In this week in 1889

1889 newspaper imageTo celebrate entering our 125th year, throughout 2013 we are publishing details of a selection of local court cases and other items of local interest from the year we were founded, 1889.

The cases below, heard before Hastings Borough Bench, appeared in the local press in late October 1889. To view reports from other weeks of 1889 visit our 125th year section.

Week ending 26 October

A sad case

Mary Hall, described as ‘a diminutive-looking woman’, was charged with being drunk and (in terms which today would be politically incorrect) being ‘a wandering lunatic’.

PC Matthews said that on the previous day he was called to Clive Vale House, where the prisoner made a rambling statement. He told her to ‘go away’ and a little later he saw her in Alfred Road. At this point Ms Hall ‘behaved like a lunatic’ and said she had thrown a child into the sea. He took her to the station and sent for Dr Shorter.

Police-Surgeon Shorter deposed that, upon examining Ms Hall at Bourne Street Police Station, he was certain she was unaccountable for her actions, and said that she ought to be taken to an asylum.

Ms Hall said she wanted £5 to enable her to be taken to a London hospital or Hanwell Lunatic Asylum. The Bench ordered Ms Hall to be conveyed to Camberwell Asylum.

A harsh sentence

John Bashford, described as ‘a cripple, aged 80’, was charged by PC Fairbairn with begging alms in Castle Street and was sentenced to seven days’ imprisonment.


Arthur Fisher, aged 11, was charged with attempting to steal sweets from a shop kept by a man named Huggins in Hughenden Road.

Mr Huggins said he was ‘on the watch’ when he saw the prisoner put his hand through a broken window and try to steal sweets.

The prisoner’s father said the boy had played truant. Master Fisher was ordered to receive six strokes with the rod.

Pea-shooting at a policeman

George Taylor, ‘a boy of respectable appearance’, was summoned for assaulting a police constable.

PC John Taylor said that on 19 October he was at York Buildings. He was suddenly hit in the face by something, and on turning round saw the defendant with a pea-shooter.

The boy claimed he ‘didn’t mean to hit the constable’. He was fined 2 s. 6 d. including costs.

Toy pistol

William Robins, ‘a lad’, pleaded guilty to discharging a toy pistol in Middle Street and was fined 2 s. 6 d. including costs.

A hawking question

Daniel Warrington was charged with hawking without a licence. PC Goldsmith saw Mr Warrington offering lamp brushes for sale, and as he had no licence the constable took him into custody.

It transpired that Mr Warrington was working with a friend called Robert Wade who did have a licence. Mr Wade said he was from Stratford but now lived in Hastings. He was a licensed hawker and hired Mr Warrington to assist him and carry his goods. They shared the proceeds.

The Clerk (Mr Langham) said one licence would not cover a partnership.

The Bench fined Mr Warrington 5 shillings and costs (12s. 6.d) or seven days’ hard labour. He was removed into custody.

Fish market fury

Edward Lamb, a fisherman, was summoned for assaulting Agnes Chatfield, who was charged on a cross-summons with ‘using unparliamentary language’ towards Lamb.

The parties lived in the Old Town and met in the fish market late at night. Mr Lamb was fined £2 11 s. or a month’s hard labour, and the other charge was dismissed. The Magistrates ordered Lamb to pay Dr Shorter 10 s. 6 d. for medical attendance on Mrs Chatfield.

Posted: 25 October 2013

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