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Ann Partridge of Leigh married a Frenchman, Jean Pierre Ginnett in 1825 in Lambeth.  The Ginnetts were one of the great circus families of the Victorian period. Anne's sister, Charlotte, also married into a great equestrian circus family, the Samwells.


The story of the Partridges, Samwells and Ginnetts appears on this website but this is a story about one of their descendants,  Ann Ginnett (Partridge)’s granddaughter in law, Isabel, who was the Chairwoman of the Ladies Music Hall Guild in the early 1900s, a Guild to which lady circus performers belonged. The Treasurer of the Guild was one Belle Elmore.


Unless you are an officianado of great murder stories that name may not mean anything but Belle Elmore (real name Cora Henrietta Crippen), was  the wife of the infamous Dr Hawley Harvey Crippen.

Dr Crippen was an American who had married Cora in 1894. Cora had pretensions as an actress and chose the stage name of Belle Elmore.  She had many liaisons and in return Crippen started an affair with Ethel Le Neve.  And then Belle disappeared mysteriously with Crippen claiming she had gone to America and later that she had died there.



Belle's friends were concerned and an investigation was undertaken with

Crippen now claiming that he had lied to cover up the fact that Belle had

left him and he was embarrassed by that fact.

Although the police were satisfied with Crippen's story the Doctor and Ethel fled on the SS Montrose for Canada.  This action reactivated the police interest and a second search of the Crippen house revealed a human torso buried under the basement floor.   The corpse was identified by a piece of skin from its abdomen; the head, limbs, and skeleton were never recovered.

Meanwhile on SS Montrose Crippen and Le Neve (dressed as  a boy) aroused suspicion. The Captain recognised the fugitives and, just before steaming beyond the range of his ship-board transmitter, had his telegraphist send a wireless telegram to the British authorities: "Have strong suspicions that Crippen London cellar murderer and accomplice are among saloon passengers. Mustache taken off growing beard. Accomplice dressed as boy. Manner and build undoubtedly a girl."

A British Inspector boarded the sip which was sailing into Canada (still a British Dominion) and arrested the pair.  had they been sailing to the States there would have had to have been extradition proceedings.


So here is the lose Leigh connection. It was Isabel Ginnett who raised concerns about Belle’s disappearance which led to the apprehension of Crippen.  She also identified jewelry which had belonged to Mrs Crippen which the Doctor was carrying on board ship.


Crippen was tried and  found guilty of poisoning Belle and duly executed.

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