Elizabeth Cornock

Elizabeth Cornock

In 1832, Elizabeth Cornock and her husband Thomas were residing at No. 6 Cowcross Street. Thomas was the licensee of the notorious Red Lion Tavern in West Street on the north-west side of the Fleet Ditch. The tavern was used as a lodging house and was the resort of thieves of the lowest grade. Its dark closets, trap doors, sliding panels and secret recesses rendered it one of the most secure places for robbery or murder. It was said to have been a rendezvous for Jack Sheppard, the legendary escapologist.  A description of Mrs Cornock of The Red Lion survives: “She is the most notorious fence and keeps a house of ill-fame. She has secret rooms, doors and cupboards where she plants criminals or secretes stolen property she buys until she has got it disposed of. Girls and boys of the youngest class resort to this house and she makes up more beds than any other house in the metropolis. It is thronged every night. Robberies are continually committed by the Girls on strangers whom they can inveigle into the house”.