On this day in London’s history. On 3 November, 1793, the last hanging took place at Tyburn tree, near modern-day Marble Arch.
Condemned prisoners travelled from Newgate Prison to Tyburn; part of this went led into the steep ascent of Holborn Hill, sometimes called Heavy Hill. As prisoners on that journey rode backwards, the expressions ‘to ride up Heavy Hill’ or ‘to ride backwards up Holborn Hill’ indicated that someone was on their last journey. The expression ‘going west’, unlike the ‘go west’ of American pioneering times, referred to that last journey towards Tyburn.
For a fascinating insight into the full and final journey a prisoner would have made from Newgate to Tyburn, visit http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/static/JourneyTyburn.jsp.