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Carte de Visite of the grave of ‘Sweet’ Fanny Adams, 1867
An extremely rare momento of the murder of a young girl that shocked Victorian England and gave us the term “Sweet FA”. This Carte d’Visite depicts Lizzie Adams and her Friend Minnie Warner next to the grave of “Sweet” Fanny Adams, who was brutally mudered by 29 Year Old Frederick Baker in Alton, Hampshire on August 24th 1867. Lizzie and Minnie were out walking with the 8 year old Fanny Adams when she was abducted by Baker, murdered and dismembered. Baker was convicted and Hanged before a crowd of 5000 on Christmas Eve 1867.
Poor Fanny’s headstone was erected by Public subscription and it still stands in the cemetery on the Old Odiham Road. It might have been our only reminder of the tragic affair had it not been for the macabre humour of British Sailors.
Served with tins of mutton as the latest shipboard convenience food in 1869, they gloomily declared that their butchered contents must surely be ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’. Gradually accepted throughout the armed services as a euphemism for ’sweet nothing’ it passed into common usage.
Produced at the time of the murder as a memonto and keepsake, these are now extremely rare on the open market. An identical card is in the Curtis Museum, Hampshire.