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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
23rd February 1982 Michael Frayn's Noises Off, premieres in London
23rd February 1981 Princess Diana moves out of her flat ahead of her announcement the following day.
23rd February 1973 Gold goes up $10 overnight to record $95 an ounce in London
23rd February 1950 Born today: Steve Priest, London, rock bassist (Sweet Hayes)
23rd February 1945 2nd Dutch govt of Gerbrandy forms in London
23rd February 1918 Magician Chung Ling Soo's Catch the Bullet With Your Teeth goes wrong and he is killed on stage.
23rd February 1910 George Bernard Shaw's Misalliance, premieres in London
23rd February 1895 Born today: Richard Goolden, London England, actor (School for Husbands)
23rd February 1886 London Times publishes world's 1st classified ad
23rd February 1817 Born today: George Watts, London, painter
23rd February 1792 Artist Sir Joshua Reynolds died in his house in Leicester Fields, London.
23rd February 1776 Born today: John Walter II, London, chief proprietor (The Times, 1812-47)
23rd February 1633 Born today: Samuel Pepys, London England, navy expert/composer (Diary, Memoirs)
1909 Tottenham Outrage Robbery
The robbery of the factory here caused a legendary car chase.
Location: Tottenham High Road, London
Description: PC William Tyler and 10-year-old Ralph Joscelyne were murdered and 21 people injured by two anarchist robbers trying to escape after a robbery.
Paul Hefeld and Jacob Lepidus were Latvian immigrants who stole the wages from Schnurrman's rubber factory on the corner of Tottenham High Road and Chestnut Road on 23 January 1909.
The two were armed with pistols, and when the chauffeur-driven car carrying the wages clerk drew up they seized the cash bag and shot at the driver and a passing stoker who tried to restrain Lepidus. The shots brought reserve constables William Tyler and Albert Newman running from the police station, later joined by officers from the nearby section house on bicycles, and thus began the long chase during which the anarchists would fire over 400 rounds at their many pursuers.
At Mitchley Road Mission Hall PC Newman urged the chauffeur to try to run down the gunmen with the wages car. In response, Lepidus and Hefeld shot and injured Newman and the chauffeur, and shot Little Ralph Joscelyne as he ran for the cover of the car. The boy was rushed to hospital but pronounced dead on arrival. Police in the station now smashed open the locked firearms cupboard to bring pistols to the pursuit.
At a railway footbridge leading to Tottenham Marshes, PC Tyler took advantage of the wall cutting off Lepidus and Hefeld's view to race over race ground and catch up with them. 'Come on, give in. The game's up,' he said. Hefeld deliberately shot him in the face at point-blank range. Tyler bled to death in the scullery of a nearby cottage.
The chase became almost farcical as the two men commandeered a tram and forced the conductor to drive it when the driver hid upstairs. The police commandeered a tram going in the opposite direction and made it reverse after them, the occupants of the two trams firing ineffective shots at each other. The conductor got rid of his unwanted passengers by warning them there was a police station round the corner. The gunmen tumbled out and commandeered a parked milk van, immediately wrecking it by cornering too fast. They then stole a parked greengrocers van, but could not force the horse into more than the slowest of ambles because they had omitted to release the break.
The two men then abandoned the van and ran along a path beside Chingford Brook. When the path petered out, leaving them trapped by a high fence, Lepidus scrambled over it. Hefeld was exhausted, and seeing he was about to be arrested, shot himself in the head. He was taken to hospital where he refused to speak until he died three weeks later, with the uninformative remark, My mother is in Riga. Lepidus, meanwhile, locked himself into the bedroom of a nearby cottage, and used his last bullet to kill himself as officers broke in and fired shots through the door at him.