There was a great commotion in Lower Thames Street
on the morning of January 12, 1887.
When the early members of the staff arrived at
Wapshaw's Wharf they found that the safe had been broken open, a
considerable sum of money removed, and the offices left in great
The night watchman was nowhere to be found, but
nobody who had been acquainted with him for one moment suspected him to
be guilty of the robbery.
In this belief the proprietors were confirmed when, later in the day,
they were informed that the poor fellow's body had been picked up by
the River Police.
Certain marks of violence pointed to the fact that he had been brutally
attacked and thrown into the river.
A watch found in his pocket had stopped, as is invariably the case in
such circumstances, and this was a valuable clue to the time of the
But a very stupid officer (and we invariably find
one or two stupid individuals in the most intelligent bodies of men)
had actually amused himself by turning the hands round and round,
trying to set the watch going again.
After he had been severely reprimanded for this serious indiscretion,
he was asked whether he could remember the time that was indicated by
the watch when found.
He replied that he could not, but he recollected that the hour hand and
minute hand were exactly together, one above the other, and the second
hand had just passed the forty-ninth second.
More than this he could not remember.
What was the exact time at which the watchman's
The watch is, of course, assumed to have been an accurate one.