Few marriages were more turbulent than the Morgans of Lewisham. They were forever at each others throats, and the whole neighbourhood knew it. They quarrelled, split up, came together, quarrelled again, split up again, and so it went on.
On a December afternoon in 1895, William Morgan, 56, a street hawker, met his wife Martha, 53, in Mill Road, Lewisham. She was going home from work and he fell in step with her. Inevitably they started rowing again, this time about their children.
Ill get Bill to see to you, Martha threatened. Bill was their eldest son. This caused Morgan to see red. He pulled out a knife and forced his wife to fall on her knees on the pavement. Then he stabbed her in the neck, killing her with a single blow.
At the OId Bailey in January 1896, Morgan first tried to plead guilty to murder, but the judge refused this. His counsel then pleaded manslaughter on his behalf, on the grounds of provocation, but the jury opted for murder. Morgan was hanged on Tuesday, February 4th, 1896, at Wandsworth Prison.
As a young man Morgan had his moment of fame. He was a British rowing champion, and had been presented medals by Prime Minister William Gladstone. He left his trophies to his former teammates.