Two Prison Faces April 16, 2015Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern , trackback
There have recently emerged a selection of Edwardian mugshots from North Shields, an industrial town in the grimiest part of the industrial north: lots of Beach’s ancestors came from this part of the world and had to fight to get out. Leenks has put up the individuals in question with the following comment: ‘When looking at the poor souls in these photos from years ago, it’s somehow easier to see the pain in their eyes. Their faces contain the weighty knowledge that they’ve done something they can’t take back.’ With a bit of digging it is possible to give some biography that makes the pictures so much worse. Take the guy at the top of his page, Charles Cunningham. CC was aged 28 when he did something very stupid: the newspaper runs his misdemeanor under the title ‘Bad Conduct at Tynemouth’. He indecently exposed himself at the back of Percy Gardens in the town, a rather well to do quarter just off the beach. The newspaper was thankfully short on details. Beach had hoped that Charles had simply had too much to drink and had decided to urinate in a JP’s garden, but nothing doing. There was a policeman, P.C. Scott who had secreted himself in a house to watch and a resident backed up his account. Whatever CC got up to he was not just another tipsy stroller caught short: as the bench put it, this was ‘a most disgraceful case’. CC ‘pleaded hard for a fine’. If he went to prison ‘he would be ruined for life’: ‘He would not dare to go back to work or his home’. He got a month…
The second picture was one Jerome Guerrini (aka Joseph Brunetti). Jerome was a Corsican sailor. A nationality that as the judge pointed out, was famous for hot tempers and liberal use of blades. JG lived, when not at sea, at Clive Street on the opposite side of the road to the Davis brothers. An argument started over some noise in the street and Guerrini had, after some provocation and a protestation that he wanted no trouble, charged a friend of the David brothers Patrick Gillighan and had stabbed him. The Bench took Jerome’s ‘hot blood’ into account and the fact that he had been assailed and sentenced him to a mere fifteen years hard labour… Beach would guess that Guerrini, who looks like a man with resources, did better than Charles C, who seems a rather weak character, look at that chin, at the beginning of a long slope down.
Other mugshots with back stories: drbeachcombing At yahoo DOT com