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Manchester Archives launched The Manchester Collection via Find My Past the records from this prison. Many examples from this site were used in the publicity packs and blogs etc to announce this launch. See below for a link to the Manchester Collection
ON THE 22nd May
1787 the chairman of the Quarter sessions laid a memorial stone marking
the building of the gaol and penitentiary-house (at the expense of the
hundred of Salford in the county palatine of
The following is a description of the New Bailey which was published in June 1868 by The Manchester Guardian.
name has never been the popular name; but the name of the chairman of
the quarter sessions who laid the foundation stone with the prefix "new" to distinguish the prison from the Old Bailey in
increased the prison was found inadequate, and extensions were made at
various times, and principally in 1816. In these extensions the original
plan was entirely departed from, and the building of 1787 remains to
this day almost a detached building, and pretty much as it was at first,
except that the octagon is no longer the chapel. The piece of ground
enclosed by the present gaol wall measures 685ft from New Bailey Street
westward to Irwell Street, and 350ft at its greatest breadth, from the
entrance, in Stanley Street, to Upper Booth Street, opposite the railway
viaduct. During some local disturbances, two small round turrets were
erected at each angle of the walls, and pierced, so that a person within
might be in perfect safety while directing musketry fire upon assailants
on the gaol from any approaches. These turrets are perched upon the
wall, without any means of access from the inside except by temporary
ladders. Formerly there were twelve such turrets; now the number is
eight, and consequent upon the rounding of the angle at
Besides the principal buildings we have described, other smaller erections occupying various portion of the ground, as the chapel, which is circular, and remarkable for the excessive height of the pulpit; the treadwheels, the millhouse, the wash-house, and the residences of the turnkeys and clerks. Between various parts of this mass of buildings are some twenty enclosed yards, many of which are used as exercising grounds.
The pile of
buildings over and on either side of the
In this inconvenient and old fashioned gaol, Captain Mitchell, the Governor, to its present excellence the industrial system which makes this gaol one of the least costly, if absolutely the most inexpensive, in the country. This system will be carried to the new gaol in Strangeways, where, however, the greater area will inevitably involve an increase of the prison staff, and hence a greater expenditure. The mention of prisoners' work reminds us that one of the most melancholy sites, which struck us, on a visit last week to the New Bailey, was that a number of men, upward of forty, who, while they await their trial, are not permitted by law to be put to enforced work, and many of whom sit listlessly the whole day through, doing nothing whatsoever. Others do manage to disturb the monotony by reading. It is a great misfortune for this class that they may not be set to some employment which, while it would be healthy occupation, could not be considered "hard labour."...
"The new gaol
which the justices for the hundred of
A little further down the article it states:
"...Captain Mitchell, the governor of the New Bailey Prison, and henceforth the governor of the new gaol..."
So it seems that the prisoners and staff all moved into the new gaol at the same time. This means that some of the registers for the two prisons overlap. For example, looking at the first of the male Strangeways registers, the first 48 pages are missing but by counting back the inmate numbers I estimated that the last entry in the New Bailey Prison Registers should be for prisoner number 7692. The last entry in the New Bailey register was actually for prisoner 7691.
New Bailey Prison 1820
Courtesy of Manchester Archives and Local Studies
Further research has led me discover that the new court at Strangeways was used for the first time on July 1st 1868 with the Stipendiary Magistrate H L Trafford sitting. On July 6th 1868 the Crown Court at the new Manchester Assizes was used for the first time for the Salford Hundred Quarter Sessions. Before the court proceedings began in proper, several reports had to made concerning the transfer from the New Bailey. It was noted that the transfer of all prisoners from the New Bailey was now complete.
A report by the Governor stated : "The removal of prisoners to the new gaol in Strangeways was commenced on the 25th June, and was completed on the following Saturday , there being only left in the old prison four warders and 29 short term prisoners to remove furniture and other property".
The report also stated that the balance sheet for the year ending 31st May 1868 showed a net profit from prison labour of �3,369 5s 6d. The prisoners made clothing and furniture and did may of the repairs to the prison buildings., thus making the cost pre prisoner lower than any other gaol in England or Scotland.
It was also decided that the new prison would in it's name need to reflect that it was the prison for Lancashire as well as the Salford Hundred and it was therefore called The County Prison For The Hundred of Salford.
A record of the Quarter Sessions Petitions for the Salford Hundred held at Lancashire Record Office QSP 3081/23 contains the following slightly different information. This is letter for the Salford Hundred Justices of the Peace to the Prison Governor and his reply.
We hereby give Capt Mitchell authority to remove the prisoners to the new gaol in Strangeways at his convenience from this date till the whole are removed. The Secretary of State having this day sent a Telegraph message that the new prison being certified "No special authority is required for the removal of prisoners from the old to the new prison".
23rd June 1868 Signed by Edward Ashworth and John Kay
Commence the removal of the prisoners on the 25th June 1868.
Completed Saturday July 4th leaving only 29 short term prisoners with 3 warders to clean down and remove all property that may usefully be made use of in the new prison and would be useless in the sale of the old gaol.
The Column headings were similar, but not the same, to those for Belle Vue. Each Register had slightly different column headings as the years went by.
Records available at Manchester Archives : General registers for men Mar 1859 to Apr 1863; 13 Apr 1863 to 26 Sep 1866; Now on line here.
Sep 1866 to May 1869; Nominal register for men and women Sep 1863 to 29 Oct 1869 ( also includes some name from Strangeways Prison Dec 1878 to 31 Dec 1881); Female Registers 26 Aug 1862 to 20 Jul 1867, Female Description Books 24 Jan 1859 to Nov 1863 and 26 Nov 1863 to Dec 1867. Also see Strangeways records.
Census returns for the above can be found at:
1841 HO 107 586 15
1851 HO 107 2224 folio 109
1861 RG 2919 folio 115
I have found a few interesting entries from these records. Some quite bizarre and some very harsh.
6707: James FOLSTERCROFT. April 17th 1863. Offence: Flying Pigeons at Oldham. Sentence: 7 days hard labour or pay 2/6 + 16/- costs. age last Jan 17 years. height: 5ft 3ins...
7378: Edward HOGAN. June 29th 1863. Offence: Being a soldier in the 1st Batt of the 17th Reg of Foot was guilty of being drunk on duty and also of using highly [misappropriate] & threatening language to Serg. Jas. Stanley. Sentence: 365 days hard labour and to be marked with the letters B C...
7379: William PHELAN was on a similar charge. His sentence was 730 days and to be marked with the letters B C...
Notoriously bad soldiers were branded with BC (Bad Character). Deserters were branded with the letter D. Originally the branding was done using needles and gunpowder. In 1840 marking instruments were introduced and the marking became more like a tattoo. The marking of prisoners appears to have been abolished about 1870.
Just to continue this
with a slightly different theme. Here are three partial entries from the
New Bailey Prison. The magistrate was the same in all cases, but the
sentences do not seem to have much logic to them. Or at least that's
what I thought until I consulted A Guide To Fuchsias by Leo Boullemier.
Two of the New Bailey Prison Registers are in such bad condition that they are not available for public viewing. I have been fortunate enough to look at (but not touch) these registers. At the moment discussions are taking place to secure funding for the conservation of these registers. I know that certain funds have already been guaranteed by one source, so hopefully the task of conserving them can begin soon. One of the registers M600/2/5 has been microfilmed. Although the quality of the film is not superb, it is better than not being available at all. This is the Register of Misdemeanants For Trial 1847 - 1872. The column headings are slightly different from the other registers. The cases involved are mainly, but not exclusively Misdemeanours. Most of the sentence were under six months but there were several of two to four years or longer. One of the most bizarre entries I have seen is the following:
No in Sessions Calendar: 2C. Name: John Evans. When and By Whom Committed: Dec 11th 1849 H L Trafford Esq. Upon What Charge: Representing himself on 30th Oct as a deserter from the 31st Reg of Foot whereas in fact he was no such deserter and thereby fraudulently obtained diverse food and subsistence in the New Bailey Prison, Salford. Age: 21. Height: 5 ft 6 ins. Complexion, Hair and Eyes: - Marks Upon Person And Remarks: Don (sic) left side. Profession, Trade or Occupation: Labourer. Place of Birth: Oxford. Last or Usual Residence (and address of friend if to be advised of Prisoner's discharge): No Settled Abode. Religious Profession: C of E. Education: Nil. Married, Single and No of Children: Yes. Parents Living: - No of Previous Convictions: 3. REFERENCES. Register in Last Case: L112 47494. Register in Following Case: - Record Book: 2 94 4869. SENTENCE. Term of Imprisonment: 4 Cal Mths with Hard Labour. Days of Solitary Confinement: - Whipped: - When and How Discharged or Otherwise Disposed Of: May 6th 1850. PRISON PUNISHMENTS. Stoppages of Food: 1. Days of Solitary Confinement: - Close Confinement by Visiting Justice: - Whipped: - Progressive No: 1927
I just love the wording of the charge..." fraudulently obtained diverse food and subsistence in the New Bailey Gaol". This man must have been either desperate or stupid...or maybe both. By giving himself up as a deserter he could have been liable to a sentence of up to 2 years, plus a flogging or two, plus being branded!
The following man found it difficult to keep out of trouble whilst in gaol.
No in Sessions Calendar: 5 C. Name: Edward Ashwood (William). When and By Whom Committed: April 1st 1853 H L Trafford Esq. Upon What Charge: Obtaining 28th March by false + fraudulent pretences � 1 0s 5d the property of Jonathan Thompson at Salford. Age: Last Jan 20 3/12. Height: 5 ft 6 ins. Complexion, Hair and Eyes: Fresh, Brown, Grey. Marks Upon Person And Remarks: Cut 2nd finger right hand, small cut back of left hand, small cut left thumb, [cupped] back of neck, lisps. Lost 2 upper front teeth. Profession, Trade or Occupation: Dyer. Place of Birth: Manchester. Last or Usual Residence (and address of friend if to be advised of Prisoner's discharge): No Settled Home. Religious Profession: P. Education: R + W Imp. Married, Single and No of Children: Married + 1 child. Parents Living: - . No of Previous Convictions: 1. REFERENCES. Register in Last Case: U40 52869. Register in Following Case: U 10 59678. Record Book. SENTENCE. Term of Imprisonment: 6 Cal Mths. Days of Solitary Confinement: - Whipped: - When and How Discharged or Otherwise Disposed Of: Oct 10 1853. PRISON PUNISHMENTS. Stoppages of Food: Days of Solitary Confinement: Close Confinement by Visiting Justice: Sept 8/53 Ordered by a Visiting Justice to be kept in close confinement for 28 days for having a knife about his person with intent to commit an assault. Whipped: June 29/53 During his imprisonment ordered to be whipped for wilfully defacing a library book. Aug 8 During his imprisonment ordered to be whipped for wilfully defacing a library book + 3 water cans Progressive No: .
THE FIRST PUBLIC HANGING AT THE NEW BAILEY PRISON
There were only a total of six people executed at the New Bailey. The first person to be executed there was James Burrows in 1866. He was a teenager who was convicted of the murder of John Brennan in what became known as the Hopwood Murder.
The Manchester Courier in its usual colourful way reported: " Everywhere, from high 'Change to the lowest beerhouse in which persons congregate, the execution has been the ruling topic of conversation. as the hour approached when the last dread[ed] sentence of the law would be carried out into effect, the vicinity of the New Bailey became a centre of universal attraction: and a public anxiety to witness the awful spectacle rose to a pitch of intensity that was painful to contemplate. We know how easy it is to attract a crowd upon the least occasion. but there is something awful in the thought that thousands of persons of both sexes- young, middle-aged, and old -will assemble together and voluntarily undergo severe discomfort, and encounter the absolute risk of death or bodily mutilation, to get a chance of seeing the convulsive struggles of a fellow-being in the last agonies of a shameful death upon a scaffold. however, so it is; and whilst executions continue to be held in public, to gratify the wonder or curiosity of a vulgar throng, we may expect such gatherings of sight-seers: for there exists a morbid taste for the horrible-and more especially among the uneducated classes, to which such tragic spectacles minister with degrading effect. The popular ferment in the present case, perhaps the more excusable as this is the first execution, for what is now regarded only as a capital offence, that has taken place here for more that half a century. the last execution, we believe, of which there is any record, took place in 1798..."
The Prison Register entry is as follows:-
6197. James BURROWS. Offence and Where Committed: On the 21st May 1866 wilfully + of malice aforethought killed + murdered one John Brennan at Hopwood. Sentence: DEATH - Executed Aug 25/66. age Last Sept 18 9/12. Ht: 5ft 6 1/2. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Fresh, Brown, Hazel. Trade or Profession: Labourer. Where born: Rossendale. Last or Usual Address: Rochdale Road, Middleton. Religion: Ch. Education: N. Single. English. Wt In: 10 st 5 lbs. Wt Out: Dead. Marks etc: Small scar centre of forehead, cut end of 2nd + 3rd fingers left hand, scar on right arm. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: Aug 26/66 Executed.
LAST PUBLIC HANGINGS AT THE NEW BAILEY PRISON
The last public hangings at the New Bailey Prison were on April 4th 1868 of Timothy Faherty and Miles Weatherill. Faherty was was convicted of the murder of a young woman at Droylsden whilst Weatherill was convicted of multi murders in one of the most horrific crimes of the century. For more details see here. Amongst his victims were the Vicar of Todmorden and one of his servants. Below is his entry in the The New Bailey Felony Register. At the time of the entry, he had only been charged with one murder.
2125 Miles WEATHERILL. 6th March 1868. Offence: Having on the 2nd March 1868 feloniously wilfully & with malice aforethought killed & murdered one June Smith, also by drawing a fizel feloniously attempted to discharge a loaded pistol at the Rev Anthony John Plow with intent to murder him, also did with a hatchet wound the said Rev Anthony John Plow, also further charged with shooting at one Harriet Louisa Plow with intent to murder her & with a certain piece of iron, to wit a poker, did wound the said Harriet Plow.
This is the entry for Faherty
1375 Timothy FAHERTY: Offence and where committed: On the 25th December 1867 feloniously , wilfully and of his malice aforethought did kill and murder one Mary Hamner at Droylsden. Sentence: Death. Age: 30. Ht: 5ft 7ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Pale, Brown, Grey. Occupation: Factory Operative. Place of Birth: Town and county of Galway. Last or Usual Address: Moorcroft St, Droylsden. religion: R C. Education: R + W Imp. Single. Irish. Wt In 9st 4lbs. Wt Out: dead. Marks Etc: Cut on right eyebrow cut end of 3rd finger left hand scar on right arm. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: Executed Apr 4/68
The last public hanging in the country was of Michael Barratt who was executed outside the Old Bailey in May 1868. His sentence was for his involvement in the infamous Clerkenwell explosion.
EXECUTIONS IN MANCHESTER BEFORE 1866
The first hanging in the Manchester area in "modern" times was in 1790. George McNamara was tried for having formed one of a party of men who on the night of 17th January 1790 committed a robbery at the house of Mr. Chetham who was the Landlord of the Dog and Partridge on Stretford Road. He was convicted at Lancaster Assizes and later transferred to the New Bailey Gaol. An extract from Manchester Cuttings (F942.7389 M1 1845-1881) records the following:
"that on Saturday 11th September 1790, he was taken thence, accompanied by the Chaplain [of the Gaol] and a large posse of Police Officers to Kersal Moor, where a gallows had been erected on one of the eminences. The number of spectators attracted by the novel but awful scene was immense and from the situation of the gallows the inhabitants of the surrounding county had an opportunity of seeing the apparatus of death and the victim "swinging on the beam".
George Russell, a teenager was the next person to be executed in September 1798 at Newton Heath. The newspapers of the time reported that he was executed for robbery, stealing from a bleach ground.
I also discovered a collection of items in the catalogue of Manchester Archives which are described as:
Bills presented to the Constables of Manchester and their accounts for the period Oct. 1797 to Nov. 1798 filed quarter by quarter on a string passed through them centrally. Very detailed and varied payments made by the constables are included together with expenditure on poor relief, accounts from the New Bayley (sic) Prison, the Coroner, demands for county rates and such minor matters as cleaning the Clock in the Market Place, and setting up gallows.
Item M3/2/100/166 is a bill from R. Buxton to the Boroughreeve & Constables. It includes the following items:
To making Gallows Putting up and Taking Down £2 2s 0d
Making Cart Lop Timber + Work Nails &c £1 11s 0d
Coffin £1 11s 6d
Another item on the bill was for:
To fixing Cart Rings Staples
Timber + Work for Whipping 10s 6d
The total bill was for £10 2s 0d which was paid in full 27th September 1798.
Samuel Bamford wrote of this event:
"A coffin, a ladder, and a rope were in the cart below him, whilst by its side walked a dogged-looking fellow, whose eyes were perhaps the only ones unmoistened that day"
Perhaps some of these are the items listed above?
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Last update: 16th January 2017