When Sidney Smith, 23, fell in love with Alice Woodman, 21, a domestic servant, theirs was one of those Victorian lower-class romances idealised in novels but desperately hard in reality. Within weeks of their finding a home at No. 1, Bubb’s Cottages in York Street, Cheltenham, in September, 1903, everything was coming apart.

Sidney lost his job and they were so hard up that he had to cancel the planned wedding. Behind with his rent, he was given notice to quit the house in York Street by December 14th at the latest.

Sidney waited until the very last night, then went out with Alice and got a little drunk. Next day a neighbour found them both inside their cottage. Alice was dead from a cut throat and Sidney, with a gaping wound in his throat, lay motionless but still alive nearby. Even their suicide pact, it seemed, had gone wrong.

He recovered and was brought to trial for Alice’s murder. The jury took only five minutes to find him guilty and on MARCH 9th, 1904, he was hanged at Gloucester Prison.