DiscoverLady Killers with Lucy Worsley24. Frances Kidder - Wicked Stepmother
24. Frances Kidder - Wicked Stepmother

24. Frances Kidder - Wicked Stepmother

Update: 2024-01-312


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

In this episode, Lucy is joined by Dr Gwen Adshead, for many years a consultant psychiatrist and psychotherapist at Broadmoor Hospital.

They investigate the case of Frances Kidder, a 25-year-old woman unhappily married to a much older man, who is accused of murdering her stepdaughter Louisa in Kent in 1867.

We all know the stories of Cinderella and Snow White – evil stepmothers badly treating their innocent stepdaughters. So when, one evening in August 1867, Louisa Kidder fails to return from a walk with her stepmother Frances across the lonely wetlands of Romney Marsh, Frances has some explaining to do.

Lucy is also joined by historian Rosalind Crone, Professor of History at the Open University. She has uncovered numerous reports from local magistrates’ courts which reveal the violence and discord of the Kidder household. Lucy and Rosalind travel to Hythe in Kent where Frances married her violent husband, to Romney Marsh where Louisa disappeared, and to Maidstone Gaol where Frances awaited trial.

Lucy wants to know what actually happened to Louisa on that August evening. Is Frances a wicked stepmother or herself the victim of a troubled and violent home?
What does her case tell us about family breakdown in the 19th century, and how much has changed today?

Produced in partnership with the Open University

Producer: Jane Greenwood
Readers: Clare Corbett, Jonathan Keeble and Ruth Sillers
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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24. Frances Kidder - Wicked Stepmother

24. Frances Kidder - Wicked Stepmother

BBC Radio 4