37 min

Episode Three: The Runaway Killing Victoria

    • History

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Seventeen year-old John Bean worked as a newsvendor in London. His disability - an acute case of curvature of the spine – meant that throughout his life he had been the target of cruel discrimination. In mid-June 1842, just before his 18th birthday, and days after John Francis’s attempt on the Queen, Bean ran away from home. Presenter Bob Nicholson finds a letter John wrote to his parents telling them he’d run away but promising to stay on the straight and narrow – no matter how bad things got. ‘It will be useless to seek for me as I am determined never to be at home again.’ We discover that he then bought a flintlock pistol that was later described by the shopkeeper as ‘very old, rather rusty, but it could be discharged’ – it might be falling apart but it could fire a lethal shot. John Bean lived rough on the streets and hung around Buckingham Palace waiting for Victoria to appear. Dr Bob Nicholson traces John’s story, by scouring police archives, newspaper accounts and trial transcripts. He uncovers a tragic and gripping tale.

Seventeen year-old John Bean worked as a newsvendor in London. His disability - an acute case of curvature of the spine – meant that throughout his life he had been the target of cruel discrimination. In mid-June 1842, just before his 18th birthday, and days after John Francis’s attempt on the Queen, Bean ran away from home. Presenter Bob Nicholson finds a letter John wrote to his parents telling them he’d run away but promising to stay on the straight and narrow – no matter how bad things got. ‘It will be useless to seek for me as I am determined never to be at home again.’ We discover that he then bought a flintlock pistol that was later described by the shopkeeper as ‘very old, rather rusty, but it could be discharged’ – it might be falling apart but it could fire a lethal shot. John Bean lived rough on the streets and hung around Buckingham Palace waiting for Victoria to appear. Dr Bob Nicholson traces John’s story, by scouring police archives, newspaper accounts and trial transcripts. He uncovers a tragic and gripping tale.

37 min

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