24.07.09 – 10.08.1949
Whenever we took anything to be dry cleaned Mum always reminded me that this was where the man known as the Acid Bath Murderer learned about acid. About five minutes walk from my home was an old mill. We had to walk down Tong Road (this part of it was always known as Swallow Hill). Joseph Tates Funeral Directors is the single storey building. After the two pairs of semis was a gateway – this led to the old mill where the Dry Cleaning was done. Like most Dry Cleaning firms this one had started out dyeing the wool cloth the region was famous for. Only the mill chimney can be seen in the picture.
John George Haigh was assistant manager in this Dry Cleaning business in 1935-6. The death of the owner of the business in a motor cycle accident meant he was out of a job. Short of money he worked in Glasgow and London before rebranding himself as a solicitor in Guildford! Haigh sold shares he did not possess and was sent to jail for four years. Being in jail gave him ample time to remember the carboys of acid and the huge iron vats of Swallow Hill. So began his killing spree.
It is thought Haigh killed nine people but he was only charged with six counts of murder. He was executed by hanging by Alfred Pierrepoint on the tenth of August 1949.
Haigh had a short lived marriage. In July 1934 he married Beatrice (Betty) Hamer at Bridlington Register Office (oddly enough this is now my home town). It was a clandestine marriage – almost an elopement and by November 1934 it was over.
In the family lore Betty was never mentioned just Haigh the Charmer.