april 1957

5

On April 21, 1957, Mrs. Marshall of Lewisham Park in London, found a note beside her backyard fence. The contents of the note were spine chilling. It was from a young lady being held hostage in a dug out prison underneath her neighbors shed. The police were called and they searched the house of John Raymond Bridal. Sure enough, just as the note said, there was 28 year old Marjorie Jordan, locked in a reinforced cellar under the shed. It was made up like a small apartment, bed, chairs, table, and even a radio. Bridal was immediately arrested and Marjorie was taken to the hospital.

She was seized from her room in a boarding house on January 7th by Bridal. He broke into her room, tied her up and kidnapped her on the back of his motorcycle. He took her back to his house where he told her he needed help with his inventions. He wasn’t exactly lying, he was an inventor, at least he wanted to be, but her main job would be digging. Digging his under shed dungeon so there would be more room for his inventions, and, oddly, for his laundry. He didn’t sexually assault her, but he did force her to obey his instructions. When she didn’t listen he made her undress in front of him or beat her. So she dug, for 105 days she was trapped in Bridal’s twisted world. Finally, as she was being led to the washroom one night, she managed to sneak the note over the fence which was her only view for the past few months.

Bridal went to trial at the Old Baily. Though he professed she was only helping him and was there consensually, he ended up pleading guilty to unlawful imprisonment and assault. The court only gave him a sentence of a measly three years. Of the whole incident Marjorie had this to say:

“I shovelled out earth and put it into buckets which he pulled up. Sometimes we loaded as many as sixty buckets a day…He would come into the room each night and let me come up to his house…He would stand guard outside the bathroom door while I washed. Then he would lead me back to the room…He got an electric stove and fixed up the current in the hole and everyday he would lower down food which he bought from shopping lists I made out for him…About three weeks ago he decided I was resigned to my fate and he let down a wireless set…I had my handbag compact, luckily, so I was able to do my face each day and keep my self respect a bit…But, golly, how I longed to go to the hairdresser or else have a darned good bath.”

That british 1950s stiff upper lip really showing.

Pictured above: gifs from archival footage, first is Marjorie Jordan, then John Bridal (in glasses), Mrs. Marshall demonstrating where she found the note and a few shots of his underground lair.

Courtly Salute to Princess Grace

ORIGINAL CAPTION READS: Spanish Army lieutenant Perez Segane bends over from the saddle to kiss the hand of Princess Grace of Monaco after she had presented him with the “Prix of Monaco” at the Annual Horse Show in Monaco. Prince Rainier, husband of Princess Grace, is looking on through dark glasses just beyond her. (April 1957)

flickr

UP, Chicago, Illinois, 1957 by Center for Railroad Photography & Art
Via Flickr:
Union Pacific’s westbound City of Portland passenger train preparing to depart Chicago Union Station in April 1957. Photograph by Wallace W. Abbey, © 2015, Center for Railroad Photography and Art. Abbey-03-147-12