On This Day: ‘Man Killed In A Lead Mine’; ‘A Candidate For Transportation’

From the Derby Mercury, 16th December 1857:

Man Killed In A Lead Mine

On Friday last, a poor man named Thos. Thorpe, went from his cottage at Bonsall, to Mr. Greaves’, Cliff-house, Matlock, to beg a handful of mint, and not returning on that night or the next, his wife and family became seriously alarmed for his safety.  On Sunday morning some neighbours went in search, and ascertained that Thorpe had left Cliff-house with a quantity of mint, about six in the evening of Friday.  They then tracked his course homewards by leaves and sprigs of mint, to a mine shaft on Masson, then recently run in, but there the traces of the mint ceased.  On removing the rubbish in the hole the poor fellow was discovered about six feet from the surface, of course quite dead, and the body was removed to a farmhouse near to await a coroner’s inquest.

A Candidate For Transportation

Police Office, Derby  George Marshall, a youth of 14, was charged as follows:- Police-constable Davis stated: Prisoner came to me this morning and said, “Mr. Davis, I shall find you a job to-day.”  I replied, “What shall you do?”  He said, “I shall commit a robbery.”  I endeavoured to persuade him to go home, but he would not, and said, “I shall go to the first watchmaker’s shop I can, break a window, steal a watch and run my chance, as I mean to have seven years.”  I knew that prisoner had been twice convicted at the sessions, and also that he had been twice summarily committed, and therefore I thought it best to lock him up.  Prisoner, in reply to questions from the Mayor, said that he would rather be transported than live in Derby; that he had a comfortable home and neither his father nor his mother-in-law behaved ill to him, but he did not like to stay at home.  The Mayor doubted whether sending prisoner to gaol again would be productive of any good, as it was evident he had a propensity for stealing and leading an idle life; but on the mother-in-law saying they had done all they could for him, and that if he did not return home (and he said he would not) something worse was sure to happen to him, the Bench committed him, as a rogue and vagabond, for three months with hard labour.

We hold the Derby Mercury on microfilm  – just ring to book a microfilm reader.

On This Day: ‘A Struggle with a Thief’

From the Derbyshire Times, 30th April 1881:

UNSTONE

A STRUGGLE WITH A THIEF

On Monday noon an impudent till robbery was committed by a tramp, at the shop of Jabez H. Walker, grocer, Unstone.  Whilst Mr Walker was at dinner the tramp entered the shop without ringing the door bell, and took from the till its contents, amounting to £1 6s. 6d.  But on going out of the shop he accidentally rang the bell, and Mr Walker entered the shop as he was going out at the door.  He was asked what he wanted, and replied half an ounce of tobacco.  This was supplied, for which he tendered sixpence in payment and Mr Walker going to the till for change discovered the robbery, which he charged the prisoner with committing.

The prisoner went away to the Fleur de Lis Inn, where he was followed by Mr Walker.  He acknowledged taking the money, which he gave to Mr Walker,  but on being informed that he would not be allowed to leave the place he took out a large clasp knife, and made a violent attempt to force his way out of the room.  The door of the room was, however, secured, and finding his escape cut off, he attempted, after doing some damage in the room, to jump through the window, one or two of the panes of which he first destroyed.  Whilst attempting to jump out, a man on the road threw a cinder, which struck him on the head, knocking him down insensible.  He was then secured, his hands being tied with a rope, until the arrival of Inspector Spencer, of Dronfield, who took him to the Dronfield Police Station.  He gave the name of George Jones, but refused to give his address.

He had an accomplice, who stood outside Mr Walker’s shop at the time Jones went in and committed the robbery, and who it is said went to the Fleur de Lis Inn and asked to be admitted to the room where Jones had been secured.  Inspector Spencer, with praiseworthy promptitude, went in search for him, and ultimately apprehended him in Dronfield.  He gave the name of Jack Curtis, said he was an Irishman, but refused to say where he hailed from.  On being searched a large knife with long blade and sharp point, similar to the one taken from Jones, was found upon him.  He professed to have no knowledge of Jones.       

We hold the Derbyshire Times on microfilm; Chesterfield edition from 1854, all editions from 1963 – just ring to book a microfilm reader.