Name: William Morrissey alias Smith
Arrested for: Sleeping Out
Arrested at: North Shields Police Station
Arrested on: 11 July 1904
Tyne and Wear Archives ref: DX1388-1-53-William Morrisey AKA Smith
The Shields Daily Gazette for 11 July 1904 reported:
"At North Shields, Charles Winlow (53), tramp, no fixed abode,
was charge with lodging in a hay stack in Mariners' Lane without having visible means of subsistence, and was sent to prison for seven days. William Wadham, Tyne Dock, William Smith or Morrison, shoeblack, and William Patton, no fixed abode, were charged with lodging in a hay pike at Kenners Dene Farm. Wadham and Smith were each committed for seven days and Patton was committed for 14 days".
For a mugshot of William Wadham see www.flickr.com/photos/twm_news/15870103783/in/set-7215762...
The Shields Daily Gazette for 7 June 1904 reports:
"Two youths named Joseph Leach, 52 Wilson Street, and William Morrisey, no fixed abode, were found by PC Twiddy were found sleeping in a railway carriage on the N.E.R. siding in Garden Lane, at 3.15 this morning. Relating the facts to the South Shields magistrates the officer said that when he roused Leach that defendant set himself in a fighting attitude, while the other sat up on the seat, lit a cigarette and refused to leave ... The magistrates fined them 5s and costs each".
Contemporary attitudes to rough sleeping can be seen in a report in the Shields Daily Gazette on 5 October 1903.
"At Jarrow today John Smith, Wm Cooper, James Bell, young men who said they came to the town in search of work, were charged with sleeping in Palmers Works last night. PC Lowery gave evidence and Supt Fleming said that the county was 'swarming' with fellows like defendants, who should be made to seek shelter in the Workhouses. Defendants were sent to prison for 7 days".
The Shields Daily Gazette of 8 October 1903 contains an article entitled 'Lazy Loafers':
"There are some people who will neither work nor want. They are the typical loafers we can see in the streets any day. Apparently we have a fairly good stock of them at North Shields. It is not because of depression of trade either. The other morning no fewer than half a dozen of such individuals were place in the dock on a charge of sleeping out. The officer had found them all huddled together in an empty room during the night and they could not give a satisfactory account of themselves. When questioned by the magistrates, the police officers stated that all the defendants were lazy loafers, who had never worked for a considerable time. They did nothing but lounge about the streets during the day and then obtained shelter in some empty room or outhouse at night. The magistrates marked their sense of the offence by sending them all to prison for a month each - each with hard labour. A month of hard work will probably do them a vast of good and will enable them to shake off that habitual tired feeling".
Morrisey was convicted on numerous other occasions. The Shields Daily Gazette of 5 November 1902 reported:
"At South Shields today a youth named William Morrisey was charged with stealing on the 4th inst. a jacket of the value of 2s 3d, the property of James Davison". He was fined 10s and costs.
The Shields Daily Gazette for 2 January 1903 reported:
"Before the Mayor (Counc. James Grant) and other magistrates at So. Shields, on Wednesday, William Morrisey, 16, and Arthur Cairns, 18, were charged with stealing on Dec. 29th, a barometer, valued at 25s ... on the way to the Police Station Morrisey remarked "A couple of months would just about put me right" ... The Bench fined Morrisey, who had previously convicted for larceny, 10s and costs, and Cairns 5s and costs".
The Shields Daily News for 10 July 1905 reported:
"At South Shields Police Court today William Morrisey (20). no fixed abode and David McNess (19), Anderson's Lane, were charged with breaking and entering the dwelling house of Mary McCalvery on the 8th inst. and stealing therein two desks value 10s.
Prosecutrix said she kept a green grocer's shop in Tyne Street and resided upon the premises. At half-past twelve on the afternoon of the 8th inst she locked up her house and shop, leaving two desks, which contained some valuables, on a desk bed in the kitchen. When she returned to her house at twenty past ten at night she found that someone had been in the house and that the desks had been removed from the desk bed on to the floor near the door.
A witness deposed to seeing the prisoners loitering near the prosecutrix's shop. She afterwards saw Morrisey open the house door with a key and go in. She then informed the police. PC Ogg said from what he was told he visited the prosecutrix's house and on going inside he found Morrisey in the kitchen. He took him into custody. He afterwards apprehended McNess.
The prisoner had nothing to say. This was Morrisey's 18th offence and he was committed to prison for 3 months; this being McNess's 1st offence, he was bound over for three months".
These images are a selection from an album of photographs of prisoners brought before the North Shields Police Court between 1902 and 1916 in the collection of Tyne & Wear Archives (TWA ref DX1388/1).
This set contains mugshots of boys and girls under the age of 21. This reflects the fact that until 1970 that was the legal age of majority in the UK.
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