The New Newgate Calendar

Blogs about the history of crime, justice and punishment

Calendar     Blogs
My initial research on peculiar history of Zanzibar’s so-called Prison Island as part of the Carceral Archipelago project began last year delving into the records in the National Archives and the British Library. Relying on Foreign Office correspon...
This is a new post in the long-running series addressing the provocative issue of Crime, Insanity and Sex(see post  dated 24th September 2014 for an introduction and summary of how these traditionally separated issues inter-relate).The latest in...
On this date in 1947, Hungarian politician Gyorgy Donath was executed for treason as the Hungarian state was came into the hands of the Communists. Gyorgy Donath awaits hanging in the courtyard of a Budapest prison on October 23, 1947. (Source) Dona...
(Thanks to Meaghan Good of the Charley Project for the guest post. -ed.) Sometime in October 1584 in the city of Stockholm, Sweden, one Anders Bengtsson was sentenced to death for his crimes “against the law and justice and the subjects of His...
On this date in 1621, Spain’s once-powerful Marquis of the Seven Churches fell as far as tragedy can drop a man. Still to this day a Spanish emblem of the perils of ambition, Rodrigo Calderon hailed from the minor nobility in the rebellious Low...
Abstract: The Digital Panopticon will assemble a larger collection of datasets than any other crime history project to date (including, amongst many others, the Old Bailey Proceedings, convict transportation registers and prison records), covering hu...
Murderer Owen McQueen(e)y was hanged on this date in 1858 at Gallows Flat down the road from Old Geelong Gaol. McQueeney, a wandering Irish robber with one distinctively sightless eye, committed something called the “Green Tent Murder” wh...
On this date in 1660, the English soldiers Francis Hacker and Daniel Axtel(l) were executed for their roles in keeping the captured King Charles I, and for eventually seeing that late king to his beheading. Francis Hacker No hapless grunt, Hacker w...
We’re holding an afternoon workshop on record/data linkage in Sheffield on 4 November. The aim is to explore the challenges and rewards of applying automated nominal record linkage to large-scale historical datasets, with all their variability,...
Detective Chief Inspector George Clarke, the subject of my 2011 book ‘The Chieftain’ Between 1865 and 1868, a resurgence of  republicanism within the British- and American- Irish communities saw the development of various plots and schem...
For murdering his two brothers, Antoni Areny was executed on this date in 1943 in Andorra — that country’s first and only execution since the 19th century. The tiny Pyrenees principality, neutral in the continental war raging at that time...
Ever since I moved to Reading, I’ve been fascinated by the story of Trooper Wooldridge, whose execution was immortalised by …Continue reading →

1817: Maggie Houghtaling

17 October 2014
On this date in 1817, Maggie Houghtaling (alias Peggy Densmore) was hanged in Hudson, N.Y. for infanticide. Houghtaling lived with the mother of 15-month-old Lewis Spencer. One awful day in August — just eight weeks before the consequent execut...
Joseph Townsend In 1791, the London Chronicle reported the existence of a “remarkable” house of correction in Barcelona, which had been visited by Joseph Townsend four years earlier. It had two aims: the reformation of prostitutes and fem...
This is a version of papers I gave at the European Social Science History Conference (Vienna 2014) and the British Crime Historians Symposium (Liverpool 2014). It explores what we can learn from multiple historical records about the friendship networ...

Christmas Dinner 1974

16 October 2014
HMP Brixton isn’t an ideal location to celebrate Christmas – but the menu in 1975 doesn’t look too bad.  I wonder if there was any actual brandy in the brandy sauce.
(Thanks to Robert Elder of Last Words of the Executed — the blog, and the book — for the guest post. Fans of this here site are highly likely to enjoy following Elder’s own pithy, almanac-style collection of last words on the scaffo...
On this date in 1942, the Japanese military occupying the atoll of Tarawa beheaded 17 New Zealand Coastwatchers, along with five civilians. Tarawa, a fishhook-shaped atoll that belongs to the Republic of Kiribati, was one of many specks of South Pac...
On this date in 1854, two Sami men were beheaded for Norway’s Kautokeino Rebellion. The indigenous Sami people — often known as Lapps, although this nomenclature is not preferred by the Sami themselves — had by this point become ter...
The events of the Pace case occurred within the context of inter-war British crime, media and police history, the study of which has been rapidly expanding in recent years. I am very pleased to be able to announce that a special issue of Media Histor...
This date is the dolorous anniversary of the “October 13 massacre”, a bloodbath wrapping up the Lebanese Civil War when the Syrian army executed hundreds of captured Lebanese. The intractable war, which dated back to 1975 and made “...

1883: Frederick Mann

12 October 2014
(Thanks to Meaghan Good of the Charley Project for the guest post. -ed.) On this date in 1883, Frederick Mann was hanged for murdering four members of his master’s family. Frederick was an immigrant from London and worked as a live-­in farmhan...
On this date in 1593, Nuremberg executioner Franz Schmidt beheaded one of that city’s finest con artists. Gabriel Wolff, a burgher’s son, had gone on a picaresque swindling bender through central Europe and all the way to Constantinople,...
It is a truth universally acknowledged that women do not always get paid the same as men for doing the same job, and this is in the 21st century. In the 18th century, women were often paid less than men, and had less recourse to the law than we do t...
On this date in 1932, Korean nationalist Lee Bong-chang was hanged at Ichigaya Prison for attempting to assassinate Japanese Emperor Hirohito. The would-be assassin under arrest. Remembered now as a patriotic hero, Lee on January 9, 1932 chucked a g...

‘Man Shot by a Dog’

10 October 2014
Whilst browsing through the Lloyd’s Weekly Newspaper, I came across this rather intriguing headline and couldn’t resist the temptation of …Continue reading →
On this date in 1796, 30 Jacobins were shot by a military commission in under the French Directory for attempting to subert the army. This final, failed enterprise of Gracchus Babeuf‘s “Conspiracy of Equals” took place months after...
On this date in 1760,* silversmith and murderer John Bruleman (sometimes given as Bruelman or Bruellman) was hanged by his own wish. “Weary of life,” he “had committed the crime to escape from the toils and troubles of the world....
On this date in 1998, Jonathan Nobles was executed in Texas for a double murder — choked off by the lethal drugs as he sang the words “…sweet child” in the Christmas hymn “Silent Night”. On parole for theft, the dr...
During a recent research trip to the State Library of Western Australia I had the opportunity to examine the journal compiled by William Smith, Surgeon Superintendent, on board the Merchantman’s second voyage to the Swan River Colony. [1] Leaving P...
On this date in 1922, Benny Swim suffered a double hanging for a double murder. Benny Swim(m) grew up on a squalid backwoods farm in the New Brunswick “badlands” where violence and moonshine were as ubiquitous as poverty: “the poore...
 I am delighted to announce further titles from Pickering & Chatto are to be reviewed here on Mad, Bad and Desperate*:  Free Will and the Human Sciences in Britain, 1870-1910; Roger Smith (Science and Culture in the Nineteenth Century:...
  I am honoured to have a guest post from talented writer and lovely friend, Suzie Grogan, whose new book, Shell Shocked …Continue reading →
It was on this date in 610 that the Byzantine Emperor Phocas was overthrown and put to summary execution — by the very hand, legend says, of his successor Heraclius.* Perhaps Byzantium’s most anathematized emperor — one Byzantine hi...

Escaping Broadmoor

4 October 2014
I’ve previously blogged about patients whose desire to stay in Broadmoor, or gain a transfer to the (comparatively lenient and luxurious) asylum from prison was so strong they feigned insanity. This post briefly outlines the cases of some patients...
On this date in 1925 the Chinese warlord Sun Chuanfang had a captured enemy commander beheaded. In so doing, he signed his own death warrant too. Deep into China’s Warlord Era, the chaotic decade-plus after the collapsing empire gave way to a f...

Defacing Beauty

3 October 2014
‘Six Stages of Mending a Face’ (1792) © Trustees of the British Museum One eighteenth-century reviewer’s judgement on an exhibition of paintings, recorded in The Times, was marred slightly by one thing – the distraction of wo...
On this date in 1937, the Soviet economist Alexander Chayanov was shot during Stalin’s purges. “Our present capitalist form of economy represents only one particular instance of economic life and the validity of the scientific disciplin...
We’re delighted to be able to announce our second project workshop. It’s another afternoon workshop, this time in Sheffield, and the subject is Record Linkage (part of the Epistemologies research theme). We’re particularly interes...
On this date in 1829, George Swearingen, late the sheriff of Washington County, Md., was hanged for murder. Swearingen murdered his wife after he became infatuated with a woman of ill repute. To savor this tawdry tale, we’re going to reprise ou...
As a follow-up to my last post on “A Foodie Look at Early Prison Food,” I decided to find out more about food served in early American prisons. During my research, I came across a description of the meals served to convicts in New York’s Newgat...
Philadelphia Inquirer, October 3, 1881 On this date in 1881, a mob of 5,000 shouting imprecations against the courts spent two hours breaking open the jail in Bloomington, Illinois, then hauled out a horse thief named Charlie Pierce* and lynched him...
On this date in 1724, four members of a colonial religious cult were hanged together at the gallows of Charleston, South Carolina. The Dutartre family, whose members comprise two of those executed four, numbered among many Huguenot refugees to settle...
The opportunity to connect each Old Bailey convict from their trial, to the ship they sailed on, to the records of their lives in Australia is only one of the benefits of the huge data -linkage efforts currently being undertaken by the Digital Panopt...
This collection of ten essays concerns the interaction of ordinary women with the legal system of England and Wales. A common theme running through them is the extent to which the individual narrative of female petitioners, defendants and witnesses c...
Liverpool’s St George’s Hall – former location of the Assizes On 26 and 27 September, criminal historians from across the UK – and indeed from around the world – gathered at the University of Liverpool’s Foresight...
‘I’ll Show You What Cuts Are’ by David, HMP Brixton. Commended award for painting. The Koestler Awards are the premier awards for prisoners’ art and writing.  This, its 53rd year, saw a record-breaking 8,789 pieces of writing...
At the end of August, I visited Tsukigata, a small town in Hokkaido where the Kabato Central Prison was located from 1881 to 1919. The town was established in the year when the prison opened, and named after its first director, Kiyoshi Tsukigata. Thi...
British Crime Historians Symposium 4, 26 September 2014. Paper presented by Dr Rhiannon Markless, Honorary Research Fellow, University of Roehampton. This paper focuses on judicial responses to the men and women who participated in food riots that e...
The most well-known prison reformer in Britain is probably John Howard, whose State of the Prisons, published in three editions in 1777, 1780 and 1784, instigated the building of the new Gloucester County Prison. Another influential reformer was J...