‘I hope you know what baby farms are,’ Mr Bent Continued,’ because I am going to talk about one. A baby farm is not a farm where you can pet babies and look at them from behind a fence. Baby farms were places where they’d put unwanted babies. Some of these babies came from wealthy women who, for instance, were not married and would be a disgrace to the family if anybody were to find out about the kid. Other babies would come from prostitutes. Having a baby is not a very good selling point, is it? So these women would put their dumplings into the hands of a baby farm.
Babies were left there for good; parents would never have to come and visit the kids. They’d pay the baby farm a large amount of money – some would pay monthly or yearly instalments, others would pay everything at once – and the lady at the baby farm would take care of the kids. This way no one was to find out about the unwanted babies and you could live the rest of your life as if you had never given birth.
Amelia Dyer had her own baby farm. She also had a problem. Amelia really loved money … a lot. She loved money more than anything. That, as you will understand, is not the problem; there’s nothing wrong with loving money. However, she hated … no … she loathed babies. From their tiny little feet to their disproportionally large heads, she hated every inch of them. But, she loved the money. Money … babies … money … babies.
As you can see, she had a problem. There she was with all that money, but also all those kids. What to do? She did what every baby-hating-but-money-loving woman would do in the 19th century: kill the babies. That’s what she did. She would choke the babies and dump their tiny little bodies in the river Thames. Problem solved.’
This is where I had to swallow. I got a bit of a lump in my throat. Who would do such a thing? What kind of woman would do that? Is money really that important? I couldn’t really grasp it. Mr Bent stared out of the window a little bit as he drank his tea and waited for the right moment to continue. Which in my case will be tomorrow, as I need to get some sleep. See me tomorrow.