Unsolved Murders


Age: 0

Sex: male

Date: 16 Jul 1924

Place: Wellington Bridge, Leeds

The mummified remains of a newly-born child were found in a stable near Wellington Bridge in Leeds in July 1924.

It was found by two boys that had been playing on the canal bank near the bridge when they looked in through a window of the old stable.

After finding it they took it to the police station.

The skeleton had been about 18 inches long.

Upon examination it was thought that the child had been dead a dozen years or more and had been subject to some mummifying treatment.

It was supposed that red lead or some other concoction had been injected into the child's veins in order to preserve the body for scientific purposes.

The owner of the stable, a herbalist, said that he had bought the shop there, along with the stable and his whole stock as well as a skull and some bones from another herbalist who had left for Chesterfield and who had since died.

Whilst giving his evidence, the herbalist kept referring to the body as 'something', and the Coroner asked him whether he didn't know that it was a skeleton and that when he got it whether or not he wondered whose child it was, to which the herbalist replied:

I never thought about it being a child.

A tobacconist and confectioner of Wellington Bridge said that he shared the stable with the herbalist and that about six months earlier he examined the lumber in the herbalists portion and saw a full-sized skeleton and skull there, noting that the skeleton was about five feet tall.

A broker of Victoria Road, Holbeck said that he had a slight recollection of having seen the small skeleton previously, about 12 years earlier, stating that it came from the sale of a doctor's effects, and that at the same time he got a large skeleton that had not been put together. He added that he sold both items to the herbalist who at that time had been in Marshall Street. He added that he thought there had been a mummified cat in the same lot.

A doctor that examined the skeleton said that it had been that of a child that had probably died in the first year of life. He said that the blood vessels had been injected with red oxide of lead and that it was quite legitimate for such specimens to be in the possession of medical men, though he didn't know anywhere here they could be bought. He added that the body had been prepared by someone who knew how to mummify.

He said that it was very well preserved and might have been 50 years old or more. 

After hearing the evidence the jury found that it had been an anatomical specimen that had been prepared by competent and expert persons.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Yorkshire Evening Post - Wednesday 16 July 1924

see National Library of Scotland