A confectioner’s assistant is judged by his background not his deeds

Henry Lodge worked for a confectioner (a Mr Verey) in Regent Street in London’s West End. Verey’s was a well known establishment by the 1860s, mentioned as one of the places in the capital where a visitor could dine well. There the ‘Regent Street Longer’ could ‘sip a thimbleful of Verey’s cognac’ while he watched the world go by.

One morning in early October 1830 the Verey family’s servant discovered that the front door to their property was unbolted and that the shop had been robbed. The thief had removed ‘three dozen silver teaspoons, a quantity of table and dessert [silver], and. to add to the depredation, the party had regaled themselves with some cherry brandy which had stood in the window’.

It looked like an inside job and suspicion soon fell on Henry who was questioned about his movement the previous night. He claimed to have been at the theatre till late but his alibi was soon disproved. He was questioned by a police inspector from C Division and arrested.

On his appearance in court at Marlborough Street the magistrate asked if there were any other suspicious circumstances related to the prisoner.

The court was told (by Inspector Clements of the Met) that Lodge’s father had been transported for life, as had two of his brothers. It seemed then that Henry came from the ‘criminal class’. Indeed Henry had himself been tried for the burglary that had convicted one of his siblings but had been acquitted for lack of evidence.

The magistrate said would have been reluctant to remand Lodge in custody on the strength of the evidence against him if he could have be shown to be of ‘good character’ but given the information of his previous brush with the law he felt it was unlikely to affect him as much as it would ‘an honest man’. He was remanded for trial.

I’m not sure what would happen today but it seems that poor Henry was treated rather badly here. There was no evidence against him, no stolen items, no forensics, just the fact that he had been accused (and found not guilty) of a crime before and had relatives that were convicts.

He was condemned, perhaps, by his associations not by his deeds.

[from Morning Post 4 October 1830]

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