In Stromness, at the Pier Gallery and Arts Centre, which we visited at the weekend, there is a collection of seven little knitted houses, closely resembling tea cosies but in fact, as we discovered on closer inspection, representing the locations of famous 19th century murders. My favourite was number 64 Grand Parade, the home of Christina Edmunds, the Brighton poisoner. Miss Edmunds was unmarried and lived with her mother until, in 1871, she fell in love with a married man, Dr Beard. Inviting the Beards to tea, she fed Mrs Beard on chocolate creams laced with strychnine in an attempt to bump her off. But the good woman lived, and Dr Beard accused Miss Edmunds of foul play, which she hotly denied. Determined to prove her innocence, she then paid various small children to buy sweets from the same shop where she had purchased the chocolate creams. She injected poison into these and returned them to the sweetshop owner so that they could be resold. Eventually a boy called Sidney Barker, aged 4, consumed one of these strychnine-enhanced chocolates and expired. Miss Edmunds promptly organised a campaign to unmask the Brighton Poisoner. Her badness was duly detected, and she was put on trial, convicted of murder, sentenced to death, certified insane, and eventually died in Broadmoor in 1907, aged 79.
The total knitting-time for the house, in case anybody is interested, was 21-and-a-half hours.