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Metropolitan Police letter and photographs of Dr Neill Cream, the 'Lambeth Poisoner', England, 1890-1907

Written on headed police notepaper, the smaller letter in this photograph was penned by an officer in London’s Metropolitan Police. It concerns Dr Neill Cream (1850-92) and is accompanied by four photographs of him. Known as the ‘Lambeth Poisoner’, Dr Cream was convicted and hung for the murders of four prostitutes on 15 November 1892. Strychnine was his weapon of choice. At the time, the drug was used in small doses as a stimulant and a laxative and was commonly found in physicians’ medicine chests. Cream is famously said to have claimed to be the infamous Jack the Ripper when he was executed in Billingsgate, London, supposedly uttering the words “I am Jack…” as the rope went taut. This was unlikely to have been true as he was imprisoned in Chicago, Illinois, for another murder at the time of the Ripper murders. Shown here with other photographs (A652046, A625048) and a letter written by Cream on blue paper (A652050).

Object number:




Glossary: photograph

No description.

Glossary: strychnine

A naturally occurring drug derived from trees. In small doses strychnine functions as a central nervous system stimulant, but in higher doses it is extremely poisonous.

Glossary: laxative

An agent that acts to encourage evacuation of the bowels

Glossary: letter - correspondence

Pieces of correspondence that are somewhat more formal than memoranda or notes, usually on paper and delivered.