Category Archives: 1819-1852

Harty Henry

Harty Henry came before the Surrey magistrates in August 1823 charged with stealing a hat and two umbrellas from the Nag’s head in Southwark.  A clerk, Robert Sharp, gave evidence: I was going into my master’s counting house.  I met … Continue reading

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Brixton For Sale

In 1852, overcrowded and delapidated, Brixton prison was put up for sale.  It would be replaced as the Surrey house of correction by a new prison in Wandsworth. The buildings were sold late in the summer.  But it was to … Continue reading

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The Surgeon

William Gardner had been the surgeon at Brixton from its beginning. His duties required him to visit the prison every day, see every prisoner at least twice a week, visit all sick prisoners in the infirmary every day and to … Continue reading

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A House in the Country

One of the magistrates at the court in Wandsworth, George Clive, observed a worrying trend in the cases brought before him during the mid-1840s.  Numerous people, it seemed, were committing offences in the Surrey workhouses with the express intent of … Continue reading

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Bad Children, Bad Parents

Children are expensive; in the early Victorian period parents would go to extreme measures to get them off their hands. In May 1836 John Mitchell brought his 14 year old stepson, Frederick Payne, before the Surrey magistrates, alleging the boy … Continue reading

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The Flogged Soldier

John Hutchinson was a private in the 1st battalion of the Scots Fusileer Guards when in October 1834 he was sentenced to six months on the Brixton treadmill.  He had been found guilty of desertion. Hutchinson had good reason to … Continue reading

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Whipping Boys

Jack Page was around 12 or 13 years old when, in 1824, he was charged with stealing a rope of onions from a stall on Borough Market.  He was a too familiar face to the court.  The magistrate lamented that … Continue reading

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