In the 1860s the population of Cardiff were becoming increasingly worried about the scourge of violence and those worries manifested themselves in the media and Town Council minutes.
Calls were made for local soldiers to carry their side arms and use them to help the police in trouble spots. This is a newspaper report:
It is the misfortune of all seaport towns to be tainted with a large amount of foreign crime. And the worst feature of such crime is the frequency with which the knife is used by alien seamen, particularly when the blood is heated by ardent spirits. As a rule an Englishman will use his fists on his entrance to a quarrel. These are his natural weapons, and may they always remain so. On the other hand, the foreigner will as naturally draw his dagger or knife, either vindictively or in self-defence, and plunge it into the heart of his opponent if he gets the chance.
It is interesting to note local Welsh media always seemed to use England to mean Wales.
Several murders occurred in late 1869, including one on board a ship, the Nordcap, out of Liverpool and lying in the Bute East Dock. A Norwegian sailor, Andreas Olsen, was killed by the ship’s chef, William Boyne. Hans Jacob Anderson (a mariner) said he was the only other person present in the forecastle when the fight occurred. He saw Boyne flourishing a knife in front of Olsen. Soon after, he heard the cry, ‘O Jesus,’ and saw blood squirt up on the ceiling of the forecastle. The incident reinforced public sentiment that foreigners used knives.
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This tale of Victorian policing comes from Horrors of the Dead House. As a former police officer, John F. Wake brings his investigative expertise to the macabre true crime stories that haunt Cardiff’s streets.