A visit to York Prison in November 1888

Readers – especially those with an interest in the history of prisons – might be interested to read this account of a visit to York in 1888 by my Great Aunt, Mabel Scott.

She kept a diary between 1887 and – though eventually rather fitfully – well into the Great War. After her death it was given to her brother Norman, a Norfolk clergyman, and on his death in 1955 it was found by his nephew, my own father Martin Scott who died in 2002.

I realise that reading other people’s family history can be about as exciting as clearing out their garden sheds in the rain, but bear with me. The extract below is fascinating.

If you actually are interested in knowing more about Mabel and her family – then my father wrote a short introduction to the diaries which I have reproduced below.

For the moment all you need to know is that in the autumn of 1888 Mabel – then a seventeen year old girl – and her family decided to stay in York for a fortnight. Her descriptions of the nineteenth century city are interesting enough if you know York (as I do), but they come alive with her visit to York Prison. Continue reading “A visit to York Prison in November 1888”

Should we always prosecute people who make false allegations?

What should happen to people who make false allegations?

The issue has been put into stark focus by the publicity given this week to the case of Geoff Long.

Mr Long had a daughter called Tina from an unsuccessful first marriage. In 2010 she went to Brighton police and claimed that he had systematically abused her over thirty years earlier when she was aged between 8 and 16.

There was apparently no corroboration to her allegation, but it led to Mr Long’s prosecution. The jury believed Tina, and he was convicted. He received a sentence of 5 years imprisonment.

To rub salt into his wounds Tina then gave her story to a magazine, which published it under the headline “34 years on I finally made him face up to his hideous crimes.” Continue reading “Should we always prosecute people who make false allegations?”