Someone in the Tower Hamlets Local History Library, at some time, cut up 18th and 19th century journals - the Gentleman's Magazine and the Illustrated London News conspicuous among them - and stuck any references to the Tower Hamlets area onto cards. These are now in the cuttings collection, mostly under the parish subject numbers. I am working my way through these short items and will be gradually building them into a series of Miscellanies.

Annoyingly, whoever did it rarely made a note of where the cutting came from; usually there's just the year. So, in most cases, that is all the information you will find here.

Several of the Inhabitants in and near Whitechapel, have made a Contribution for an extraordinary Watch, who are oblig'd to go round their Beat three or four times every Hour; they believing (with a good deal of Reason) that a Watchman sitting at a Door, from one Hour to another is of little Service to the rest of the Houses under his Care; since 'tis possible a House may be robb'd in the Space of an Hour, or so much done towards it, that it may be compleated the next, when the Watchman returns (perhaps to sleep) at his Stand.
On Tuesday last John Thoyts and Richard Lucas were committed to Newgate by Justice Farmer, on the Information of Thomas Clay their Accomplice, for breaking open the House of Mrs. Darking, of Upper Church-lane, White-Chappel, and stealing from thence a Quantity of Pewter, and other Goods; but as they were conveying handcuff'd together to Newgate, Lucas found means to discharge himself therefrom, and attempted to escape, but was soon retaken; in the mean time Thoyts got clear off, with the Handcuffs upon him; Clay their Accomplice is committed to New-Prison.
Last Thursday Night some Rogues attempted to rob Mr. Harris, a Scowerer, in Lemon-Street, Goodman's-Fields, by throwing Cords, with Weights at the End of them, over his drying Poles, thinking thereby to have pull'd the Cloaths down; but one of the Poles falling upon the Penthouse alarm'd the Family, and Mr. Harris going to the Window, the Thieves made off without staying to take so much as their Cord with them, which the Scowerer desir'd they wou'd come back for, telling them that in a little Time they wou'd have need of such a Thing; they reply'd, that they were going to Blackwall about Business, and he should hear from them when they came back, tho' we don't find they have yet been so good as their Words.
February 17th
The ten following Malefactors were pursuant to their Sentence executed at Tyburn: viz. Thomas Hill for counterfeiting the Card stamp, Joseph Leath for the Highway, Peter Rogers for Forgery in a Bill of Exchange, John Burton, alias Appleby, Henry Burrows, alias Cobler, William Clarke, with 3 Jews, Samuel Moses, Aaron Seleit and Joseph M'coy all for Burglaries, and Jacob Cordosa (also a Jew) for breaking out of Newgate. - The four Jews were interr'd in their burial Ground at Mile-end, with their Cloaths on, and the Halters about their Necks.
(Gentleman's Magazine)
December 6th-9th
Last Saturday fourteen Prisoners were tried at the Old Baily, three of whom were capitally convicted, viz Richard Clay (who was cast on Friday last for Transportation, was an Accomplice with James Stanbury some Time since executed, and Samuel Mecum, now under Sentence of Death) and John Matthews, for breaking open the Dwelling-House of Mr. Francis Milson at the Green Man in Whitechapel, and stealing several Things; and Peter de la Fountaine, for uttering and publishing a false, forged, and Counterfeit Note, knowing it to be so. Mr. de la Fountain was tried in Sir Robert Willimot's Mayoralty for Bigamy, and burnt in the hand.
(General Evening Post)
Yesterday morning a Sugar Refiner's house was broke open near the Bell-founder's in Whitechapel, and stripped of most of the furniture, plate, money, &c. with which the rogues got clear off. They effected it by boring holes in the window shutters, and then taking out a piece, unbolted the window. There was not a watchman near the place.
Saturday morning, about one o'clock, the parlour of a wine-merchant's house near the back of the London Hospital, was broke into and stripp'd of all its furniture. The robbers struck a light, and drank out a bottle of wine which was in the beauset, and carried off with them three bottles of brandy. A house in the same neighbourhood was on Monday last broke open, and robbed of effects to the value of 30l. Robberies have been very frequent of late in that neighbourhood.
On Sunday afternoon two sharpers went to Capt. Payne's house in Cheyne-buildings, Stepney, and knocked at the door, which was opened by the Maid, by whom they were informed nobody was at home but herself; they then asked leave to go into the kitchen and write a message, which was complied with. As soon as the street-door was shut, they bound the maid, and after rifling the house, went out of a back door in the garden, and got clear off.
Early yesterday morning the compting-house belonging to the Eagle Brewhouse, Whitechapel, was broke open, and cash, notes, with other things, were carried off to a considerable amount.
About three o'clock yesterday morning four desperate villains attempted to break open the house of Mr. Wallish, Bacon-butcher, near Mile-end, when Mr. Wallish's son, a young man about nineteen years of age, discharged a blunderbuss, and killed one of them on the spot, the other three made their escape.
Yesterday morning between twelve and one o'clock, two fellows got over a garden wall, belonging to Mr. Dyke, at Mile-End, but being overheard by some of the family who discharged a fowling-piece, the villains retired; one of them was wounded, as appeared by the traces of blood seen in several places.
On Tuesday evening, about eleven o'clock, some villains attempted to climb the garden wall at Mr. Blake's, Mile End, New Town; but being perceived by a neighbour, who fired a pistol, the villains, (three in number) fled, leaving a saw and other implements of iniquity behind them.
On Monday last, while a family in Whitechapel were out a holiday making, some thieves broke into their house, and stripped it of the most valuable part of its furniture.
On Saturday night, or early on Sunday morning, the parish church of St. Matthew, Bethnal Green, was broke into and robbed of the brass pillars and curtain rods belonging to the Church-wardens pews, and several of the brass sconces.
Last night the house of Mr. Gee, in Lemon-street, Goodman's Fields, was broke open and robbed of plate, wearing-apparel, and other articles to the amount of near two hundred pounds.
2nd October
Publick Office, Whitechapel, Oct. 1, 1793
WHEREAS Thomas Duperdy and George Turner were lately convicted at this Office for having in their Possession 19lb. of raw Coffee; Mary Fleming, two Gallons and one Quart of Rum; James Dent, one Bladder of Rum, and 3lb. of Coffee; Ann Lewis, 13lb. 3 Qrs. of Sugar; a Person who made his Escape, 63lb. of Ginger, and 74lb. of Coffee, being part of the Cargo or Stores of some Ships or Vessels lying in the River Thames which have lately been stolen or unlawfully procured from or out of the same. The Owners on applying for and proving their Property at this Office, and paying the Expence of advertising, will receive the same if such Application is made within 30 Days from the Date hereof; if not the Goods will be then sold.
(Daily Advertiser)
May [18?]
This day the Sessions commenced here before Judges GROSE and GRAHAM. Joel Ware, Thomas Holmit, alias Lacey, alias Anderson, and John Fuller, were indicted for burglariously breaking and entering the house of Richard Jones, and stealing therein about seventy pounds in money, two mourning rings, two time-pieces, and other articles his property, on the night of the 23rd April; and David Ware (the father of the first-named Prisoner,) was at the same time indicted for receiving one of the time-pieces, knowing the same to have been stolen. The Prosecutor keeps the public house called the Black Dog, in Mile-end, leading to Bethnal Green. On the night laid in the indictment, the house was secured to the usual manner, previous to the the family retiring to rest, and in the morning the window-shutters appeared to have been forced open, and the bar rifled of the various articles laid in the indictment, and which were carried off. - Upon the alarm being given, the track of a wheel-barrow was traced to the house of Joel Ware, at some distance in the neighbourhood, who, with the other two, together with an accomplice of the name of Randall, was detected in the act of dividing the spoil, and secured. It appeared from the evidence of Randall, that the three prisoners set off from Joel Ware's house about one o'clock in the morning of the 23d April, for the purpose of committing the robbery in Jones's house, from whence they returned about half past 4, with a wheel-barrow, loaded with halfpence and other articles. He had been sent by them in the morning with one of the time-pieces, wrapt up in a cloth, to the house of David Ware, where he left it, without giving any account of it, and where it was found by the officers. The prisoners made no defence, only David Ware called witnesses to his character, particularly Atkinson, one of the officers employed in securing the prisoners, who lived in his neighbourhood for many years, and who gave him a good character for honesty and industry. The Jury, after summing up of the evidence by the Learned Judge (GROSE) found the three prisoners Joel Ware, Holmit, and Fuller, guilty, and David Ware, not guilty.
The house of Mrs. Sutherland, of Stepney-green, in the absence of the family from town, was entered at the street door by means of a skeleton key, on Saturday night, and robbed of several articles of family plate, a gold watch, with gold chain and two gold seals, gold rings, several valuable trinkets, and a great quantity of wearing apparel, sheets, table linen, &c. The thieves got off undiscovered.
CORONER'S INQUEST. - On Monday night, at eight o'clock, an inquest was held at the New Globe, Grove-end, Mile-end Old Town, before J. Unwin, Esq. on the body of Charles Grant, Esq. aged 45. The deceased, who resided at Grove-end, Mile-end Old Town, was a man of the most amiable disposition, and was generally respected. Since his return home from the Continent his gardens had been nightly visited by a most notorious gang of villains, who plundered him to a great extent. He at length resolved to have spring guns set in his garden, and gave directions to his servant for so doing, which were attended to. On Saturday se'nnight the gun was set in the garden; the same night, at a late hour, the deceased was in his apartment, and imagined he heard a noise; he got his pistols and repaired to the garden, not being aware that the spring gun had been set; he was in the act of walking against the wall slowly, in order to come suddenly on the villains if there, it being quite dark, when he trod on the wire and the gun went off. Mr. Grant instantly fell down, not knowing that he was shot, and called "help, help;" he remained there until the footman and other servants came to his assistance, and supported him into the parlour, where he laid himself on the sofa, and it was discovered he had received a wound in his thigh. Mr. Harkness, surgeon, of Ratcliffe, was immediately sent for, who arrived in a short time after, attended by his son, who was the only witness examined on this melancholy occasion, and gave evidence to the following effect: - On Saturday se'nnight witness was sent for to attend the deceased, and found the wound of such a nature that he thought it expedient to send for Sir Wm. Blizzard, of Devonshire-square. Mr. Grant in the mean time went up stairs with very little assistance, merely laying hold of witness's arm; he laid him on the bed; he was perfectly cool and collected, and requested witness to assist him on with his night gown, which he did. Sir William arrived in about three quarters of a an hour afterwards; they extracted one of the balls from the deceased's thigh, and shortly after found another in an opposite direction. Sir William gave his opinion that the wound was of a dangerous nature, but he was not without hope. There were several marks on the skin, probably from other balls touching it. The wounds were dressed, and he was put to bed; he continued doing very well till Monday morning, about one o'clock, when a mortification ensued, of which he died in great pain. Witness was of opinion that the wound, operating on a weak constitution, caused death. - Verdict - Accidental Death.
The untimely death of Charles Grant, Esq. by a spring-gun, which had been placed in his garden, in Grove-road, Mile-end, by his own directions, occasioned an inquest to be taken before John Wright Unwin, Esq. on Tuesday, at Mile-end, when the following evidence was adduced:-
It appeared that on Sunday, the 30th ult. between eleven and twelve o'clock at night, the deceased was alarmed by the violent barking of a Newfoundland dog, which induced him to go into the garden, suspecting that some persons were in the act of robbery, as various depredations had before been committed there. In order to walk with the greatest silence, he quitted the gravel walk and proceeded close to the garden-wall, where most unhappily, through forgetfulness, he trod on the wire of a spring-gun, which instantly went off, and lodged several bullets in his thigh; feeling himself wounded, though then unconscious of pain, he called "Help, help!" his man-servant immediately came to his assistance, and with his support reached the parlour. Mr. Grant laid himself upon a sofa, and directed that Mr. Harkness, his surgeon, should be sent for.
John Harkness, Esq. sworn.- "On receiving the melancholy intelligence, I attended with all possible expedition. On viewing the wound, I thought it would be expedient to send for Sir William Blizard. Before Sir William came, I inspected the wound, which was on the exterior part of the right thigh, immediately under the hip; two of the bullets were perceptible on the inside of the thigh, immediately under the surface. Within an hour Sir William Blizard arrived. On examining the wound, we immediately proceeded to extract the two balls which lay under the surface of the interior part of the thigh. On passing a director down, we discovered another wound still deeper, from which also another bullet was extracted. On further examination, we found a fourth bullet yet deeper, which was also extracted." - The medical gentlemen then left the deceased tranquil, and free from fever. The appearances seemed to have been favourable at first, but on Sunday it was discovered that mortification had taken place, and between 12 and 1 o'clock on Monday morning the deceased breathed his last.
The Coroner observed, that the mode of defending property by spring guns, had been considered by persons eminent in the law, as highly exceptionable and illegal. In the present instance, however, any observations of this nature were rendered the less necessary, as the deceased had fallen the victim of his own unhappy precaution, and had been the only sufferer on this occasion. It was quite impossible to view the transaction in any other light than that of an accident. The Jury immediately found a verdict of - Accidental death.
The deceased was an eminent broker, and one of the first linguists of the day.
DARING ROBBERY and BURGLARY at the TOWN-HALL and WORKHOUSE of the HAMLET of MILE-END OLD-TOWN. - A robbery and burglary in its extent and hardihood unparalleled of late years, when the number of individuals on the premises (no less than 500) at the time of its perpetration is considered, was on Friday morning committed at the Town-hall and Workhouse of the hamlet of Mile-end Old-town, in the Mile-end-road. Between five and six o'clock on the above morning, some burglars penetrated one of the outer shutters of the hall-door window, by means of centre-bits and removed a portion of the timber work. Through the aperture thus created they introduced their hands, and taking off the bell to prevent alarm, and unfastening the iron bar by which the window was secured, they lifted up the sash, and thus obtained an easy entrance. Having accomplished this, they at once hastened to the committee-room, where the cash for relieving the external poor was usually kept, with the expectation of securing it; but in this they were disappointed, it having been removed on the previous night to Miss Mudge's, the mistress's room, for greater safety; and, though they broke open a press, they were still unsuccessful in the object of their pursuit. From the committee-room they proceeded to Miss Mudge's bedchamber; in going to which they had to pass six several doors leading to the rooms where the servants of the institution slept; but, to guard against any interruption from them, they took the precaution of fastening them in, for which, the bolts being on the outside of the doors, every facility was afforded. While engaged in this part of their operations, they were frequently threatened by the inmates; but of this they were regardless, and vowed to take immediate vengeance on any one who attempted to come out. After this they, by main force, burst in the bedroom-door of the mistress, and the violence they made use of may be judged of by the fact that the iron hasp was literally wrenched from the door-post. On entering the apartment they hastened to Miss Mudge's bed-side, and putting a dark lantern close to her face, asked her where was the gold? She answered that there was none in the house. They then, with dreadful imprecations, one of them swearing that he would blow her brains out if she even murmured, demanded her keys; these were given to them by a young girl who lay in the same apartment, by Miss Mudge's desire, and, after remaining for some time, they perceived a tea-board on which was piled 125l. in silver, which was provided for the payment of the poor, and this they poured into a sack; and having secured a draught on Barclay's bank for 7l. 18s. 9d. and a policy of insurance in the Sun Fire-office, they departed with their spoil, leaving the lantern behind them, and lighting themselves down with a rushlight. 40l. reward is offered for their discovery.
DARING GANG OF BURGLARS. - Since the commencement of last winter, the inhabitants of the eastern part of the metropolis, more particularly those residents in the Commercial, Mile End, Bow, and the East India-roads, have been kept in alarm by the nightly depredations of a gang of expert burglars. The gang consisted of eleven men and two females. Three of the former and one of the latter are in custody. They were first traced by Lea, an active officer of Lambeth-street, to Labenon-lane, and afterwards to Bow Common, where they had the depository of their plunder. On examining the latter place there were found a blunderbuss, three fowling pieces, and two horse pistols, and other property, more than sufficient to load two large carts. It consisted of almost every description of articles, some of them rather cumbrous, such as chairs, tables, Brussels carpets, bedding, &c. In the box of Wilson, one of the principals of the gang, were found a great collection of the tracts and dying speeches of all those who have been executed for some years past for robbery, and in the kitchen, a white terrier dog. Dr. Barclay's house at Bromley, had been robbed four times; and on the third occasion, a white terrier was left behind by the thieves. This, he was recommended by the police to obtain possession of, and with that view kept him tied up in a stable. On the burglars paying their fourth visit, they unloosed him, and took him off, with some other booty. The prisoners at present in custody are John Harwood, Thomas Holmes, Joseph Wren, and Mary Ann Dennis, and the property found in their depository has been identified by no less than twelve persons, as a portion of that stolen from their dwellings. The prisoners having each undergone a short examination before the magistrates at the above office, were remanded.
Twelve thousand sovereigns in three tin cases were stolen from the residence of Mr. Thomas Rogers, an extensive bill-broker, in Stepney, on Sunday forenoon. On examining the doors and windows, no traces of a forcible entry having been effected could be discovered, and it is therefore conjectured that the thieves, whom, it is evident, must have known where the property was deposited, must have secreted themselves the night before in the house, and escaped with the property, by letting themselves out by the street door after dark. Not the slightest hopes are entertained that any portion of the large amount will be recovered.
It will be seen by the Gazette of Friday night, that the name of Mr. Thomas Rogers, of Gloucester terrace, New-road, Mile-end, Old-town, London, from whose residence it has been alleged three boxes containing 12,000 sovereigns had been stolen on the night of Sunday, the 20th of last month, appears as an insolvent. A Chancery case is expected to be decided in a few days against Mr. Rogers, which will compel him to pay to the opposing party some thousand pounds. As no intelligence has been gained of the 12,000 sovereigns, the fact of the robbery begins to be doubted.


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