The aftermath of the Hyde Park Review of 1876

In most of my posts I’ve discussed a single case on its merits and sometimes tried to look at it in some sort of context. For today though I thought I’d break with convention and give a broader idea of what was happening in one London court in July 1876.


On 3 July there had been a volunteer review in Hyde Park involving some 30,000 men of the volunteer armed forces in the presence of the Prince and Princess of Wales. A great enclosure had been erected for the day and security was on high alert. Perhaps unsurprisingly there had been a number of incidents and a fair few arrests given that thousands more Londoners turned out to see the parade and catch a  glimpse of the royal family. Some of those nabbed on the day appeared at the Marlborough Street Police Court on the following Monday.

First up was Robert Gray (a long lost relative perhaps?). He was fined 40s for striking a  policeman who had attempted to hold him back as Gray tried to surge through the police lines to get closer to the parade. Likewise Edward Widdon and William Davis were served with small fines for assaulting the boys in blue.

A young lad of 16, Harry Ashton, was caught throwing stones and fined 20s while Jacob Rosenthal had been brought in for attempting to pick the pockets of several women. His ‘mate’ (another lad) had run off and escaped from the police; Rosenthal was remanded in custody.  More seriously John Brown was fully convicted of stealing a watch and sent to prison for six months, at hard labour.

Finally William Jones, a commercial traveler from New Cross, appeared accused of damaging a tree. Jones had climbed the tree to get a better view of the soldiers as they passed by and to keep out of the way of the crowd, which he described as ‘very unruly’. Sadly for him a police constable spotted him and ordered him to desxcend. As he came down he kicked the policeman in the face (deliberately or otherwise, its not entirely clear from the report). As a result he was arrested and the copper claimed he then tried to escape from two PCs, kicking out at both of them.

The magistrate deemed this poor behaviour and told he should never have been up the tree in the first place. He fined him 40s or a month in prison.

[from The Morning Post, Tuesday, July 04, 1876]

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