Thursday 30 October 2008

Deptford news 1900 (2)

The juxtaposition of these two news items in the same column of the Brockley News speaks for itself:


James Perrett, 54, of Giffin-street, Deptford, on remand with unlawfully wounding his wife, Annie Florence, by striking her on the head with some instrument. Mr. Llewellyn Davies defended. – The woman’s skull was fractured, and she had been in the Miller Hospital. She admitted that she was in the habit of drinking, adding, “We’re both as bad as one another.” – [magistrate] Mr d’Eyncourt said the prisoner had received great provocation, and in the circumstances would suffer one day’s imprisonment. There would be a judicial separation, with payment to the wife of 12s a week, the husband to have the custody of the child.


John Potter, 40, labourer, on remand with working a horse in an unfit state in Creek-road, Deptford. William Randall, of Besson-street, New Cross, was summoned as the owner for allowing the animal to be so worked. – Randall was committed for a month's [imprisonment with] hard labour, and Potter fined 20s and 10s 6d costs.

Indeed, the editor was moved to comment on the first case:

At Greenwich Police Court on Tuesday, a man was charged with assaulting his wife by striking her on the head with some blunt instrument, whereby her skull was fractured. Mr d’Eyncourt remarked that the prisoner received great provocation – which appeared to be true – and, whilst decreeing a separation, sentenced the accused to one day’s imprisonment. We venture to say that no amount of provocation can justify a man in striking a woman.

“The man that lays his hand upon a woman,
Save in the way of kindness, is a wretch,
Whom’t were gross flattery to name a coward.”

Another sad glimpse into Victorian family life is offered by this report:
Alfred Malcomber, 50, and Harriett Malcomber, 41, no home, willfully exposing their two children, aged 10 years and 2 years respectively. – P.C. 206M said he found the prisoners sleeping on a manure heap at the S.E. Railway-arches, Trundley’s-road, Deptford. The place was infested with rats – 50 or 60 of them – and some ran over his feet when he aroused the prisoners. – The man said they had been tramping about the country, and could not get a room. – Remanded.
The fact that the parents appeared to have had little choice but to sleep where they did, and were with their children, seems to have gone unremarked. There is no comment upon what was to happen to the children while their parents awaited trial in prison.

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