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

As my book ‘Trials of the Self: Murder, Mayhem and the Remaking of the Mind, 1750-1830’ is now out, a short thread on what’s in it! /1 https://manchesteruniversitypress.co.uk/9781526153142/

2-36 Jamaica St, 1930
Gardner and Son's warehouse (no. 36, now Martin and Frost) is one of the most remarkable cast-iron warehouses of its date anywhere in Britain; built 1855-6 by John Baird I and using a structural system patented by R McConnel, ironfounder. Archive Ref:

‘The Openings’ Robin Hoods Bay. In Victorian times it was often called ‘Baytown, to distinguish it from the bay. In 1536 King Henry VIII’s topographer, John Leland, described the village as a ‘a fischer townelet of 20 bootes.' It was considered more important than Whitby

On 26th April 1867, the Hull whaler Diana returned to port after 353 days away, mostly spent trapped in ice in Frobisher Bay in the Arctic. 13 men died of scurvy and dysentery.  Captain  John Gravill is buried in Hull General Cemetery. 15,000 people attended his funeral.

Some fascinating figures in the doorway of this Holloway Penny Bazaar, 1914.

And an interesting reflection in the left hand window @sainsburyarch !

🇬🇩 I've been lucky enough to work in several archives in the Caribbean. They all have amazing staff doing great work on tiny budget, but this is worrying news from Grenada. Side note: Caribbean history is also British history (via @nowgrenada) https://www.nowgrenada.com/2021/04/video-dire-state-of-grenadas-national-archive-needs-urgent-attention/

Is this ghost like figure #SomethingScary or a trick of the light captured in this photograph of the billiard room at Carton House c. 1891? #Archive30

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#MapMonday Station Road, #Belvedere on 1907 @OrdnanceSurvey #map and 1906 #photo showing the railway station in the background @LBofBexley @BelvedereForum @Se_Railway

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If you aren't using this website for your #WWI research then you are missing out. It's my No 1 go-to every single time I find a client's WWI ancestor. #Genealogy https://twitter.com/1418research/status/1386718002612215814