It’s time to put you out of your misery and reveal the answers to our Quick Quiz #10.
How did you do?
There will be another Quick Quiz next month.
1 Which of these is the chemical formula for water? A) H2O B) SiO2 C) C3PO ANSWER: A) H2O
2 Which of these is NOT one of the two known plays by Shakespeare which have been lost? A) Cardenio B) The Country Wife C) Love’s Labours Won ANSWER: B) The Country Wife – this was written by William Wycherley in 1675.
3 Who first presented the TV quiz show University Challenge? A) Jeremy Paxman B) Peter Snow C) Bamber Gascoigne ANSWER: C) Bamber Gascoigne – he presented it when it first appeared on ITV.
4 What is the official name of the tower in which Big Ben is located? A) Elizabeth Tower B) Victorian Tower C) Edward Tower ANSWER: A) Elizabeth Tower
5 Which of these actors has NOT played Doctor Who? A) John Hurt B) Peter Cushing C) John Simm ANSWER: C) John Simm. Simm played The Master in a number of episodes of Doctor Who. Peter Cushing played the Doctor in two Hammer spin-off films. John Hurt played the so-called War Doctor who, as fans will know, existed between the Paul McGann and Christopher Eccleston incarnations.
6 Which of these actors has NOT played the TV scientist Quatermass? A) John Mills B) Peter Cushing C) Andre Morell ANSWER: B) Peter Cushing
7 Who is the face of the Go Compare TV adverts? A) Wynne Evans B) Clare Bell C) Gabrielle Miller ANSWER: A) Wynne Evans – Gabrielle Miller appeared in the Trivago TV ads and Clare Bell is in the Available Cars adverts.
8 Who was the mother of King Richard I and King John? A) Eleanor of Aquitaine B) Aénor de Châtellerault C) Dangereuse de l’Isle Bouchard ANSWER: A) Eleanor of Aquitaine
9 How many people died trying to cross the Berlin Wall prior to its demolition? A) 17 B) 84 C) 136 ANSWER: C) 136
10 What is the name of the official who is in charge of an inquest? A) Ombudsman B) Coroner C) Inspector ANSWER: B) Coroner
Chase reporter ANTONY CLAY takes a close look at an animal which has successfully conquered our urban places
THERE is a creature which shares our towns and cities with us right across the world.
It walks amongst us as we trek along our pavements to work or the shops, and even shares the buildings we toil in.
You are guaranteed to see it every day – indeed, if you have recently been in an urban area you will probably have passed dozens of them.
You may even have taken the time to throw this animal a few crumbs of comfort – though there are plenty of people who would condemn you for doing so.
What creature am I writing about? It’s the humble pigeon, ofcourse!
Feral pigeons are literally in every town and city across the globe. They find the nesting places they need, the spaces to roost and hide from predators, and plenty of food from the scraps we leave behind us.
They strut cockily around our feet, make a mess of our monuments, nest in the fancy architecture of our buildings. Flocks of them are famous in London’s Trafalgar Square.
They are probably the most common bird in most towns and cities. They are the bird that many of us see most often.
Pigeons are often, like the ducks on the park pond, most people’s first introduction to birds.
Comedian Woody Allen famously branded feral pigeons as “rats with wings” and that negative branding has stuck with councils eager to keep their buildings clean – but there is far more to the humble pigeon than meets the eye.
Pigeons in urban areas are known as feral pigeons, the word feral suggesting they have gone AWOL. In the past, it would be true to say that domesticated birds did fly the coop but most feral pigeons nowadays live completely wild, perhaps added to by ex-racing birds seeing the attractions of a less sporty life.
Our feral pigeons are originally from a very wild source, namely the rock dove which you can still find on the remotest rocky coastlines around our land.
Rock doves and feral pigeons are the same species – they just have a different attitude to living with people.
People started domesticating pigeons thousands of years ago which brought them into contact with us. We raced them, we ate them, we kept them as pets. But some birds wanted a less subservient role in the relationship and began to establish effectively wild populations amongst our urban buildings which, to them, resemble the rocky terrain inhabited by their ancestors.
Feral pigeons can, and occasionally do, breed throughout the year. Warmer temperatures in cities, fewer predators and lots of edible rubbish deposited by us allow this to happen.
They can find ample sites to nest in old churches, under roofs, on window sills, under bridges, in forgotten buildings left derelict by our ever-restless economic whims.
Apart from a human pest controller hired by the city council, there are few enemies for urban pigeons other than the odd drunken idiot, cars or even cats, but that isn’t to say that they have it all their own way.
Some urban places have seen the development of ecosystems because of the pigeons. Lucky towns and cities places have seen the arrival of peregrine falcons which, like pigeons, see our built-up places as nothing more than a replacement mountain range. They are here for the pigeons which they feed on in the wild.
And hunt down the pigeons they certainly do. If you are lucky, you can catch a life or death chase between a peregrine and a pigeon. I recall witnessing one at the cathedral in Brussels where both birds dodged and dived at fantastic speed, turned amazing angles in flight and seemingly defied gravity. On that occasion the pigeon was lucky to get away.
Feral pigeons will eat pretty much anything. A ditched burger or kebab will be as attractive to them as the wild seeds they find in a park. Being an unfussy eater is a definite boon.
There are very different attitudes towards pigeons. Yes, they can foul buildings and statues and there is a risk of disease from the birds. Numbers of wild animal populations are checked by natural factors like food shortages, weather and predators but there are few limits on our urban pigeons so their populations don’t seem to decrease.
But wouldn’t our towns be much poorer without the cooing pigeons and their sometimes cheeky antics? They will take food from a person and they will amuse with their amorous antics as fruity males chase often distinctly uninterested females.
It is true that there are some mangy specimens around, ofcourse. Who hasn’t seen a one-footed pigeon or one with a mangled foot? I was once rather perturbed to see one with its head twisted the wrong way round in Sheffield.
Some urban pigeons certainly don’t look in the best of health which might be to do with big populations spreading illnesses quickly. In the wild, sick birds wouldn’t be seen ofcourse because they would die and be eaten, but that dynamic is a bit different in a safer town or city.
To my mind, our urban places would be poorer without the feral pigeon. They offer a view into the world of nature beyond out own selfish interests. They offer a bit of variety in an often dull urban place. They are amusing and fascinating.
Watch them for a while and see how they behave with each other. Their lives are driven by social conventions as complicated as our own. And watch the care that parent birds display when they have eggs and young to look after.
Listen to their gentle calls and be inspired by the gleam in their little black eyes.
These birds have concluded that they don’t need to throw their lot in entirely with people. Towns and cities are their world as much as ours, perhaps more so as we generally trundle off to the suburbs at night and leave the towns quiet and empty. The urban centre is truly a feral pigeon’s domain.
So, three cheers for our feral pigeons. True survivors – and here to stay whether we like them or not!
FERAL PIGEON FACTS
Ancient images of pigeons living amongst people have been found from as far back as 3000BC.
Many pigeons have been honoured for their war service because they have delivered vital messages which saved lives.
The word pigeon derives from the Latin pipio which means young bird. *Young pigeons – or squabs – are fed with a special milk which is regurgitated by parents.
Elvis Presley and Mike Tyson have kept pigeons.
Man managed to wipe out an estimated population of three to five billion passenger pigeons in the early 20th Century through over-hunting.
Young pigeons remain in the nest for up to two months.
Pigeons are only one of six species of any kind of animal to be able to recognise themselves in a mirror, as well as being able to recognise different letters and people.
Pigeons have an inbuilt compass to help them navigate, but can also recognise landmarks. *The fastest ever speed recorded by a flying pigeon was a staggering 92.5mph.
Pigeons mate for life. *Pigeons can find their way home from 1,300 miles away.
The corpse of a highwayman swings from a gibbet through rain, snow and blazing summer sun, open to the pecking of crows.
And he will be there dangling in the wind for an astonishing 35 years.
Even then what remains of the body will only be removed from the gibbet cage because the landowner gets fed up with people still going to gawp at it.
It is truly an awful end for a man who made off with the Rotherham post.
Spence Broughton, and his accomplice John Oxley, held up the mail cart at Ickles on a midwinter day in 1791, leaving the driver blindfolded and tied to a hedge. The only valuable item in the bag was a French bill worth £123.
Little did Broughton realise that just over a year later his body would be swinging from a gibbet at the scene of his crime.
Broughton was not executed on Attercliffe Common where he would be gibbeted. That grisly deed took place at York but the authorities felt it necessary to ship the body south and display it close to the scene of the crime as a stark warning to others not to interfere with the property of the King.
The robbery took place either on January 29 or on February 9 — the records are unclear — but whichever day it was Broughton and Oxley took it upon themselves to hide on the road to Rotherham at Ickles in readiness for the arrival of the mail cart.
As it passed, the pair leapt out and overpowered its driver George Leasley, described in records as a “boy”, and left him tied up.
He freed himself after an hour and discovered that the miscreants had made off with the post bag. He duly sounded the alarm and the authorities set about chasing the two criminals.
Broughton and Oxley made their way to Mansfield before Oxley headed south to the capital to cash the French bill.
But the pair were brought to book that October in London after taking part in more robberies elsewhere in the country. Another accomplice, John Shaw, was also taken into custody.
After their arrest, Shaw shifted all the blame onto the unfortunate Broughton, and Oxley claimed that he and Broughton only worked together because they had been involved with the same woman.
Oxley promptly escaped custody so that it was Broughton alone who was sent for trial in York on March 24, 1792. It didn’t go too well for him — he was hanged on April 14.
The law officer who arrested Broughton, Oxley and Shaw told the trial judge, the formidable Mr Justice Buller, how the crime had played out and, after just an hour and a half, Broughton was sentenced to death.
Mr Justice Buller added that after the execution the defendant should be “hung in chains on the Common, within three miles of Sheffield, where the robbery was committed.”
He also said: “that in order to deter other his punishment should not cease at the place of execution but his body should be suspended between earth and Heaven, as unworthy of either, to be buffeted by winds and storms.”
Broughton’s body was probably brought to Attercliffe Common in the dead of night, likely tarred to preserve it, to act as a warning from the powers-that-be at a time when there was social unrest in Europe and here “masterless” people were moving to the towns from the countryside where they were perceived as a potential threat to law and order.
The forces of authority were worried about losing their grip over the masses who had to be reminded of their place.
Fear was their weapon.
Barbaric as it all seems to us nowadays, Broughton’s hanging and gibbeting were a source of, for want of a better word, entertainment for the people. Hangings back then were a popular public spectacle which drew in large crowds.
Indeed, interest in Broughton’s corpse lasted for the entire period it was on display at Attercliffe Common.
It arrived there on April 16, 1792, just two days after Broughton’s hanging at York. It remained until 1827.
According to the innkeeper of local pub The Arrow, George Drabble, around 40,000 people turned out to see Broughton’s gibbeted body and it was still attracting plenty of ghoulish sightseers three decades later.
The innkeeper was delighted with the huge numbers of people as he made a small fortune plying them with drinks and food. It was a trade which continued for a long time as the decaying body remained a visitor attraction.
It is said that some worse-for-wear workers from the local Don Pottery threw stones at Broughton’s skeleton to dislodge two fingers which they then incorporated into a jug.
Perhaps to the authorities’ chagrin, the gibbeting of Spence Broughton actually made him into something of a local hero who would be remembered in folk songs.
An opinion voiced in the Sheffield Register in 1792 reflected the sense of sympathy felt by many to the people who had been gibbeted. It read: “The behaviour of these unhappy men was singularly devout and penitent – and of Broughton in particular, was marked with a degree of fortitude and resignation, seldom observed in persons in his unfortunate circumstance.”
Simon John Newton, the great-great-great-great-great-great grandson of Spence Broughton, said in a radio programme about his infamous ancestor that it was “a great story” and that it “makes me feel proud” that he was related.
Continued interest in Broughton’s demise was exemplified by the huge crowds which turned up when the supposed remains of his gibbet were found during work to build new houses in Clifton Street, Attercliffe Common, in 1867.
So who was this highwayman? Very few facts about Broughton’s early life are known but it is believed that he was formerly a farmer in the Lincolnshire town of Sleaford where he had a wife and three children. Research suggests that he was born in Horbling near Grantham, the son of farmers John and Anne Broughton.
But the rural life did not seem to appeal and he took to gambling and left his family to participate in cockfighting in Sheffield, Derby and Grantham. He had fallen into bad ways and bad company.
After the trio were finally arrested for the Ickles crime, the concept of honour amongst thieves seems to have evaporated in the fetid air of gloomy prison cells. Shaw, who was said to have been behind the hold-up plan, instead gave evidence to convict Broughton who he claimed was the mastermind. Shaw escaped punishment for his snitching.
Oxley did a runner from gaol. What happened to him after that is a mystery and he was never brought to book for his part in the highway robbery. Some say that he went to America to escape justice and start a new life, others suggest he died penniless and desperate in a barn on Loxley Moor, to the west of Sheffield. We will never know the truth.
It was claimed that Broughton, perhaps understandably, repented for his actions as the day of his dispatch approached. He is said to have written the rather flowery lines: “Surely I have greatly transgressed the laws both of God and man! In what manner shall a sinful wretch, like me, presume to approach the throne of mercy? Alas! my repeated provocations do now wound me to the very soul.” If this message of repentence is to be believed, he must have been an unusually literate former farmer and cockfighter!
At his execution, he is said to have denied any involvement in the highway robbery, despite receiving some of the proceeds. He admitted travelling to Rotherham to take part in the crime but said he was six miles away when it took place. But there was to be no reprieve, no fresh trial or delay to the execution.
It is believed that Spence Broughton was the last man in England to be gibbeted.
The court system in the 1790s were not about in-depth trials as much as showing what would happen to anyone who fell foul of the law. Broughton’s trial only lasted 90 minutes, remember, and he was on trial for his life.
Highway robbery meant death for the perpetrator, and little sympathy. For the masses it was a grisly entertainment.
Indeed, the gibbeting of criminals was by no means a rare feature of British criminal justice. For example, there were a staggering 100 gibbets erected on Hamslow Heath in London by the year 1800.
Has much changed today? Sensational court cases still fascinate us and there are always calls for “justice” after crimes are committed. Today we don’t hang but if capital punishment were returned would such events enthral the mob as Spence Broughton’s demise did? The jury is out on that but the verdict is probably a ‘yes’.
ROTARY Club members across Rotherham in South Yorkshire, England, have been part of a global battle against an insidious and debilitating disease.
Millions have been struck down with polio, and many thousands have died, but now — largely thanks to Rotary International — the disease is set to disappear forever.
Once a worldwide scourge, polio — a virus which can cause muscle weakening, paralysis and even death — now only exists in small regions of two countries. Within years it could be no more.
Rotary International, the umbrella organisation for all 34,000 Rotary clubs around the world, started its fight against polio in 1979 but since then has teamed up with bodies such as the World Health Organisation, UNICEF, governments and even billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates to inoculate people across the globe.
The success of the fight against polio is clear: three billion children in 122 countries inoculated and the incidence of polio across the world falling from 350,000 cases in 1985 to just 144 in the last year.
Rotarians want that figure to be zero.
Members of the two Rotary clubs in Rotherham — Rotherham and Rotherham Sitwell — will be marking World Polio Day on October 24 by lighting up Rotherham Minster in the colours of the campaign, namely purple, and holding a special event at Sitwell Golf Club to mark the success in fighting the disease.
Local Rotarians and residents have backed the fundraising bid to help provide the billions needed to inoculate against polio.
Rotherham Sitwell Club member and chairman of Foundation and International Christopher Croker said that as well as donating to the polio cause, Rotarians have held events such as education sessions for the public.
“It’s amazing how many young people have not heard of polio,” he said.
“But if there is polio anywhere, there is polio everywhere. I notice that statement is also being used for Covid.”
Rotherham Sitwell president Trish Lister added that End Polio Now packs created by a Doncaster Rotarian have been sent to schools across the area. She said that schools such as Sitwell Junior School had given good feedback.
Trish said: “There are many forgotten diseases because of the coronavirus pandemic but with polio if we lose our grip now all will be lost.”
Tom Hunt, Rotary District 1220 Foundation chair and polio champion, said that Nigeria has become the most recent country to see polio eradicated, leaving the entire African continent free of the disease.
He said: “This would not have been done if Rotary had not taken it on board but we are not good at shouting about it.
“In 1979, Rotary decided to raise some funds and ended up with $10.5million. They started the Health, Hunger and Humanity Fund but weren’t sure what to do with it. They chose the Philippines and inoculated six million children against polio there.
“Rotarians put plans in place in 1985 to eradicated polio and other diseases which led to the creation of End Polio Now.”
“Across the whole of Rotary, including 1,800 clubs in the UK, all will be doing something to help fundraising. There are 34,000 clubs in the world with 1.2 million members.
“The majority of people don’t know or think about polio. They don’t know what Rotary has done. The general public need educating about what polio did.
“Rotary have not given up in the fight against polio and that’s the key, I think. The plan was to eradicate polio in 10 years and now we are in year 37.
“They are pushing on the fight in the next 12 months but the real problem is that the last two places where it exists are so remote and we have to get permission from tribal elders to do the inoculations. But it is at government level. Then we have to wait for three years before declaring the countries are free.
“Once we have rid the world of polio, Rotary might well take on malaria.”
Rotherham club president John Box, who was afflicted with polio as a child, said that for all money raised by individual clubs, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation offers double the amount.
He said that the Gates became involved because a family member had the condition and wore braces.
Mr Box said that in the UK there are around 120,000 people who have been impacted by polio to varying degrees. For instance, TV cook Mary Berry had polio which effected her left arm. TV presenter and paralympian Ade Adepitan, who uses a wheelchair, is a Rotary ambassador raising awareness of polio, as are singer-songwriter Angelique Kidjo and supermodel Isabeli Fontana.
Mr Box said that both Rotary clubs in Rotherham are involved in preparations for the event on October 24 which will see Rotherham MP Sarah Champion and the Lord Lieutenant of South Yorkshire joining a service at Rotherham Minster.
Afterwards there will be a reception at Sitwell Golf Club, at which Mr Box and Mr Hunt will hold a question and answer session.
Mr Box said that more than a dozen local businesses have backed the event by agreeing to sponsor it. Mr Box said: “It’s very heartening. There was not one business that declined to make some sort of contribution.”
Last October, Rotarians got together in Rotherham to light up the Town Hall in purple to spread the End Polio Now message.
Dr Jill Bethell, District Governor of Rotary District 1220, said that it was important to continue the fight to finally get rid of polio.
She said: “I had a school friend who at 13 years old was very severely affected by paralytic polio, and have a great concern to see polio eradicated from the whole of our world.
“No one, especially a child, should be at risk from catching it, and living with the results of it.
“I’m a retired GP, and spent my medical lifetime making sure that everyone knew of the great need to be protected from polio, so that it couldn’t spread, and so would be eradicated.”
ROTARIAN John Box has more reason than most to back the Rotary International campaign to eradicate polio.
He was struck down with the disease at the age of two but instead of being beaten by it has tried to educate people about the condition.
He was afflicted after a family holiday and spent many years in hospital undergoing gruelling medical treatment.
John, president of Rotherham Rotary Club, was admitted to Rivelin Valley Hospital in Sheffield in late August 1948 and spent five years there — with visits allowed just once a fortnight and occasional home visits.
“There was a feeling that people needed isolating,” said John.
“I spent 18 months lying on a half body plaster cast.
“The whole experience left me with no use of the left leg and reduced mobility of the right leg, a situation that has prevailed throughout my life.”
John developed polio symptoms following a family holiday to Scarborough.
“I went into the sea as all children do. The polio virus grows in sewage and through that was transmitted through my body and into my nervous system,” said John.
“I developed symptoms that established that I had contracted the polio virus. That must have been a most catastrophic time for my parents.”
But he has never allowed the polio to beat him and went through education successfully to university level, as well as developing his architectural career.
He has become a Rotary Ambassador for Polio and District Assistant Governor, giving talks throughout the UK and beyond, as well as becoming a vice-president for British Junior Chamber in the 1980s which took him to countries such as Japan and South Korea.
John said: “I went through a period in my life when I thought ‘I will get better’. I was wrong.
“I have no bitterness as to having polio. One of the blessings for me was catching polio at two-and-a-half so I never knew any other life.
“I loathe, detest and deplore negativity. I have got to be pragmatic about it.
“I never allowed what the disease did to me to dampen my enthusiasm to live my life to the full.” He has been presented with the People of Action Polio Award.
POLIO FIGHT TIMELINE: 1908 Discovery that polio is caused by a virus 1916 2,000 killed in a polio outbreak in New York 1929 Invention of the Iron Lung respirator to help polio victims who could not breathe unaided 1955 Polio vaccine developed by Dr Jonas Silk 1960 Oral polio vaccine licensed by US government 1979 Rotary International begins its anti-polio campaign in the Philippines 1985 Rotary International starts the PolioPlus campaign, an initiative involving the private and public sector to fight the disease 1988 Rotary International and the World Health Organization launch the Global Polio Eradication Initiative which also includes UNICEF, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, governments and other bodies 2000 550 million children get oral vaccine, a staggering 10 per cent of the world’s population 2021 Polio exists in just two countries — Afghanistan and Pakistan
WHAT IS POLIO?
POLIOMYELITIS, commonly known as polio, is described by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “a highly infectious viral disease” which invades the nervous system and can cause irreversible paralysis in a matter of hours.
There is no cure but there are treatments to alleviate symptoms. Symptoms differ. Non-paralytic polio has flu-like symptoms. Paralytic polio leads to severe muscle weakness and pain, and floppy and loose limbs. There is a loss of reflexes.
Polio most commonly effects children under six years old. The majority (90 per cent) who catch it never display any significant symptoms.
Doctors are now learning about post-polio syndrome which can produce symptoms in people who have had polio after 15-60 years. It can decrease mobility, cause muscle weakness and impact on sleep.
The WHO says that polio is spread through person-to-person contact. The virus enters the body through the mouth and multiplies in the intestine. It is then shed into the environment through faeces where it can spread rapidly. If a sufficient number of children are fully immunised against polio, the virus dies out.
1 What is the official short name for the Czech Republic? A) Slovakia B) Chechnya C) Czechia ANSWER: C) Czechia
2 How many colours are on the Iceland flag? A) Two B) Three C) Four ANSWER: B) Three – red, white and blue
3 The Golden Eagle is the national bird of which country? A) Germany B) Greece C) Latvia ANSWER: A) Germany – the national bird of Greece is the Little Owl, and Latvia’s national bird is the White Wagtail.
4 What is the UK’s national bird? A) Wren B) Blackbird C) Robin ANSWER: C) Robin
5 On which ship did Charles Darwin travel to the Galapagos Islands? A) HMS Beagle B) HMS Alsation C) HMS Doberman ANSWER: A) HMS Beagle
6 Who first used the phrase ‘survival of the fittest’? A) Charles Darwin B) Alfred Russel Wallace C) Herbert Spencer ANSWER: C) Herbert Spencer
7 Who first used the phrase ‘natural selection’? A) Charles Darwin B) Alfred Russel Wallace C) Herbert Spencer ANSWER: A) Charles Darwin
8 Which of these World War Two leaders was born first? A) Adolf Hitler B) Joseph Stalin C) Winston Churchill ANSWER: C) Winston Churchill – Churchill was born in 1874, Stalin in 1878, and Hitler in 1889.
9 What nationality was Everest conqueror Sir Edmund Hillary? A) New Zealander B) Australian C) British ANSWER: A) New Zealander
10 The United States bought what from Russia in 1867 for $7.2 million? A) The Statue of Liberty B) Alaska C) The Liberty Bell ANSWER: B) Alaska
HANGING was seen as the ultimate deterrent in times past. It was regarded as the only punishment available for the most heinous of crimes and it was only abolished in the UK within living memory.
Growing concern about miscarriages of justice, perhaps more than the morality of the state killing someone deliberately, was what caused the government of Harold Wilson to instigate the Murder Act, (the Abolition of the Death Penalty) in 1965 which only suspended capital punishment for five years.
But it was finally ended in 1969 — though not for all crimes. It was abolished as a punishment in 1971 for crimes of arson in Royal dockyards and, surprisingly, not until 1973 in Northern Ireland.
This seems remarkably recent but consider that France last used the bloody guillotine to chop off criminals’s heads as recently as 1977 — just 44 years ago.
Hanging has been the favourite method of despatching criminals in Britain since Anglo-Saxon times, though beheading and burning have also had a look-in.
Official records show that since the early 18th century, a fair number of unfortunates either from Rotherham or who committed their offences in the town got up close and personal with the hangman’s noose.
Some were even hung by members of the infamous Pierrepoint family.
Albert Pierrepoint is probably the most famous hangman ever to have lived. Born in Clayton, a part of Bradford, in 1905, he famously sent 200 people convicted of war crimes in Germany and Austria to meet their maker but at home he was responsible for the demise of William Joyce who as Lord Haw Haw broadcast pro-Nazi propaganda to Britain during the Second World War, ‘Blackout Ripper’ Gordon Cummins, ‘Acid Bath Murderer’ John Haigh and the infamous John Christie who killed a number of women at 10 Rillington Place in Notting Hill.
But what is less known is that Albert Pierrepoint came from a family of hangmen. His father Henry and his uncle Thomas were also official executioners.
It was Thomas Pierrepoint who despatched some of those executed from Rotherham. He hanged Rotherham killer Andrew Anderson Bagley in 1937 for murdering a 16-year-old girl, Alfred David Bostock for a Roundwood murder in 1925 and Walter William Sykes for the grisly killing of two children in Kimberworth in 1913.
Not all of the criminals who did their nefarious deeds in Rotherham and who were executed for it were charged with murder. People could be hung for all manner of offences in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and earlier, such as poaching, rustling, piracy, pickpocketing, arson, treason, and even illegally cutting down a tree.
There were 200 offences for which the death penalty applied between the 1600s and 1800s, being referred to as the “Bloody Code”.
Today most people see capital punishment as barbaric though there are always calls to bring it back from some quarters, particularly after a terrorist incident or child murder.
In the past, justice was swift and harsh and the courts were not always as fair as they aim to be today.
A handful of Rotherham people paid the ultimate price for their actions, perhaps driven by poverty, jealousy, mental illness, plain nastiness, who knows? It is a grim tally for a small town.
WHO were the Rotherham victims of the hangman? Here is a list of the cases which still exist in the annals of criminals history:
Name: JOHN GOODWIN When executed: August 1, 1740 Where executed: Staffordshire Why executed: Stealing a black mare worth £5 from Thomas Moggs in Rotherham in 1738. Instead of receiving the death penalty, he was initially transported, probably to Australia, but made the mistake of returning to the UK. He was apprehended and hung.
Name: ROWLAND WHITE and ROBERT HOLLINGWORTH When executed: April 7, 1798 Where executed: York Why executed: Highway robbery of William Winn in Rotherham on November 21, 1797, in which they stole a silver watch, a purse and 28 gold guineas.
Name: SPENCE BROUGHTON When executed: April 14, 1792 Where executed: York Why executed: Highway robbery of George Bosley in Rotherham on January 29, 1791, in which he stole a leather portmanteau worth £2 and a leather bag, both the property of the King. His body was afterwards hanged in chains on Attercliffe Common.
Name: ROBERT LOVEDAY When executed: April 11, 1752 Where executed: York Why executed: Burglary of the house of William Buck of Rotherham. He stole a horseman’s frise coat, a silk handkerchief, a pair of cloth breeches, a fustian frock, a cloth waistcoat and a man’s cloth riding coat, all belonging to Mr Buck. He also snatched a pair of cloth breeches, two linen sheets and money belonging to George Wilson and a fustian frock, a cloth waistcoat, a woollen waistcoat, a horseman’s cloth riding coat, two pairs of gloves, a pair of buckles and a pair of Fleames belonging to Richard England.
Name: BERNARD HUGH WALDEN When executed: August 14, 1959 Where executed: Leeds Why executed: Shot and killed Joyce Moran (21) and Neil Saxton (20) with a revolver at Rotherham Technical College on April 7, 1959.
Name: ANDREW ANDERSON BAGLEY When executed: February 10, 1937 Where executed: Leeds Why executed: Murdered Irene Hart (16) at Hartington Road, Rotherham, on September 12, 1936. Bagley and Hart lived in the same house. He stuffed her mouth full of newspaper and strangled her, then put her body in a tin trunk.
Name: ALFRED DAVID BOSTOCK When executed: September 3, 1925 Where executed: Leeds Why executed: Murdered Elizabeth Sherratt (24). She had suffered head injuries and was found in a river at Roundwood in Rotherham.
Name: WALTER WILLIAM SYKES When executed: April 23, 1913 Where executed: Wakefield Why executed: Murdered Amy Nicholson (10) and Frances Alice Nicholson (7). They were found with their throats cut at Abdy Farm, Kimberworth, on November 15, 1912. Despite a confession, which he later retracted, he was found guilty. It has been claimed that there was a miscarriage of justice in this case.
Name: ARTHUR JEFFRIES When executed: December 29, 1904 Where executed: Leeds Why executed: Stabbed Samuel Barker in a dark alley in Rotherham on November 12, 1904. Both rabbit poachers, the two men had a falling out and Jeffries was seen to stab Barker with a cobbler’s file after threatening him.
Name: JOHN THOMAS KAY When executed: August 16, 1904 Where executed: Leeds Why executed: Murdering his girlfriend Jane Hirst (43) at Sheffield Road, Ickles, on May 10, 1904. Both drinkers, they argued and he attacked her with a hatchet, claiming his attack was due to impulsive insanity. He confessed to the offence after giving himself up.
TAKING part in a dry-stone walling course somewhere in the wilds of the Peak District proved to be a source of artistic inspiration for Rotherham man Stuart Mitchell.
He enjoyed piecing bits of rock together to form a wall so much that he thought he could use the skills he picked up to keep the boredom at bay during lockdown.
Stuart, of Falding Street in Masbrough, Rotherham, realised that he could employ the same techniques using small stones to create attractive pieces of art.
The 47-year-old has created miniature stone sculptures in the shape of a windmill, a pyramid and a cross, as well as other pieces.
He is now thinking about how he can develop his artistic endeavour and get his work seen by more people.
Stuart, a former inspector in the oil and gas industry who is currently between jobs, said: “A lot of people have taken up craft hobbies during the lockdowns as well as me, but I think mine’s quite original.
“A few years ago, I spent a day dry-stone walling for the National Trust as a volunteer, and I came up with the idea of using the same techniques I learnt to create miniature stone sculptures at home.
“All that’s needed is stone, adhesive and patience.
“I did a miniature stone wall using the same techniques and it worked out really well so I took it from there.
“It’s quite easy to do and all I need is glue. I use the stones you get for drives or paths.”
Stuart said that he would have liked to do more dry-stone walling but does not drive which made getting out to rural locations impractical.
So he thought up his home-based art in order to keep himself busy.
“As with everybody, I was just bored. This keeps me occupied for a couple of hours a day,” said Stuart.
“I have just been playing about.
“I got furloughed and it gave me a lot of spare time.
“It’s the same buzz I used to get from engineering.
“I have always been very hands-on and practical.”
Stuart has created 20 pieces so far, including candleholders and a grave marker.
“The cross was a bit of a challenge. It was quite high. I might donate it to a church,” said Stuart.
He said that his mum and dad have a number of his creations outdoors at their home. “Their garden is full of them,” admitted Stuart.
He said that he believes no one else is creating artworks in the same way, which has spurred him on over the last 18 months to be ever more creative.
“Because it’s unique it has a certain kind of appeal,” said Stuart.
“I have trawled websites and nobody else seems to be doing it.”
“I was just searching for a hobby.
“I really don’t know how it will develop. I’m hoping someone will take an interest in it and I can do something for them.”
Stuart is part of the Rotherham Creative Network and a member of Rotherham Open Arts Renaissance (ROAR), based at Westgate Chambers in the town.