Gotthold Johann Frederick Krueger, who had been known locally as Frederick Krueger, the Wallasey Hermit, was found dead in his hut in a field adjoining Green Lane, Wallasey, on 8th March 1909 by a labourer, Charles Webster of 2 Russell Road. He had lived in the area for up to 30 years and although everyone knew who he was, few knew much about him.
At the inquest some of his past was revealed. He was born in Mecklenburg about 1848 and his family was said to have been on the personal staff of the King of Prussia. He had graduated at Rostock, Munich and Leipzig Universities; was a Greek and Latin scholar as well as being fluent in English, French and Italian; not only a brilliant musician - a concert pianist of some note - but also a composer of some repute; and practised law in Germany; and had been a member of the German Diplomatic Corps where he was supposed to have gone to Peking to represent his country but came to England instead.
It was thought that he had lived in the Wallasey Village area for about 30 years, spending the last 20 years as a recluse living in a corrugated-iron hut on the Wallasey Golf Club links, off Green Lane. He apparently had no relatives in England and his main source of income was a small allowance from Germany. This was barely enough to maintain him but some locals, feeling an affection for him, gave him money out of charity. Probably the only person he was in direct contact with was Samuel Howard, market gardener of Green Lane, Wallasey, at whose address Krueger used to receive any mail. He was in the habit of calling on the market gardener two or three times a week for fresh water.
When Wallasey Golf Club was founded and laid out in 1891, Krueger was already living on the site of the new course and his garden became an out of bounds for the 8th hole. This lasted until 1953 when the rule was abandoned.
On Monday 8th March at 8am, Charles Webster, who was working in a field near Krueger's hut and hadn't seen the hermit for some time, knocked at his door. Receiving no answer but seeing what >>
he thought was a body lying on the floor, he called at the police station. PC Robert Gilpin, stationed at Wallasey, went with Webster and breaking down the door found the hermit in a kneeling position, dead. Very few people had seen inside the hut which was 15ft long, 6ft wide, 12ft high and partioned into three. There was an extensive library including classical subjects in Latin and Greek, and also music by Wagner, Mozart and Krueger himself. However, it was a total clutter.
Removing the body to the Poulton Reading Room in Limekiln Lane was a problem as they had to keep Krueger's five retriever dogs at bay. The corpse was in a very dirty condition and although there was no marks of violence, the Coroner stated that the skin on the left cheek and by the bridge of the nose had been gnawed by rats and that the deceased had suffered from a strangulated hernia and peritonitis, which was the cause of death. The deceased had been dead for three to four days.
The funeral procession of the 'Hermit of Wallasey' 13th March 1909
Everyone talked about the hermit of Wallasey, who was described as being very hunched, a Bohemian type with a drooping moustache, but very few knew him. He was heard to say that he had no friends and wished to exist alone and all he desired was the right to pass his days in study and contemplation. Why did this highly educated and talented man abandon his cultured world for a country where he had no connections and live the life of a recluse? The Wallasey Villages clubbed together to pay for a proper funeral, so that he would not have to be buried in a pauper's grave. Frederick Krueger's secret died with him in a small ramshackle hut in Wallasey.