There are 18 cases in 1878.

Many industrial activities were pursued in our towns and cities a hundred years ago – very few are now. William Read was attempting to turn a tree on his cart into the entry of Griffin’s timber-yard in Fisherton Street, when he misjudged the angles. Another business in the city was controlled by Edwin Jarvis, who killed himself through depression, debt and drink – he was foreman of the City Scavengers, who one assumes to be rubbish collectors and heap recyclers.

Hannah Russell’s still-born baby was one of two cases of illegitimacy and child-birth in service, and in the end she was convicted of concealing the birth and suffered two months hard labour in prison. Thurza Pearcey’s case differed in that there was potential evidence of violence to the child, so her case went to the assizes, where she would undoubtedly have been convicted of concealment.

Another case of violence, much more clearly defined, was the death of gipsy Eliza Woods, who was beaten and kicked at the roadside and apparently left to die by Henry White. The case also shows the keenness of the police to move the gipsies out of town, also disbelieving the deceased when she claimed she could not get up for pain.

William Smith, in the delirium of his approaching death, was seen all day riding a donkey and capering about the city centre, accompanied by a drunken mob of men and boys, a couple of whom proved very poor witnesses at the inquest.

Personally speaking, I see some similarities between John Jerred and my own gt-gt-grandfather, who also lived in the same part of town, was about the same age, was an army pensioner and had served in the Crimea and Indian Mutiny, and ended his life as a labourer in the same year.

Not for the first time in this collection, a child is left at home when the parent goes shopping for Christmas foods. In this case, six year old John Earny was leaning over the ungrated fire, writing on some paper on the mantelpiece when – predictably – his clothing caught the fire.

Read, William

Grey, Charles

Honeywell, John

Poulden, Frances                                         Fisherton

Russell, infant                                             Fisherton

Smith, William

Wingrove, Edward                                        Stratford-sub-Castle

Rogers, Elizabeth

Wilmot, James                                             Chippenham

Draper, Edward                                            Maddington

Jenner, Richard

Jerred, John                                                 West Harnham

Jarvis, Edwin                                                East Harnham

Barnett, Uriah                                              Fisherton / Stapleford

Pearcey / Percy, infant                                 Durrington

Woods, Eliza                                               Bulford

Barber, Hannah

Earny, John                                                 Homington

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