DiscoverLady Killers with Lucy Worsley21. Maria Manning - 'Lady Macbeth of Bermondsey'
21. Maria Manning - 'Lady Macbeth of Bermondsey'

21. Maria Manning - 'Lady Macbeth of Bermondsey'

Update: 2024-01-103


Lucy Worsley travels back in time to revisit the unthinkable crimes of 19th century murderesses from the UK, Australia and North America.

This episode sees Lucy traverse London, hot on the heels of Maria Manning, the so-called Lady Macbeth of Bermondsey, a woman who confounds expectations of respectable Victorian England.

Maria shocked the nation in 1849, when she conspired with her husband to kill her lover, before stealing the dead man’s money and making a break for freedom on the all-new intercity rail network. She’s the inspiration for a key character in Charles Dickens' famous proto-detective novel Bleak House and her fate leads to a pivotal change in the law.

To untangle this remarkable story, Lucy is joined by international literary superstar Kate Mosse, author of historical fiction novels including the Joubert Family Chronicles and founder-director of The Women’s Prize for Fiction.

Lucy also visits the scene of the crime and recreates Maria’s escape across the capital with Lady Killers’ in-house historian Professor Rosalind Crone from the Open University. They uncover a bizarre trail of evidence, including the huge stash of belongings Maria deposited at London Bridge Station as she fled London, which included 28 pairs of stockings, 11 petticoats, a teapot, an apron and several items of bloodstained clothing.

Together, the team ask why the buttoned-up Victorians had such an appetite for grisly tales of lust, crime and punishment. Are the same impulses behind today’s fascination with true crime? Can we respect Maria’s independent spirit and sharp mind, despite what she did? Does she deserve her place in history?

Produced in partnership with the Open University

Producer: Sarah Goodman
Readers: Meena Rayann and Jonathan Keeble
Sound design: Chris Maclean
Series Producer: Julia Hayball

A StoryHunter production for BBC Radio 4

New episodes will be released on Wednesday wherever you get your podcasts. But if you’re in the UK, listen to the latest full series of Lady Killers first on BBC Sounds. BBC Sounds - Lady Killers with Lucy Worsley - Available Episodes:









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21. Maria Manning - 'Lady Macbeth of Bermondsey'

21. Maria Manning - 'Lady Macbeth of Bermondsey'

BBC Radio 4