How you can take a tour of gruesome Victorian Wearside this weekend

Bedford Street where one man was thrown from a third floor window to his death.
Bedford Street where one man was thrown from a third floor window to his death.

A ‘virtual’ tram ride – taking in places where tragedy struck on Victorian Wearside – is on offer for anyone with couple of hours to spare this weekend.

Local historian Norman Kirtlan urged people to don your top hats and shawls, and pick up their tickets at Fulwell Community Centre at 3pm on Sunday, January 20.

Norman tells us more.

‘Murder by Gaslight’ is an illustrated talk where the first tale is in Hetton-le-Hole where, in 1891, a widow was murdered by a jealous admirer on her wedding day.

The pitman who carried out the atrocity, armed with a pistol, would hang at Durham Gaol three months later.

After a brief stop in Penshaw and Shiney Row, the tour takes you to New Washington, where one long-suffering man finally stood up to his violent wife, with disastrous consequences.

On to Southwick to hear of the sad demise of another man – this time one who took home a stick of dynamite from Fulwell Quarry. You can imagine the result.

We examine the sad case of the “torso in the poss tub” and the death of a woman – an eight-year-old girl tries to frame her Dad for the murder and it is little wonder she did not fall victim herself.

New Hendon is next, where we visit Surtees Street in 1878 where a couple combine to starve their five-year-old son to death while their other three children are well nourished cared for.

Doctors would later be censured for allowing the child to remain with the evil pair. They served 15 years for manslaughter.

From Hendon we travel to the terminus at Seaham Harbour for an infamous “Ripper murder” of and the strange case of a man who “helped” his landlady to die.

Tickets for the talk, which has an admission fee of £2, are available from the door.

Proceeds from the event will be put towards local history projects.