CRIMINAL LIVES

Stories from the archives

Thorborg Ireland: Arson with intent to defraud insurance

In 1866, Thorborg Ireland, a Norwegian widow and mother of four, was charged with arson after setting fire to her house. Personal circumstances may have driven her to commit what was deemed to have been a case of insurance fraud.

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Prison cell doors

Thomas Sweeting: Ripon Borough’s first policeman

In 1836, Ripon Borough set up a watch committee and recruited Thomas Sweeting, a local tailor, as its first policeman. He received £30 per annum and a uniform. But his tenure was not without incident or controversy.

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The story of Ursula Lofthouse

Using contemporary press reports, this is the story of Ursula Lofthouse who was found guilty of poisoning her husband and became the last woman to be publicly executed in York.

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The life of Gerald Brazill: musician, soldier, bigamist

He was a gifted musician and fought in the First World War. But Gerald Brazill had a family secret.

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rain falling on water

The Story of Esther Dyson

The tragic tale of a young woman from Sheffield who was sent to a lunatic asylum after murdering her newborn baby.

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inside a dark cell

Criminals in the asylum – part 2

In the second part of our ‘Criminals in the asylum’ feature, we take a look at three more offenders who found themselves serving time in the West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum in the 19th century.

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orange flames

A burning injustice? Criminality in the age of respectability

Read about 17-year-old servant girl Edith Jennings, whose background and family connections appear to have helped her escape the long prison sentence she received for arson.

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inside a dark cell

Criminals in the asylum

Read about those 19th century criminals who found themselves serving time in a lunatic asylum.

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image of arthur lockey

Arthur Lockey

The Hull businessman who got into trouble with the law in a perfect example of a 20th century white-collar crime.

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image of ethel major

Ethel Major

The life of Ethel Major, who was convicted of poisoning and executed at Hull Prison in 1934.

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Researching your prison ancestors: an introductory guide - Our Criminal Ancestors #AncestryHour https://ourcriminalancestors.org/researching-your-prison-ancestors-an-introductory-guide/

Tracing your police ancestors - Our Criminal Ancestors #AncestryHour https://ourcriminalancestors.org/police-ancestors/

Where to find criminal justice system records - Our Criminal Ancestors #AncestryHour https://ourcriminalancestors.org/where-to-find-criminal-justice-system-records/

Types of 'employment' & wages of prisoners in #Ripon House of Correction in 1872. Oakum picking had been introduced by the Governor, William Smith (formerly Sgt of the Ripon Police) in 1863. #NorthYorkshire @ourcriminalpast @prisonhistoryuk @CaPnetworkUK

@MAMBarLife @ourcriminalpast Yes. Ideally no windows, though some had small windows or grates for ventilation. Box Blind House is a true blind house - they managed to put the ventilation in the chimney https://tinyurl.com/eju6un9w

Finding a burial record is an important part of tracing your ancestor's story. Here's how to search the records of local cemeteries online

https://www.whodoyouthinkyouaremagazine.com/tutorials/cemetery-records-online/

1. Another in our #LostPrisonsofDublin series. "New Newgate" opened in 1781 to replace "Old Newgate", the medieval city prison located in Cornmarket. Designed by Thomas Cooley, it was quickly seen as out-dated and overcrowded with poor ventilation and sanitation. (image DCC)

2

Although the Met had detectives from 1842, when the painter William Frith wanted 2 real life officers as models for his depiction of an arrest (right), he used Michael Haydon and James Brett of the City of London Police, 2 of the finest thief takers of the day #AVeryBritishMurder