Crime and Criminals

The Executioner’s Rope of the 1700 and 1800s

The executioner’s rope of the 1700 and 1800s was one the hangman’s most important tools as no hanging could be accomplished without it. All executioners relied on a good rope, chief among them was William Marwood. He was known for having developed the hanging technique known as the “long drop.” It ensured a prisoner’s neck…

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Jack the Ripper’s Canonical Victims

Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes, and Mary Jane Kelly are considered Jack the Ripper’s canonical victims, so-called because their murders had the same pattern with the same modus operandi, and these five women are considered to be his officially accepted victims. The murders also happened in a relatively short period in…

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Notorious Captain James Lowry

In 1750, a Scottish Captain named James Lowry was commanding a merchant shipped named the “Molly” from London to Jamaica and back again. Although he possessed agreeable features, he was a cruel captain, and it did not take long for his crew of 14 to despise him because of his cruelty. It happened during the…

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Burke and Hare: Two Edinburgh Murderers

William Burke and William Hare were two murderers who committed a series of sixteen murders in Edinburgh in 1828. Burke was probably the older of the two men as he had been born in 1792. His parents were middle class and he was born in Ulster province in Urney, Ireland. Burke had married but deserted…

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Wrong Doings of Married Women

In 1833, two English women — a Mrs. Emma Lush (wife to a groom employed by the Royal Family) and Mrs. Sarah Wolfe (a servant in a distinguished family) — decided to go on a shopping excursion. After making several purchases, they fell into the company of two strangers who prevailed upon them to accompany…

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Georgian Executions

In 1800, one person wrote that “a month doth not pass over in England without repeated executions; and there is scarcely a vagabond to be met with in the country who has not seen a fellow creature suspended from the gallows.” Georgian executions were plentiful enough that one person noted “it is shocking to think…

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Execution of the Wrong Man in the Georgian Era

In 1727, in York, a waiter by the name of Thomas Geddely lived with a Mrs. Hannah Williams. Williams was well-to-do and owned a popular public-house. She also employed Geddely. Williams kept her money in her scrutoire (writing desk). One day she went to her scrutoire and discovered that it had been broken into and…

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Sharpers, Shopkeepers, and the Georgian Era

Francis Grose defined a sharper in his eighteenth century dictionary as, “A cheat, one that lives by his wits.” In fact, a sharper was a common term applied in the eighteenth century to describe a thief who used trickery to obtain possessions from their rightful owner. Many ordinary Georgians saw sharpers as romantic figures and…

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