It’s a fascinating case, which touches on several interesting issues to do with late nineteenth century criminal justice and Victorian attitudes towards childhood ‘innocence’ and murderousness. I’ll be researching and writing the book over the course of this year and part of the next. I’m very excited by the challenge.
For the first couple of months I’ll be based at the Arts & Heritage Centre in Havant. It’s a lovely place to work: there’s a dedicated research room with internet access, extremely helpful volunteers, and a cafeteria with scrumptious coffee and walnut cake.
Every day, on my way to the Centre, I pass by the Pallant where Percy was killed: there’s a public bench almost facing the spot where his body was found sprawled in the mud. I’m thinking I might approach the Council about a bench memorial plaque:
In Memory Percy Searle 1880-1888