Take a look at the crimes of Hartlepool 150 years ago - and how they were punished

The Central Library team, Jane Downer, Christine Clarke and  Amanda Watson-Ruthford, have researched Hartlepool crime from around 100 years ago. Picture: Tom Banks.
The Central Library team, Jane Downer, Christine Clarke and Amanda Watson-Ruthford, have researched Hartlepool crime from around 100 years ago. Picture: Tom Banks.

Crimes from times gone by make for a fascinating read, and the people of Hartlepool have a perfect chance to find out for themselves.

A study of offences and their punishments, stretching back to the early 1900s, has been prepared by staff at the Central Library in York Road.

Some of the documents which make up the study.

Some of the documents which make up the study.

And that study is available for anyone with a history in the town.

It could also be an invaluable aid for anyone who wants to put a little more detail into their family tree research.

With the help of Sandra McKay, library officer at the Central Library, we take a look at some of the crimes and punishments that the modern day investigators have uncovered.

l In 1893, the Northern Daily Mail reported on a mother who was charged with running an improper house while her daughter was accused of assisting in its running.

Giving evidence, one police sergeant described it as one of the worst houses in the town.

The mother was fined £5 with 8 shilling costs to pay, and was ordered to go to the workhouse.

The daughter was also fined £5 with 8 shilling costs to pay, and ordered to do a month of hard labour (which could be anything from scrubbing floors to black-leading kitchen ranges. For men, it varied from stripping old rope down to its fibres to breaking stones).

l On the same day, a woman was charged with being drunk and disorderly. The court heard she was found in the street by a police officer who she told she had fought with the Duke of Wellington.

She was discharged on condition that she paid six shillings and ten pence costs, and went to the workhouse. Magistrates heard it was her 43rd court appearance.

l The project also looked at the daily routine in the workhouse. People would be woken at 5am by the rising bell, and then have prayers and breakfast at 6am.

They would work from 7am to noon, and have dinner until 1pm. Then they would work from 1pm to 6pm before saying prayers and having supper.

They would retire to bed by 8pm.

l People in the workhouse were in one of seven groups – men infirm through age or illness, women infirm through age or illness, able-bodied men over 15, able-bodied women over 15, boys aged 7 to 15, girls aged 7 to 15, and children under 7.

No books or toys were allowed and disease was rife, including typhpoid, small pox and dysentery, as well as broken bones and disabilities.

Meals were often gruel, which would consist of oatmeal, water and salt.

To take a look at the research, contact (01429) 242909.