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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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James Dawson: 1902

James Dawson: 1902

"James Dawson, arrested for Indecent Exposure. North Shields Police Station, 9th June 1902." Our first image from a photograph album of prisoners brought before the North Shields Police Court in England between 1902 and 1916, now in the collection of the Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums. View full size.

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Palmer Method

Every schoolchild was trained cursive penmanship; this slate demonstrates an individualized variant of standard handwriting for the era.

The handwriting

The fancy handwriting for such a utilitarian sign fascinates me. I guess that people who grew up learning to write with a pen you had to dip in wet ink are more likely to make those kinds of flourishes? Even when they're writing in chalk? Maybe?

Let he who is without sin

Manalto may well be right. Perhaps Mr Dawson is not quite the dangerous pervert which he looks but rather an ordinary man seething with resentment at his arrest.

Many years ago, when I was 16 or 17, a school friend of mine was arrested for indecent exposure, just like Dawson.

It all happened late one night when my friend was caught short whilst walking home. He turned into a quiet street and, as he was furtively relieving himself against a wall, he felt a hand on his shoulder and a voice said "Expensive piss, son".

It was a pair of policemen who were probably just looking for an excuse to return to the warm police station with a prisoner.

My friend was duly convicted of Indecent Exposure and fined.

Oh, how we laughed.

The lad's gannin doon

Way aye, this wanker is gannin to gaol for offending the lads and lasses of Toon.

You only rent beer

Mr. Dawson was on his way home from the pub, lamenting the particular lack of conveniences in North Shields. "I'll just duck behind this shrub, nobody will notice" he thought. A bit cloudy from several ales, he failed to notice the town constable standing on the verandah beside him.

Better late than never

Ten people "like" you.

Not exactly William Mossop is he?

I wonder what Master would say?

Common Decency British Style

Uhm, gee, what wasn't this fellow wearing? His hat and tie?

A tale gone awry

Red Riding Hood: "My, Mr Dawson, what large >hands< you have!"

Mr Dawson: "Why-uh-the-the better to REPAIR YOUR BOOTS, MY PRETTY!!"

The eyes of an angry man

He looks pretty torqued off that he got caught!

For a sex offender

He was probably polite.

People wear three piece suits for police mug shots?

The Shields Daily Gazette (dated 9 June 1902) provides a little more information:

"Today at North Shields, before Mr. J. Walton and Mr. T. Byers, James Dawson (38), a shoe maker, was charged on a warrant with behaving in an indecent manner in Albion Road on the 15th inst. Mr. G. R. Duncan prosecuted, and Mr. A. Whitehorn defended. Accused, who is a married man, was sent to prison for one month in the second division."

The 1911 census of England lists a likely candidate - James Dawson (46), a boot maker born in Leeds and living at 46 Sidney Street, North Shields, married to Mary Ann (45), with five children living at home - George Albert (25), James (18), Eva (14), Thomas (16) and Willie (4). An additional child, Amelia (12) is listed in the 1901 census; the family is living in Chirton, Northumberland, and James is listed as a boot repairer and shop keeper. In 1881, they are in Leeds (10 Prince of Wales Yard, Marsh Lane), with James listed as a boot riveter; also living with them is James's mother, Margaret (58).

Marked for many lives

Wonder if he was actually convinced of this crime? Sure doesn't look happy about the charge.

[One would hope he'd be convinced if convicted.]

The fingers!

Look at his fingers! They are long, strange, with compound joints or something. Nice mustache, though.

Times Change

Wonder what he actually did? Back then indecent exposure could have been walking down the street with no shirt on.

Creepy hands

Looks like we found Jack the Ripper. Those hands look like they can eviscerate a human in 5 seconds.

James, James, James

That's funny, he doesn't look at all suspicious.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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