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Allen Photographer and Naturalist (Alton, England)
Minnie Warner and Lizzie Adams next to the grave of childhood friend and sister Fanny Adams
Carte de visite
Collection of Brad Feuerhelm
The grave was paid for by popular subscription.
Fanny Adams (Aged 7) was murdered by a solicitors clerk named Frederick Baker (Aged 24). Baker lured young Fanny into the local Hops field with the prize of candy. After 5PM when Lizzie and Minnie returned home without Fanny the ladies of the village began the search and interrogated Baker as to her whereabouts based on the information of the other girls. Baker had admitted to such, but was let go on account of his standing within the community. The search continued into the local Hops fields where the villagers happened upon the remains of Fanny Adams. The body was horribly disfigured into several pieces. The eyes had been ripped from her head as has the organs from her tiny body. It took the search party several days to find all of her remains. They also found a stone caked in blood and hair assumed to be the murder weapon. Baker was quickly arrested and his home searched. The police turned up a diary with an incriminating entry which read
"24th August, Saturday - Killed a young girl, it was fine and hot".
He was later hung at Winchester after having made attempts to reconcile with the family via letters. Baker's family had a history of mental Illness and Baker himself had already once attempted suicide.
The tern Fanny Adams survives in vernacular language today. Sailors in the first world war had described their rations of Mutton Stew as Sweet FA to describe the mess of meant contained in the can. Since the rations were also in small servings the doublespeak of the term was used as "very little". The connection between the severed chunks of meant and the small remains of the child's body are very haunting indeed. More recently to carry on with the analogy of Sweet FA meaning a small amount of something, now it has mutated into Sweet Fuck All. A popular notion for very little based on the same tragic events at Alton in 1867