Originally posted on 18th and 19th Century.
Forty-year-old John Nicolas (or Nicholas) Steinberg was an optician and also a man considered to possess “inventive genius.” This was demonstrated by the fact that he received a patent for inventing a peculiarly constructed whip. But Steinberg’s peculiar whip would not be what he would become known for, rather he became known as a murderer.
On September 9, 1834, Steinberg ordered his fifteen-year-old servant, a girl named Pearson, to “go and fetch a pint of beer and a quartern of gin.” After delivering it to him, Steinberg suggested she stay the night, but she wanted to go home to her mother’s house, so he instructed her to return at six o’clock in the morning. The following morning Pearson returned as she was told to 17 Southampton Street (now Calshot Street), Pentonville. However, after knocking on the door for some time, she received no answer and left.
Between eleven and twelve o’clock, Pearson and her mother returned. They knocked but again there was no answer. Eventually, Pearson and her mother talked to a neighbor, and the neighbor concluded Steinberg and his family had left clandestinely to avoid paying rent, as Steinberg was six months behind, and, then the neighbor sought out Lewis Cuthbert, the landlord.
Cuthbert considered Steinberg a quiet and respectable “tradesmanlike man,” but now he believed Cuthbert had absconded, and, he and the neighbor returned to Steinberg’s house to further…