Monday, 1 August 2011

A grisly tale . . .

On the churchyard wall, St.Peter's, Preston Manor
(Click on photo to read)
. . . often told but, as the events it relates occurred 180 years ago this month, here is a reminder:-
John Holloway, a painter employed on the Chain Pier, was living with his mistress who he had bigamously married, in Margaret Street, Kemp Town. When his legal wife Celia, who was destitute, applied to the Poor Law authorities for relief, they ordered John Holloway to pay her 2 shillings a week.

This he was unwilling or unable to do. To solve his problem he strangled Celia and with the help of his mistress dismembered the body. They hid the head and limbs in the privy at Margaret Street and put the torso in a wheelbarrow which John trundled along the London/Preston Roads to Lovers Walk where he concealed the remains.

Engraving by J Parez, 1831. Shows John Holloway and his lover, Anne Kennett, outside of the Hare and Hounds pub at Preston Circus. They are on the way to Lover's Walk to dispose of Holloway's wife, Celia. The crime is popularly known as Brighton's first trunk murder.
Only a small stub of Lovers Walk at Preston Park remains today but before the coming of the railway it will have been a country track through fields and woods linking Preston with the Seven Dials area. The Seven Dials end has now become Prestonville Road.

Celia's remains came to light a few days later, after a shower of rain, and John Holloway was hanged at Lewes in 1832, but not before he had written and published his memoirs. An original copy is currently on offer for £175. An Authentic and Faithful History of the Atrocious Murder of Celia Holloway . . .

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