LAW & ORDER – Bow Street Court, Request for Divorce

Here you will find interesting and humorous stories and events from the past. We hope you enjoy them and if you have any stories of your own you would like to share feel free to contact us.

We came across these newspaper cuttings dated Accreditation the Daily Gazette 6th, July,1875.


            At the Bow Police Court, on Monday, (04/07), a man asked the advice of the magistrate under somewhat peculiar circumstances. He stated that he had married a young lady, and that on leaving the altar she refused to perform the duties of a wife. He wished on that account to get a divorce, in order to marry another woman whom he apparently expected would be more tractable than wife No.1. His Honour inquired if he had any charge of immorality to bring against his wife. “Oh dear, no,” he replied – he had only come to His Honour to ask for leave to marry again, and thereby save the expense and trouble of going through the Divorce Court. On being told that as he had taken a wife for better and worse, he could not get rid of her so easily, he said, unfortunately it had “all been for the worse.”   Posted 28/07/2015 Accreditation the Daily Gazette 29/08/1873


            The extraordinary scene of selling a wife has just been witnessed at Belper, a town some seven or eight miles from Derby. It appears that a young woman, the wife of a man named Thompson, who is said to have left her and his creditors together and gone to America, was the interesting article submitted to competition. The wife’s conduct seems to have a great deal to do with Thompson’s disappearance. On Saturday (23/08), Thompson’s goods, &c., were sold, and the wife claimed a portion of the proceeds and told the auctioneer, he must either share the money with her all sell her. This seems to have called for the sympathy or something else, of a stander-by, who volunteered to undertake the role of auctioneer. A halter was borrowed from a neighbour, and the woman was led into the market place, accompanied by a crowd of persons. No bidders, however, seemed to be amongst them. This disgraceful scene was enacted on Saturday afternoon, and witnessed by a large number of spectators, many of whom expressed their disgust and annoyance with so debasing a transaction. Posted 04/04/2015

Accreditation The Redcar and Saltburn-by-the-Sea Gazette 18/01/1878.


40169   Station Hotel, Redcar 1800s FB

1800s Station Hotel, Redcar. Note Gas lamp and size on footpath. Accreditation F. Brunskill. RPF4169

A painful sensation was calls the Redcar and Coatham on Sunday last (13/01), an it becoming known that Mr. James Smith, the manager of the Station Hotel, had been nearly murdered by a man was staying in the house. The person in question, whose name is Robert Bell, had been working as a farm labourer at Brotton, and called at the hotel on Saturday afternoon, (12/01) asking if he might stay on until Monday. This having been arranged for, he had his tea, and about nine o’clock, he gave the manager 30s., stating that it would more than pay for his lodgings, but that when he left he could receive the over plus. Bell retired to his room shortly after closing time, apparently sober and alright, and about five o’clock on Sunday morning. Smith was aroused by the women servants, who stated that there was someone walking about the house. He got up and procured a light, and then went out of his bedroom on the top landing, where he called out “What are you doing there? what’s all the row about?” Receiving no answer, he went downstairs, and finding your one, was returning, when he was overtaken by Bell on the first landing. Bell knocked the candle out of his hand, and then attacked him with a razor, inflicting no less than eight worlds, three of them being on his neck, and the remainder about his body. Smith, who of course was taken quite unawares, at last managed to clause with his assailant, and succeeded in throwing him downstairs. Mr. Todd, of Middlesbrough, a gentleman connected with the yeast trade, was also stay in the house for the night, at this juncture appeared on the scene with a lighted candle in his hand, he having been alarmed by the cries of the women servants, and he and Smith afterwards proceeded downstairs together. On their reaching the entrance hall, Bell, who had not sustained any injury from being flung downstairs, extinguished the light Todd was carrying, and commenced to attack him with the razor. Todd defended himself as much as he was able with the chairs standing in the hall, two of which were broken to pieces before Bell desisted. Meanwhile, Smith had left the house by the back door, and several persons residing in the neighbourhood had by this time being aroused by the loud screams of the women servants from the upper windows, and were congregated in front of the hotel. One of the first to arrive was police Sergeant Alexander, who had heard the cries at the police station. The officer that be duly entered the house by the back door, which Smith had left standing open, and was proceeding to search the house, when he met Bell coming downstairs, still with the razor in his hand. He was at once taken into custody, and as soon as he had been lodged in the police cells, the officer returned to the hotel. He found that Smith had taken refuge at Dr. Walker’s, who lives just opposite, and that his injuries were of a very serious nature, it being almost a miracle that he was not killed, as Bell had made a determined attempt to cut his head off. There was a frightful world on his neck, extending almost from year to year, though fortunately no artery was severed, and his face, arms, wrist, and side were dreadfully hacked. It seemed almost incredible that he had been able in such a state to successfully grappled with his assailant, and throw him downstairs, for the blood that had run from him give the first landing of the hotel, the appearance of a slaughter-house. After his wounds had been attended to at Dr. Walker’s, he was carried back to the hotel, where he now lives in a most precarious state, though there are good hopes that he will ultimately recover. Todd’s injuries were next looked to, and found to be comparatively slight, being confined to two cuts across the cheek, worn on his head, and another on his left hand. Dr. Locke was subsequently called in to attend to the prisoner, who had a number of loans about his hands, evidently inflicted by the razor. Prisoner is a short stiff man, and his broad face is much bronzed, and has one or two scars on it; his cheekbones are prominent, and he has a shaggy, Blackbeard. Superintendent Clarkson who was telegraphed for soon after the office opened, arrived at Redcar from Guisborough in the course of the forenoon, and during the day was engaged in conjunction with Police Sergeant Alexander in investigating the extraordinary affair. The Superintendent has since ascertained that the prisoner had been living for the last nine months with his brother, who was a farmer at Brotton. He is married, but has not lived with his wife for some time, who is said to have treated him badly. On Saturday he went and saw her at Fulthorpe, near Easingwold, but did not speak to her. On returning from Fulthorpe took lodgings at the Station Hotel, as already stated. Some time ago, he purchased 5 acres of land, which he had conveyed to his wife, who is stated to have received, and kept the rent. This, together with the separation, has, it is alleged, acted on his mind, and driven him to desperation. However, this may be his motive for attacking Smith could scarcely have been robbery, for in that case, he would not have paid for his lodgings in advance, unless he had done it to prevent suspicion; his purse, too, containing a half-crown, watch and chain, and the razor case were afterwards found in his bed, under the pillow. Prisoner was at first very restless, and never slept from the time of his arrest on till after his return from Guisborough on Tuesday evening (15/01), since which time he had been more composed.


On Monday morning (14/01), the prisoner was taken before Mr. A. H. T. Newcomen, at Kirk Leatham Hall, on the charge of attempting to murder James Smith, the manager of the Station Hotel, Redcar. The only evidence given was that of Police Sergeant Alexander, who deposed: Yesterday morning (13/01), owing to the alarm that was raised, I proceeded to the Station Hotel, and dented by the back door, which was standing open. I was in the act of searching the house, when I met the prisoner coming downstairs. He was completely covered with blood, and had a razor in his hand. I took him to the police station, and locked him up. On going back to the hotel, and making further enquiries, I found that James Smith, the manager of the hotel, had left the house and had gone cross to Dr. Walker’s, and that he was suffering from many wounds on the neck and body. I after wards charged the priest with the above offence, and he made no reply. Prisoner was then remanded until the following day, when he was taken before the magistrates at Guisborough. Crowds of people were assembled at the railway stations at Redcar and Guisborough, also at Middlesbrough, anxious to catch a glimpse of the prisoner, who was attired in a light tweed jacket covered with blood stains. The court was densely crowded, and the magistrates on the bench were the Rev. Canon Yeoman, and Messrs. J. B. Rudd, and R. Yeoman. On being taken before the magistrates prisoner showed a desire to speak, but he was not allowed to do so until after a few remarks from Mr Dale, the prosecuting solicitor, and Police Sergeant Alexander charge of the case. Mr. Dale said that he feared on behalf of \superintendent Clarkson to prosecute, and, as the Bench was aware, the prisoner was charged with attempting to murder the manager of the Station Hotel, Redcar. He had a certificate on his head from Mr. W. Walker, which he proceeded to read:- “Coatham, Yorkshire, January 14, 1878. I certify that Mr. James Smith, manager of the Station Hotel, Coatham, is a patient under my care; that he is suffering from incised wounds on the neck, face, arms, side, and wrist; and that he is unable to leave his bed. William Walker, M.R.C.S., F.S.N. To the Justices of the Piece, Guisborough Mr. Dale said that it had been suggested that Smith’s depositions might be taken at the Station Hotel on Friday, and if that day was convenient to the magistrates he would be prepared to proceed with the case. Mr. Rudd: Very well; but had we better not have sufficient evidence to justify a room and? Mr. Dale: I will call Police Sergeant Alexander. Police Sergeant Alexander then gave evidence precisely similar to that printed above, adding that he had seen prosecutor, who was very much cut. Mr. Dale: Is key in a very critical state? Police Sergeant Alexander: Yes. Mr. Dale: and he is unable to attend? Police Sergeant Alexander: He is. Mr. Dale: And this person in charge inflicted the wounds? Police Sergeant Alexander: Yes. Mr. Rudd: He did not make any answer. When charged? Police Sergeant: No; he did not. Mr. Rudd: I think this is sufficient evidence for a remand. Mr. Dale; I shall adduce evidence on Friday to complete the case, as well as the depositions of Mr. Smith. Mr. Rudd (addressing the prisoner): Have you any friends. Prisoner: Not many, sir. Superintendent Clarkson: He belongs to Fulthorpe, near Easingwold. Mr. Rudd: I think it would be desirable in a case like this to communicate with his friends, and let them know his position. The prisoner was then removed, and was conveyed back to Redcar. In the course of the afternoon.


This morning (18/01), a special court was held at the Station Hotel, Coatham, Redcar, for the hearing of the above case. Large crowds of people lined the route from the police station to the hotel where the examination of the prisoner took place, to witness his removal; he was attired in the same clause as those previously described, and did not seem at all to realise his perilous position. The only magistrate present was the Rev. Canon Yeoman. Mr. Dale, who appeared for the prosecution, said the prisoner was charged with wounding with intent to murder Mr. James Smith, the manager of the Station Hotel, Redcar; and also with cutting and wounding Mr. Robert Todd, a gentleman who was staying in the house. Mr. Dale briefly went over the facts of the case, which are given in the evidence, after which an adjournment was made to Mr. Smith’s bedroom, to receive his depositions, he being still quite unable to leave his bed. James Smith deposed: I reside at these Station Hotel, Coatham, and am the manager of the hotel. On Saturday afternoon (13/01), the prisoner, Robert Bell, came to the hotel, about four o’clock. He asked for a glass of whiskey, and after I had served them. He asked if he could stay at the hotel until the following Monday (14/01). I said I believed we could accommodate him, and he afterwards had tea. Witness then detailed various circumstances which took place on Saturday night, and went on:- on Sunday morning. Shortly after five o’clock a walk by Margaret MacMahon, my barmaid, who had come inside my bedroom door, and was shouting my name. I asked her what was the matter, and in consequence of what she said, I got up and went straight downstairs. I saw no one, and I heard a door one. I then examined the outside doors and the barque doors, and found them the same as I had left them the night before. I examined the backdoors, and found them bolted, as I and left them. Thinking I had been wrong in my surmises, I was then returning upstairs, I usually take my cashbox out of the bar, and into Mr. Hearse’s private room, but I had not done so on the previous night. When Margaret first awoke me. I remembered that the prisoner had gone downstairs, broken all the cashbox, and made off with the contents. When I found the back door was locked, I knew that my surmise was wrong. The key of the barque door was in my pocket. In returning upstairs, I had got to the top of three steps leading to the first landing proper, when I heard a movement in the hall below. I looked over the banister and so the prisoner coming bounding up the stairs. He had trousers, court, and with good an, but neither stockings or shoes. I turned myself round, and met him just as he got on the first landing. He would the stabbing at the bottom of those three steps I have named, and I would be standing facing him, with the lighted candle in my right hand. I said, “Well, sir, what is the meaning of all this wondering about? There was plenty of light for me to see who it was, and I said, “You’ve frightened everyone in the house.” I then asked him if he wanted anything. He said, “What have you been doing? What are you going to do?” Whilst he was altering those words, I saw something letter in his right hand. I no sooner saw it than I felt myself cut across the neck. I got him down and knelt upon him, and tried to get hold of the arm and instrument was in, but I could not get hold of it. The prisoner could be across the left wrist. I then with my right hand tried to choke him to make him drop the instrument. While I was trying to choke him, Mr. Todd came down with a lighted candle. Till then I had been in the dark, after dropping my candle. I told Mr Toured to keep aware -he had got a knife. Mr Todd’s light went out, and during the time he went away to get some matches, the prisoner got the better of me. I felt I was not able to keep him down any longer. I then jumped up, and succeeded in getting behind him, and some zing all my strength. I threw him down stairs. I then succeeded in regaining my bedroom. During the time I was there. Mr. Todd had got dressed. He came and called upon me, and we went downstairs together. Mr. Todd had a candle in one hand, and at my brother in the other. I had nothing. When we got to the bottom of the stairs, I said to Mr. Todd. “For the love of God, let me get out, and let me get to Dr Walker’s.” He proceeded to the front door for that purpose. Just as he got into the vestibule, he shouted out “Here he is, Jim; he’s here.” The next instance I saw the prisoner make a cut at Todd with some instrument he had in his right hand. I then ran along the passage and got out by the back door, and ran across the street to Dr. Walker’s. I saw Dr. Walker and he dressed my wounds, and someone carried me back to my house. I have not seen the prisoner since until now. I am quite sure he is the man who attacked me. I have been confined to my bed from the morning of Sunday till the present time, under the care of Dr. Walker. Martha Fellows and Margaret MacMahon: next gave evidence, after which: Robert Todd : I live at 114, Gunnergate Terrace, Middlesbrough, and am a traveller in the yeast trade for Mr. R. Knaggs. I was staying at the Station Hotel, Coatham, on Saturday night, and was awoke between five and half past on Sunday morning by during a shout of “Todd, Todd.” I then rushed out of my bedroom, and so the two made servants standing on the landing. I said, “Whatever is the matter.” There’s a man murdering Jim !” I took the candle from one of them, and went downstairs. I looked over the banisters, and when Smith saw me he shouted “For God’s sake don’t come near; he’s got a knife and nearly killed me. I’m bleeding to death.” The candle was then knocked out of my hand, and I afterwards heard something falling down stairs, and Smith, and I both rushed back to our bedrooms. I saw a court, on Smith’s throat, and blood pouring out onto the prisoner’s face. I put on my trousers and ways court, and called for Smith, and together we proceeded downstairs. (What followed is stated in Smith’s evidence.) When Smith left prisoner and I together, he struck me with a knife he had in his hand. He also knocked the light out. I then had a scuffle with him, in which I received two cots on the left cheek, one on the head, and another on the left hand, George Hearse, proprietor of the hotel, described the appearance of the house when he came down from Middlesbrough by the eight o’clock train on Sunday morning, his evidence, showing that nearly everything from the front door handle to the top landing was covered with blood. There was a pool of coagulated blood on the first landing a quarter of an inch thick and 2 feet in circumference. Police Sergeant Alexander was next sworn, and gave evidence similar to the previously given by him in the case. When arrested, prisoner said, “Yhey were going to rob me and murder me; and they have been making a hole all night to bury me in.” This witness produced the razor taken from the prisoner, which was covered with stains of blood, and a number of trifling articles found in the prisoner’s bed; also the two shirts and vest worn by Smith, which were covered with blood, and content” corresponding to the wounds on Smith’s body. William Walker deposed: I am a member of the Royal College of Surgeons, and reside at Coatham. I was awoke on Sunday morning by hearing a great noise in the street in front of my house. The bells at my door were all so wrong violently. I got up and found James Smith standing at my front door, with cashews on him. I took him into my kitchen, and examined him. Witness described the wounds on Smith’s neck and body. I stop the bleeding and with Dr. Locke’s assistance. I stitched up the wounds, and have since attended him. When Smith came to my house, I considered his life was in danger; he has progressed favourably, but I do not consider him yet out of danger. I also examined prisoner with reference to his sanity, and asked him if he knew Smith was nearly murdered. He said, “Is he very bad?” And I told him that he was. He said, “Its a very bad job.” I afterwards entered into conversation with him, and I think that at the time of my examination he was perfectly sane. This was the case for the prosecution, and on the charge being read over to him, prisoner said he had nothing to say, and did not wish to call any witnesses. The prisoner was then committed for trial at the next York Assizes, and the witnesses were bound over to appear, and give evidence. Prisoner’s brother came forward at the close and stated that the prisoner had not been right from his childhood, and was not responsible for his actions. The examination lasted until nearly 6 o’clock. Posted 04/04/2015


First night of Jazz Club in the Coatham Hotel was Sunday 13th, November, 1960 Nat Gonella & the Georgians appeared  –  Support band was Mike Taylor Jazzmen from Manchester. Attendance record broken for Jazz Club’s in the North of England, there being approximately 650 attendees.

(Accreditation Brian Smith) Posted 06/02/2016 _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Chris Hansom March 29, 2015 Uncategorized