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Author Topic: Historians searching for Victorian crimes  (Read 1997 times)
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« on: November 08, 2015, 01:17:57 pm »


The Cook family from Middlesbrough were arrested after breaking into two homes


Historians have been handed hundreds of mugshots of Victorian criminals. Now, armed only with the pictures and names, they are searching for the stories behind the stares, putting a crime to the face.

Their pictures may be more than 120 years old but the crimes the Cook family from Middlesbrough committed are still familiar.

The family of four were arrested and photographed in 1894 after breaking into two homes and stealing - among other things - jewellery and a pair of boots.


Historians at Preston Park Museum are now trying to find out the stories behind each mugshot


The offence was enough to see John and Sarah Cook immortalised in the local police force's mugshot book along with their sons John, 19, and 16-year-old Frank.

It is believed the book was compiled by the old North Riding force but it has been in the hands of the modern-day Cleveland Police. And it is one of the key exhibits at the Victorian police station that has opened at Preston Park Museum in Stockton.


Historians know the names of the people, in this case Jane Graham and Joseph Wilson, but nothing more about them


But of the hundreds of headshots ranging from 1878 to 1896, the Cooks are the only four about whom anything is known - at the moment.

"It's intriguing to see these faces from the past but not know their stories," said Charlotte Barron, the museum's collection access assistant.


In the older pictures the subjects had to hold a chalkboard with their name and the date written on it


"Sadly we only have the pictures, not the notebooks that would have accompanied them, but by looking back at old newspapers and records we might be able to piece the stories together, that's what we did with the Cooks."

According to newspaper reports, the Cook family were captured by the long arm of the law in April 1894.


In later years individuals were photographed with their hands across their chests and profile reflected in a mirror, as seen in the mugshots of Mary and Edward Mangan, who were arrested on 24 November 1893


The Daily Gazette for Middlesbrough reported the Cooks had broken into a house and stolen goods worth £8 17s 4d (about £807 in today's money) including a lady's gold watch.

The theft was reported by homeowner John W Mitchell, an engine driver.


Mugshots were taken for a variety of offences, the most common being theft and larceny


Mrs Dilworth, of Somerset Street, also testified against the Cooks, claiming her house was ransacked in her absence, with goods to the value of £2 stolen, including a pair of boots.

"It's fascinating to see a whole family committing crime together," said Ms Barron.

"We believe there are siblings and couples among the other faces and we will start with trying to find them and their backgrounds.


The photos range in date from 1878 to 1896


"There is a real range of people in this book, from young children up to the elderly."

The term mugshot originated in the early 1840s with the onset of photography, and their use became standardised by regional police forces in the 1870s, Ms Barron said.

"Someone could have their photo taken for one of any number of crimes.

"The most common would have been crimes like theft or larceny, like the Cook family, but there will be murderers and all sorts in this book.


Hundreds of mugshots have been handed over to the historians


"It is going to be really interesting finding out their stories."

Each image shows the arrested individual with their name written in chalk either on a board held in front of them or, in later years, on a slate above their heads.

The later pictures also feature the arrested with hands raised to the chest to capture any identifying marks, tattoos or missing digits, and a mirror to reflect their profile.


Preston Park Museum has a Victorian style street patrolled by volunteers from the attraction's police station dressed in uniform



Reproduced from the BBC News website.

 By Duncan Leatherdale BBC News

    8 November 2015
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« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2015, 08:48:23 pm »

Interesting that they wanted to see their hands in the photographs as well.
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« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2015, 04:57:23 pm »

There was a case involving a certain Mr. Franz Müller.  It was famous because it was the first murder on the new railway system in Britain in 1864.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franz_Muller - The Culprit

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0349123594?*Version*=1&*entries*=0  - Book on the event

http://media.nationalarchives.gov.uk/index.php/researching-mr-briggs-hat-an-account-of-britains-first-railway-murder/ - Pod cast by author of above book.



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« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2015, 05:11:09 pm »

There was a case involving a certain Mr. Franz Müller.  It was famous because it was the first murder on the new railway system in Britain in 1864.

Also filmed as 'Murder on the Victorian Railway' for a BBC TV movie/docu-drama in 2013.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOFXa37TA4Q
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« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2015, 10:01:01 pm »

Aww, it's like an australian family album.  Wink
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« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2016, 11:20:59 pm »



Jacob  Koshelkov (Wallets) (real name — Kuznetsov (Smit)) (1890-1919) — known Moscow raider the late 1910-ies, known in 1919, attacked the car of the Chairman of the Council of people's Commissars Vladimir Lenin. Killed by Moscow-based Extraordinary Commission officers searching him for the attack.
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« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2016, 11:24:47 pm »

The police file on the detainee criminal. Of the Russian Empire.

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