Three cases today that demonstrate the wide variety of hearings that police magistrates covered in the late 1800s. These were all reported in late August 1888 at the Thames Police Court.
First a Mr Saunders applied to the court for a summons against the East London Waterworks Company for failing to supply him with water. The company had previously stated that his cistern was not large enough. They told him that under law they were allowed to stipulate how large his cistern was. Six years ago Saunders had encountered the same problem but had disputed it successfully in court. The magistrate granted him a summons. This sort of dispute was not uncommon; the registers of the Thames Court (held by the LMA near Farringdon) have many such complaints.
Next up Emma Stiles was prosecuted by George Stiff, a conductor for the North Metropolitan Tram Company. Stiles was traveling on a tram when Stiff asked her for her fare. She refused and then struck him when he tried to turf her off the car. The magistrate discharged her when he found out her husband was also on the tram stating that he should have paid the fare on her behalf.
Finally George Smith was sent to prison for a month fro breaking into Mr Peter Bamman’s shop on Leman Street. The tailor had locked up at a quarter past midnight and gone home. At just after two PC Cook (263H) was passing by when he heard a noise. He called for Bamman and the two entered the property to find Smith inside, hiding under a table. All he had stolen was a vase.
[from The Standard, Wednesday, August 29, 1888]