At a time of year when we think more of others, the Nottingham Journal of 28 and 31 December 1867 reported on a court case involving a child…
On 28 December 1867, a young boy by the name of Thomas Hogg was brought before magistrates at the Borough Police court. He was 10 years old and presented a ragged and destitute appearance. Along with an older man, William Green, he was charged that on Christmas Day he stole shrubs, tools, lead and other metal from St Ann’s Allotments (then known as the Hungerhills). Through the testimony of witnesses, it became evident that Green had not taken the items, so the case against him was dismissed.
Young Hogg, however, was seen with the shrubs and tools and admitted to a witness, who resided on a nearby plot, that he had taken them. He said that he had taken the evergreens to make a Christmas tree. The same witness said that Hogg lived on a garden a few plots away with a man called Roland, who apparently tended the witness’s children when she was absent. The stolen lead was found in one of the gardens in the neighbourhood of Mr. Roland’s house, but Hogg denied having any intention of stealing it.
Police-constable Birkin, who apprehended the lad, said that he was in the habit of going about begging. Mr. Gibson, the magistrate, observed that Hogg’s father had evidently much neglected him. In the circumstances, Hogg was remanded for a few days in order that Roland might attend the court.
On the 30 December, William Roland stepped forward and informed the court that he lived in a garden on the Hunger-hills belonging to Mr. Edward Killingley. A few weeks previously, the lad came to his house and appeared to be destitute, in consequence of which he took him in, and allowed him to sleep there for several days. He supplied him with a pair of new boots and other things. The lad left his house, but returned a few days afterwards, and said his parents had gone away, and he had no knowledge of their whereabouts. The things which he gave him before, it was ascertained on being questioned, had been pawned by his parents, who had been proved to be still living in Count Street. The prisoner’s father came up and said the reason he pledged the things was because they required food. One of the policemen, however, said the prisoner’s mother was quite drunk a few days ago.
The magistrates, therefore, took the view that the child had better be taken at once to the workhouse, and the Board of Guardians be informed that he was grossly neglected by his parents. They also requested Mr. Roland to attend the meeting of the Board if possible, which he promised to do.
If you’re keen to find out more about the history of St Ann’s Allotments you can explore our virtual tour.