1927 William Allen of Springwells


screen-shot-2017-01-28-at-16-46-46On being sentenced in Hamilton J.P. Court on Saturday 22nd January 1927, for theft, William Allen (14), a local Blantyre boy living at 33 Allison Place, Springwells, Blantyre, refused to walk from the dock and, shrieked, “Oh, daddy, help!

He was lifted by an officer and carried, still shouting, to the cells below. The Fiscal described him as “a boy who was training boys, younger than himself to become criminals.

A nine-year-old boy had told the police that he was a member of a gang, which Allen was self proclaimed leader. This younger boy said that his parents had thrashed him because of his association with Allen, and that Allen had treated him brutally when he refused to steal for him. The youngster said he was more afraid of Allen than he was of his parents. He now did what he was told by Allen, and recently, when a lorry with beer bottles was seen standing in Glasgow Road, he on Allen’s orders, along with other boys, stole some of the bottles.

The liquor was taken to the picture-house on Glasgow Road, where Allen and another boy drank some of it. Allen was charged that Saturday, when pleaded guilty, and admitted four previous convictions. The Justices ordered the boy to be detained in Parkhead Reformatory until he attained the age of 19.

From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2017

Pictured for illustration is Parkhead cross in the 1920s.

On social media:

Elizabeth Weaver What a sad story – that poor 9-year-old, thrashed by his parents and bullied by the 14-year-old. And I wonder what happened to the older boy after his 5-year stay in the Reformatory…
Brian Weaver Probably went into politics, Liz…
Marian Maguire Maybe sentences like that would sort out some today. Pity about the wee nine year old, he had no one to turn to.

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