Sort file:- Greenwich, January, 2024.

Page Updated:- Thursday, 25 January, 2024.


Earliest 1823-

White Swan

Latest 2009+

(Name to)

13 Blackheath Road (Limekiln Road 1823Pigot's Directory 1823)


White Swan 2008

Above Google image June 2008.

White Swan sign 2016White Swan sign 2019

Above sign left 2016, sign right June 2019.


This seems to have changed names of several occasions. It's been known as the "Swan," the "Polar Bar" and latest "Amari." 

This certainly looked like it was open in 2009, but looked closed in 2012. The building was renovated in July 2015 but doesn't look to be occupied since, although the rooms above, I believe are occupied as flats.


From the Kentish Gazette, 13 May 1845.


On Monday a jury, consisting of seventeen of the principal inhabitants was empanelled before Mr. C. J. Carttar, the coroner, at the "White Swan," Blackheath-road, to investigate the circumstances attending the death of Robert Harry Ffinch (the infant son of John Drake Ffinch, Esq., of the firm of Smith and Ffinch, solicitors, Croom's-hill, Greenwich), whose body was found dead, with his head nearly separated therefrom, on Sunday morning.

The jury having been sworn, the Coroner stated to them all the circumstances which had come to be knowledge, and then proceeded to view the body, which lay extended in the cot in which the deed had been perpetrated.

Martha Brixey, the wretched girl who stands charged with the murder of the deceased, was then brought into the room in custody of the police, accompanied by her mother and the female keeper who had been appointed to attend her in the police cell in order to prevent her from committing violence upon her own parson. She was led to a chair in a pitiable slate of weakness. She is of slight stature, of pretty features, and looked exceedingly pale.

The first witness called was Sarah May, upper nurse in the family of deceased's father. She deposed that she had been two years in Mr Ffinch's family. The deceased was nine months old. The prisoner, Martha Brixey, was under nurse. Witness saw the infant last at a quarter before ten on Sunday morning. She put him into his cot and left him sleeping at that time. The prisoner was in the next room five minutes before she left the nursery. The prisoner said, "Do you think Mrs. Ffinch will forgive me; will she let me stop?" Witness replied no. Mrs. F, had candidly told her she would not. She then advised the prisoner to be quiet, as it would be much better for her. She had been worrying her mistress on Saturday, begging her to forgive her and let her remain. Mrs. Ffinch had said “No positively. She had seen a person that would suit, and could retain her services no longer. To all this the prisoner made no answer. On Sunday morning, at breakfast, the prisoner said she wondered if Mrs. F. had seen the new maid. Witness remarked that she would call on Monday. This conversation took place while making the bed. Witness then left the room and went down to the kitchen, taking one of the younger children with her. She there left the children with the cook and housemaid, and went into the back yard, and while there she heard loud screams. She immediately ran into the house and wont up into the nursery, from whence the cries came. All the children were crying very much, and Mrs. Ffinch was in a frantic state. Mr. Ffinch was preventing the prisoner from going up stairs. The cook had gone up stairs. Mr. Trail and Mrs. Ffinch were below in the hall. Witness found the child lying on its back, and the head nearly off. She had left it lying asleep on its side. On looking round she saw an ivory handled table knife, covered with blood. The children were at this time all below crying in the hall. About seven minutes elapsed during all this. The knife used was much sharper than others. The prisoner had always behaved very well towards the children. The prisoner had behaved very strange about a gown (mourning,) which her mistress had given her, and she was going to leave partly on that account, about three works ago. She complained much about the dress not fitting her. She subsequently cut the body from the skirt, in the nursery, and burnt it. Witness told her she ought to be ashamed of herself, and that she would tell Mrs. Ffinch on her return home. The prisoner was in a great passion when she burnt the body of the dress, but became quiet afterwards and seemed satisfied with what she had done. Witness repeatedly advised her not to burn it, as it fitted her. She was most determined, and said "She wished the dressmaker had been at the d—l before she had made the gown.’" She further said, she wished to leave and get a housemaid's place. Mr. and Mrs. Ffinch were exceedingly kind to her and to all the servants. Thinks it was mere pride, as the dress fitted well. All the servants had mourning alike. Prisoner bought a new body for 6s, and had it made up, she said she did not like it, and took it to a pawnbroker's. She told her mistress that she had sold it, but could get it again. She was ordered to fetch it, and did so, when her mistress told her if she would conduct herself properly, she would forgive her; but if anything more about the dress occurred, she must go. She was sent out with the children on Friday, aud kept them without their dinner. Mrs. Ffinch, on her return, remonstrated with her, and told her she should wriite to her mother to fetch her away, and did so. Prisouer told Mrs. F. that she wished to see her master, to induce him to retain her, and Mrs. F. replied that her mind was made up, and that Mr. F. would not interfere in her domestic arrangements. The prisoner has appeared unhappy during the last three weeks, and has taken medicine twice a day for three weeks or a mouth. Complained of her head at times, but had been better since taking the medicine. She was always treated with the greatest kindness. Mrs. Ffinch told her that she would give her a character, and that she was at liberty to come and see the children and the servants as often as she pleased.

James Trail, Esq., (police magistrate), deposed that he called at Mr. Ffinch’s house at a quarter before 10 on Sunday morning, and went into the drawing-room. He was let in by the housemaid. Mr. and Mrs. Ffinch came to him in a minute or so afterwards, and they conversed together from five to ten minutes, when the door opened, and the prisoner entered. She presented an unusual and distracted appearance, and immediately exclaimed, "What have I done? What lave I done?" many times over; and, again, "What will become of me? What will become of me? I am a murderer, I have killed the baby." Mr. Ffinch demanded to know what had happened to the child, and rushed from the room. Witness's impression was at the moment that some dreadful accident had happened, and that the child had been dropped out of the window, he then followed Mr. Ffinch up in the nursery, and saw Mr. Ffinch coming down. Mr. Ffinch returned, and drew his attention to the child's cot, where the deceased lay with his head nearly severed from his body. On leaving the room he met the prisoner, and ordered her down again. He then went into the drawing room to Mrs. Ffinch. Witness next saw the prisouer in Mr. Ffinch's dressing-room, apparently in great distress, saying, "What will become of me— what will become of me?" Witness said, "You are a poor miserable wretch," and she said, "Will God pardon me?'' He held her hands, and got the servants to assist until he could procure a police constable and prevent further violence. The whole family had at this time assembled in a most distracted state of mind. The prisoner again addressed deceased's parents, and implored their forgiveness.

Elizabeth Middlewich, housemaid, said she saw the upper housemaid washing the deceased at a quarter past nine o'clock on Sunday morning. Witness went down stairs, and the nurse followed about ten o'clock with the youngest child but one, and left it in the kitchen with the others in care of the cook. The nurse then went into the yard. Mr. and Mrs. Ffinch and Mr. Trail were in the parlour at 20 minutes to 10. The prisoner came into the kitchen shortly after nurse, and went into the pantry. Witness followed, and asked her what she wanted. She took a table knife out of the box and said she was going up stairs with it to cut a pencil for Miss Mary. Witness said, "Better take a dessert-knife," and she did so, saying that the larger one would do to cut the children’s bread and butter in the afternoon. She felt the edge of the large knife to see if it was sharp. Prisoner stood a minute in the passage looking at the child standing by the cook, and then went up stairs. In three minutes after she heard a loud screaming as if from the passage. She ran up, and met Mr. Ffinch coming down, and the prisoner said, "Good God, I have cut the dear baby's throat!" She (witness) went into the room, and saw deceased and the bloody knife lying down. The prisoner said she was miserable about being discharged.

Caroline Priest, cook to Mr. Ffinch, corroborated the evidence of the nurse and housemaid as to the taking away the knives, &c.

Serjeant George Goode, 2 R, deposed that he was sent for by Mr. Ffinch, and produced the knife with which the murder was committed. He saw the prisoner at the station house, who said, "Oh, Mr. Goode, I hope God will forgive me." He received the knife from the hands of Dr. Sutton.
Serjeant Booth, 21 R. deposed that the prisoner, when brought to the station, had blood on the back of her hands.

A note was here handed to the coroner, written by the prisoner, and left by a policeman at the house of Mr. Ffinch yesterday morning. It ran thus:—

"Dear May—Pray send a gown, &c., and pray to God for the wickedness I have done. I do pray sincerely. "Martha Brixey."

John Sutton, Esq., M.D., deposed that he was called in immediately after the melancholy event, and found the child's head had nearly been separated from the body. Great force must have been used in doing it, and death must have been instantaneous.

The Coroner inquired of the wretched woman if she wished to ask the witnesses any questions, to which she replied in the negative. He then asked her if she had heard all that had been said, and after cautioning her, desired to know if she had anything to say as to the melancholy affair.

The prisoner replied that she had nothing to say, but hoped he would plead all he could in her behalf.

The Coroner then summed up, remarking that there could not be the slightest doubt as to the cause of death; and as regarded the sanity or insanity of the prisoner at the time of the commission of the dreadful act that must be the subject of inquiry by a higher tribunal.

The Jury consulted together about five minutes, and then returned a verdict of Wilful Murder against Martha Brixey.

The prisoner was in a deplorable state during the investigation, attended by her mother and a female keeper.

The Coroner handed over his warrant of committal to Serjeant Goode. 2 R, who conveyed the prisoner in a hired carriage to Newgate for trial.



MILLER R 1823+ Pigot's Directory 1823

MILLER Elicia 1826+

LANGLEY Thomas 1832+ Pigot's Directory 1832-34

FIGG James 1840/June/49

SHELLEY Philip James June/1949-52+

PHILLIPS William Henry 1858-74+ (age 52 in 1871Census)

STAILLESI Charles 1881+ (widower age 43 in 18881Census)

SHALLESS Charles 1891+

TAYLOR John Richard to Feb/1894 Woolwich Gazette

BARTHOLOMEW George Feb/1894+ Woolwich Gazette

CRUMP J R 1896+

RELF Alfred John 1901-08+ (age 48 in 1901Census)

BATEMAN George Edward 1911+

STEVENS Henry 1919+

YARD Frederick 1938-44+

PARROTT Geoffrey Lionel & Gwendoline Joan 1958-63+

RICE Ray 1951+


Pigot's Directory 1823From the Pigot's Directory 1823

Pigot's Directory 1832-34From the Pigot's Directory 1832-33-34


Woolwich GazetteWoolwich Gazette


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