Thomas Weldon Atherston

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Thomas Anderson or Thomas Weldon Atherston (died 16 July 1910) was a music hall star and victim of an unsolved murder. His body was found in an empty London apartment on 16 July 1910. [1]

Music hall Type of British theatrical entertainment popular between 1850 and 1960

Music hall is a type of British theatrical entertainment that was popular from the early Victorian era, beginning around 1850. It ended, arguably, after the First World War, when the halls rebranded their entertainment as Variety. Perceptions of a distinction in Britain between bold and scandalous Victorian Music Hall and subsequent, more respectable Variety differ. Music hall involved a mixture of popular songs, comedy, speciality acts, and variety entertainment. The term is derived from a type of theatre or venue in which such entertainment took place. American vaudeville was in some ways analogous to British music hall, featuring rousing songs and comic acts.

Murder Unlawful killing of a human with malice aforethought

Murder is the unlawful killing of another human without justification or valid excuse, especially the unlawful killing of another human being with malice aforethought. This state of mind may, depending upon the jurisdiction, distinguish murder from other forms of unlawful homicide, such as manslaughter. Manslaughter is a killing committed in the absence of malice, brought about by reasonable provocation, or diminished capacity. Involuntary manslaughter, where it is recognized, is a killing that lacks all but the most attenuated guilty intent, recklessness.

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.



Atherston was a classically trained actor who became prominent in music halls during the early 1880s and 1890s, although by the turn of the century his presence in vaudeville had been considerably reduced with the exception of occasional performances, such as poetry readings. Although married with four children, he began living with actress Elizabeth Earle at an apartment in London's Battersea district around 1899.

Actor person who acts in a dramatic or comic production and works in film, television, theatre, or radio

An actor is a person who portrays a character in a performance. The actor performs "in the flesh" in the traditional medium of the theatre or in modern media such as film, radio, and television. The analogous Greek term is ὑποκριτής (hupokritḗs), literally "one who answers". The actor's interpretation of their role—the art of acting—pertains to the role played, whether based on a real person or fictional character. Interpretation occurs even when the actor is "playing themselves", as in some forms of experimental performance art.

Poetry reading

A poetry reading is a public oral recitation or performance of poetry.

Battersea area of the London Borough of Wandsworth, England

Battersea is a district of south west London, England, within the London Borough of Wandsworth. It is located on the south bank of the River Thames, 2.9 miles (4.7 km) south west of Charing Cross.

While Atherston's career continued declining over the next decade, Earle soon retired from the music hall and turned to teaching. He and Earle began arguing regarding his accusations of Earle carrying on an affair as well as his resentment towards her success as a professional schoolteacher. Earle threw him out and sent him to live with his two sons Frederick and William.


However, Earle then began a relationship with the son Frederick despite protests from Atherston. While Frederick was visiting Earle to view a painting she had recently finished, they heard gunshots from next door. Entering the apartment, which connected to Earle's though a garden, the two investigated the darkened apartment to find the body of a man who had been violently shot to death. After calling for the police, it was discovered to be the body of Atherston.

Painting practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface

Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a solid surface. The medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush, but other implements, such as knives, sponges, and airbrushes, can be used. The final work is also called a painting.

Gunshot discharge of a firearm

A gunshot is a single discharge of a gun, typically a man-portable firearm, producing a visible flash, a powerful and loud shockwave and often chemical gunshot residue. The term can also refer to a ballistic wound caused by such a discharge.

Although an investigation found several witnesses who claimed to have seen a man jumping over a back wall fleeing the scene, police believed Atherston had been spying on the two when he encountered a burglar who shot him and fled the scene. However, the murder remains unsolved. [2]

A witness is someone who has, who claims to have, or is thought, by someone with authority to compel testimony, to have knowledge relevant to an event or other matter of interest. In law a witness is someone who, either voluntarily or under compulsion, provides testimonial evidence, either oral or written, of what he or she knows or claims to know about the matter before some official authorized to take such testimony.

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  1. "The Battersea Flat Murder. Evidence At The Inquest". The Times . 25 July 1910. pp. 4; Issue 39333; col B. ...resumed the inquest on the body of Thomas Weldon Anderson, aged 47, an actor, who was found shot at a back of a flat...on the night of Saturday, July 16.
  2. "The Battersea Flat Murder. An Open Verdict". The Times . 19 September 1910. pp. 3; Issue 39381; col A. The jury at once returned a verdict of "Wilful murder against some man unknown"

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