All this side of South Street had been parcelled out, and had fair-sized gardens at the rear.
Mr. Richard Daykin, who was a joiner at Stanton, bought a plot and built two shops and houses on it.
A Case of Mistaken Identity.
Approaching Christmas time of 1865, the postman left the Post Office of Richard Potts in South Street, in his possession a letter addressed to ‘Mrs. A. Daykin, South Street, Ilkeston, Derbyshire’ and bearing the post-mark of ‘Perth (Scotland), December 16th 1865′. Inside the letter was a banker’s draft for £20 — a Christmas present ?
The postman walked along the street, past the home of Richard and Ann Daykin, past Pleasant Place and Queen Street, past the Nag’s Head, West Street and the Wesleyan Chapel, and then turned right into Derby Road — shortly arriving at the home of jobbing tailor Alfred Daykin and his wife Mary (nee Manners), who had very recently lived in South Street but now were residing at their present address, next door to the Three Horse Shoes Inn. The letter was thus delivered…. one day after it had been posted.
The sender of the letter and banker’s draft was Thomas Bailey, a prosperous tailor and clothier though now out of business, and the uncle of Ann Daykin, wife of grocer Richard. As he did not receive an acknowledgement of its arrival Thomas wrote (again !!), less than a week later, to his niece who quickly replied to the effect that the letter had not been received by her.
Now, ‘wheels’ were set in motion.
Ann’s brother-in-law and next door neighbour, William Armstrong, (see below) made unsuccessful inquiries at the post-office, after which the Dead Letter Office in London was contacted — with the same result.
Meanwhile Ann made her own inquiries and discovered that the Ilkeston branch of the Nottingham Joint Stock Bank (Limited) had paid out on the banker’s draft to Mrs. Mary Daykin !!
Now it was a police matter !!
Having determined that Mary Daykin, wife of Alfred, had indeed presented the draft for payment, Inspector Edward Brady was soon on the case … and after an abortive trip of a few miles to Sandiacre, he eventually followed Mary and her husband to the Bell Inn in Nottingham. The pair, having been there for some while, were ‘a little fresh’ and were taken in to custody, charged with obtaining £20 under false pretences.
However Mary had already been on a spending spree in Nottingham, having bought a bed, bolster, pillows, sheets, blankets, mattresses, some skirts and several yards of various fabrics All of these were in the possession of Ilkeston carrier John Whitehead who was just about to make his daily return journey from the metropolis when the Inspector reclaimed them.
And it didn’t stop there !!
Alfred had a good supply of tobacco on his person while Mary was clothed in new crinoline and a fur, and was carrying a new basket containing four pairs of stockings and a wash-leather. By that evening, a couple of days after Christmas, Mary and Alfred and the newly-purchased goods were all safely housed in the lock-up in Ilkeston Market Place.
Several questions now surfaced.
Why should the postman pass an obvious destination for the letter — only a few yards from the post-office — without at least making inquiries of Richard and his wife, to learn if they knew someone residing in Perth ?
Why did he go into Derby Road when the address on the letter was clearly for someone in South Street ??
Why did Alfred and Mary hold onto the letter and draft for eleven days, knowing no-one in Perth who would send them £20, and then cash the draft — which was clearly not for them ???
After the Daykins were charged with fraudulently obtaining the money it emerged that Mary had only been able to cash the draft at the Ilkeston Branch Bank after it had been endorsed by her husband — as it was made out to ‘Mr Daykin‘ — and that she had later returned, with the draft endorsed by her husband, to deposit half the money in her own name, saying that she did not require all of it just yet !!
Less than a week later the accused couple appeared, on remand, at Smalley Petty Sessions. … defended by solicitor Hubert Henri Sugg.
George Villency Hamilton Smythe was the bank agent who had cashed the draft and upon cross-examination he admitted that the transaction had followed the usual course of business, and that Mary Daykin had not lied or misrepresented herself.
Uncle Thomas Bailey came down from Perth to give evidence, during which he admitted that he did not know the first name of her husband and so had simply made the draft out to ‘Mr. Daykin’ …. he did not know that there was a second ‘Mr. Daykin’ living in the town at that time !! (– there were in fact several more than two !!)
When it came to Inspector Brady’s opportunity to give evidence, he stated that Mary Daykin had claimed to have checked with several people — John Harvey, landlord of the Three Horse Shoes Inn, her brother-in-law bricklayer Joseph Derbyshire, James Aram of the Collier’s Arms beerhouse in Derby Road, and even postmaster Richard Potts — and all had assured her that the draft was hers and that she should cash it, though none had seen Thomas’s letter which had accompanied the draft.
At that point the case was adjourned and despite solicitor Hubert’s best efforts, the magistrates resolutely refused to grant bail. … though they had to wait only a few more days before the couple were back in the dock, still on remand.
During the Daykin’s second appearance at court, Messrs Potts, Harvey, Aram and Derbyshire all gave evidence though not one of them would confirm what Mary had supposedly told Inpspector Brady … several of them had cautioned Mary and advised her to take the draft back to the post-office or to consult the police before cashing it.
Hubert Sugg did point out that Mary had never said that these witnesses had told her that the draft was hers and that she should cash it … it was Inspector Brady who had reported this to the court. Did the Inspector have an accurate recall ? Was he telling the truth ??
And now came a surprise for the solicitor … a charge of forging an endorsement on the draft had been added to that of fraud. On both charges the accused couple agreed to say nothing and so they were committed for trial at the Derbyshire Lent Assizes in early March. And once more, despite Hubert’s best efforts, they were denied bail.
Mary was distraught.
At the end of the later Derby trial the jury was instructed that when a woman acted in the presence of her husband the law presumed that she acted under compulsion (marital coercion*) … Mary was thus acquitted.
Alfred was not so lucky, but he was lucky !!
He was found guilty though the prosecution recommended mercy … technically his offence was forgery but he was leniently treated, and thus sentenced to six months imprisonment, with hard labour.
P.S. Thomas Bailey was a younger brother of Ann, who had married Thomas Clemerson in 1807 .. their daughter Ann Clemerson married Richard Daykin.
Thomas Bailey traded as a tailor and clothier in High Street, Perth for many years.
P.P.S. *As a defence, ‘marital coercion’ was abolished only in 2014, by the Coalition Government (2010-2015), after a former minister of that government, Chris Huhne, was caught up in trial in which that defence featured. He and his wife, celebrated economist Vicky Pryce, were accused of perverting the course of justice. Vicky was not as fortunate as Mary Daykin … the former was found guilty along with her husband, and sentenced to a period of imprisonment.
P.P.P.S Look for Alfred Daykin on the 1871 census and you will find him once more housed in Ilkeston’ lock-up, next door to the Sir John Warren, and adjacent to the Ilkeston branch of the Nottingham Joint Stock Bank (Limited) !!
*My thanks to Jane Gott for commenting on the Armstrong family and adding detail to the events above. (see Comments)
My thanks also to John Daykin. He has contributed his extensive research on his ancestry to the site and I have begun to put it onto the site in an adapted form. He has also worked on the Birch family and this will appear later in our wlak around the town, as we approach Weaver Row.
The full version of John’s research will appear as a separate section.
So let us pause here and look at the Family History of the Daykins as supplied by John Daykin