The story of Sweeney Todd has been told over and over, like the stories of Jack the Ripper and Robin Hood. It has even been made into a musical play and a film. At least one pizza restaurant has been named after Sweeney Todd. But the question you are asking is what is the story behind Sweeney Todd – and is it really that gruesome?
Sweeney Todd was a barber, who had a shop off Fleet Street in London in 1785. His shop was in Hen and Chicken Court, beside St Dunstan’s Church. Todd was not just a barber, however. Todd felt that shaving people and cutting their hair did not make him enough money.
Todd made a special barber’s chair, which turned upside down. When someone who looked well off came into the shop, Sweeney sat him in the special chair. He then got the customer ready to shave, lifted his chin and cut his throat from ear to ear. He then pulled a hidden lever. The chair flipped over on a floorboard, which had an identical chair on the other side. Almost everything went back to normal.
Next time that Todd had a free moment he would nip down into the cellar underneath his shop and strip the corpse of all of it’s possessions. He would then sell the possessions for as much money as he could make.
When Sweeney Todd was finished with the corpse he wondered what to do with it. Handed it over to his friend and accomplice Mrs Lovett. Mrs Lovett ran a pie shop in Bell Yard, just around the corner from Todd’s barbershop. Some people say that Todd took the corpses to her pie shop through a secret tunnel linking the two shops.
It is thought that Mrs Lovett then proceeded to cook the evidence of Sweeney’s crimes. Her meat pies, it is said, were famous all over London for their very fine flavour. Even the police loved the pies.
“A horrid murder has been committed in Fleet Street on the person of a young gentleman from the country on a visit to his relatives in London. While walking through the city, he chanced to stop to admire the striking clock of St Dunstan’s Church, and there fell into conversation with a man dressed as a barber. The two men began to argue. Suddenly the barber took from his clothing a razor and slit the throat of the young man, thereafter disappearing into the alleyway of Hen and Chicken Court and was seen no more.” The local shops were investigated and a strange Smell was coming from underneath Sweeney Todd’s Barbershop. The police Investigated And discovered the bloodied chair and a passageway Between the Barbershop and the Pie Shop! Sweeney Todd was arrested and placed on Trial!
The Execution of Sweeney Todd Britain’s first Mass Murderer