Talk about objects that evoke strong feelings and debate …. you need look no further than a simple rope which just happens to be the Hangman’s Noose .
Here at The Crime Through Time Collection, Littledean Jail we house and display several original Hangman’s Nooses including the one used by James Berry on ” The Man They Couldn’t Hang ” John “Babbacombe” Lee.
We also house and have on display several official government regulation nooses made by John Edgington , Old Kent Road, London. Some of which have the chamois leather noose and the the gutta percha on the noose ends. The gutta percha was later omitted from the regulation noose ends in 1955.
These noose’s would have possibly been used for both test drops and executions by several of Britain’s 20th Century Hangmen and Executioners, and also for executions carried out abroad . These ropes would undoubtedly have been used by the likes of Stephen Wade, Henry Kirk, Robert Lewis Stewart, John Ellis, Albert Pierrepoint and the last hangman in England Harry Allen .
Above : Original oil painting of 3 generations of the Pierrepoint family , who were all Britain’s chief executioners … Painted by local Gloucestershire artist Paul Bridgman , on display at Littledean Jail.
Sadly official records no longer appear to exist in regards to where and on whom these official government regulation J Edgington & Co noose’s were used . All we know is that Edgingtons were awarded the Government contract to supply all the execution noose’s from 1888 up until the abolition of the death penalty in 1964.
The only other official documentation or records that exists in regards to the storage and transportation of numbered J Edgington nooses is that which is held at HMP Wandsworth , London.
We also feature on display an array of handwritten and signed correspondence from a number of hangmen.
All in all a hopefully unique, historical and educational insight into the life and times of Capital Punishment within the UK .
ABOVE AND BELOW: VARIOUS EXAMPLES OF OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT ISSUE HANGMAN NOOSE’S WHICH WERE MADE BY J EDGINGTON & CO , OLD KENT ROAD , LONDON. THESE WERE MANUFACTURED BY THEM FROM 1888 UNTIL THE ABOLITION OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT IN 1965 .
BELOW IS AN INSIGHT INTO SOME OF VARIOUS HANGMEN RELATED EXHIBIT MATERIAL HERE ON DISPLAY, WHICH INCLUDES ORIGINAL HANGMAN’S NOOSE’S USED BY GEORGE SMITH POPULARLY KNOWN AS ” THROTTLER SMITH ” AND JAMES BERRY ON THE “MAN THEY COULD NOT HANG ” – JOHN “BABBACOMBE” LEE . ALSO HANDWRITTEN AND SIGNED LETTERS, BUSINESS CARDS AND RECEIPTS ETC.
GEORGE SMITH ( 1805-1874 )
George Smith, popularly known as Throttler Smith, was an English hangman from 1840 until 1872. He was born in Rowley Regis in the English West Midlands, where he performed the majority of his executions George Smith, popularly known as Throttler Smith, was an English hangman from 1840 until 1872. He was born in Rowley Regis in the English West Midlands, where he performed the majority of his executionsNOOSE’S USED BY GEORGE SMITH POPULARLY KNOWN AS ” THROTTLER SMITH “NOOSE USED BY GEORGE SMITH POPULARLY KNOWN AS ” THROTTLER SMITH “
WILLIAM CALCRAFT (1800 -1879 )
William Calcraft was a 19th-century English hangman, one of the most prolific of British executioners. It is estimated in his 45-year career he carried out 450 executions.
WILLIAM MARWOOD ( 1818-1883)
William Marwood was a hangman for the British government. He developed the technique of hanging known as the “long drop”.
JAMES BERRY (1852-1913 )
James Berry was an English executioner from 1884 until 1891. Berry was born in Heckmondwike in the West Riding of Yorkshire, where his father worked as a wool-stapler.
JOHN ELLIS (1874 -1932 )
John Ellis was a British executioner for 23 years, from 1901 to 1924. His other occupations were as a Rochdale hairdresser and newsagent.
ALBERT PIERREPOINT ( 1943 -1992 )
Albert Pierrepoint was a long-serving hangman in England. He executed at least 400 people, including William Joyce and John Amery. In Germany and Austria after the war, he executed some 200 people who had been convicted of war crimes