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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Latest Updates on Twitter

New content from ⁦@HistoryWM⁩ ‘Not a penny off' - Birmingham and The General Strike 1926 https://historywm.com/articles/the-1926-general-strike-in-birmingham

We might not have a coastline here in Shropshire but there are plenty of other places to get into the holiday vibe. Can't afford a yacht on the French Riviera? Why not don a bikini and hike a lift on a supplies barge? [Blists Hill PH/M/1/4/128] #HolidayFashion

A house of correction in the 19th century and a women's prison in the 20th, the largest in Western Europe. Holloway Prison needs a fitting legacy. A women's building, with specialist services & accommodation for vulnerable women would be ideal. Read more https://tinyurl.com/277h6yz4

The greatcoats our #Nightwatchmen wore had gone up in price by 5 shillings in 1833 since they’d last been bought in 1828 for 28/5 each – about £100 in today’s money. Fascinating to see how the costs are broken down, such as ‘Altering capes to fit the neck’.
#Textilehistorians

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Lovely postcard from the collection showing #Manchester Assize courts. Designed by Alfred Waterhouse and completed in 1864 they were demolished in 1957 & suffered heavy damage during the Blitz.

We hold some calendars of prisoners for the Assizes in our collection.

#SecretsOfTheMuseum @V_and_A @BBCTwo female convict prisoners made mosaic tiles which make the beautiful floor in Cast Courts, Room 46 of V&A. Made by women held in Woking convict prison around 1870s/1880s #prisonhistory #prison @prisonhistoryuk @Victorian @YvonneJewkes

New article out now on 'flash houses' - pubs alledgedly used by members of the 'criminal underworld' in 19th-century London: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/09526951211024561

Have you ever wanted to stand inside a Kiln?

Well, at Coalport China Museum, you can!

Come and take at these amazing brick structures from inside and out 👀

Book your tickets now: http://www.Ironbridge.org.uk/plan/ticket-prices

#Museum #EngineeringMarvel

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Development Manager, National and Networks @SampsCaroline wrote a blog about the Research Resilience event we ran with @history_uk, where she calls for more conversations between historians and archivists to shape future ways of working.

Read it here: https://www.history-uk.ac.uk/2021/07/19/reflections-research-resilience/