CRIMINAL LIVES

Stories from the archives

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

A riot caused by a clergyman’s violence http://thepolicemagistrate.blog/2019/11/29/a-riot-caused-by-a-clergymans-violence/

To find out more about this #Victorian poisoning case, pop into our library during opening hours and *lowers voice to a whisper* ask for London Collection Pamphlets, Box 76.
#MysteriousArchives #ExploreYourArchive

Today's #ExploreYourArchive theme is #ArchivesAtSea

We have a range of records relating to Newport Docks, including these photographs of the various goods being loaded and unloaded at the Docks.

(Ref: Pictorial/Newport67-68, 70 and 74)

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Are you struggling to find information on staff or prisoners at a particular prison? Do you want to know more about the links between prisons and local communities? Check out our new guide on using the Census for prison research https://tinyurl.com/tyyrbwh ✒️📖🗝️

For #MysteriousArchives we have an intelligence file on suspected Irish Republican Brotherhood suspects compiled by the Chief Secretary’s Office, 1892-1893. It’s a mystery how they were secretly photographed in public places, perhaps using an early spy camera? @explorearchives

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29 Nov 1686: John [Jack] Ketch public executioner who made a mess of many of his grim tasks is buried #otd at St. James Clerkenwell. Despite being paid for a speedy job, he took five blows to removed the head of the Duke of Monmouth.

@ourcriminalpast @channel5_tv @socialhistsoc @ResearchEssex #crime #historians may be interested in clips taken from the early 1900s film made about Charles Peace.

Look out for ‘Victorians in Colour’ in 2020 @channel5_tv. Just finished filming my contributions at the wonderful Whirled Cinema in Brixton. #twitterstorians @socialhistsoc @ResearchEssex

While we’re on the topic of Oliver Twist - Why don’t you take a look at Liverpool’s own workhouse, which stood on Brownlow Hill from 1834-1928.

The workhouse would be demolished in 1931, and replaced with, what is now, the Roman Catholic Church.