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1849 - Proceedings of the Old Bailey (4)

Date 1849
Topic Robin Hood on High Holborn
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Site of Robin Hood on High Holborn.

By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2018-06-16. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2018-07-28.


[29 Oct. 1849:]
THOMAS SAUNDERS. I am a cabinet-maker. I have known William Barton nearly four months, and Hanbury eight or nine weeks—about the middle of Aug. I was engaged with them in making up these parcels—about six or seven weeks before 27th Sept., Barton and I met in the morning by appointment—he pointed out to me a man who carried parcels, who had left a van at the corner of Brownlow-street, and took the parcels to Gregory and Faulkner's—he left them there while he went elsewhere—Barton said, "Do you think you can make up anything like that, Tom?"—I said, "I don't know, I will try"—he said, "If you can, there will be at least 50l. or 100l. a piece for us"—I went with him to see that, fourteen or fifteen times, to see whether he would continue to leave them there or at any fresh place—he did not explain what it was for until the last time—I afterwards met him by appointment at Lee-street, Burton-crescent, and went to Hanbury's lodging in Hart. street, Covent-garden, to make up some parcels—he gave me 3d. to buy some cartridge-paper, I bought two damaged sheets, which came to 21l. 2d.—they had plenty of brown paper—(the day before that Barton gave me 1d. to purchase a piece of lawyer's narrow tape, I got it at Howitt's in Holborn, and gave it to Barton, we then separated, and made the appointment for the next day)—I had never been to Hanbury's before—he lodges in the first-floor front room—directly we saw Hanbury, "William Barton pulled out a book, like this produced, and said, "I think this will do, Harry, will it not?"—Hanbury said, "Yes, this is something like it"—he had given it to me to write on, and I wrote on it, "Great Western Railway-office, 1849, packet-book"—we then proceeded to make up parcels—Hanbury cut a piece of wood shorter, which was rather too long, and Barton pulled some list out of his pocket to make it look larger; this is it with the list on it (opening it)—they were folded over and made into parcels by each of us; these are the dummies I made—five or six parcels were fastened together by string, three with the red tape, and one was sealed with this seal, which Hanbury produced, and at Barton's suggestion I directed it to Evelyn and Louth, civil engineers, Guild-ford-street—these two dark seals were put on it, in my presence—Barton melted the wax—here are two seals on it which I know nothing about—this is the piece of wax which was used (produced)—it was joined together by Hanbury, in my presence—Barton produced a strap like this (produced), and gave it to Hanbury, who strapped eight parcels together, and one was kept loose—they were then put away, and Hanbury was to meet me and Barton at the Robin Hood in Holborn on the following morning, when Hanbury was to bring them to me to be changed for the parcels which would be left at Gregory and Faulkner's—after we had made up the parcels, we three went to a public-house in Long Acre, next to King-street, I do not know the sign, and had a pint of porter and half-a-quartern of gin—on the morning the tape was purchased, and on the next morning also, we called at the Hand-in-Hand public-house, at the corner of Hand-court, a very little way from Gregory and Faulkner's—on the first morning the man did not leave the parcels; Barton looked out, and said he had seen three or four policemen about, and he thought it would not do—the parcels were brought in a basket, which Hanbury brought, with a saw and a hammer peeping out at each end, to make it look like a tool-basket—I was taken to the workhouse that day, having no means of providing for my wife and family, and I wanted to carry on this thing as far as I could, and then go to the workhouse—I have seen Barton twice since; once in the workhouse, about a fortnight afterwards, and once in the street—I was afterwards taken in the workhouse by a policeman, on suspicion of stealing some things from my furnished lodgings—about a month afterwards I heard that this robbery was discovered, I saw it in the newspaper, I got over the workhouse-wall, went to the Great Western Rail-way, and communicated with Mr. Collard's clerk—Mr. Collard did not know where to find me before that.[1]

Source notes

IRHB has silently regularized the use of spaces before punctuation marks in the quotation and corrected the HTML text at Proceedings of the Old Bailey from the PDF of the original printed edition.

IRHB comments

There were (at least) three public houses named the Robin Hood in Holborn: one in Leather Lane, one in the now lost Robin Hood Court, and that at 281 High Holborn. Since the street name was often included in references to these and this is not the case here, I have taken this to refer to the Robin Hood at 281 Holborn. This is of course not certain.



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