HERE AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL AND THROUGH OUR BUSINESS FACEBOOK WE TRY AND PROVIDE A BALANCED AND HOPEFULLY HISTORICALLY EDUCATIONAL INTERACTIVE INSIGHT INTO WHAT MANY DEEM TO BE TABOO SUBJECT MATTERS .
PLEASE DO BE AWARE THAT THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION , IT’S OWNER , OR ANY OF IT’S STAFF HERE AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL HAVE NO AFFILIATION, CONNECTION OR INVOLVEMENT WITH ANY EXTREMIST , POLITICALLY MOTIVATED OR ANY OTHER MOVEMENTS WHATSOEVER …… WE SIMPLY EXHIBIT AND TOUCH UPON A GREAT MANY POLITICALLY INCORRECT AND TABOO SUBJECT MATTERS THAT NO OTHER VISITOR ATTRACTIONS DARE COVER IN THE WAY WE CHOOSE TO DO HERE. …. “IT’S ALL HISTORY FOR GOODNESS SAKE”….EVEN IF ON OCCASIONS, SENSITIVE , THOUGHT PROVOKING SUBJECT MATTERS THAT INCITE STRONG DEBATE .
WIDELY REGARDED TO BE BLACK RACIST MOVIES MANY OF THESE NOW BANNED KU KLUX KLAN MOVIE POSTERS WERE DEEMED TO BE A GLORIFICATION TOOL AND USED FOR RECRUITMENT OF NEW MEMBERS INTO THIS WHITE EXTREMIST HOODED ROBE MOVEMENT
HERE BELOW IS A BRIEF PICTORIAL INSIGHT INTO SOME OF THE KKK MEMORBILIA ITEMS HERE ON DISPLAY AT THE JAIL
Movies about the Ku Klux Klan (KKK)
Ever since the release of legendary director D.W. Griffith’s controversial epic The Birth of the Nation (1915), based on Thomas F. Dixon Jr.’s (play and) novel titled The Clansman: An Historical Romance of the Ku Klux Klan and featuring silent star Lillian Gish and future Oscar winner Donald Crisp (among others), classic Hollywood seems to have avoided taking on the KKK to expose its wicked acts or its members’ ignorant beliefs in any substantive way. Though there are several dramas which incorporate it – or at least Klan-like organizations – peripherally, classic films that feature any real detail about its beginnings, longevity, charters, or even insight into its leaders and/or their motivations etc. are surprisingly absent. Maybe the studios felt that real evil and its practitioners were being adequately portrayed in their gangster and war pictures, or perhaps there were fears that a movie about the Klan wouldn’t make good at the box office (particularly in the South)?
The Warner Bros.’s Storm Warning (1951) wasn’t very specific about the KKK’s prejudices, though much of the film’s dialogue (from prosecutor Ronald Reagan and the miscast Ginger Rogers character) does deliver the requisite indictment of the organization and its members: too scared to act without the courage of numbers or show their faces (hence the hoods). But the twist is that the Grand Dragon’s real motivation for leading the clandestine group is financial – there’s real money for him in the dues and the paraphernalia he sells to its members – such that he comes off as a corrupt union boss, or worse a capitalist;-) In the end, the leader’s true self centered (versus “all for one”) nature is revealed and the enraged and disillusioned group wises up and runs for cover from the law. Warner’s Black Legion (1937), starring Humphrey Bogart and featuring a plot plausible enough to earn Robert Lord his second Best Writing-Original Story AA nom, did a better job of exploring the roots of hatred and xenophobia that can seduce one to join such an organization. Since I wrote about MGM’s Stars in My Crown (1950) in my earlier Films about Faith essay, I’ll not include any more text about it here other than to mention that actor Ed Begley (Sr.) seemed to have excelled in portraying angry racist characters. The WB’s (and producer-director Mervyn LeRoy’s) overlong drama The FBI Story (1959), a veritable paean to the organization’s squeaky clean agents and the stout leadership of J. Edgar Hoover, warrants barely a mention except that one of its storylines includes the infiltration of the KKK by the film’s principal character, played by James Stewart.
Which brings me to The Mating Call (1928), produced by Howard Hughes and including titles written by future Oscar winner Herman J. Mankiewicz. The Klan-like organization in this one is named “The Order” and its purpose is to enforce a morality code within its community: black hooded individuals tie a wife beater to a cross and whip him for abusing his spouse. But the primary sin herein is adultery. Upon returning home a hero after serving his country during World War I, Leslie Hatton (Thomas Meighan) finds that his wartime marriage to Rose (Evelyn Brent, playing a sexually aggressive man-eater) was annulled by her parents. But even though he’s (somehow) not interested in having an affair with his former bride, Hatton’s accused of fooling around with Rose by her current husband Lon, a hypocrite that’s having extramarital relations of his own (with a judge’s daughter, no less). Lon uses The Order to threaten the war hero to leave his wife alone. Hatton’s solution to avoid future visits and further scrutiny from these local self-appointed moral authorities includes his going to Ellis Island and marrying a French girl (Renee Adoree, The Big Parade (1925)) whose parents want to immigrate to the United States. However, a subsequent scandal affecting the aforementioned characters (and others) leads The Order to become involved in Hatton’s life again.
Some other dramas that feature the KKK or like-minded groups are: Legion of Terror (1936), The Burning Cross (1947), Another Part of the Forest (1948), The Klansman (1974), Places in the Heart (1984), which earned writer (director) Robert Benton (Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)) his third Oscar, and Mississippi Burning (1988); plus, it’s hard to forget the hilarious scene in Mel Brooks’ western spoof Blazing Saddles (1974) in which Cleavon Little (accompanied by Gene Wilder) dons a white rob and hood
BELOW: Here’s a brief video trailer to provide you as visitors with a walk-through insight into our “Aladdin’s Cave ” of various exhibit material here on display at the jail . And yes this is a very very brief insight
POLITE WARNING, WE ARE A “DARK TOURISM ” VISITOR ATTRACTION & MOST CERTAINLY NOT SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN, THOSE EASILY OFFENDED, DISTURBED OR OF A SENSITIVE NATURE SO IF THIS APPLIES TO YOU … PLEASE DO AVOID VISITING TO THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL.
AS WE SAY ABOVE … THERE IS STILL LOTS TO SEE & DO ELSEWHERE DURING YOUR VISIT TO THE FOREST OF DEAN… WITH PLENTLY OF FAMILY FRIENDLY ATTRACTIONS
BELOW : Here is a brief video trailer to give you a very brief insight into our Dark Tourist Art Gallery, which is intermingled within and amongst our vast and diverse
ABOVE: a short video showing highlights of the spooky cult horror 1974 film ” HOUSE OF WHIPCORD” featuring some of the many scenes shot in Littledean Jail, Littledean Village,Lydney and other Forest Of Dean areas
Being proud to be based , and living here in Littledean , Forest of Dean ….here is our own brief insight and recommendations on where to stay , eat and enjoy during your visit to our wonderful and truly welcoming Forest of Dean area .Great place to visit and great friendly people ….
Previously and seemingly frowned upon in The County of Gloucestershire by Tourism Chiefs as the poor relation to The Cotswolds …. there can be no doubt that The Forest of Dean is continually growing in popularity to be one of the country’s most picturesque and interesting area to visit …..with a great many visitor attractions, great places to stay, along with lots to do and see .
The Forest of Dean is has become one of the country’s most popular film location areas with Hollywood, other film makers and TV Companies all using the Forests natural beauty …. Recent filming in the area has included Star Wars , The Huntsman (sequel to Snow White and The Huntsman ), Dr Who and Merlin to name but a few .
Incidentally world famous actress Helen Mirren also used to reside here close to the jail in Littledean .
Helen Mirren pictured here in TV drama Prime Suspect
BELOW : SAINT ANTHONY’S WELL… A SACRED WELL BUILT BY THE FLAXLEY ABBEY MONKS …. ALSO USED FOR PAGAN , WICCAN , WITCHCRAFT AND THE OCCULT RITUALS . APPROX 1.5 MILES FROM LITTLEDEAN JAIL .
ABOVE: ELLEN HAYWARD ( OLD ELLEN ) THE LAST WOMAN TO BE TRIED FOR WITCHCRAFT IN GLOUCESTERSHIRE , HERE AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL ….. HER HEADSTONE AND GRAVE CAN BE SEEN AT ST JOHN’S CHURCH , CINDERFORD
ABOVE: PC SAMUEL BEARD … THE FIRST POLICEMAN TO BE KILED IN THE LINE OF DUTY IN GLOUCESTERSHIRE , WHO WAS STATIONED HERE AT LITLLEDAN JAIL FOR 16 YEARS WITH HIS WIFE AND FAMILY …. HIS HEADSTONE AND GRAVE CAN BE SEEN AT ST ETHELBERT’S CHURCH , LITTLEDEAN .
ABOVE : Andy Jones “The Guv’ of The Crime Through Time Collection here at Littledean Jail ” …. deemed by many as the ” Marmite Museum ” … you will either love it or hate it.
ABOVE AND BELOW : Just to remind those who have not yet seen our brief Peaky Blinders Exhibition …. worth a peek !!!
When coming to the Forest of Dean either to visit Littledean jail or any of the other great local tourism attractions in the area, we can highly recommend these places to stay , eat and drink ….
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 .
Official inscription of Government Hangman nNoose makers J. Edgington on brass eyelets .
close-up image of vulcanised rubber noose washer and ” gutta percha ” covering
Close up image of Chamois Leather covered noose
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.
BELOW: Original oil painting by Gloucestershire artist Paul Bridgman of notorious Hangman and Executioner – William Calcraft
BELOW : Original receipt for payment of the sum of £12.12 shillings dated 22 march 1856 for an execution he carried out at Manchester Gaol . It is complete with a lilac Inland Revenue 1d stamp as well as being receipted as signed for by William Calcraft …. an extremely rare historic item for sure here on display at Littledean Jail
In today’s money this would be equivalent to approx £9000 !!!
WILLIAM MARWOOD ( 1818-1883)
William Marwood was a hangman for the British government. He developed the technique of hanging known as the “long drop”.
ABOVE : Original oil painting of William Marwood by Gloucestershire artist Paul Bridgman here on display at Littledean Jail
BELOW : An original rare official business card from William Marwood , Executioner , which he has also signed on the rear as pictured here below.
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.
Above & below : An original book about James Berry sent to Joe Mawson back in 2004 with a dedicated inscription for his help having , at the time via Andy Jones of The Crime Through Time Collection provided a copy of the original James Berry calling card for illustrated use within this book
ABOVE : Original and very rare James Berry ” Public Executioner ” business / calling cards
ABOVE: An original oil painting by Gloucestershire artist Paul Bridgman of James Berry , here on display at The Crime Through Time Collection , Littledean jail .
ABOVE AND BELOW: THE ORIGINAL JAMES BERRY HANGMAN’S NOOSE, USED BY HIM IN THE FAILED ATTEMPT TO EXECUTE JOHN ‘BABBACOMBE’ LEE IN EXETER JAIL ON 23 FEBRUARY 1885
DISPLAYED HERE ALONG WITH THE ORIGINAL HANDWRITTEN AND SIGNED AUTHENTICATION LETTER FROM JAMES BERRY DATED 3 JULY 1897 IN RELATION TO THE USE OF THIS NOOSE .
Above & below , an original James Berry Executioner business calling card privately acquired from the estate of former crime ephemera collector Joe Mawson (who passed away at the age of 86) by The Crime Through Time Collection along with an original letter from Scotland Yard’s Black Museum curator Bill Waddell sent from the Metropolitan Police Office dated 20-2-1984, previously sent to Joe Mawson with reference to this extremely rare calling card .
PICTURED HERE BELOW IS AN EXCEPTIONALLY RARE AND MOST CERTAINALY HISTORICALLY UNIQUE ENGRAVED 1861 HALF PENNY COIN PRESENTED BY JAMES BERRY PUBLIC EXECUTIONER TO J.BREEZE, 25 JULY 1886.
THIS PERSONALLY ENGRAVED PRESENTATION COIN IS HERE ON DISPLAY, ALONG WITH AN ARRAY OF INFAMOUS HANGMAN JAMES BERRY & OTHER HANGMEN AND EXECUTIONER MEMORABILIA
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.
ABOVE: Original oil painting of John Ellis by Gloucestershire Artist Paul Bridgman , here on display at Littledean Jail
JOHN BILLINGTON HANGMAN AND EXECUTIONER
John Billington came from a family of hangmen. His father, James, was an executioner from 1884 to 1901, and his two older brothers, Thomas and William were employed in the same occupation.
In early 1902, at the age of 21, John attended an execution training course at Newgate Prison. His brother William was England’s primary executioner by this time, and the two became partners. They first worked on 18 March. John was the assistant for 10 of William’s commissions in 1902. He helped perform the last execution at Newgate and the first one at Pentonville.
Billington continued as an assistant through most of 1903. However, with his experience, he was soon promoted. On 2 December 1903, he carried out his commission as a chief executioner in Manchester, with John Ellis as his assistant. Twenty-nine executions took place in England and Ireland in 1903; the Billington brothers participated in 27 of them, including 15 as a two-man team.
John Billington worked both as his brother’s assistant and as a chief executioner for the next two years. On three separate occasions, they carried out executions in different cities on the same day. The last of these was on 17 August 1904, when John executed John Kay at Armley Prison, and William hanged Samuel Holden at Winson Green Prison.
Besides Ellis, John Billington also frequently worked with Henry Pierrepoint. In his career, Billington carried out a total of 26 hangings as an assistant and 16 as a chief executioner. He worked as a hairdresser when not performing executions.
In August 1905, Billington received a commission to hang Thomas Tattersall in Leeds. While preparing the scaffold, he fell through the open trapdoor and cracked his ribs. He died about two months later due to those injuries; the official cause of death was pleurisy.
Billington was 25 years old at the time. He was survived by his wife and one child.
ABOVE : Original oil painting of James Billington by Gloucestershire artist Paul Bridgman here on display at Littledean Jail
BELOW: Original oil painting of Henry Pierrepoint by Gloucestershire artist Paul Bridgman here on display at Littledean Jail
THOMAS PIERREPOINT (1870 – 1954 )
ABOVE: Thomas Pierrepoint (left) and his nephew, Albert (right)
BELOW: Thomas Pierrepoint , Hangman and Executioner
Thomas Pierrepoint began working as a hangman in 1906 under the influence of his brother, Henry. His career spanned 39 years, and ended in 1946, by which time he was in his mid-seventies. During this time, he is thought to have carried out 294 hangings, 203 of which were civilians executed in England and Wales, whilst the remainder were executions carried out abroad or upon military personnel. Among those he executed was the poisoner Frederick Seddon in 1912.
During World War II he was appointed as executioner by the US Military and was responsible for 13 out of 16 hangings of US soldiers at the Shepton Mallet military prison in Somerset. In this capacity, Pierrepoint carried out executions not only for murder but also rape which, at the time, was a capital crime under US military law although not in British law. In most of these cases he was assisted by his nephew Albert – who was principal hangman for the remaining three executions.
In 1940, his medical fitness for the job was questioned by a medical officer who called him “unsecure” and doubted “whether his sight was good”. The Prison Commission discreetly asked for reports on his performance during executions in the following time, but evidently found no reason to take action, although one report said that Thomas Pierrepoint had “smelled strongly of drink” on two occasions when reporting at the prison. This, however, appears to clash with Thomas Pierrepoint’s instruction to Albert (when the latter acted as his assistant) not to take a drink if on the job and never to accept the drink customarily given to all witnesses at executions in the Republic of Ireland.
Thomas never officially retired, rather his name was removed from the list of executioners and invitations to conduct executions ceased to arrive. He died at his daughter’s home in Bradford on 11 February 1954, aged 83
ABOVE: Original oil painting of Thomas Pierrepoint by Gloucestershire Artist Paul Bridgman on display at Littledean Jail
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
HARRY ALLEN – THE LAST HANGMAN AND EXECUTIONER IN THE UNITED KINGDOM
ABOVE : Harry Allen, Britain’s last chief executioner, photographed in 1969
Harry Bernard Allen (5 November 1911 – 14 August 1992) was one of Britain’s last official executioners, officiating between 1941 and 1964. He was chief executioner at 41 executions and acted as assistant executioner at 53 others, at various prisons in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and Cyprus. He acted as assistant executioner for 14 years, mostly to Albert Pierrepoint from 1941 to 1955.
ABOVE : Inspection: Hangman Harry Allen, right, examines a noose before an execution he undertook for the British Government in Cyprus
In October 1955 Allen was appointed as Chief Executioner alongside Pierrepoint, although he did not execute anyone in this role until 10 May 1956, when he hanged two EOKA members in Cyprus. Pierrepoint was no longer available because he had resigned in February 1956. Allen’s most controversial hanging came in April 1962, when James Hanratty was hanged for murder, despite efforts to clear his name. Hanratty was proven guilty in 2002 by DNA. Allen also assisted in the execution of Derek Bentley in 1953, and he performed one of the last two executions in Britain, in August 1964.
ABOVE : Original oil painting of hangman and executioner Harry Allen by Gloucestershire Artist Paul Bridgman here on display at Littledean Jail.
ABOVE: ORIGINAL OIL PAINTING BY IN- HOUSE GLOUCESTERSHIRE ARTIST PAUL BRIDGMAN HERE ON DISPLAY AT THE JAIL WITHIN OUR ” DARK TOURIST ART GALLERY ”
ABOVE : ORIGINAL OIL PAINTING BY OUR IN-HOUSE GLOUCESTERSHIRE ARTIST PAUL BRIDGMAN DEPICTING THE FAILED ATTEMPT TO HANG JOHN “BABBARCOMBE” LEE IN EXETER PRISON.
THIS PAINTING NOW BEING HERE ON DISPLAY AT THE JAIL.
FIRSTLY, AND FOR THE RECORD
A FORMAL STATEMENT FROM ANDY JONES, OWNER & CURATOR OF THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION HERE AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL ……
IT HAD BEEN BROUGHT TO OUR ATTENTION THAT THE HIT CHANNEL 4 TV SERIES – FOUR ROOMS, FIRST BROADCAST AT THE END OF MAY 2011, FEATURED FELLOW CRIME MEMORABILIA COLLECTOR STEWART P EVANS, AUTHOR OF THE 2004 PUBLICATION OF THE BOOK ENTITLED “EXECUTIONER- THE CHRONICLES OF JAMES BERRY VICTORIAN HANGMAN” . HE TOOK ONTO THE SHOW A SO-SAY JAMES BERRY HANGMAN’S NOOSE CLAIMING IT TO HAVE BEEN THE ORIGINAL ONE USED ON BERRY’S FAILED EXECUTION OF JOHN ” BABBACOMBE ” LEE ON JULY 23RD 1885 AT EXETER JAIL .
WE WISH TO MAKE IT ABUNDANTLY CLEAR THAT THIS WAS NOT THE NOOSE USED, AND THAT THE ORIGINAL HANGMAN’S NOOSE , ALONG WITH A PERSONALLY HANDWRITTEN AND SIGNED LETTER FROM JAMES BERRY TO THIS EFFECT,DATED 3 JULY 1897(WRITEN DURING HIS RETIREMENT YEARS ) ARE HERE AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL ON PUBLIC DISPLAY . (SEE ORIGINAL NOOSE AND LETTER PICTURES HERE ABOVE & BELOW FOR REFERENCE )
THESE EXHIBIT ITEMS WERE PURCHASED AT AUCTION BY THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION BACK IN THE YEAR 2000. STEWART HAD ALSO ATTENDED THE AUCTION WITH A VIEW TO PURCHASE BUT WAS SUBSEQUENTLY OUTBID BY OURSELVES .
THE PROPOSED SALE OF THE OTHER NOOSE OWNED BY STEWART P EVANS FAILED TO SELL ON THE CHANNEL 4 TV SERIES “FOUR ROOMS” . THIS WAS PROBABLY DUE TO KNOWLEDGE THAT THE ORIGINAL NOOSE AND LETTER OF PROVENANCE FROM THE EXECUTIONER -JAMES BERRY WERE KNOWN TO BE HERE ON PERMANENT DISPLAY AT THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION , LITTLEDEAN JAIL, UK .
ON A PERSONAL LEVEL ANDY JONES WISHES TO ADD IT WAS DISAPPOINTING TO NOTE THAT WITH FELLOW CRIME MEMORABILIA COLLECTOR AND FORMER POLICE OFFICER STEWART EVANS HAVING KNOWINGLY BEEN AWARE OF THESE FACTS, HE STILL SADLY TRIED TO DECEIVE TV SHOW PRODUCERS , THE VIEWING PUBLIC , AND OTHER FELLOW COLLECTORS OF CRIME MEMORABILIA .
REF: ORIGINAL JAMES BERRY CALLING/BUSINESS CARD
FURTHERMORE & FOR THE RECORD WE WOULD WISH TO ALSO ADD THAT WE HAVE HERE ON DIPLAY AN ORIGINAL JAMES BERRY PUBLIC EXECUTIONER CALLING/BUSINESS CARD . ( SEE BELOW)
AS AUTHOR STEWART P EVANS WILL ALSO AGREE AND ACCEPT ANDY JONES OF THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION HAD ORIGINALLY INTRODUCED HIM TO THE FORMER OWNER OF THIS CALLING CARD – JOE MAWSON ( NOW DECEASED FORMER CRIME MEMORABILIA COLLECTOR ) .
JOE HAD, AS RECOMMENDED BY ANDY JONES ,SUBSEQUENTLY PROVIDED WITHOUT CHARGE TO STEWART, AN IMAGE OF THIS CARD FOR HIS BOOK, AS ACKNOWLEDGED WITHIN THE CREDITS OF HIS BOOK. #
HOPEFULLY THIS WILL RESPECTFULLY PUT THE RECORD STRAIGHT ON THESE SAID FRONTS.
ABOVE: An original oil painting by Gloucestershire artist Paul Bridgman of James Berry , here on display at The Crime Through Time Collection , Littledean jail .
Above & below: The original James Berry personally handwritten and signed letter that had been originally acquired alongside his noose, for which Berry clearly states the provenance of this noose as being both the one he had used in his first execution and thereafter the historic failed attempted execution on John “Babbacombe” Lee.
ABOVE & BELOW: AN ORIGINAL JAMES BERRY EXECUTIONER CALLING/BUSINESS CARD AND ORIGINAL LETTER FROM SCOTLAND YARDS BLACK MUSEUM CURATOR BILL WADDELL AKNOWLEDGING SIGHT OF THIS EXTREMELY RARE EXHIBIT PIECE .
THIS CALLING CARD HAVING BEEN PARY OF THE JOE MAWSON ( DECEASED) CRIME MEMORABILIA COLLECTION, LATER ACCQUIRED BY THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION. THIS ITEM ALONG WITH THE OTHERS FEATURED HERE ARE NOW ON PUBLIC DISPLAY AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL .
Below: A rare and unseen personal photograph of fellow crime memorabilia and ephemera collector Joe Mawson who was the previous owner of the exceptionally rare James Berry Executioner calling/business card.
This calling card having been previously featured in the book below and now on permanent display here at the jail.
ABOVE & BELOW: THE BOOK WRITTEN BY STEWART P EVANS ALONG WITH A PERSONAL DEDICATION AND THANK-YOU NOTE TO PREVIOUS OWNER OF THE JAMES BERRY CALLING CARD JOE MAWSON .
A COPY OF ORIGINAL SIGNED PHOTO OF JAMES BERRY – EXECUTIONER AND HANGMAN
NEWSPAPER ARTICLE BACK ON 05TH OCTOBER 2000 RELATING TO THE UPCOMING AUCTION SALE OF THE NOOSE AND HANGMAN’S LETTER …….SUBSEQUENTLY BOUGHT BY THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION, NOW ON DISPLAY AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL
ABOVE: TRUE CRIME MAGAZINE FEATURE ON LITTLEDEAN JAIL INCLUDING A REFERENCE TOO THE ORIGINAL NOOSE USED BY JAMES BERRY ON THE FAILED EXECUTION ON THE MAN THEY COULD NOT HANG ….JOHN ” BABBACOMBE ” LEE. ACQUIRED FROM AUCTION IN THE YEAR 2000 ALONG WITH FIRM LETTER OF PROVENANCE FROM JAMES BERRY STATING THAT NOT ONLY HAD IT BEEN USED ON LEE , THAT IT HAD ALSO BEEN USED FOR HIS FIRST EXECUTION IN 1884 . TO ALL OTHERS THAT CLAIM THEY HAVE THE ORIGINAL NOOSE USED ON LEE ……. SORRY BUT ITS HERE ON DISPLAY AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL ALONG WITH THE HANDWRITTEN AND SIGNED LETTER OF 03RD JULY 1897 FROM JAMES BERRY ‘ ON HIS HOME ADDRESSED LETTER HEADED PAPER
NEWSPAPER ARTICLE FEATURING THE HANGMAN’S NOOSE USED BY JAMES BERRY ON THE FAILED ATTEMPT TO EXECUTE JOHN ” BABBACOMBE” LEE FEATURED IN THE WESTERN DAILY PRESS ON NOVEMBER 21ST 2002
ABOVE: Certificate of inspection of failed trap door
Above: Certificate of John Lee’s prison release
John Henry George Lee (1864 – c. 19 March 1945), better known as John “Babbacombe” Lee or “The Man They Couldn’t Hang”, was an Englishman famous for surviving three attempts to hang him for murder. Born in Abbotskerswell, Devon, Lee served in the Royal Navy, and was a known thief. In 1885, he was convicted of the brutal murder of his employer, Emma Keyse, at her home at Babbacombe Bay near Torquay on 15 November 1884. The evidence was weak and circumstantial, amounting to little more than Lee having been the only male in the house at the time of the murder, his previous criminal record, and being found with an unexplained cut on his arm. Despite this and his claim of innocence, he was sentenced to hang.
Execution attempts and aftermath
On 23 February 1885, three attempts were made to carry out his execution at Exeter Prison. All ended in failure, as the trapdoor of the scaffold failed to open despite being carefully tested by the executioner, James Berry, beforehand. As a result, Home Secretary Sir William Harcourt commuted the sentence to life imprisonment. Lee continued to petition successive Home Secretaries and was finally released in 1907. The only other man in history known to have survived three hanging attempts was Joseph Samuel.
Many theories have been advanced as to the cause of the failure, but Home Office papers show that the official report stated that incorrect assembly of the gallows mechanism allowed the trapdoor hinges to rest upon an eighth of an inch of drawbar, preventing them from opening when the doors were weighted. This incident helped lead to a standard gallows design to prevent a recurrence.
Later years and identifications
After his release, Lee seems to have exploited his notoriety, supporting himself through lecturing on his life, even becoming the subject of a silent film. Accounts of his whereabouts after 1916 are somewhat confused, and one researcher even speculated that in later years, there was more than one man claiming to be Lee. It was suspected that he died in the Tavistockworkhouseduring the Second World War. However, one recent piece of research concludes that he died in the United States under the name of “James Lee” in 1945. According to the book The Man They Could Not Hang by Mike Holgate and Ian David Waugh, Lee’s gravestone was found at Forest Home Cemetery, Milwaukee.
ABOVE : Iconic English Folk Rock Band Fairport Convention’ s 1971 album cover entitled “Babbacombe Lee”
Below: The Hanging Song performed by Fairport Convention .
Above & below : One of several handwritten and signed James Berry letters to include close-up image here on display at Littledean Jail
AN EXCEPTIONALLY RARE AND MOST CERTAINALY HISTORICALLY UNIQUE ENGRAVED 1861 HALF PENNY COIN PRESENTED BY JAMES BERRY PUBLIC EXECUTIONER TO J.BREEZE, 25 JULY 1886
ABOVE , Sadly unsure as to the origins and historical significance of this equally historically rare and unique 1861 half penny coin, which is intricately engraved,
” Presented by J. Berry Public Executioner to J Breeze, 25th July 1886″.
This was presented some 17 months after the failed execution by James Berry of John “Babbacombe” Lee on February 23, 1885 .
( If anyone can shed any light on the significance of this coin and whom J Breeze was, please let us know.)
ABOVE AND BELOW: Pictured here are both sides of this rare coin, giving an indication of the actual size.
Royston Henry Shaw (11 March 1936 – 14 July 2012), also known as Roy “Pretty Boy” Shaw, Roy “Mean Machine” Shaw and Roy West, real estate investor, author and businessman from the East End of London who was formerly a criminal and Category A prisoner. During the 1970s–1980s, Shaw was active in the criminal underworld of London and was frequently associated with the Kray twins. Shaw is best remembered today for his career as a fighter on the unlicensed boxing scene, becoming an arch-rival with Lenny McLean.
THE FORMER GUV’NOR HAS PASSED AWAY BUT HIS MEMORY LIVES ON HERE AT THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL
Picture By: Jules Annan Picture Shows:Andy Jones with Roy “Pretty Boy ” Shaw’s boxing trunks and the Belt presented to Roy when he was the undisputed unlicensed British Heavyweight boxing champion between 1975 and 1981 . Roy sadly passed away 14th July 2012 . These items and other Roy Shaw material are on display at the Crime Through Time Collection at Littledean Jail Date 21st July 2012
HAVING HAD THE GREAT HONOUR TO HAVE MET AND KNOWN ROY FOR MORE THAN 30 YEARS AND HAVING ATTENDED A GREAT MANY EVENTS WITH HIM