In the 19th and early 20th centuries Jarrow was a thriving shipbuilding town. People from all walks of life moved to the area in search of work and a new life, bringing their families – and often their troubles – with them. A local newspaper, Jarrow Express was circulated from 1873 to 1918 and published everyday stories, gossip and news about the local population and author Natasha Windham has delved into the archives and other local records to reveal the dark side of life of the ordinary people of Jarrow at this time, including tales of vicious murder, revenge, manslaughter and suicide.
The stories include a one-legged arsonist who later become a well-known comedian and dancer, an absentee from the army who in a bid to evade capture jumped in the River Tyne and drowned, and a police inspector who was murdered by one of his former officers who had been suspected of leading a bombing campaign. ‘The Murder of Maggie’ is the sad tale of a woman killed by a single blow to the head in 1886. The man responsible for her death was her husband, who received a six-month prison sentence and once released went on to kill again. Another, more amusing tale tells of three women armed with a poker, a frying pan and a children’s chair who in 1881 chased two bailiffs down the street and were subsequently fined for their actions.
This collection of true life crime stories gives a vivid insight into life in Jarrow in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This book will fascinate anyone with an interest in the history of crime as well as those who want to know more about the history of Jarrow and the North East of England.
Natasha Windham has spent many years researching her ancestors who came from Jarrow. She is a member of the Jarrow Memories group on Facebook and co-founded the Jarrow Genealogy and Our Ancestors group with the owner of Jarrow Memories. Her researches in Jarrow’s history have led her to the Jarrow Express archive and she has shared many of the stories on Jarrow Memories, as well as used them in her Jarrow Cemetery series.