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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
Charlie Peace Arrested here
The place where notorious burglar Charlie Peace was caught.
Location: 2 St John's Park, Blackheath, SE3 7TG
Description: This is the house where the legendary Victorian burglar and murderer Charlie Peace was eventually arrested.
Originally from Sheffield, Peace, who used many aliases, continued to go out every night and commit a burglary. He lived at this time in Peckham in a life of some means and luxury. The continued series of daring burglaries caused public fear and consternation, and the police were under pressure to make an arrest.
PC Edward Robinson at about 2am on 10th October 1878 was patrolling Blackheath when he noticed a flickering light in this house here.
He called for assistance, and then, after Peace had jumped out of a window, chased him across the garden. Despite being shot at five times and wounded, PC Robinson gallantly held on to Peace, and, with the assistance of other officers, Peace was finally taken into custody.
The prisoner gave his name as John Ward, and was convicted at the Old Bailey on 19th November 1878 of attempting to murder PC Robinson. He was sentenced to penal servitude for life. His alter ego's, life of crime, eventually came to light and he was sentenced to death after further twists and turns in Sheffield.
His remarkable life story spawned dozens of romanticised novels and films. Peace is even mentioned by name in the Sherlock Holmes short story, The Adventure of the Illustrious Client and in Mark Twain's Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven. Edgar Wallace wrote The Devil Man based on Peace's life.