Hectorina Maclennan

Hectorina Maclennan was one of John Christie’s victims. Her name caught my eye because it is so obviously a name of a woman from the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. It is sad that she immigrated from so far to be murdered by a pathetic man in Notting Hill.

Hectorina Maclennan's grave

Her shared pauper’s grave is in Gunnersbury Cemetery in west London which is owned and managed by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Her age in most accounts is 26 although it says 27 on the gravestone.

The most information I can find about Hectorina herself is from this talk by Dr Jonathan Oates of Ealing Council libraries.

A prolific burglar, 39-year-old engineer Frank Collyer, who has links with the above case, was active in Acton, and indeed in Twyford Crescent at this time. On 25 January 1953 he broke into number 15 and stole clothing to the value of £175 from Mrs Rae Harris and on 16 February stole £80 worth of goods from 48 Churchfield Road. He had had nine previous convictions, dating from the 1930s and was arrested when he arranged to meet one of the people he had robbed, claiming he could help restore their property by them buying it back from him. His victim contacted the police and they arrested him when he met her. Collyer was the on and off boyfriend of Hectorina MacLennan, whom he had lived with in February 1953 before being arrested. He later said that the two were in a milk bar in Notting Hill Gate when they saw a balding, middle-aged man, and Hectorina said that she knew him and that he was trouble. However, this, if true, did not prevent her from accompanying the man back to his rooms on 6 March (after having stayed there for three previous nights with Alexander Baker, another boyfriend), where she became the final victim of John Christie. Collyer’s estranged wife worked as a welfare officer at Acton Town Hall and gave Hectorina gifts and advised her to return to her family and children in Scotland – advice fatally disregarded.

Not NaNoWriMo #7

I believe that people have the right to make jokes. I just wish they were funny and didn’t wish for death and destruction.

“Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!!”

Paul Chambers on Twitter

Can someone please stone Yasmin Alibhai-Brown to death? I shan’t tell Amnesty if you don’t. It would be a blessing.

Gareth Compton on Twitter

Not NaNoWriMo #3


We have been watching Jonathan Creek episodes each evening with Adam and the most obvious thing is is that I had never noticed the sex scenes before! It’s like watching something with my own parents!

They are pretty impossible to solve even when I’ve seen them before which says something about my memory. I know my memory is terrible because I have reread (possibly) two books that I had read before (see, I can’t even remember that).

What I like about David Renwick’s writing is his incidentals: the oddities and asides in the show that have nothing at all to do with the main plot. For example, in the last episode we watched “Angel Hair”, there was Carla, the gynaecologist and the rap album; the 12 foot dummy and the windmill; and the make up artist* and her love of dogs.

What I find odd about the programme is that I feel I know more about Maddie and Carla than I do about Jonathan Creek himself.

*played by the ever wonderful Tamsin Grieg – apparently Renwick wrote Love Soup just for her.

Not NaNoWriMo #2

A photograph taken on my route to work: Savoy Circus on the A40 in London 28/03/2008

I only cycle this way on the way home from work. Cyclists and pedestrians share an undifferentiated path along the A40 which is something that makes me uncomfortable since there are a great number of footpaths and openings along the way as well as several bus stops and I dislike being the danger rather than being in danger. However, the Westway traffic is so heavy and, with a great number of the vehicles being vans and lorries, I stick to the path.


I always get Savoy Circus and Gypsy Corner mixed up in my head though I only cycle up to Gypsy Corner when I decide for whatever mad reason to cycle further along the A40. If you get your timing right you can scoot across this junction saving yourself that all important cyclist’s wait – you know, the excuse that some cyclists use to explain why they go through red lights – it takes so much effort to get up to speed again – yadda yadda – in this case, it’s practically legitimate because you are really just pretending you are cycling on the road and going with the road traffic (except you were on the pavement before).

It is always extraordinarily busy at this junction as traffic heads out west along the Western Avenue. It is where Old Oak Common Lane, Old Oak Road, the Westway and the Western Avenue intersect and is one of only two sets of traffic lights on the Western Avenue (the other is at Gypsy Corner). According to Wikipedia, and on subjects like this I never doubt Wikipedia, Savoy Circus is named after the roundabout that was once at this junction. I’ve tried to find some old photographs but have failed. I am convinced that I have seen some but I fear they were in an actual book.

After this junction, it is uphill towards Perryn Road bridge which goes over the railway line that carries London Overground trains. Railway lines terribly constrict people’s ability to get around London (and presumably elsewhere where unfettered construction was allowed in the Victorian era) and this is the only point I am able to cross this railway except for the level crossing at Churchfield Road further south which is the way I take in the mornings. There is also a steeply stepped footbridge inbetween which is jolly hard work with a bike.



I was happy to read today that Anne Reid has been made a MBE although I was rather taken aback that she wasn't at least that already. You'd think being Ken Barlow's wife would have been enough but when you add in Wendolene and Jean in dinnerladies and a host of other excellent performances I really was rather surprised.

If I had been given an honour years ago I would have been thrilled (and also puzzled because I haven't actually ever done anything) but now I think I would refuse one. I blame Benjamin Zephaniah for opening my eyes.

I am very interested in who have refused one and always disappointed when it turns out they were just waiting for a better one…: however, according to a leaked document, the painter LS Lowry turned down the most honours and I do note that Emma Thompson still hasn't got one (don't let let me down).

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