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Crime and Punishment in Victorian times


master brummie
Just a few punishment ideas took of the National Archives from the Dilke memoirs:

"Bond of John Vale of Coleshill, tailor to William Dilke of Maxstoke Castle in £20, to pay £10 if ever caught fishing in waters belonging to Mr Dilke without permission, having been lately convicted of so doing before John Dugdale, Esq., Justice of the Peace. 2 July 1728"

"Authorisation by William Dilke, John Mason and Robert Mallory to John Beardsley of Warwick, to prefer a bill of indictment against William Cornbill, late keeper of the county gaol of Warwick, for allowing George Reynolds, charged with felony, to escape, and another similar bill for allowing Thomas Dolton, John Butts and Richard Crofts to escape. 25 July 1788"

"Maxstoke; Order of the Coleshill court of Petty Sessions t. William Mynor Smythe of Birmingham, owner of the land in Maxstoke adjoining Hall End Lane, to cut hedges which shade the road and excludes sun and wind from the carriageway. 7 Feb.1900"
:flower: :cat:


master brummie
Brilliant, I really must have been a sadist in previous life, it's either that or just pure fascination
:flower: :cat:


I was recently given a book titled "Birmingham The Sinister Side" published by " Wicked Publications"
222 Highbury Road, Bulwell, Nottingham NG6 9FE England. There are about 40 cases of people sent to prison etc. for very petty crimes, example. Sent down for 3 months for stealing a hankerchief ( 1870).
There are also good pictures of slum areas right in the City of Birmingham. Also a few murders are recorded.


Geff I have had this book for a long time its very interesting thanks for the reminder.


master brummie
Nothing to do with the book but a post on a thread which has been closed by mods had me thinking.
Are there any members out there whose ancestors were birched and was it effective in deterring them from a life of crime?
My own great grandfather was given 6 strokes of the birch in 1895 for stealing pigeons. He was 9 years old at the time.
In his case it seemed to be no deterrent at all and his criminal career, mainly assault Police and drunkeness, (As per Birmingham City Police records) continued up until 1914 when he enlisted into the army in an attempt to avoid pending criminal charges (Unsuccessfully). He later re-enlisted and served in the Royal Warks. Reg. and survived the war.
Later in life he was charged with grieviously injuring my grandmother but was acquitted when she withdrew the charges despite being hospitalised with a fractured skull.
He's not a man I am particularly proud to have in my family tree, but I do wonder whether that initial birching had a detrimental effect on his outlook towards authority.


master brummie
I had forgotten that I had already made a post on this topic.
Today I was working on my family tree and was directed via an Ancestry hint to the Birmingham Gaol Habitual Offenders Register. Sad to say yet another of my ancestors was featured there. I decided to look through the register and was appalled at the severity of the punishments handed out to young boys who had no previous convictions and what seemed to be a very trivial transgression.
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These three boys weren't even into their teens and the offence "Throwing stones on to a railway" was deemed so serious that they were imprisoned and "Whipped". These boys were only three of several of similar age I discovered who were convicted and punished for the same offence.
I wonder if the whipping was a deterrent or did they go on to more serious offences in later life.


Ex-pat Brummie

My late wife's grandfather, Alfred Charles Farmer, was given 6 strokes of the birch for his part in this bit of petty thievery in which he was deemed to be the "mastermind":-

I don't think it did him any harm and he certainly never offended again. In fact, he was one of the founder members of the Salvation Army Citadel in Hockley a few years later. Two vicars out of the Bench of four, so that probably sealed their fate! He was just 10 years old at the time and his brother Raymond was 18 months older, and they were both fined 10 shillings, quite a lot of money in those days, so no chance of hiding that from their father, who was a labourer on the railway at that time. So a lot of embarassment for their father too.

Maurice :cool:


master brummie
This is my Great Uncle,Alfred Henry Harrison b.1864.
In 1881 he was convicted of stealing two pigeons and received a six weeks prison sentence.
In 1882 he was convicted to a prison sentence of six months this time for stealing 17lbs of fat.


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master brummie
Just thinking of the outcry there would be today at such hard sentences being handed out.
Maurice, just read your post #5. Did not realise the Farmers were founder members of Hockley Salvation Army. I knew the Farmer family in 1956 - 58 whilst there and before I went into Salvation Army College