Just beneath Workhouse Bridge on the Trent & Mersey Canal in the centre of Stone, stands the wooden carving of Christina Collins. It is easily missed, the carving eerily mixes with the textures of a stone wall and the undergrowth – as in life, Christina blends into the background until one dreadful night in June 1839.
The narrowboats that plied the Trent & Mersey would carry the occasional passenger, fares being cheaper than travelling by coach due to the slow journey times. Christina boarded a boat heading south from Preston Brook, bound for London to meet her husband. This from the nearby information board:
“After leaving Stoke the three boat men and a boy started to drink heavily and when they reached Stone Mrs Collins told Hugh Cordwell at the Toll Office that she feared the men would “meddle” with her. He told her to report the men at the end of the journey. The following day Christina’s body was found in the canal near Rugeley. She had been raped and her body thrown overboard. Two of the men were hung for murder at Stafford and the third transported.”