The Hannah Chronicles: Enter William

It wasn’t too long after the ‘shocking immorality‘ of 1881 that Hannah Bates/Rollett established a relationship with the significantly younger, William Henry Lamb.

William’s family had lived in the West End area of Derby for generations and he and Hannah soon set up home in one of the court houses in Willow Row. His parents lived in neighbouring Goodwin Street (where William himself was born at number 29), and like his father, William worked as a bricklayer and chimney sweep.

By 1882, Hannah was already referring to William as her husband, and using his surname when she was charged with drunkenness in Willow Row. (William was only 17 years old at this point and Hannah was 25.)

Derby Daily Telegraph, 08 May 1882, p4 c3

–Hannah Lamb was charged with drunkenness in Willow-row.-Prisoner said she was suffering more from passion than drink. Her husband had turned her out of the house.-She was fined 5s. and costs, or seven days’ imprisonment with hard labour.

Derby Daily Telegraph, 08 May 1882, p4c3

From this we can assume they had been living together as ‘man and wife’ despite not being married and that the relationship was quite tumultuous even in their early days together.

The next year, it was William’s turn to be fined for drunkenness:

Derby Daily Telegraph, 03 November 1883, p3 c4

DRUNKENNESS.-William Lamb was fined 10s. and costs for being drunk and disorderly in Willow-row, on Thursday afternoon.–Police-constable Levers proved the case.

Derby Daily Telegraph, 03 November 1883, p3 c4

A few years later, Hannah was summoned for threatening Mary Toon after a quarrel ‘about a cat’:

Derby Daily Telegraph, 07 May 1885, p3 c3

USING THREATS. -Hannah Lamb, a married woman, was summoned for threatening Mary Toon, on the 2nd inst -The parties live in Willow-row, and quarrelled about a cat -The defendant was bound over to keep the peace for 3 months in the sum of £10.

Derby Daily Telegraph, 07 May 1885, p3 c3

Interestingly, William’s mother was a Toon so this Mary could be one of his relatives.

It was only a few months later that both Hannah and William were involved in some kind of brawl with the neighbours:

Derby Daily Telegraph, 25 August 1885 p3 c6

THE VIOLENT ASSAULT IN WILLOW ROW. – Thomas Limbert, John Tearney, and Henry Hill were charged with violently assaulting William Lamb, in court 3, Willow-row, on the night of the 21st instant. -Mr. Briggs defended Tearney and Hill. -The prosecutor stated that he lived in Court 3, Willow row, and knew the prisoners, who live in the same court. On Friday night, about half-past eleven, he went to Limbert’s house. The door was locked, and he shouted “Is our Nan here?” meaning Hannah Rollet. Limbert replied that she was not. Witness then requested to be allowed to look, and Limbert unlocked the door and went outside, and, using some bad language, he asked what witness wanted there. Without getting an answer he struck witness a number of times, and knocked him down. The other prisoners then went up the yard, and said to Limbert, “Give it the –, Tommy.” They then started kicking him whilst he was on the ground. Witness was taken to the Infirmary where he remained until that morning. He had been on friendly terms with the prisoners. He did not kick at the door when he went to Limbert’s house. -Hannah Rollit gave similar evidence. -The defence was that Lamb and Limbert were fighting, when Lamb fetched a sweep’s scraper out, and would have killed Limbert with it had not Hill prevented him. Tearney, it was said, was never within ten yards of the place where the fight took place. -Mr. Briggs called several witnesses, who corroborated the latter statement. -The Bench, having a doubt as regards Tearney, discharged him, Limbert, who had been convicted 15 times before, was sent to gaol for a month, with hard labour, Hill who had 21 previous confictions against him, was sentenced to a similar term. 

Derby Daily Telegraph, 25 August 1885 p3 c6

The Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal gave a different account a few days later:

Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal, 28 August 1885, p3 c5

ALLEGED VIOLENT ASSAULT IN WILLOW-ROW. -Jas. Limbert, John Teeney, and Henry Hill were charged with violently assaulting William Lamb, in Court 3, Willow-row, on the previous day. -Police-constable Robinson said that on the previous night he was called to a house in Court 3, Willow-row, by a woman named Rollet. On arriving there he saw the prosecutor who was bleeding from the mouth, and he complained of having been assaulted by three men. Witness did not see any wounds or bruises on him, and consequently told him to summon the men, who had attacked him. The woman Rollet subsequently procured a cab, in which the prosecutor was taken to the Infirmary, and from what the doctor who there examined him stated, the prisoners were apprehended and charged with the offence. Limbert said that Lamb went to his door, and made several unpleasant remarks about his wife. The door was fast, and he commenced kicking it. He (Limbert) then opened the door, and Lamb struck at him, whereupon he retaliated and knocked him down in self-defence. Prosecutor regained his feet, and they then had a fair fight, during which the other men came up, and Lamb ran into his own house. He came out again with a sweep’s broom, with which he struck at them, but after a scuffle they took it from him. -Police-constable Shirley also gave evidence as to Lambert’s condition. -Prisoners were remanded until Monday.

Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal, 28 August 1885, p3 c5

To be continued…

Book ’em Once More, Danno

I wrote in a previous post about pinpointing Thomas PALMER’s premises using a newspaper report of his being robbed.  Living by a police station didn’t seem to give the security you’d think it would, as Palmer was robbed again in 1869:

Portsmouth Times and Naval Gazette 27 November 1869, p5 c5

A certain Henry Baker stole two books from him at the value of 4 shillings, as well as a pot of cold cream from a nearby chemist, Charles Mumby.  Funnily enough a little research shows this chemist was actually the founder of Mumby’s Mineral Waters. (Read a little more about him here.)  He also stole a letter stamp from a Mr Loveder but for some reason this wasn’t investigated.

Portsmouth Times and Naval Gazette 11 December 1869, p3 c3

As the ‘well-known character‘ had been convicted of a felony twice before this incident, Henry Baker was sentenced to twelve months hard labour.  Out of curiosity, I found his record of conviction for his crime against Thomas Palmer in the Southampton Assizes records.

Henry Baker’s conviction at the Southampton Assizes 1869

I’m curious as to what Thomas’ ‘private mark’ looked like.  Was his private mark different to his store mark? Did it look anything like this…?

 

Book ’em Again, Danno

In my last post, I was trying to find a more exact address for Thomas Palmer, bookseller of Gosport.  I had narrowed him down to ‘Upper South Street’ but not being a local, still had no idea where exactly upon the street he lived.  The breakthrough came when I found a newspaper article reporting a robbery at his premises:

Portsmouth Times and Naval Gazette 22 November 1862, p8 c3

John Daly, a Royal Artilleryman, was charged with attempting to break into the dwelling house of Thomas Palmer, almost opposite the Police Station, on the previous night. The prisoner was heard at the shutter by a policeman who was going to bed, and he gave information to a brother constable on duty, upon which he went outside the station gate and there saw the prisoner, without a jacket, standing by the window of the house, the shutters being open and partially broken. On seeing the policeman he ran away and was afterwards taken by P.C. Gibbs in a passage in North-street. Mr. Palmer, the occupier of the house, proved fastening up the house about 9 o’clock the previous night. Prisoner was committed for trial.

The old police station in South Street, Gosport – 1949

So now I knew that he lived “…almost opposite the Police Station…”.

Unfortunately, the police station no longer exists on South Street after being destroyed by enemy action in 1941.  I found a photograph of the building in 1949 on the Gosport Heritage site but it gave me no other details.  Luckily however I found a c.1896 map which marked the location of the police station which made the description, ‘almost opposite’ make sense.

Location of Thomas Palmer’s book store in 1862 (map c. 1896)

Interestingly, there is also a photo on the Gosport Heritage site captioned; ‘Portland Place; south side of South Street, running north-south almost opposite to the OLD police station.’  I’m pretty sure Palmer’s old book shop is just out of shot on the far left of this image (behind the first building).

Portland Place, Gosport 1941 via Gosport Heritage

That’s probably as close as I’m going to get but since the buildings on that block are long gone now, I still feel strangely accomplished.

The Hannah Chronicles – Murderous Attack

The County Gaol (Vernon Gate) – Hannah’s second home! (via: Picture the Past)

At midnight on 21 October 1877, three police officers went to a house in Court No. 2, Rivett St and found a woman, Sarah Sharratt, bleeding from about ten wounds on the head and arm.  She had been attacked by our dear Hannah ROLLETT [alias LAMB]. “[The woman] stated that because she interfered when her daughter and the prisoner were quarrelling, the latter attacked her with a drinking glass, which she broke by the violence of her blows” (Nottinghamshire Guardian 26 October 1877, p2 col3).

1877-assault-on-sarah-sharratt-nottinghamshire-guardian-26-october-1877-p2-col3
Nottinghamshire Guardian 26 October 1877, p2 col3

Hannah had been quarrelling with Sharratt’s daughter all day and threatened to throw the mother and daughter out of the house which they all lodged at together. The middle-aged woman “said she could not do so, and as alleged, [Hannah] then ran upstairs, and, after throwing the contents of a slop-pail upon her, struck her repeatedly on the head with a drinking glass, which broke with her violence… [Hannah] was arrested at an adjoining house the same evening.  She was under the influence of drink, and had her hand cut so badly that a doctor had to be sent for” (Sheffield Daily Telegraph 08 November 1877, p7 col6).
“Previous convictions being proved against the prisoner, she was sentenced to six months’ hard labour” (Sheffield Independent 09 November 1877, p2 col2).

1877-sheffield-daily-telegraph-08-november-1877-p7-col6
Sheffield Daily Telegraph 08 November 1877 p7 col6

 

1877-nov-sheffield-independent-09-november-1877-p2-col2
Sheffield Independent 09 November 1877, p2 col2

 

Of course I wanted to know more about these previous convictions but despite the Calendars of Prisoners being available online for the period 1761 to 1888, I have been unable to find Hannah or Alexander’s prison records.  My visit to the record office in Derby proved fruitless too – perhaps the office in Matlock has more as there is no mention of records being destroyed.

Note: the newspaper reports record the street as being River, Rivet and Rivett St.  Rivett St was located off Siddals Road. Since River Street is closest to her other addresses and Alexander is reported as being picked up drunk & disorderly on Rivers St in 1881- I am making the presumption that River Street is where the attack occurred. 

riverst
Derby – OS Map 6 inch 1888 – 1913

Next Steps:

  • Locate prison/quarter session records for Hannah & Alexander

Hannah in Excelsis


Hannah was born Hannah Bates in 1856.  Her father was James Bates, a general labourer, and her mother was most likely, Ann Tilbury, a millhand.  Little is known so far about her childhood, but it seems her father died when she was around 2 years of age.  In 1872, she became Hannah ROLLETT when when she, an 18 year old Silk mill hand married Alexander ROLLETT, a 19 year old ‘Labourer at [the] Colour Works’. This seemed to begin a lifelong association for Hannah with the West End area of Derby, also known as the slums.

Searching the newspapers for Alexander brought up an assault on a police constable he had been involved in 1876, as well as an assault on his wife (Hannah) the previous year, and a charge of drunkenness.  “Poor Hannah,” I thought. “Another woeful tale of an abusive alcoholic husband – this must be what made her leave Rollett and take up with William”.  But I thought too soon; my next search for ‘Hannah Rollett’ brought up many more mentions than there had been for Alexander and she certainly seemed to be quite the character!  With the help of the newspaper articles and some maps, I started piecing Hannah’s story together.

After a couple years of marriage, Hannah and Alexander had their first child, William in 1874. [Evidence suggests they actually had a daughter in 1872 – Sarah Jane Rollett – but I’m uncertain she was Alexander’s] The very next year, Alexander was charged with assaulting Hannah, but because it happened ‘at Rose Hill’, she was directed to ‘apply’ to the County Bench. This was recorded in Friday’s edition of the Derby Mercury, 25 August, 1875.

1875 - assault on wife - Derby Mercury 25 August 1875, p2 col1
Assault on Hannah – Derby Mercury 25 August 1875, p2 col1

2 days later, Hannah was convicted of assaulting Alexander’s sister, Sarah Ann. The article notes this occurred on the Saturday; apparently the day after Hannah appeared in the Derby Borough Police Court.

1875 - assault on sister-in-law - Derby Mercury 01 September 1875, p8 col1
Assault on Sarah Ann ROLLETT – Derby Mercury 01 September 1875, p8 col1

ASSAULT CASE.-Hannah Rollett was summoned for assaulting her sister-in-law, Sarah Ann Rollett, at about three o’clock on the Saturday afternoon previous. -The evidence was of a disgraceful character, and defendant was fined 5s, and costs; in default, seven days’ imprisonment. -On leaving the dock defendant threatened what she would do to the complainant when she came out of gaol; whereupon the Bench ordered her back into the dock and called upon her to find sureties for her good behaviour for three months – herself in the sum of 20l., and two sureties in 5l. each, or one at 10l. – Prisoner said that she might as well be in gaol as anywhere else, and they would have to keep her there.

There was clearly no love lost between the two and although it is not stated what the argument was about, I presume Hannah’s recent charges against Alexander must have had something to do with it.

Their second son, John William was born the next year in September 1876, which means Hannah was heavily pregnant when Alexander assaulted a police constable on the night of August 13, 1876.

1876 - Sheffield Daily Telegraph 16 August 1876, p4 col3
Murderous Assault on a Policeman – Sheffield Daily Telegraph 16 August 1876, p4 col3

MURDEROUS ASSAULT ON A POLICEMAN. -Three men, named Alexander Rollett, William Gell, and William Murphy, were charged with violently assaulting Police-constable Simeon Webster when in the execution of his duty. -The policeman was unable to attend the Court in consequence of the injuries he had sustained. -It appeared that at midnight on Sunday he went to a disturbance in Willow-row, and had no sooner arrived on the scene than he was hit on the back with a brick.  He took hold of the man he believed to have thrown it, and was then felled to the ground bleeding and senseless by a brick which was thrown from another quarter, and which struck him on the temple.  While on the ground a mob gathered round him and pelted him with bricks and stones, besides kicking him brutally on the body, and they left him apparently dead.  He was shortly afterwards taken home, and medical assistance obtained, but he now lies in a precarious state.  The three prisoners, when arrested on the charge, emphatically denied it, but a hat found near the scene of the assault is supposed to belong to Gill [sic]. -The men were remanded for a week.

Despite Alexander’s claim he was home by half past 10 that night, he was sentenced (on 29th August) to six months imprisonment for his role in the attack .  Less than two weeks later, on the 9th September, Hannah gave birth to their second son and life was certainly not going to get any easier…

Continued in ‘The Hannah Chronicles’