Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

Sweeney Todd:The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Anybody interested in the dark side of London`s history and folklore will want to acquire "Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street", a fascinating book on the subject.

The story of the barber who slit his victims` throats and passed on the bodies to his girlfriend, who made them into celebrated pies, is believed by many to be historical truth.

One cannot be absolutely certain, but it does appear that this is just a story. The author of the book, Robert L. Mack, has traced what seems to be the origin of the tale, and goes on to print the actual 19th century novel.

The legend of Sweeney Todd has taken its rightful place in the traditions of the foggy old London Town of Sherlock Holmes and Jack the Ripper. It has made its way even into rhyming slang, and then to a hugely popular TV series "The Sweeney" ("Sweeney Todd ....Flying Squad"), starring John Thaw.

There have been lots of written and filmed adaptations, including the 1980s musical by Stephen Sondheim, on which was based the film directed by Tim Burton and starring the extraordinary Johnny Depp.

There is a Guided Walk in my repertoire which I call "Sweeney Todds London", looking at the places concerned.

It`s only a story, though ....isn`t it?