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prison details

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wigan lancashire
#1
hi everyone -is there anyone who can help me.
I have quite a lot of information on my fathers parents but there is one issue that I am stuck on.
In the 1911 census both of them re shown to be inmates at Preston jail-this was new to me so I would like to know why they were in there.
Their names were James Whelan and Ellen Wilson.I would be most grateful for any help.
 

p.risboy

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#2
Hi Veritas and welcome to FHUK.

If you could give us some dates and places of birth for your rellies, perhaps we can be of more help.:)

Also, if you could browse the various forums at your leisure, you will see where to to put your queries and questions.:)

Steve.:)
 

Gerard

Well-known member
#3
Lancashire Record Office has the Prison Registers for Preston Gaol and I have researched them on several occasions. If they have survived (there are some gaps) they will be in the series JAPR/1/1-32 which cover the period 1878 to 1931.

They are not the finest examples of Prison Register (for information) that I have looked at, but as far the condition of the registers and the ease of reading, they are good.

The headings in most of the registers are: Name, Date + Place of Conviction; Assizes or Sessions; Offence; Sentence; Education, Age, Height + Colour of Hair; Trade or Occupation; Religion + Place of Birth. Number of previous Convictions + Reference to Last Entry; Date of Discharge and Remarks.

Cheers,

Gerard
 
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#4
p-risboy & gerrard,
Thank you so much for your reply and showing interest.
I have quite a bit of info on these rellies-
James Whelan(but mispelled on b/cert) born 1876 ,Engine Row ,Standish, Wigan.
Ellen Wilson -nee Atherton -born about 1870-Wigan -probably Frog Lane / Spring Gardens area.
Ellen married James Wilson ,in Wigan in 1889, but somewhere between 1901 and 1905 had left Mr Wilson and had had a child with James Whelan.
James Whelan and Ellen never married as on her death cert she is named as wife of James Wilson but was at that time was still living with James Whelan.
As the Whelans they had 4 children-Elizabeth b 1905, Stephen b. 1907, Thomas b. 1910 and George b. 1912.
On the 1911 census both of them are in Preston gaol but I cannot find the 3 children on that census.
Gerrard are the Lancs prison records online? if so how can I access them.
 
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#5
Hi
I would say you may have a case of Bigamy here.

I found your children in Wigan Workhouse, 75 Frog Lane. They are down as born Pemberton, with a surname of Wilson

WILSON, Stephen Inmate M 3 1908 Nil Lancs Pemberton , If you search on this record, Elizabeth 5 and Thomas 1 are on the census return

dave
 

Gerard

Well-known member
#7
I've been laid up with a nasty dose of food poisoning for the last 36 hours and still do not feel too clever.

The LRO catalogue is on-line and is not very user-friendly. If you want to view these records you will have to visit LRO yourself. I would allow at least two hours for this search as you will have to work back from the date of the Census for possibly as much as six months.

Where prisoners were sent to serve their sentences varied by reason of the location of crime, the nature of the crime and therefore where they were convicted and the space available in any prison. Prior to about 1877 prisons were under the jurisdiction of the local borough or county and normally (space permitting) in Lancashire sentences of about six months or less would be served in the local borough gaol (the New Bailey, Salford up to 1868 and then after that Strangeways). Sentences up to about 12 months would have been served in the county gaol. Sentences of more than 12 months would first be served locally and then the prisoner would be transferred to a long term prisons.

The situation at Liverpool was slightly different, it had become a location for Assizes as early as 1835 and therefore conducted executions ( as did Lancaster Prison), and was used for long term prisoners. Long term prisoners from Lancashire could be sent anywhere e.g Kirkdale or Walton (Liverpool), Wakefield, Pentonville, Millbank etc...

From the information given it is impossible to speculate with any certainty the nature of the crime or whether in fact he was convicted of any crime. You will need to look at the prison registers , the court records, or if one is available, a newspaper report. The 1911 Census only tells you that he was prison on the night that it was taken. He could have been in there on remand and acquitted at trial, he could have been convicted later and given a sentence of six months or less, or he could have been sent for trial at the Assizes and removed to another prison.

Gerard
 
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#8
Dave Lambert271,-thanks a lot for your info ,it's very helpful.
Talk about black sheep!
You have definetly found the right kids as they were born in Pemberton, at Soho St.-no 14 I think.Did you find them on the 1911 census?
It was surprising that they are named as Wilson as all the kids did take the name Whelan -I have my fathers birth cert.Fortunatly my father was born in May 1912 and was spared the workhouse.I wonder if the Whelan family did not want their name on workhouse records.
It is awful to think that these poor kids were not taken in by a relative as there were grandparents and very many aunts and uncles on both sides of the family.
It's a funny coicidence that the kids were in Frog Lane workhouse as their mother was born only doors away from this grim institution.
I had thought of bigamy myself for a cause for incarceration,but I am unable to trace any recorded marriage between these 2.Also in grandads WW1 records ther is the statement-< this man is not married but acknowledges parent of 4 children.>
Grandads war records ,in my opinion ,show that he was a bit of a loose canon.
He is shown as having Field Punishment no 2 (whatever that is) against him on more than one occassion and AWOL.At one point he was stationed at the infamous Bullring camp at Etaples.
But in his favour he was quick to join up-3/11/1914 at the age of 37 and it was not his first enlistment,having served in the Boer War.
 
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#9
Duckweed re going to Preston gaol instead of Lverpool -nothing cn sorprise me where these 2 are concerned.
Gerard it looks like I'm going to have to visit Lancs records -do you know where the office is stuated?
I'm very grateful for all the interest shown and I'm really enjoying this site.
 

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