police discovered the body just 8 days after the murder and soon had the Mannings in custody. Both were tried and executed. The case became one of the most notorious crimes of the decade, with up to 50,000 people watching the executions. Charles Dickens was among them, and later wrote of his revulsion in the Times. A full account of the case is given here.
The pair were buried in the grounds of Horsemonger Lane Gaol, on Newington Causeway, now the site of Newington Gardens. The grave stones of both murderers were acquired by the Cuming Museum after the demolition of gaol in 1881.