The violinist who burgled houses by night

The violinist who burgled houses by night


norman lebrecht

January 04, 2016

Charlie Peace was a Raffles-like character who gained admission to fashionable houses by day and returned at night to burgle them. The violin was an indispensable part of his pretence at culture and sophistication.

But Charlie, for all his charm, was also handy with a pistol. He shot and killed the husband of one of his mistresses and later put lead into two pursuing policemen. He was hanged at Leeds in 1878.

His violin has gone on display in a Crime Uncovered exhibition at the Museum of London.

Violin belonging to cat burglar, Charles Peace, executed for killing a police officer in a burglary gone wrong in 1878. Peace was a musician serenading households by day; returning robber by night. © Museum of London / object courtesy the Metropolitan Polices Crime Museum


  • Paolo V. Montanari says:

    When they ask you “apart from music, don’t you have a real job?”…