On Cruelty Charge, 1902

Warning this 121 year old story contains upsetting content. I’ve masked the surname, so it doesn’t cause upset to any families who may be related. On Tuesday 1st April 1902, Jane, wife of a miner residing at Baird’s Rows, Blantyre found herself in court.

She was charged with having, between 1st October 1901 and 28th February 1902, cruelly ill treating her 5 children, who were aged between 7 months and 10 years old.

It was stated that her husband worked long shifts, and was known to be a kind man, giving his entire wage to his wife each week to look after the children. However, unbeknown to him whilst he was at work, the woman had left the children for long periods of time, unprovided for. No water, little or no food and that she had taken to drinking during the daytime, spending much of her husbands wage on liquor. `the house was neglected as well as the children.

This case came about only as the pawn shop was concerned when the woman, a frequent customer pawned all the children’s clothes and their bedclothes at once. Authorities were called to investigate.

In court, she pleaded guilty and was sent to prison for 2 months. With no welfare back then, I couldn’t help wonder what happened to the children whilst their mother was in jail, or indeed what happened to them once she was out!

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