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Remembering London’s grim and grisly past

Over the years I’ve become fascinated with the criminology of our capital city. Being a London surveyor I often value buildings where I know more about their history than the owners.

On November 7 1974 Lady Veronica Lucan ran bloodstained and hysterical from her house in Lower Belgrave Street, Belgravia.

Lying at home was the body of nanny Sandra Rivett, allegedly murdered by Richard John Bingham, the 7th Earl of Lucan, in a case of mistaken identity.

Over the years I’ve surveyed the houses either side of the crime scene and on each occasion the buyers were unaware of the history until I told them. His Lordship is still at large, believed by some to be alive and living up to his nickname ‘Lucky’ Lucan.

In the 1960s, London’s criminal underworld was controlled by the Kray twins in the East and the Richardsons in the South. What a nasty bunch.

Regular readers of this column will recall that I’ve referred to the Lion Pub in Tapp Street, Bethnal Green, which has been converted into flats.

From there Reggie Kray set forth to murder George Cornell in the Blind Beggar pub on Whitechapel Road, but less well known is that on October 28 1967 Ronnie Kray murdered a villain called Jack ‘the Hat’ McVitie in a lower ground floor flat on Evering Road, Stoke Newington.

I’ve always been fascinated by London gangland stuff and although I’ve never been inside that particular flat I did value the one directly above. Again, the occupants were unaware about what had occurred in the building until I told them.

On July 28 1986 something awful occurred in 37 Shorrolds Road, Fulham, West London. The road is similar to most in the vicinity and I’ve carried out countless valuations there.

It wouldn’t be memorable but for the fact that estate agent Suzy Lamplugh arranged to meet someone called Mr Kipper there on that fateful day and was never seen again.

No mention of London’s macabre connections would be complete without reference to a man who described himself to the Fleet Street Central News Agency as Jack the Ripper.

Virtually all the Ripper’s murder sites are now gone except for a corner of Mitre Square EC3.

There you can still see the spot where Catherine Eddowes was slain on August 31 1888.

Strangely, it seems that a property’s grisly history doesn’t deter buyers. Indeed, there is evidence that it actually stimulates interest.

In the 1990s a flat in Muswell Hill was up for sale. In the flat below, Dennis Nilsen murdered 16 men. At the time the agents said they had received multiple offers. Ah, those were the days.


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