The New Newgate Calendar

Blogs about the history of crime, justice and punishment

Calendar     Blogs
On this date in 1875, Whitechapel’s most notorious murderer ere Jack the Ripper arrived on the scene paid for his double life on the gallows of Newgate. Henry Wainwright, brushmaker and philanderer, came to his mortal ruin by way of a financial...
Sarah Oldham was a 40 year old married woman, whose husband had abandoned her. She had found love again with a framework-knitter named Edmund Kesteven, a year her junior, and for four years, they had been living together at 7 Penn Street in Sutton in...
The first legal hanging in Alberta, Canada, took place on this date in 1879. Generations later, it’s still remembered as one of the province’s worst, and strangest, crimes. The hanged man was a native Cree known as Swift Runner (Ka-Ki-Si-...
This series has already stated that Victorians liked to drink at Christmas. This was noted by elements of the 19th century press, and never made more clear than in a piece in the Yorkshire Herald in 1892. The paper noted the ‘extraordinarily la...
Several days ago, I broke from reading through the notes of nineteenth-century Russian penal inspectors to admire the 23rd edition of the International Prison News Digest, a publication of the Institute for Criminal Policy Research. As I perused this...
Dapper highwayman James Whitney was hanged at Smithfield on this date in 1694. A monument to the allures and the perils of a midlife career change, Whitney threw over a tiresome life as the proprietor of an inn in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire,* purchased...
Illustration from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, by S. Eylinge, 1869 (British Library, via Flickr Creative Commons) An article appeared in The Citizen on 17 December 1929, bearing the headline: Gloucester Gaol’s Xmas “Lags” Now...
There are always two sides of a story – well, kind of. In the trial of Margaret Lawlor, accused of grand larceny in a case brought by Benjamin Tucker, the two sides were not altogether dissimilar – and both depicted a rather grubby Christ...
We owe this discomfiting executioner’s-eye view from the ranks of German soldiers as they gun down Poles in the town of Bochnia on December 18, 1939 to a partisan attack two days prior by a Polish underground organization called White Eagle. Fi...
“On Christmas Day, Mr Cole Northall, a butcher, of the Delph, Brierley Hill, near Birmingham, left home with his family in the afternoon. “On returning at nine in the evening he discovered that the house had been entered by thieves. ̶...
On this date in 1954, Eugen Turcanu and 16 other Romanian political prisoners were executed at Jilava prison. Turcanu et al were noted as the truncheon arm of one of 20th century’s more blood-chilling torture programs, the Pitesti experiment. (...
We are delighted to announce that we have funding for a three-year PhD studentship, based at the University of Sheffield. The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries witnessed the development of both new forms of policing and ideas about habitual crimina...
Many Victorian families seem to have spent Christmas Day either getting drunk, or being drunk. This was not helped when families decided to make life easier for themselves by spending the day at the local pub. On Christmas Day, 1845, a group had gat...
This weekend, while I was at home in Manchester, I popped into Southern Cemetery to see Detective Caminada’s grave, which …Continue reading →
On this date in 1937, the Georgian poet Titsian Tabidze was executed in Stalin’s purges. “Titsiani”, who co-founded the “Blue Horns” symbolist circle in 1916, is the addressee of fellow dissident litterateur Boris Paster...
“They said before the Justice that I should keep my Christmas in another World, for they were determined to hang me.” Statement of Esther Burnham, sentenced to death for pocketpicking at the Old Bailey, 4 December 1741
(Thanks to Ramicles, the pseudonymous 19th century Chicago correspondent of the Providence Press, for this eyewitness account of a December 15, 1865 hanging off two hired assassins. It appeared under a December 16 dateline in that paper’s Decem...
Victoria and Albert with their Christmas tree in 1848 In 1839, in the week before Christmas, several people were brought before the magistrates at Worship Street Police Office in Shoreditch, charged with entering various gardens in order to break and...

1793: A Lyon matraillade

14 December 2014
The executions on December 14, 1793 illustrated above (image from here) date to Revolutionary France’s violent suppression that month of the France’s second city for its resistance to Jacobin power. We have alluded before to this bloody i...
On 17 January 1801, farmer John Shore went on trial at the Old Bailey, charged with the murder of his wife Mary by dragging her ‘from one chamber to another’. Their servant, Elizabeth Turner, gave evidence, saying: “I remember…the prisone...
An American hermit Mathews (first name unrecorded) was a 70-year-old widower known as the Norwood Hermit. For 28 years, he had lived in a cave created from earth, fern and wood on Sydenham Common, having been given leave to do so by the governors of...
On this date in 1949, two young miners from northern England were hanged together at Durham prison for unrelated crimes of passion: one had ravaged and strangled another man’s wife when his attempts to seduce her were met with a demand for mone...
Christmas was a fairly common first name for those in the past – I wonder why people don’t tend to call their children that now, when there are some far more bizarre names being used? Merry Christmas! Or not, seeing as he was in a debtors’...
(Thanks to Meaghan Good of the Charley Project for the guest post. -ed.) On this date in 1888, Tsimequor, a member of the Snuneymuxw First Nation, was executed in Nanaimo, British Columbia for a bizarre murder that clashed Aboriginal and white Canadi...
Dorchester Prison Admission & Discharge Registers (Dorset History Centre/Ancestry) From tomorrow, until Christmas Eve, I will be publishing a daily blog post for my 12 Days of Criminal Christmas series. This is a take on the twelve days of Christ...
Minnesota executed Harry Hayward shortly after midnight on this date in 1895. Dubbed the “Minneapolis Svengali” by the press for his perceived similarity to the sinister hypnotist of that year’s hit literary release, the prodigal ra...

1965: Andrew Pixley

10 December 2014
On this date in 1965, Andrew Pixley was gassed in Wyoming for butchering the two young daughters of a vacationing Illinois judge. A 21-year-old high school dropout with a few petty thefts to his name, Pixley on the night of August 5-6, 1964 broken in...

1919: Not Joseph Cohen

10 December 2014
This day in 1919 was the closest Joseph Cohen came to the electric chair in Sing Sing. His walk may have been 7 minutes, or possibly 11 minutes, away, but Cohen was not to die this day at the hands of the State of New York, nor at the hands of any st...
I, Pierre Rivière…Arguably one of history's most (in)famous cases of criminal insanity occurred in rural France in the late spring of 1835. On 3rd June, Pierre  Rivière, 20 year old son of Pierre-Margrin, walked into his family's home in la...
Most judges are content to inflict their atrocities with a gavel, but on this date in 1578, a magistrate turned freebooter named Kort Kamphues was beheaded at Bevergern. Just a few months before his July 1553 death, Prince-Bishop Franz von Waldeck se...
It is an unexpected pleasure to be back in the Andaman Islands for the first time in almost two years. I have been researching aspects of the Islands’ history for almost 15 years, and in 2013 completed a research project with two colleagues based i...
On this date in 1975, the wife of East Timor’s Prime Minister was publicly executed on the docks of her conquered country’s capital. By the happenstances of colonial expansion, East Timor, a 15,000-square kilometer half-island in the Less...
The death of Terence MacSwiney was an international event that took place in the most private of places. The Lord Mayor of Cork was brought into Brixton prison on 18th August 1820.  He had been on hunger strike for almost a week in protest at his t...
From the French Grandes Chroniques. The numbered footnotes within the blockquote are verbatim from this text. Moreover, it befel in this year [1323] that an abbey of the Cistercian Order was robbed of a marvellous great sum of money. So they managed...
On this date in 1985, serial killer Carroll Edward “Eddie” Cole was executed in Nevada. A smart and troubled Iowa boy, Cole‘s earliest memories were of his mother’s thrashings to scare him into keeping quiet about the affairs...
George Jacob Holyoake On 24 May 1842, a lecture was given at the Mechanics’ Institute in Cheltenham, bearing the snappy title of “Home Colonisation as a means of superseding Poor Laws and Emigration”. The speaker, George Jacob Holy...
On July 9, 1806, Jesse Wood was returning from a hard day’s work on the farm with his sons Joseph and Hezekiah. All of them being somewhat in their cups, they fell to arguing and the father went to his home and retrieved a musket — “...
This morning in 1900, Bury ironturner Joseph Holden was executed at Manchester’s Strangeways Prison for the murder of his grandson. “The convict’s sanity had been in some doubt,” in the bloodless words of the next day’s...
An everyday execution in 16th century Montpellier, from the diary of Swiss medical student Felix Platter — whom we have already had cause to notice in these pages: Beatrice, Catalan’s former servant girl, who had drawn off my boots when I...
It’s said that few tragedies equal that of the parent who has to bury their own child. So much more shocking, then, the parent who takes their own progeny’s life intentionally. Saturn Devouring His Son, maybe the most recognizable of agi...
(Thanks to Meaghan Good of the Charley Project for the guest post. -ed.) On this date in 1917, 24-year-old black farmhand Lation (or Ligon) Scott died a horrible death in Dyersburg, Tennessee. For the two years prior to his extrajudicial “execu...
On this date in 1865, six African-American infantrymen were shot in Fernandina, Florida, for the Jacksonville Mutiny. Formed in 1863, the 3rd Infantry Regiment, United States Colored Troops served in the trenchworks around Fort Wagner — the gri...
Twas the night before Christmas (1869), when patient D. M. decided that not even the prospect of currant cake the following day was enough to keep him at Broadmoor. As much of the asylum slept, he carefully removed the iron bar from his window, place...
The second half of the workshop was devoted to work in progress from the Digital Panopticon –summaries of which have already appeared (or will soon be appearing) on this blog, so watch this space! As such, I’ll say less about these papers than th...
In the first half of this workshop on record linkage we had three fantastic papers from guest speakers who were invited to talk about their own experiences of conducting record linkage in historical research. Each speaker offered a different perspect...

Feast Day of St. Andrew

30 November 2014
Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. Now as he walked by the sea of Galile...
I want a hero: an uncommon want, When every year and month sends forth a new one, Till, after cloying the gazettes with cant, The age discovers he is not the true one … Barnave, Brissot, Condorcet, Mirabeau, Petion, Clootz, Danton, Marat, La Fa...

A Doodlebug Hits Brixton

29 November 2014
A V1 ‘Doodlebug’ Rocket   The V1 rocket was Hitler’s revenge.  Between June and September 1944 around 9,500 of these flying bombs were launched on London – some 100 a day. Their characteristic high-pitched sound led to t...
Sri Lankan national Sanjaya Rowan Kumara was hanged on this date in 2006 at Kuwait’s Central Prison for murdering a woman while robbing her house. He was pronounced dead and cut down within eight minutes. But … medics who transported his...
A later 19th century thief (courtesy of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums). Daniel Morrison was just 17 years old, but he had a bad reputation. He had started thieving young, and had already received convictions for theft and swindling. Now he w...