Some history on Cheapside at Bordesley and Highgate in Birmingham in the County of Warwickshire
More information on Cheapside to follow. I probably created the page as I had a link to Cheapside from another page. When building the site it is easier to place links as they crop up rather than go back later on. I realise this is frustrating if you were specifically looking for information on Cheapside. There is information on Birmingham dotted around the website - click here for a suitable starting place.
"An atrocious attempt at murder took place yesterday in Cheapside, about nine o'clock in the morning, which has caused no little
excitement and indignation in the locality. The attempted murderer is a plane-iron maker, named William Smith, twenty-three years of age, residing
with his mother in Moseley Street. His victim is a young widow with two children, named Mary Ann Owen, who has a house in No. 20 Court, Cheapside, a person of
excellent character, in the employment of Mr. T. Cox, button and umbrella manufacturer, Alcester Street, It appears that about three months ago Smith became
acquainted with Mrs. Owen, to whom he seems to have become even violently attached. His visits to her house were frequent; they were in the habit of walking
out together, and were apparently on the best possible terms. Up to Friday last matters remained in this state but on that day it is said Mrs. Owen rejected his
addresses, and declined to continue the intimacy. Smith was violently enraged against her on account of this rejection, and upon her refusing to see him when he
called on Saturday, he was heard by several persons to utter threats against her. On Monday, however, he managed to see Mrs. Owen, and a reconciliation seems to
have taken place, and in the evening he accompanied Mrs. Owen and her little daughter to a photographic establishment on Deritend Bridge, and had coloured portraits
of them taken. Subsequently they all returned together to Mrs. Owen's house. He remained there during the evening, and indeed all night, and, it is said, was
perfectly sober. About eleven o'clock a girl named Jane Hummins, who is a fellow-workwoman with Mrs. Owen, and lodged in her house, left for the
purpose of going to a party, and at that time the two lovers appeared to be on the most friendly terms. It seems that Mrs. Owen subsequently retired to rest, leaving
Smith lying upon the sofa by the fire. Early in the morning the girl Hummins returned from the party and saw him there. Coming downstairs about eight o'clock
yesterday morning, she found Smith and Mrs. Owen sitting on the sofa by the fire, while coffee was being prepared for breakfast. They were talking good-temperedly
but the girl noticed something in Smith's manner which she did not like, and accordingly urged Mrs. Owen to make haste to go to work. Smith upon this became angry,
and a violent quarrel arose, of a character so noisy as to attract the attention of the neighbours, who heard Smith declare that he would cut Mrs. Owen's head off.
Some of them interposed in a friendly way, and a good understanding seemed to be restored between them. This peaceful state of things did not, however, continue long.
Mrs. Owen proceeded to her chamber for the purpose of dressing to go out, when suddenly Smith started up, and without uttering a word, rushed upstairs after her. In a
moment after the girl Hummins heard a fearful shriek. She instantly dashed into the bedroom, and there saw Mrs. Owen stretched out on the floor in a pool of blood,
and Smith standing over her cutting her throat with a razor. With great courage and presence of mind, Hummins sprang upon the attempted murderer, and after a struggle
succeeded in wresting the weapon from his grasp. At the same tine she raised an alarm by screaming, but Smith, evidently bent upon the commission of murder, drew a
knife from his pocket and made a second attack upon his unfortunate victim. Mrs. Owen, however, had sufficient remaining strength to break away from him, and had
reached the stairs in her flight, when she was met by Police-Constable Evans , who took her under his protection. Medical aid was immediately sent for,
and Mr. Clay, of Moseley Street, and Mr. Jordan, of Bradford Street, were promptly in attendance. They found that serious wounds had been inflicted, and that the main
arteries had narrowly escaped injury. While the surgeons were attending upon her, Smith sat upon the end of the sofa upon which she was laid, and affected to be
intoxicated. This, however, was mere pretence, as upon the constables removing him to Alcester Street Station, he walked well, and spoke rationally. He said that it
was jealousy which had led him to the commission of the crime; that he had seen Mrs. Owen walking with a man on the preceding afternoon, and he burst into tears
as he spoke. The floor of the room in which the attempt was made was covered with blood; Mrs. Owen was smothered in it, and the hands and dress of Smith were
deeply stained with it; the spectacle he presented on being taken through the streets in this state exciting the utmost horror. Yesterday morning Smith was taken
before Mr. T. C. S. Kynnersley, at the Public Office, Moor Street, when Chief Superintendent Stephens applied for a remand until Saturday, on the ground the that Owen
was unable to be either examined or removed. The application was granted, and the prisoner will be brought up again on Saturday."
"Jealousy and Attempted Murder in Cheapside"
Birmingham Daily Post : October 6th 1858 Page 3
I followed this up by finding the report on the case at the Assizes. The name of the perpetrator was given as William Richard Thomas rather than William Smith in the earlier report. He was found guilty by the jury and the sentence of death was recorded, subjecting the prisoner to penal servitude for life, or such terms as Her Majesty may be pleased to determine. The Criminal Register does indeed record him as William Richard Thomas.