Unsolved Murders

Edith Ellen Waines

Age: 31

Sex: female

Date: 10 Dec 1948

Place: Mint Street, Southwark, SE1

Source: discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Edith Ellen Waines was murdered in Mint Street, Southwark, SE1 in the early hours of 10 December 1948.

She was found just after midnight on a bombed site. Her black knitted handbag with an orange border on the flap containing money was found near her body.

The alarm was raised after a night-watchman who had been at a nearby coffee warehouse heard her screams and when he went to investigate, found her body.

She had been kicked and her face battered.

It was said that the position of her body on the three-foot-wide footway adjoining the blitz site where she was found suggested that she had been dragged from the derelict area towards the road.

She had been wearing a dark coat.

She was also known as Edith Dorland and had two four-month-old twins and a four-year-old boy, and had lived at Newington Institution (LCC - London County Council), Westmoreland Road, Southwark. She had been living at the Institution, which was a rest centre for homeless people, for the previous five weeks with her husband and children. The Institution was about three miles from where her body was found. She had left the Institution at about 11pm on the Friday night although it was said that she had not been known to go out so late at night before in the five weeks that she had been there.

The police said that after leaving the Institution, Edith Waines had gone to Camberwell Green about three-quarters of a mile away where she had boarded a tram or bus for Elephant and Castle, arriving about midnight. Shortly after arriving she was seen in the company of two men in Mint Street.

The police said that they were searching for a man 'with dark hair and sideboards, and of foreign appearance'. They said that they thought that her assailant might have had bloodstains on his clothing and boots as well as traces of wet cement.

The police later attempted to reconstruct the last five minutes of Edith Waines's life, and in doing so appealed for two women and a man who where thought to have walked along Mint Street at about midnight on the Friday to come forward. They said that they thought that they had been Mint Street around midnight and might have seen a woman having a heated argument with two men, about half an hour before Edith Waines's body was found.

They also appealed for anyone else who had been in Mint Street from 11.30pm on the Friday to 12.30am on the Saturday to come forward.

The police also appealed for anyone that had been on a bus or tram and had seen a woman matching Edith Waines's description to come forward.

Edith Waines was described as being 31 years old, five feet tall, with a slim build, black hair rolled all round and wearing a flesh coloured bandeau, a collarless black swagger coat, a blue dress with the top half being pink with blue squares and black shoes.

She was from Middlesbrough where she had lived until 1941.During the war she had served in the ATS for a time but had been invalided out after which she had worked in a munitions factory.

Several men were interviewed by the police during their investigation, but no one was charged.


*map pointers are rough estimates based on known location details as per Place field above.


see National Archives - MEPO 3/3033

see Western Morning News - Monday 13 December 1948

see The People - Sunday 19 December 1948

see Belfast Telegraph - Saturday 11 December 1948

see Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Monday 13 December 1948

see Gloucester Citizen - Saturday 11 December 1948

see Liverpool Echo - Saturday 11 December 1948

see Daily Herald - Monday 13 December 1948

see Nottingham Evening Post - Saturday 11 December 1948