Flower seller murdered in her home

THEN: Full of life and shops galore  the eastern end of Highland Road in Edwardian days with Kassassin Street on the right.  Picture: Barry Cox Collection

NOSTALGIA: Snapshot of life in Edwardian Portsmouth

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On this day in 1923 Mary Pelham was murdered in her home off Queen Street, Portsea. She lived in one of the many slum homes there.

During the day she was selling flowers in the street. At night she sold her body. That body was found on her blood-soaked bed with head injuries and a scarf around her neck with which her killer had tried to strangle her.

Mary Pelham had been seen with a sailor shortly before her death and a ticket for the Royal Sailors’ Rest was found near her body.

The navy arranged an ID parade of 3,500 sailors and the witness was unable to recognise the killer – from John Sadden’s The Portsmouth Book of Days.