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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wellcome Library Item of the Month, December 2010: The London Monster

Wellcome Library Item of the Month, December 2010: The London Monster"On December 14 in 1790, this man, Rhynwick Williams, a young unemployed Welshman was convicted of three counts of assault and sentenced to six years in prison. This - seemingly - brought to an end a sequence of attacks on women in London over the previous two years. Images from the Wellcome Library's collections will help us tell this rather odd story. There were over 50 reported, seemingly linked, attacks on women in London between 1788 and 1790. Whilst some women received deep wounds, it does not appear the aim of their assailant was to cause life threatening injuries - the attacker at times seemed as concerned with slashing the garments of the women as stabbing them. Often he would attempt to stab the women in the buttocks, sometimes those attacked reported they were offered a nosegay to sniff, out of which a sharp instrument would emerge and at least one report suggested the attacker approached a woman with sharp instruments attached to his knees. The description of the assailant also wildly differed..."

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