Homosexuality in Nineteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook compiled by Rictor Norton

Newspaper Reports, 1890

Overview: Telegraph boys in Edinburgh; a landlord sleeps with his gamekeeper; a pedlar tries to seduce several lads; a lace-maker is caught but his partner escapes the police; a butler gropes a labourer in a railway carriage; a dress manufacturer sleeps with his handy-man; a spate of officers' suicides in Germany; and more.

10 February 1890

George Smeaton (61) was remitted to-day from the Edinburgh Police Court to the Sheriff on a charge of contravening the Criminal Law Amendment Act in Queen's Park and elsewhere in Edinburgh. The witnesses for the prosecution include two telegraph boys, and great excitement was caused yesterday in one district on the news of accused's arrest and the boys being taken to the Police Office as witnesses. There is a rumour that this is a second "Cleveland Street scandal." This is a mistake, but the allegations as to conduct with boys are sufficiently disgraceful. (Dundee Evening Telegraph)

24 February 1890

At Edinburgh Sheriff Court to-day George Smeaton (61) was sentenced to nine months' imprisonment for a number of acts of gross indecency committed with three telegraph boys in Edinburgh during January and February. It was stated that Smeaton was a ne'er-do-weel; had been sent to New Zealand, and had been a great trouble to hs relatives. The Sheriff said no words could express his detestation of the offence. It was a pity there was not some place where such persons were kept always. (Dundee Evening Telegraph)

8 March 1890

At Oldbury Police-court on Tuesday, before Messrs. H. Heaton, S. Bennett, and G. S. Albright, Joseph Horton Waterfield (48), landlord of the Five Ways Inn, Lake-street, Lower Gornal, licensed victualler, and also a member of the Sedgley Local Board, was charged with improperly assaulting Reuben Davis, gamekeeper, of Ledbury, whilst travelling in a third-class carriage on the London and North Western Railway between Birmingham and Oldbury stations on the previous afternoon. Mr. J. S. Sharpe defended.
          PROSECUTOR stated that he accompanied his brother, T. C. Davis, to Birmingham from Oldbury. He returned by the train leaving New-street Station at 3.5. The defendant got into the same compartment, and sat opposite to him. During the journey, without any previous conversation, witness alleged that defendant caught hold of him in a certain manner, and also made improper remarks to him. This he repeated two or three times during the journey. When they reached Oldbury Station witness told the defendant that he was a police-constable, and took him to the police-station and gave him into custody. Defendant was a stranger to witness and was sober.
          Mr. SHARPE submitted that upon the evidence the Court had no jurisdiction, as everything took place before the parties arrived at Spon-lane.
          DAVIS said the assault was repeated between Spon-lane and Oldbury Stations, and the Bench then decided to proceed with the case.
          Cross-examined by Mr. Sharpe: Witness did not raise an alarm or struggle with the defendant, but caught hold of him and held him because he meant to give him into custody at Oldbury.
          Police-Sergeant CLARKE deposed to the last witness bringing defendant to the lock-up. Prosecutor said to defendant when at the station, "You old villain, I had a good mind to hit you." Defendant, in reply to the charge, said he was very sorry; he knew he had done wrong, and he should like to settle it in some way. He afterwards said he did not know what caused him to do it. One of the accusations prosecutor made against him defendant denied. Defendant was sober, but looked rather wild about the eyes.
          Mr. SHARPE asked the Bench to reduce the charge to one of common assault, and so deal with it. He said it was a most extraordinary case, founded on a most extraordinary statement.
          Defendant was ultimately committed to the Quarter Sessions for trial, bail being allowed. (Worcester Chronicle)

12 April 1890

The Grand Jury threw out the Bill charging Joseph Horton Waterfield with having, on the 3rd of March, at Oldbury, indecently assaulted Reuben Davis, of Sedgley. (Worcester Herald)

16 March 1890

SHOCKING CHARGE AGAINST A MISSION SUPERINTENDENT. – George Snell, 26, strationer, and superintendent of the Christian Lads' Mission, held at 20, Bedford-terrace, Finsbury Park, was charged before Mr. Fenwick with indecently assaulting Ernest John Taylor, aged 14, and inciting him to commit an unnatural crime on ten or more occasions during the latter half of December, 1889. The prisoner is a well-dressed young man, but is disfigured by the loss of his right eye. – Taylor said hd lived with his father in Russell-road, Holloway, and was a member of the Christian Lads' Mission, a society formed to supply rectreative enjoyment for lads after bueiness hours. There were several roms – reading-rooms, recreation rooms, and a gospel room. The prisoner was the superintendent, and he slept in a room at the top of the house. On one occasion, about the middle of Decembe,r he requested witness to make the bed. Witness wnet into the room and made the bed. Then the prisoner came up and put him on the bed. Witness tried to get away, but the prisoner held him and committed the offences complained of. He kept witness in the room till 9.30, occasionally going down to see if the boys were all right, and being away for ten minutes at a time. This took place on fourteen or fifteen nights, witness occupying his time while prisoner was away fromthe room by putting hot plates in the bed to make it warm. – Mr. Fenwick told the prisoner he could ask questions of the witness if he chose. – He did not do so, but said that on four occasions they were "jollowing" one another, and one occasion was a Sunday night. – Mr. Fenwick put the charge plainly to the prisoner, when he replied, "I can't remember." – Mr. Fenwick (to Taylor): Was he sober – Witness: Yes, quite sober. – The prisoner was remanded for a week. (The People)

28 March 1890

Arthur Richard Haynes, hawker, of Burton-street, was charged with unlawfully and indecently assaulting Thomas Patrick on the 15th inst. – Inspector Irving said the prisoner was brought in yesterday, and said he was a native of Bristol. In a bag he had was a pedlar's certificate issued at Birmingham. Prisoner had been identified by three independent witnesses as having been seen in the company of Patrick. He was awaiting replies from the police at Bristol and Birmingham, and asked for a remand to Monday, which was granted. (Gloucester Citizen)

14 July 1890

Arthur Richard Haynes (62), hawker, was charged swith having attempted to procure the commission by Thomas Patrick of an act of gross indecency with him on March 15th, at Cheltenham; also with having, on March 17th, committed acts of gross indecency with Robert Ford and Jonas Loveridge. – Mr. Clement Moore conducted the case for the prosecution, and prisoner being undefended. – Prisoner handed a statement to the Judge, who asked him if he wished to withdraw his plea of not guilty, and to plead guilty. – Prisoner: It is tantamount to that. I will plead guilty; I have no recollection of what took place. – I cannot have that. I must have the jury sworn. – The case, which counsel for the prosecution described as being of a most repulsive and odius [sic] character, was then gone into. Prisoner said that the day on which the offence with Ford was alleged was St. Patrick's Day, and he had been enjoying himself, and "drank not wisely but too well." He asked his lordship to read a statement he had drawn up to the jury. It was to the effect that it was the first time he had ever been in a court of justice. He unfortunately took more stimulants than were good for him. He very deeply regretted if anything he had done had affected the morals of the boys. Charges of that kind were easy to make, but very hard to disprove. – The jury without hesitation found the prisoner guilty, and sentence of 12 months' hard labour was passed. (Gloucester Citizen)

15 April 1890

At a special sitting of magistrates at the Nottingham Summons Court this afternoon, Ald. Barber and Mr. W. A. Blain being on the bench, William Duke, of 19, Union Cottages, Union-road, lace maker, was charged under the Criminal Law Amendment Act with committing an unnatural offence on the 8th inst. – Mr. Williams (Messrs. Whittingham and Williams) appeared to prosecute on behalf of the police, and the prisoner was represented by Mr. H. B. Clayton. – It was alleged by P.c. J. Rose that the offence in question took place in Birge's-passage, Alfreton-road. He took the prisoner and his companion into custody, but they became violent, and he had to let the other man go. Upon charging prisoner at the Radford police station, he replied, "I say it's a lie." – The magistrates, having retired for a short period, returned, and said they had decided to reduce the charge to one of gross indecency. – Mr. Clayton said he proposed to place the prisoner in the box, so that they might hear his version of the affair. – The prisoner in the box gave a distinct denial to the charge. When they were at the police-station the officer who arresed him, in answer to an inspector, said he did not know what to charge witness with. – Ald. Barber said that such cases before they were brought before the public should be supported by very strong evidence. Whilst they did not doubt the evidence of the policeman, the Bench did not think they would be justified in committing the prisoner, who would therefore be discharged. (Nottingham Evening Post)

7 August 1890

Moreland Parker (42), St. George's-place, was charged with indecently assaulting Albert Twinning whilst travelling in a carriage on the Midland Railway between Tewkesbury and Cheltenham on Bank Holiday. – The complainant stated that he went to Tewkesbury Regatta on Monday, and returned about a quarter to twelve with his companion named Tustin. Prisoner travelled in the same compartment, and during the journey committed the offence. – Frank Tustin gave corroborative evidence, and added that he told the prisoner it would cost more than "half-a-quid" to square a job like that, but nothing had been said about squaring it by the prisoner. At Cheltenham a scuffle took place between him and the prisoner while Twinning was gone to look for a policeman. A porter came up and let the man go, but he was eventually "escorted" to the Police-station, and on the way met a policeman. – In answer to the Mayor witness said he had had a "drop" with Twinning, and the prisoner had had a drop too. – Sergeant Reed gave evidence of having met the witnesses and prisoner at Lansdown, when the prisoner denied the accusation against him. Twinning was the worse for drink, and the prisoner had been drinking. Tustin was sober, and had the most to say in the matter. Prisoner was allowed to go on the promise of seeing the Superintendent in the morning, which he did. He was afterwards arrested on a warrant in the Police-office, but he still denied the charge. – Albert E. Hamlett, ticket collector, at Lansdown Station, said he saw a group of persons quarrelling on the polatform, and on going up the prisoner complained of having been assaulted by Tustin. Tustin in turn stated that the prisoner had assaulted Twinning. – Prisoner was committed for trial at the next Assizes, but bail was allowed – the prisoner in £40 and two sureties of £20 each. (Gloucester Citizen)

29 November 1890

Morland Parker, 42, butler, was indicted for indecently assaulting Albert Twinning, in a railway carriage between Ashchurch and Tewkesbury, on the night of the 4th of August last. – Mr. Morton Brown prosecued; the prisoner was not defended. – The prosecutor, a labourer, said he lived at No. 1 Exmouth-street, Cheltenham, and on the day named he went wth a friend named Frank Tustin to the Tewkesbury Regatta. Returning home in the evening, he alleged that the prisoner feloniously assaulted him. The evidence was somewhat conflicting, and as it appeared that the prosecutor was more or les sunder the influence of liquor, and his testimony not altogether to be relied upon, the jury acquitted prisoner. (Gloucestershire Chronicle)

19 September 1890

Alwyne Edward Maude, 36, dress manufacturer, of 31, Welbeck-street, W., and Waxwell Farm, Pinner, was charged on a warrant with havng committed a criminal assault upon John Weatherley. – Mr. Gill defended. – John Weatherley, said he had been in the employ of the accused for about a month as a carpenter and handy man. While there he turned the scullery into a bedroom, and slept in it. Accused lived in the house with his two children, a governess, and two domestic servants. On the 3rd inst., between ten and eleven o'clock in the evening, accused entered hs bedroom and committed the assault. He first of all put his hands on witness, who told him to get away. Accused afterwards said "Good-night," and left the room. The following night accused entered his bedroom again and repeated the assault. The bedroom door was not locked. Witness told accused that he ought to be ashamed of himself. On the 6th witness told the butler, who had come down to the farm, what had happened, and that he intended to give information to the police. Witness left the place of his own accord on the 8th. The next day he saw accused, and told him that he intended to communicate with the police. He said, "Don't do that; I will give you £25 to settle the case." This conversation took place between six and seven o'clock in the evening. Before he said "I will give you £25," he said "You are not going to ruin my character like that?" He told witness to call on the morrow and bring a letter in the form of a receipt, when he would receive the £25. Witness called at the farm at 10 o'clock next day, but as he was not at home waited until three o'clock in the afternoon, when accused arrived from London. He then requested witness to call at six o'clock, when he should have the money and the use of the donkey cart to take his box away. When witness went at six o'clock, he saw accused at the gate. He said "Come in," and added "I can't give you any money." Witness rejoined, "Then I shall press the charge against you." Accused said "Do you mean to say that you are going to ruin my character like that?" and witness made reply, "Yes." Accused then jumped up and said, "I have got a policeman here for you," and went towards a side door. As the servants were all out of the house, and witness did not kinow what accused intended to do, he rushed out by another door down the road to some cottages. Accused and another man followed him, and they asked him to go back to the house, and he complied. When there the other gentleman told witness that he was as bad as Mr. Maude, and that he was demanding money with menaces. Witness reponded that he intended to put the matter in the hands of the police, and went down into Pinner for that purpose. – By Mr. Gill: The other gentleman said, "You are demanding money with menaces," and he called it blackmailing. Witness did not say that it was not his wish to go to the police, but if the money was not forthcoming, he should go that evening. The second person did not ask him why he had not gone to the police before demanding money. Accused did not say that he would have witness locked up next day. Witness demanded his box while in the house and said he intended to have it. He was not annoyed that he had not got the £25, but was disappointed. It was not true that he had said to the constable he intended to get £200 out of Mr. Maude, nor that he intended to get money out of him. The first intimation witness had that accused intended to act improperly was when he laid hands upon him. He did not like to knock accused down on the first occasion, nor on the second, although he knew what his intention was when he entered the bedroom on the second occasion. He did not give information to the police forthwith "because he did not like to." He did not wish to see his name in the paper in connection with such a case. He did not have a lock put upon his bedroom door. It was untrue that accused had refused to allow a boy to sleep in the same bed with witness. On Saturday night there was a dispute between witness and the governess. Witness sat down upon a chair which had previously contained a saucepan, while wearing a light pair of trousers and they were spoilt. He then told accused that he treated him like a dog, and took the governess' part against him. The letter he wrote to accused he tore up the same day because he thought it was no use. Witness did not know that accused applied for a warrant against him at Uxridge the day after the interview at Waxwell. After swearing an information against prisoner at the police station, witness went to his place of business in Welbeck-street and asked to see him. – Inspector Weller asked for a remand, and Inspector Morgan of the Criminal Investigation Department said that there were other cases against accused. – Mr. Gill then applied for bail, and the Magistrates granted the application providing accused entered into his own recognisances in the sum of £1000, and found two sureties of £1000 each, with 48 hours notice to the police. (Hendon & Finchley Times)

4 October 1890

Alwyne Edward Maud, 36, dress manufacturer, of 31, Welbeck-street, W., and Maxwell Farm, Pinner, surrendered to his recognizances to answer the charge of indecently assaulting John Weatherley, on the 3rd, 4th, and 5th September.
          Mr. Avory, instructed by Mr. R. J. Gardner prosecuted on behalf of the Treasury, and Mr. Arthur Newton, in the absence of Mr. Gill, defended.
          The case was adjourned from last Wednesday.
          Mr. Avory said that he appeared on behalf of the Director of Public Prosecutions. He did not propose to go into the details, but merely to make one or two observations on the evidence taken at the last Court. Offences of this kind could not be committed without the consent of the other party, and the fact of his having consented discredited his evidence and enabled the other side to make observations as to his credibility. Without such evidence it must be borne in mind that offences such as this would be unpunished. It was quite consistent that Weatherley should have tried to turn his disgusting conduct to good account, and prisoner's conduct in charging the witness with attempting to extort money with menaces. Upon the main question at issue whether in fact this gross indecency did take place and whether Weatherley did demand money was quite apart from the case. Before mentioning the matter to prisoner, Weatherley had spoken to the butler named Dawson, and to his own father about what had happened. He (Mr. Avory) had a further charge to prefer against prisoner, that of a gross act of indecency towards a man named Nicholls in the month of July last. Nicholls was driving a hay cart along the road when he met prisoner, and after some conversation he got upon the hay cart. He then subsequently made use of an observation which clearly shewed his intention, as there could be only one meaning to it. He then behaved improperly, and finding that Nicholls offered objection, gve him 2s. for the ride and got down, say ing something to the effect that Nicholls was not bad enough. He should ask the Bench to commit prisoner for trial on both charges, and would also prefer the additional charge of gross indecency under section 11 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act.
          Weatherly was recalled, and questioned in detail upon certain points in his evidence.
          Arthur Dawson, of 31, Welbeck-street, butler to the prisoner, said that he was at Pinner on the 6th and 7th of September. He saw Weatherley there, and he made a complaint about prisoner, and on the following day he shewed witness a pocket handkerchief containing his master's initials.
          William Weatherley, father of the first witness, said that he remembered his son coming home on the 7th of September to Ruislip, and making a statement about his master.
          George Flynn, 356 X, stated that on the 9th of September, at 7 in the evening, John Weatherley went to him and made a statement, and afterwards went down to Waxwell, but the prisoner was then out. He understood that prisoner applied for a warrant against Weatherley next day.
          Police-constable Piner, 469 X, also heard Weatherley complain.
          Inspector Weller, X Division, deposed that he applied for a warrant for prisoner's apprehension, and endeavoured to execute it. Prisoner, however, surrendered to the Court on the following Wednesday.
          Police-constable Birkenhead, 228 X, and Dr. Dove gave evidence as to certain details of the case.
          The second charge was then proceeded with.
          Frederick W. Nicholls, of Eastcote, said that he was driving a cart laden with hay to Pinner, when he met a gentleman whom he recognised as prisoner. He first of all stopped the horse and asked witness whether there was an inn in the neighbourhood, as he wished to obtain lodgings. Witness said that there might be further on. He was going in the direction of Rickmansworth. Prisoner then asked if witness was lonely on the road, and said that he would like a ride. Witness told him that he might get up, and he did so. Soon after getting on top of the load he gave witness 2s. for the ride. He then behaved improperly and afterwards got down, say ing that he would have to get back to London and find some one wickeder than witness. When he got down prisoner pulled £8 or £9 out of his pocket, and witness told him that he would have to be careful.
          Henry Green, contractor, of Pinner, said that he saw the prisoner talking to Nicholls on the 22nd of July.
          Mr. Newton submitted that there was no evidence upon which a jury would convict in the last case. In regard to the first case the prisoner had showed every anxiety to meet the charge. He had been threatened with a charge and had done everything to meet it. He had applied to the Justices for a warrant against the witness and had surrendered himself to the Court when requsted. He added that it made one's blood boil to see a scoundrel in the witness box like Weatherley and that the law allowed him to give evidence against the prisoner in the dock. There was plenty of people in the house when the alleged assault was committed, and he might have raised an alarm if he had not been a consenting party. He asked the Magistrate not to believe the evidence of the prosecution, which was the evidence of an accomplice, and required to be strongly corroborated.
          Mr. May said he had decided that it was a case for a jury, and prisoner would be committed for trial.
          The same bail was allowed, namely, two sureties in £1,000 each and prisoner in £2,000. (Watford Observer)

26 October 1890

The Central Criminal Court was occupied the greater part of a day in investigating a prosecution instituted by the Treasury under the Criminal Law Amendment Act against Alwyne Edward Maude, 36, described as a dress manufacturer, of 31, Welbeck-street, London, and of Waxwell Farm, Pinner, Middlesex. The defendant, who surrendered to his bail and took his place in the dock, was represented by Mr. C. F. Gill, barrister, instructed by Mr. Arthur Newton, solicitor; the prosecution being conducted by Mr. C. Mathews and Mr. Horace Avory. – The case was of considerable importance, inasmuch as it involved a counter-allegation against the principal prosecutor, John Weatherley, aged 24, of attempting to extort money by means of meances. – Weatherley was in the employ of the defendant at Waxwell Farm, and lived on the premises. It was alleged that the defendant went to the prosecutor's room several consecutive nights in September and behaved in a disgraceful manner. Weatherley admitted that he made no violent protest, and that, after threatening this master with prosecution, he agreed that he would settle the matter on receiving a sum of £25. When he went to receive the money with a written receipt for the £25, he found that his master had a witness in attendance, and then, being frightened, he ran away and gave information to the police. Almost simultaneously Mr. Maude applied to the local magistrates for a warrant against Weatherley for attempting to extort money by threats. There was a second charge against the defendant of attempting to indecently assault, in June last, a carter named F. W. Nichols. There was no direct corroborative evidence in either case, and in that of Nichols the prosecutor admitted that until he heard of Weatherley's case, in September, it had not occurred to him that the defedant had contemplated anything seriously improper. – Mr. Gill having intimated for the defence that he intended to call no witnesses, Mr. Mathews summed up the case for the prosecution, and was proceeding to comment on the failure of the defendant to proffer himself as a witness for examination and cross-exmaination on oath, as he could do under the Criminal Law Amendment Act, when Mr. Gill took objection to any such observations being addressed to the jury. It was distinctly stated in Parliament at the time the Act in question was passed that the neglect of a prisoner to take advantage of the privilege of appearing in the witness-box should not be held to be against him. – The Recorder expressed his entire concurrence with Mr Gill's contention. He believed that innocent persons had been convicted by going into the witness-box in their own defence, and under the influence of impulse or excitement making admissions or denials which led the jury to a wrong conclusion. In cases of this kind it was most important that a man should not have his whole future blasted upon absolutely uncorroborative evidence. – The jury, after consulting for some minutes in their box, expressed a wish to retire for consultation. – After an absence of about twenty minutes they returned into court, and, being asked if they found the prisoner guilty or not guilty, the foreman replied: "We find that the evidence is not sufficiently corroborated to convict him." – A verdict of not guilty was accordingly recorded, and the defendant, who fainted on being removed from the dock, subsequently left with his friends. (The People)

27 September 1890

SUICIDES IN GERMANY. – A mania prevails in Germany for suicide just now. Following the suicide of Count Schleinitz on Friday se'nnight, the death by his own hand was recorded on Saturday of Count Phillip Max Von Schaumburg, a wealthy young nobleman, who shot himself at midnight with a revolver. The same day Baroin L'Oeper, a well-known sportsman, also committed suicide by shooting himself. Major Von Normann, comandant of a miitary academy at Berlin, committed suicide on Monday night, first taking poison and then openingn some of the main arteries. (Gloucestershire Chronicle)

24 September 1890

          Major von Norman, commandant of a military academy here, committed suicide last night, first taking poison and then opening some of the main arteries. The news when made public this morning caused a profound sensation, constituting as it did one of a series of tragical suicides by men well known, and occupying high positions. At first it was supposed that Major von Normann took hs life owing to pecuniary embarrassments, but it now transpires that the reason was much more disgraceful than that. It seems that early last evening the major was accused by a soldier under his command of an unnatural crime, and his quarters in the barracks were specially watched all through the night. This morning, as he did not appear as usual, it dawned upon the watchers that something might be wrong, and the rooms were entered. The major was found quite dead from the combined result of poison and loss of blood, of which he had lost a great quantity. (Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser)

26 September 1890

A kind of suicide epidemic has broken out among the ranks of the Prussian noblesse. The other day a Baron von Schleinitz, who had been leading a fast life for several years, blew out his brains, and his example was immediately followed by a Count Schaumburg, son of a Prince of Hanau and descendant of the last Elector of Hesse. According to a telegram from Potsdam, a great sensation has been caused in military circles there by the suicide of Major von Norman, of the 1st Foot Guards, and commander of the school for non-commissioned oficers, who made assurance of his end doubly sure by taking poison and opening one of his veins. (Home News for India, China and the Colonies)

3 October 1890

In consequence of recent suicides of officers in Germany, the Emperor has issued an order that all officers taking money as gentlemen riders, or engaged in "turf" operations, shall be struct off the army list. (Sussex Agricultural Express)

17 October 1890

Yesterday, at the Birmingham Police Court – before Messrs. Colmore (stipendiary) and Parsons – James William Crumbie (33, licensed victualler, Globe Restaurant, Bull Street, was charged with unlawfully and indecently assaulting Arthur Bedford (16), 215, St. Vincent Street, on the 8th of September; Noah Ride (19), 73, Moland Street, grocer's assistant, on the 1st of September; and Dennis James Linnell (19), of Small Heath. Mr. Bickley prosecuted, on behalf of the Birmingham and Midland Conuties Vigilance Association; and Mr. Tanner defended the prisoner. The court was crowded with men. – Mr. Bickley, in opening the case, stated that the proceedings were taken under the 11th section of the Criminal Law Amendment Act and the 62nd section of 24 and 25 Victoria. If the more serious offences – the actual commission of the deeds he was charged with – were proved, prisoner would be liable to penal servitude for life, or for a period not less than ten years. If only the attempt was proved, prisoner would be guilty of a misdemeanour. – The Stipendiary: It does not seem to me that the actual offence was committed. – Mr. Bickley: I won't attempt to go into the details – they are horribly filthy. – The Stependiary said he thought section 11 met the case. – Mr. Bickley assented, and added that he should call three youths who had been in prisoner's employment, and had been the subjects of the most beastly conduct on the part of the prisoner. – Noah Ride was first called. He said that he entered the prisoner's service in July, and slept alone in an upper bedroom until the 1st of September. On that day prisoner said there was no room to spare in the house, and that witness would have to sleep with him. Witness objected, but found that the clothes were taken off his own bed, so he slept with the prisoner as requested. When in bed the latter made indecent overtures to him, which witness repelled. Afterwards he committed the assault complained of. Witness told him he would "make it hot for him if he didn't stop it," and after that prisoner offered no further interference. Witness gave notice the next day, and left at the end of the week. – Arthur Bedford, a lad of sixteen years of age, stated that he entered the service of the prisoner on the 6th of September. He slept alone during the first night in a room on the top floor. The next day prisoner said the bedrooms were all occupied, and that witness would have to sleep with him. they slept that night in a room on the first floor, and prisoner committed one of the offences with which he was charged. (While witness was relating what took place – the details being of a sickening description – sometone in court laughed. The Stependiary said he could not conceive how anybody could laugh at such a disgusting case. People would could not behave themselves would have to leave the court.) Witness, continuing, said that about midnight on the 9th he and the prisoner were in the bar. The latter turned down the gas, remarked that if the bar was lighted the policeman would come for a drink – (laughter) – and then indecently assaulted witness. The next day witness told the Rev Canon O'Hanlan what had occurred, and on his advice went home and explained everything to his father. Witness and his father called at the Globe Restaurant, and the latter told prisoner that he could not allow his son to remain there after what had taken place. Prisoner replied, "I am sorry he and the cook cannot agree," and suggested that witness should stay. The father, however, insisted upon witness leaving. There had been no serious quarrel with the cook. Witness was cross-examined at some length as to whether he had not been "spoken to" by the cook and by prisoner in reference to some cigars which were missed, and he denied any conversation of the sort. He was charged by prisoner with taken a bottle of mineral-water, and afer denying the charge, he admitted that he had had it. The prisoner did not give witness a lecture on honesty, but simply said he ought to have asked him before taking the bottle. – John Bedford gave similar evidence in reference to his interview with the prisoner. – The Stipendiary: Did he make any complaint as to the boy's character? – Witness: Absolutely none. – Did he accuse him of felony? No. – Dennis James Linnell (19), of Small Heath, employed as a barman by the prisoner, also gave evidence as to an indecent assault committed upon him by Crumbie. – Corroborative evidence was given by the cook who was in the eployment of the prisoner at the time of the alleged offences. – Detective-superintendent Black proved arresting the prisoner, who denied the charges. – Mr. Tanner said the prisoner would reserve his defence, and he was accordingly committed to the assizes. –Mr. Tanner asked that bail should be allowed, and Mr. Bickley objected. The Stipendiary granted bail – the prisoner in £200, and two sureties of £100. (Birmingham Daily Post)

25 October 1890

At the Birmingham Police Court this morning, before Mr. J. D. Goodman and Sir Thomas Martineau, James Mulloy (63), of no fixed address, was brought up on remand charged with attempting to obtain £5. from Jennie Crumbie by false pretences. Prosecutrix's brother, who kept the Globe Restaurant in Bull Street, was committed to the Warwick Assizes on the 16th inst., on a charge of indecently assaulting three youths who were in his employ. On the following day prisoner, with another man, presented himself at the bar and asked to see "the boss." He was told that he could not speak to him. Prisoner explained that he wanted to do him a kindness, and get him out of his trouble. He could prove that one of the youths was a liar, and with the information he had at his command he could free prosecutrix's brother. He was then told that he had better write a note. The second man commenced to write, while the prisoner looked over his shoulder. When the men had gone the letter was opened, and read as follows:– "I know for certain that one of these boys has been in the habit of committing this offence before, and has received money from me for the same offence. Meet me at 4 o'clock." At the appoinkted time Mulloy and two other men went back to the Globe, and again urged upon Miss Cruimbie that he was exerting himself in the best interests of the family. "For £5.," he repeated, "I can free your brother." Prosecutrix replied that if he would do so for 5s. she would not give it him. He asked, "Not for £5. wouldn't you get your brother out?" and when she again refused, he said, then "you and your brother will go to the dogs." Prisoner was questioned by some of the customers, but he was too crafty to be thus caught. He left the place, but was soon arrested. The three youths who gave evidence against Crumbie, were called, and declared that they had never seen prisoner in all their lives, much less received money from him. Prisoner made no attempt to deny the truth of this. He said he did not intend doing any harm, as was evidenced by the fact that he gave his name and address. The address, however, turned out to be a false one. – Prisoner, who reserved his defence, was committed to the Sessions. (Birmingham Mail)

21 December 1890

At the Warwickshire Assizes, before Lord Chief Justice Coleridge, James William Crumbie, formerly landlord of the Globe Hotel, Bull-street, Birmikngham, was indicted for indecently assaulting Noah Ride on September 2nd; also for similar assaults upon Arthur Bedford and Dennis James Linnell, on the 8th, 10th, and 29th. – Noah Ride, 19, deposed that in July last he was engaged by prisoner as a porter. He slept in No. 6 room, at the top of the house. On a Monday a woman named Emma Clayton was engaged, and prisoner said he would have tocome and sleep with witness, as all the other beds were engaged. Witness objected, and prisoner said he should be obliged tosleep with him. He went to bed about twelve o'clock, and found that the bed-clothes had been removed. He went into another roo, followed by the prisoner. Witness then detailed certain acts of prisoner. Witness told him to desist or he would hake it hot for him. He spoke to Emma Clayton about it, and left prisoner's employ a week after. – Arthur Bedford, 16, now a soldier, desposed that he was engaged by Crumbie on September 6th, and on that day Ride made a statement to him. That was on a Saturday, and on Sunday night there were peole drinking late, so that it was Monday morning when they went to bed. Prisoner then said the house was full, and witness would have to sleep with him. After they had been in bed sometime prisoner assaulted him. The following morning Emma Clayton asked him a question, and he made a statement to her. He never slept with prisoner again. On another occasion when they had been cleaning windows prisoner asked him to have a drink, and putting out the lights assaulted him. On the next day witness made a statement to Canon O'Hanlan, and in consequence of what that gentlemen said to him he went at once to his father. The same night his fathe went with him to the prisoner's place of bueiness in Bull-street, and wpoke to the cook. They then saw prisoner, and witness's father said that in consequence of what witness had told him he could not allow him to remain any longer Prisoner then said, "Oh, how is that? I am sorry he and cook cannot agree." Witness had not quarrelled with the cook. – Cross-examined, witness denied that he tried to defraud prisoner of money for drinks he served. – Dennis James Linnell, 19, deposed that on Thursday September 25th, he entered prisoner's service and slept with him always except one night. On the Sunday night prisoner behaved indecently. He slept with prisoner again the following night, adn was again assaulted. Prior to giving evidence in the police courts he did not know Ride and Bedford. – Emma Clayton, cook to the prisoner, stated that the first night she slept in the house Ride slept with prisoner, and she was awakened by hearing him call out "Oh." On September 8th Bedford made a communication to her soon after he got up. She then corroborated Bedford in many particulars,and said there was no ill-feeling between her and Bedford. Linnell slept with prisoner regularly. – His lordshiup, in suming up, said as there was no evidence of active resistance by the boys, which was necessary to the graver offence, it would perhaps be safer to convict, if at all, on the lighter count. – Crumbie was found guilty of gross indecency. – The judge spoke in strong terms of the offence, and sentenced the prisoner to two years' imprisonment. (The People)

20 December 1890

At the Warwick Assizes, on Tuesday, James William Crumbie, restaurant keeper, Birmingham (a Worcester man), was indicted for indecently assaulting three boys employed by him, in September.
          Mr. Hugo Young defended.
          Mr. STUBBINS, the prosecuting counsel, in opening, said it was his desire as far as possible to spare the Court the recital of the revolting details, but
          Lord COLERIDGE, interrupting, said these things were on the depositions, and he was afraid, in the interests of justice, he must require their proof.
          NOAH RIDE (19), stated that whilst employed by him as a porter the accused attempted to criminally assault him. He told accused he would "make it hot" for him if he did not desist.
          ARTHUR BEDFORD, aged 16, spoke of an act of indecency perpetrated upon him by Crumbie. Bedford told Canon O'Hanlon, and on the rev. gentleman's advice the matter was reported to the police.
          In reply to Mr. Young as to why he did not resist, Bedford said he thought the man was mad. (Laughter in the gallery.) The JUDGE (looking sternly at the occupants of the gallery): "I will have every man turned out of Court if this is repeated. This case is disgusting enough, but, my God! that you should laugh makes one ashamed of one's kind."
          DENNIS LINNEL, aged 19, stated that the accused assaulted him twice.
          In cross-examination, the witness Linnel admitted that whilst acting as sub-cashier for Messrs. Fairbank and Co. certain accusations were made against him. There were mistakes in his accounts, and he repaid the money.
          JAMES BLACK, chief superintendent of the detective department of the Birmingham police, who arrested the prisoner, said that on telling Crumbie the charge he replied it was a fabrication.
          The ACCUSED was put in the box and denied the charges made against him. He said Ride had given notice to leave before he (the accused) slept with him. He charged Bedford with dishonesty and Linnell with having more money in his pocket that he had received as wages. He stated that he could not swear Ride did not object to sleeping with him; but on being further questioned, swore that Ride did not.
          In cross-examination prisoner said he could not suggest any motive for these young men making false charges against him.
          Mr. HUGO YOUNG delivered a powerful defence, and Mr. STUBBINS having replied, his lordship carefully summed up the case.
          His LORDSHIP, in summing up, pointed out that the accused was indicted for separate offences – of indecent assault and grossly indecent assault. As there ws no evidence of active resistance by the boys, which was necessary to the grave offence, it would perhaps be safer to convict, if at all, on the lighter count. The Judge added that the offence would be inconceivable but for the fact that it was well known to all students of history, being charged especially against the worst of Roman Emperors, Nero.
          The jury, after consulting for 10 minutes, found the prisoner guilty of gross indecency.
          His LORDSHIP said the prisoner had been most properly found guilty by a most careful and discriminating jury of a charge which, to his mind, was most clearly and conclusively proved. If ever there was a case in which the limit fixed by Parliament for this offence should be given this was the case. The prisoner had done his best to corrupt three men of good repute both body and soul. Anything more hateful than prisoner had done he could not conceive, and he would be sentenced to two years' imprisonment with hard labour. (Worcestershire Chronicle)

26 November 1890

Walter Richard Drake, chemist, of Leeds, was placed in the dock charged under the Criminal Law Amendment Act with an indecent assault upon a male person. The Chief Constable, opening the case, said it was the vilest – he made no exception – he had ever had to deal with, and he was very much pained at having to prosecute on such a charge. For some time the police had had complaints of youths being molested by men near the Town Hall, and watch had been kept, until of late they had not been so frequient. Last night, however, by accident as it were, prisoner was brought under notice and watched, and as a result of what the officer saw transpire he was arrested. – The prisoner was committed to take his trial at the next Leeds Assizes. (Bradford Daily Telegraph)

15 December 1890

Walter Richard Drake (36), chemist's assistant, was indicted for committing an act of gross indecency at Bradford, on November 24th. Mr. Walter Beverley prosecuted, and Mr. Percy Middleton defended. The jury found a verdict of guilty, wiht a strong recommendation to mercy, on account of the prisoner's previous good character. – The Judge sentenced him to eight months' imprisonment, with hard labour. (Leeds Mercuiry)

SOURCE: Various newspapers, dates as given.

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "Newspaper Reports, 1890", Homosexuality in Nineteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 8 September 2020, updated 3 March 2023 <http://rictornorton.co.uk/eighteen/1890news.htm>.

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