• Welcome to this forum . We are a worldwide group with a common interest in Birmingham and its history. While here, please follow a few simple rules. We ask that you respect other members, thank those who have helped you and please keep your contributions on-topic with the thread.

    We do hope you enjoy your visit. BHF Admin Team

Birmingham;;;the sinister side

Astonian

gone but not forgotten
HI GUYS.
On searching out a book for a fellow member ;[ mandy ] i went to cheltham yesterday and i discovered a person whom as alot of books and post cards of brum of yester years ; and i sen this red cover book written by steve jones
and its heading was birmingham the sinister side ; and it had alot about aston ; and the stories of its inhabbitants of the 1800- 1900
sadly it was not the book i was searching for but i decided to take it home it cost me four pounds mint condition
and its as some great storioes of the era and photos of the old streets and of the familys and there way of living ; and there crimes they committed ; and the most committed crimes was the husband striking there wifes over the head with an axe itwas regular thing
one man got nine months for the murder of his wife for axing her ;it tells you of the crime causes in victorian times along with alot of other things ;there is alot of photograh of aston and the surrounding streets of aston and with neibours and people standing in the door ways up these very decrepeted conditions; i thought cromwel terrace was a pitt and a slum but by golly the picture of these decaying propertys made 5/92lichfield rd a palace either with the over run cock roaches and plaster bugs eating us alive ; they are shocking and appalling to see these pics of the erly years of yester ear of aston ; we all knew of summe lane and the rough inhabbintants as they was in the 1800s and it states in that perid it was so bad they had to bring the gaurder [ police over to england to control summer lane and tackle them with there crime ;
its a really gem of a book it will make you relize just how bad crime was in those days compared with todays crime and it really will be a good book to learn more about aston ; and its street it may even keep you awake on some stories ;if you have not got i suggest you keep your eyes peeled for it as its a good read ; best wihes astonian;;
 
B

BernardR

Guest
If anyone is interested in obtaining a copy of this Amazon have it. Avoid eBay as they are asking twice as much and more.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Barbinoz

master brummie
I have this book and as you say it really opens your eyes as to what it was like especially in Summer Lane. I've gone back to this useful little book often over the 9 or so years I've had it.
 
I like this book. I picked it up for 99p on e-bay so bargains do come around on there. On a different note but related to this topic... if you like reading about villains and rogues I have quite a few characters who were banned from Birmingham's pubs in t'old days. I'll add more in the near future as there are zillions of offenders. They can be found at https://www.midlandspubs.co.uk/birmingham/ under "Habitual Drunkards"

Richard-Flemming.jpg
 
"Soft on crime, soft on the causes of crime..."

"Soft on crime, soft on the causes of crime..." was a phrase rolled out by politicians in recent years. So, whilst we're on the topic of Victorian and Edwardian crime in Birmingham, here's a story I read yesterday whilst digging up material on Lozells Road....

"Thomas Rourke, printer, Porchester Street, Aston, was sentenced to twenty-eight days' hard labour, and five years in a reformatory, for stealing three ounces of sweets from the shop of Harriet Haywood, 59, Lozells Road."

Five years!! for stealing three ounces of sweets!! What do you think the punishment would be these days? Did the harsh sentencing stop offending? Well, when you trawl the newspapers of yesteryear it would appear not. With Magistrates keen to impose the birch, hard labour, long sentences etc., it seemingly didn't seem to stop people doing the daftest things that ended up with them coming 'up' the stairs to face the Bench.
 

Astonian

gone but not forgotten
hi richard
hope you are having a day and thanks to your self and of course our bernie for advertising the book i have mentioned
it was only by chance that i stumbled onto this guy and his stall in cheltham he as alot to offer on brum just like this forum and of course you richard and your site ; midlands pub ; have just qizzed through it it certainly maked good historical reading about the streets of aston and surrounding charactors ;
of the period doesnt it ; it was amazing tosee how many woman was drunked and being barred from pubs yet inthe book of sinister brum ;
it was a regular thing of pratice that the men always used an axe to kill there wifes and partners ; during these times
in fact it was really a everday common thing men was doing as i was reading this book last night and when i came to the men section of raising the axe ovr woman and it said anbout the woman being ages and they thought there woman was fratinizenig with the gather of the beer house ;
my emediat though went straight back to the family of friends whom i grew up with in hingeston street dear mrs hanlon as her husband was one ofthese types
whom done and said the same thing about her; she washis skivvy and nevy worked and she loved her kids and slave at work to keep her family fed and clothed
and how he came out of his with that discription of her being ages fetching is fags he must have lived in a time warp sad; yes its sad that she lost her life and the kids lost there mother and was taken into care ; best wishes astonian ;;
 

barrie

master brummie
Have just odered that book from Amazon. Looking forward to a good read. Who knows, there may be some ancestors in there. :encouragement:
 

sistersue61

master brummie
Going back to the sweet thief, today it would likely be the shopkeeper jailed for selling goods damaging to health lol.
Am going to order the book from Amazon for dad.
Sue
 

barrie

master brummie
Got that book now, its fascinating, what a crap life those people had though, even though I grew up in a house that was considered a slum, at least our mom kept us and the house clean and our dad kept us fed and clothed, thank God.
 

Astonian

gone but not forgotten
hi barrie ;
you are speaking on how excatly my emediate houghts was when i started to read that book; i just had to buy it
i am going back to cheltam on sunday al being well and th weather is fine this guy as got array of pictures of old birmingham
at the time i was really pushed for time so i did not get much time with the old lady beging me come on as they do ;
i hope to pick some more books up and hope fully some cards but yes its great reading as you go page by page
and now you can understand the reason for nicking food as stuff like that ;
when growing up over the years you hear all the stories of summer lane and its inhabbints aqs to why they was like that ; thats is really gruesome to have lived like hat in those condition; but like i said with our abode it was as bad as that with cock roachesand red plaster bugs coverig the walls and your clothes and whilst you were asleep ; beleive me its was bad but i think they had the edge on us it was not very often we had a mouse; but they all came through the walls of thompsons the butchers they was slaughtering he pigs ans sqealing behind the living room wall it was a one bedroom one up and one down only eight boys two girld all in one bed sharinf coats and one bolster top an bottom a the mother an fathr in th same bed room as well ;
to think they got away with it in those days meaning the council ; but it makes me smile when the relys are in charch and seing you kin live like that ; its a disgrace ; best wishes astonian ;;;
 

Big Gee

master brummie
"Thomas Rourke, printer, Porchester Street, Aston, was sentenced to twenty-eight days' hard labour, and five years in a reformatory, for stealing three ounces of sweets from the shop of Harriet Haywood, 59, Lozells Road."
That's the way to do it! String 'em up, I say! Flog some respect into 'em!

Seriously though, you don't have to go that far back to find very strict sentences for what to us seem very trivial crimes.
No names or anything, but in the 1950's the brother of a boy I knew in Witton got about four years for nicking wheels off a car. Probably wasn't his first offence, but even so.....

G
 

Shortie

master brummie
I think that the people mentioned in the book are, by and large, not as well educated as we are, and perhaps had little intelligence to boot. With low intelligence (surmised) and poor education comes apathy. One has to feel sorry for anyone living in those times, particularly the poor. How lucky we are.
 

Astonian

gone but not forgotten
Hi big gee ;
beleive me if you read that book you will see what the hard labour meant ; they had a big wheel of some sortand it was dark and wih bread a water its abit much i thought but there aint tere for an holiday if they madeit like it 3as of yester years i do not think they would wnt to go there they had to crank a handle in there cell for a high voluve and if they did not meet there number they had to go with out there bread [ dry at that ]its incredable reading and pictures ; astonian;;
 

Big Gee

master brummie
Oscar Wilde was sentenced to hard labour for homosexuality, and it all but killed him. I'm fully aware what it meant. 'Hard labour' was a pointless punishment in which there was no end result other than the physical reduction and humiliation of the prisoner. Sewing mail-bags and picking oakum were a doddle in comparison. Another example is military discipline - in Wellington's army it was by no means unusual for a man to be sentenced to 500 lashes for insubordination. He'd also hang soldiers for pillaging. And again, you don't have to go very far back - 1952 to be precise - to the Derek Bentley Case when a youth was hanged for a murder committed when he was actually in police custody. The term 'standards of the time' apply to what we now consider to be excessively harsh punishments. Thanks goodness we got rid of them.

G
 

Astonian

gone but not forgotten
HI BIG GEE
Are you actualy saying That we should give way and not give them a hard time in behind bars and let them have it cussy ;?.
because they already have it cussy and looked after from home to home the way i see it ;its only the prison officiers are doing the hard time
and a long prison sentence being in there looking after there walfare they are wasting there time they miss outon there pesoal relationship with there wifes and familys only to be abused by these hardened villains and all these drugg addictes should be dealt with like the old days
shipped to a far away island theres no need for them surplus to requirments i say ;
its like the robbers and crimms it in there blood i know of people whom had served long prison sentences and i mean long prison sentences
but they go back time after time longer time and time after time why its becauseits to soft ;they haveall the home comforts from home to home ;
it they had the old regime with the old staff of the what was called HMP Prisonon officiers old brigade ; rather than todays so called officers
where they had to call them si and respect to them not like toays bunch of hoodlands they arekids with no respect and blotted out with druggs
and three parts of them cannot read or right or count above twenty just juvenile delin ;
bring back the mail bags and the hard way of the old cells and no tvs next they will be getting frree bakki and congunial rights with there partners in there whilst the warden waits out side they they are geting there votes for goverment shortly i beleive ; what next ;
turn the screw and ake it hard for them or at least wich is one thin i agree about with the americans is big silly sentences life double life forty years or more what ever thecase 25 years plus just like the yankeeis jail but i ony think we may get the yankie dezign jail but not the sentences to go with it
have a nice day grah ; best wishes alan ;; astonian;;
 

Bill123

master brummie
HI BIG GEE
Are you actualy saying That we should give way and not give them a hard time in behind bars and let them have it cussy ;?.
because they already have it cussy and looked after from home to home the way i see it ;its only the prison officiers are doing the hard time
and a long prison sentence being in there looking after there walfare they are wasting there time they miss outon there pesoal relationship with there wifes and familys only to be abused by these hardened villains and all these drugg addictes should be dealt with like the old days
shipped to a far away island theres no need for them surplus to requirments i say ;
its like the robbers and crimms it in there blood i know of people whom had served long prison sentences and i mean long prison sentences
but they go back time after time longer time and time after time why its becauseits to soft ;they haveall the home comforts from home to home ;
it they had the old regime with the old staff of the what was called HMP Prisonon officiers old brigade ; rather than todays so called officers
where they had to call them si and respect to them not like toays bunch of hoodlands they arekids with no respect and blotted out with druggs
and three parts of them cannot read or right or count above twenty just juvenile delin ;
bring back the mail bags and the hard way of the old cells and no tvs next they will be getting frree bakki and congunial rights with there partners in there whilst the warden waits out side they they are geting there votes for goverment shortly i beleive ; what next ;
turn the screw and ake it hard for them or at least wich is one thin i agree about with the americans is big silly sentences life double life forty years or more what ever thecase 25 years plus just like the yankeeis jail but i ony think we may get the yankie dezign jail but not the sentences to go with it
have a nice day grah ; best wishes alan ;; astonian;;
You are right Astonian.
Even if the long sentences didn't work it kept the villains off the streets, just read the Evening Mail any night and see what the villains can get away with now, without going to prison!
Bill.
 

Big Gee

master brummie
Hi Alan,

back from un-paid taxi-driving.....

Trouble is, to discuss this subject would mean (for me, at least) getting political, and the thread would be closed. Suffice to say that W S Gilbert had it right, when he made the Mikado sing, "Let the punishment fit the crime". Only it doesn't happen today.

That bloke in Witton who got 4 years for nicking wheels off a car back in the 1950's - yes, he deserved punishment, but 4 years seemed a lot for what he did, especially when it's likely that there were men coming home drunk from the pub and knocking their wives and kids about, and if they got anything at all it would probably have been a caution.

I don't think hard labour or capital punishment ever really deterred anyone else from committing crime. Given that most murders are unpremeditated domestic jobs (which is what most of the population on Death Row in the USA are in for), it does seem harsh that a serial killer gets the same sentence. After all, you can only be hanged once.

I had the 'pleasure' (not) of knowing a character who'd rather have made £5 illegally than £20 straight. He just knocked things off, almost compulsively. Getting suspended sentences and an open-prison sentence didn't make the slightest difference - as soon as he came out he was off again. When he did finally get a stretch in Winson Green, he came out boasting of all the contacts he'd made inside, so would be planning something bigger and more profitable next time. What do you do with a person like him? Obviously custodial sentences had no effect on him at all.

It's a debate that will go on for ever, in my opinion.

Don't have nightmares!

G
 

Astonian

gone but not forgotten
HI Big gee ;
did they not call hanratty ; rubber neck because they could not hang him ; ? they tried a couple of time i beleive ;
on the subject of sentenceing grah; alot of people do not relise that when the judge sends some body to jail for a period of what ever ; it,s
automaticily halfed ; it does not make sense to me if the judge says seven yearts ; when he walks down the steps
is sentence is only three and a half years total not seven years and with good behaviour its halfed again ;its stupid
if the judge sends you to jail for 3 months you only do 4 weeks if you are lucky and thats to a health farm what they call open jail
it makes me laugh because when its reported a man as escaped from one of these places they just walk past the office windows and walk
they will give them the opportunity to walk home and the police are quite happy to come and pick you up
then take you back to a secure nick ; what a laugh
they why i say do what the yankies do big long senteses best wishes alan ; give my regards to your lovely maria ;; astonian;;
 
Top