Bostock’s Row and the rowing Bostocks

Adeline describes what comes next: “The next were two/three cottages up steps, with gable to the street, looking north and facing the long slope up to the Queen’s Head”.

As she indicated, the Queen’s Head Inn stood back from Bath Street, with an open area in front of it and a path leading to its door.

Facing the Inn on the southern side was a row of cottages which by 1871 was known as Bostock’s Yard or Bostock’s Row, so named because of the presence in one of the four cottages of the Bostock family.
The Bostocks claimed to have owned the property since about 1806.
The 1871 census shows four houses in the Row – and three of them are uninhabited!!  No wonder!!
The patriarch of the Bostock family was coalminer Paul Bostock, born in 1813 and a widower since 1864, the son of coalminer Paul and Sarah (nee Daykin). And a regular attendee at the Petty Sessions, often following a bout of drinking, riotous behaviour and assault. But Paul was no sexist … he would batter women as well as men!!
His elder son — and living with Paul senior when he wasn’t in prison — was coalminer (when he chose to work which wasn’t often) Paul junior alias ‘Paulie’.
By the end of May 1874 ‘Paulie’ had 16 convictions against him (a disputed number), most of them also for riotous behaviour or being drunk and disorderly.
And most of them resulted in a fine plus costs… although he had spent six months’ hard labour in 1863 for violently assaulting David Morgan and robbing him of money and a snuff box … while he was drunk of course!! In his evidence in this case Paulie gave the impression that if he was ever in need of money he had a perfect right to take it, and as he left the dock he wished that the sentence had been six years not six months!!
By 1870 Paulie had had experience of Wakefield, Derby and Nottingham prisons.
And early in 1871, following a session of drinking and threatening behaviour, once again he was to experience a period in Derby County Prison … which is where the 1871 census finds him.
On his release Paulie was back in Bostock’s Row, this time rowing with his sister Ellen, abusing her son and breaking her furniture. She wanted him bound over but the magistrates were losing patience and Paul was ‘back inside’ for 13 months.
And on his release, in September 1872 …. you guessed it!! …. this time for breaking into a house. Result? One month in prison.

On the southern side of this area and thus forming a boundary between the inn premises and Bostock’s Row was a wall – a very important wall, and one to be a thorn in the side of some of the Bostocks.

Another brick out the Wall…

…….  we don’t need no elevation’.

In November of 1874 a large crowd had gathered in front of the Queen’s Head to witness ‘Paulie’, his widowed sister Ellen Hudson, and other members of the family furiously hacking at the boundary wall between the inn and their property.
Landlord Aaron Aldred had recently added to the wall’s height and the Bostocks were now taking it upon themselves to reverse his work. Aaron “appeared to look on in a self-possessed and good tempered manner” as did the police. The issue was one of disputed ownership and thus the law could not intervene.
By the end of the day the wall had lost several feet in altitude.

These Bath Street neighbours – a far cry from Pyramus and Thisbe – had no inclination to whisper words of love to each other through, over or under this wall, which continued to create friction between them.

…..   ‘we don’t need no aggravation’.

It appears that subsequent to that November in 1874, Aaron was once more tempted fate and rebuilt the wall.
With the same result.
The Bostocks objected.
In January 1875, citing a loss of light to their cottage windows, the Bostock clan again knocked part of the wall down.
Fair enough, thought Aaron — he couldn’t blame them for that. But when they went on to demolish two square yards of the original wall, which he claimed had been in his possession for about 40 years, the Bostocks had gone too far.

In March 1875 Aaron got them into court where Paul junior and his sister Ellen Hudson were charged with wilful damage. Paul had provided the ‘muscle’ while sister Ellen had held a candle for him and gave verbal encouragement.
Both were found guilty, fined and ordered to pay costs and damages.

….   ‘we don’t need no altercation’.

By September 1875 the Pioneer reckoned that ‘Paulie’ had racked up his nineteenth appearance in court, having been out of jail only a few days. The Ilkeston Telegraph had counted upwards of 20 appearances!!though he had some way to go before he matched his father, who was still — and consistently — adding to his total.

In that month Paul junior was once more attacking the wall and once more found himself in court where he was fined 40s and costs, or two months in prison. ‘Paulie’ did not pay but the prison commitment was allowed to remain in abeyance unless Aaron came forward to request its execution in the future.

Aaron promised not to pursue ‘Paulie’ if there was no repeat assault on the wall.

By the end of that year the Pioneer was thoroughly confused and recorded ‘Paulie’s’ eighteenth conviction when he was imprisoned for one month with hard labour, for assaulting a police officer in the execution of his duty.  The year ended for Paul junior as it had begun.

And it continued into the following year.

….   ‘we don’t need no intoxication’.

In March 1876 Paul junior tottered up to the Spring Cottage Inn already in such a drunken state that the landlord Henry Brand would not admit him.  Picking up a few stones from the road ‘Paulie’ threw them towards an Inn window and broke the glass. Then he forced his way into the pub and refused to leave, whereupon the police were called.
The damaged window cost him over £3 in fines, damages and costs, while the charge of being drunk and riotous and refusing to quit left him another £2 out of pocket.

In June it was the turn of Paul senior who picked on the New Inn of Joseph Small at the top of Bath Street – another instance of drunk and riotous behaviour, refusal to leave, and a police arrival. This time the collier took out his knife and threatened P.C. Kenny before he spilled out into the street to continue his disorderly conduct.
Another Petty Sessions fine of 40s and costs for Paul….. reportedly his fortieth appearance at court.

…..   ‘we don’t need no justification’.

In July 1877 the ‘Hole in the Wall Gang’ was in operation once more.
This time Paul senior, a man of property’, was discovered wilfully and maliciously knocking chunks out of the offending nuisance – that is, the notorious boundary wall.
Landlord Aaron took him to court where Paul was fined but refused to pay. Thus he was led off to the Police Station to begin his one month of imprisonment, vowing that if the wall were rebuilt he would attack it once more.

1878 came and went in much the same way for Paul Bostock – ‘père et fils’ – both made appearances during the year at the Petty Sessions.
In August of that year the press was reporting that Paul senior had recorded a half century!!  And this did not include other convictions in Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire and elsewhere!!
The fine and costs for the fiftieth offence were however to be held over if Paul promised to reform his ways and sign the ‘Temperance Pledge’. He promised and he signed.
And it appears that he was true to his word. But only just!!

…   ‘we don’t need no incarceration’.

In November 1879 came conviction number 51.
Paul senior found himself drunk and disorderly at the New Inn – the one at the top of Bath Street. Then he staggered into the road where his raucous behaviour continued until he was hauled off to the lock-up where he broke six window panes. Not for the first time had the cells suffered at the hand of the collier. He was fined and had to spend three calendar months in the house of correction.

And in April 1880 Mapperley collier George Bonsall, employed at Manners Colliery, had just got paid his weekly wage of 17s, left work at 1pm., and went straight to the Spring Cottage Inn – where else!?
He stayed there drinking until about 8pm at which time he dozed off.
Also in the pub was Paul* (junior or senior?) who was seen to go up to sleeping George, put his hand into the somnolent collier’s pocket, then go back to his seat and order another pint.
When the collier awoke he discovered that most of his remaining wages had disappeared. The money was not found but that didn’t prevent Paul appearing at Heanor Petty Sessions where he was convicted of theft.
His next three months were spent in prison, with hard labour.

*It seems that the provincial newspapers were having difficulty distinguishing between the two ‘Pauls’ here … he is described as ‘Paul junior’ but of having his 53rd conviction, suggesting Paul senior ?

….   ‘we don’t need no arbitration’.

In May 1881 Paul senior was at Heanor Petty Sessions recording his 57th conviction, for drunk and riotous behaviour – according to the Pioneer’s reckoning.

Two months later Paul was at Ripley Petty Sessions trying to increase his tally. He had broken windows in a Bath Street property belonging to coal dealer Reuben Shaw, and then had squatted in the property, refusing to leave. Sergeant Handley and P.C. Smith had persuaded him out and marched him off to the Police Station.
At court Paul argued that he partly owned the property but was having a devil of a job getting his share of the rent out of it, and the magistrates looked sympathetically at the case. He was given the benefit of the doubt and advised that he should sue through the County Court rather than throw bricks through the house window. Case dismissed.

In August came conviction number 60 for Paul senior (see Clarkson, Tooth and Pickburn)– what happened to 58 and 59?!

In mid-November of 1882 the same Paul was charged with vagrancy at Ilkeston. He was still pals with Thomas Garratt, and the drunken pair were feeling a little ‘peckish’ one evening. Thus they visited the home of the William Nunn, the relieving officer of the Basford Union, who lived in Lower Granby Street, to claim a bite to eat. William was away and his wife Catherine felt most intimidated by the couple who were demanding food, threatening to stay all night and to break all the windows if necessary.  This led to Paul’s 63rd appearance at court and another month in jail for both of them.

And then in February 1883 Paul senior — now described as ‘an owner of some dilapidated houses in Bath Street’ (IA)– found himself in a rather unusual situation.
He was now appearing at the Petty Sessions but not accused of riotous behaviour or drunkenness or assault!!
He had been summoned by the Local Board for non-payment of rates, ‘a constant occurrence’!! And only a year before, he had successfully applied to the same Board for a reduction in the same rates — perhaps this success led him to push his luck too far ?
Paul’s behaviour forced the Derbyshire Times into a thoughtful mood…
“It is interesting to contemplate what would be the result if one half, or even a quarter of the ratepaying community followed the example of Mr. Paul Bostock, of Ilkeston.
“Mr. Bostock owns two or three houses, the rents of which if not sufficient to provide him with beefsteak and oyster soup, and turtle sauce, as a daily diet, are at least enough to keep him out of the workhouse. It would appear, however, that the proceeds of Mr. Bostock’s property are not calculated to do more than keep that worthy gentleman with a due amount of bread and cheese, and, perhaps, a drink or two of malt liquor; for whenever the ‘landlord’ in question is summoned for the non-payment of a Local Board rate (and that action occurs and re-occurs with arithmetical regularity) he refuses to ‘hand over’ and is accordingly handed over to the police by the magistrates.
“At the last petty sessions held at Ilkeston Mr. Paul Bostock was once more committed to Derby gaol for failing to pay the regular demand of the Local Authority.
“Mr. Bostock is to be complimented perhaps, upon his fearlessness, and also upon his regular receipts of rent which, although they make a total income sufficient to keep him outside the workhouse, are not sufficient to prevent him from going periodically to Derby Gaol.
“It is a bad job for Mr. Bostock that he does not possess just a little more of this world’s goods; and those who have an attachment for the place called Ilkeston, may be glad that it does not contain a tribe of Paul Bostocks, or some local poet would have cause to write verses about a modern ‘Deserted Village'” (DT March 1883)
Paul’s ‘visit’ to Derby gaol this time lasted for one month.

By October 23rd 1883 Paul was back to his old ways … the Ilkeston Advertiser was now reporting on his 65th offence, again for being drunk and disorderly — followed by another month in jail with hard labour. This seems very strange however, as it appears that Paul had already died at Ilkeston, aged 70, and was buried on October 4th !!!  Had the two Pauls once more been confused ?

In May 1884 the Ilkeston Pioneer announced that the Row ‘of four copyhold cottages and the greengrocer’s shop* attached, lately in the possession of Paul Bostock’ were to be sold …. ‘made in an action of Shaw against Bostock’.
The premises were described then as having a frontage to Bath Street of 27 feet and an area of 222 square yards, and shortly after this were demolished. The frontage of Bath Street at this site was “updated” and the bank premises of Messrs Smith & Co. were built in this location.
*The proprietor of the greengocer’s shop was probably Thomas Croot at 104 Bath Street (Wright’s Directory 1883 and 1885)

…. ‘we don’t need no provocation’

Meanwhile the disorderly life of Paul junior alias ‘Paulie’ continued to be disorderly.
He seems to have separated from his wife Louisa and by 1881 had left Bostock’s Row, Bath Street, to live with his widowed sister Ellen and his father at Rutland Street. A few years later and after the ‘death’ of his father, he was living with 45 year old Elizabeth Oldham, in a ‘miserable room in a second storey in South Street‘, over the shop previously belonging to John Robey but now occupied by tinman and marine store dealer John Wallis Argile. However this was not a happy liaison — for either of them. They frequently quarrelled, especially when one or both of them were drunk, and this would often end up with Paulie showing Elizabeth, forcefully and physically, who ‘was boss’.
In mid August of 1887 Paulie pawned all of Elizabeth’s clothes to help finance his drinking habit, though he did leave her with one chemise to wear. Dressed in this, Elizabeth was then kicked out into the street and lay on the pavement, badly injured and in obvious and understandable distress. She was carried back into the house by some of the crowd which had gathered, while Paul was arrested by the police and lodged in their cells for the night. Elizabeth was subsequently treated by an attending doctor for two broken ribs on each side, and severe bruising. Afterwards she was taken to the Cottage hospital; by the time that Paul appeared before the magistrates she was still too injured to give evidence.

A charge of grievous wounding against Paul was dropped by the police on their understanding that he was to be prosecuted by Elizabeth for his attack on her — I am unsure whether this ever happened.

…. ‘we don’t need no obligation’

A lull of a few years came to an end on May 12th, 1894 when Paul junior, then living at 4 Wakefield’s Yard, nipped into the Nag’s Head for a drink (what else ?!!) at about 2pm. In the taproom sat Patrick Rowen, Benjamin Wardle and Tom Sudbury (the latter no relation to the Mayor of Ilkeston, Francis Sudbury !!).

After a swift drink, Paul left and made his way, perhaps through West Street, towards the Cricket Ground down Pimlico, which meant crossing ‘Hawkins Field’ by the foundry. After climbing a stile into the field he was attacked by Patrick who had followed him out of the beerhouse and who now knocked him down and ‘put the boot in‘. Paul, blood streaming from his face, was insensible for a time while his assailant fled the scene. At least this was the story which Paul told to the police as he took out a warrant a few days later. It was the same story he told to Henry Badcock (assistant to Dr. Potter) who treated him shortly after. The latter found Paul’s left eye severely lacerated and a fissure fracture of the skull.

Patrick pleaded ‘self defence’; he alleged that Paul had approached him for a fight and Patrick obliged !! As he stepped back to avoid one of Paul’s blows, Paul himself had slipped and fallen to the ground … but as he did so, his face had caught Patrick’s clinkered boot cap. The examinating doctor stated that this was possible but highly unlikely … a more plausible explanation was that Paul had been kicked !!

Obviously Paul’s past record and behaviour were regurgitated …. he was described as a notable liar; no common sense men could attach the slightest importance to his evidence; he had one of the worst possible records in town, etc. etc. And after witnesses were called to contradict each other and support both men, the magistrates at Petty Sessions decided it was prudent to forward the case to the Quarter Sessions.

Just over a month later Patrick was in the dock at Derby where he was found guilty of felonious wounding and sentenced to three months imprisonment with hard labour.


A few more yards up Bath Street and we meet the Baker household.