Orange Riots, Liverpool, 1835

Liverpool Mercury, July 17th, 1835

Dreadful riots

We are sorry to have to state that during the early part of the week the peace of the town was disturbed, and the lives and property of the peaceable inhabitants endangered, by a most lawless and savage series of riots, in which the lower orders of the Irish residents were the principal;, or indeed, the only actors.

On Sunday last being the 12th July, the anniversary of the battle of the Boyne, a report got abroad, we know not with what foundation, that the Orangemen intended to celebrate either that or the succeeding day by a public procession. This the opposite faction determined to prevent, and they accordingly began to assemble at an early hour on Sunday morning in considerable numbers in Tithebarn St, Vauxhall Rd, Marybone, and other parts of the town. No serious disturbance occurred during the day, thought, we think most injudiciously, the people we allowed to continue in the streets without any interference on the part of the authorities, and without any preparation, as far as we can learn, for such an outbreak of popular violence as afterwards occurred. After 10pm at night, a violent commotion in Ben Johnson St called for the interference of the watchmen, who, though they were strongly opposed in the execution of their duty, succeeded in capturing one man, whose behaviour bespoke him to be a ringleader. This was a signal for a general assault. The mob set upon the watchmen, rescued the prisoner, and assaulted the officers so hotly, that they were driven from the street. About the same time a great tumult occurred in Great Crosshall St. The officers of the night watch from the adjacent districts were quickly summoned in, and ran to quell the disturbance. The mob instantly turned upon them with the greatest fury, and as they were 50 to 1 the numerical strength against the guardians of the peace, the latter were driven before them along Great Crosshall St, in the direction of Tithebarn St. The fury of the mob seemed to increase as they proceeded, and their conduct became so outrageous that the watchmen were compelled to take refuge in the Vauxhall Rd lock-up to save their lives. The rioters now seemed to concentrate their whole force upon this spot, where it is estimated they were assembled to the number of 2,000, many armed with bludgeons and other weapons. Some of those who had pressed most closely upon the watchmen, and who consequently came first up to the door of the lock-up, bore hatchets and heavy staves in their hands, with which they commenced an immediate attack upon the outer gate. This being pretty strong it resisted their efforts for a considerable time, but the mob being determined to effect an entrance, it at length gave way before the violent and incessant battering which they kept upon it. RAMADGE the bridewell-keeper who had warning of what might be expected seeing a mob of about 200 parading the street for some time before the attack on the bridewell, cheering occasionally and crying out they would pull it down, then barricaded the inner door as well as he could, and retreated to the loft where he rang the fire-bell as the best means of alarming the town and procuring assistance in his perilous situation.

Mr WHITTY, superintendent of the nightly watch and fire police, hearing the bell, and concluding that some premises in the town was on fire, instantly procured a coach and drove up to the bridewell, where he arrived immediately after the front gate had been forced. On entering the yard he found himself at once in the very midst of the rioters, who immediately commenced a furious attack upon him, some being armed with lamp-irons they had picked up in the yard. Mr WHITTY defended himself as well as he could with his stick, but he attributes the preservation of his life to two young men belonging to the rioters, who threw themselves between him and the mob, exclaiming, "No, no, you must not hit him," and warded off several blows intended for him. They were however overpowered by their companions, and it would probably have gone hard with Mr WHITTY had he not dashed through them into the bridewell, the inner door of which was just then broken open. He fortunately suffered no other injury than a blow on the side of the head from a lamp-iron. It is a remarkable circumstance that when Mr WHITTY passed through this door, not one of the rioters attempted to follow him. Having achieved this much they seemed to pause, to consider what should be their next object. Mr WHITY now having ascertained how matters stood, made his way out again into the street through the pinfold, and having mustered as many of his men as possible, and sent messengers to send forward the rest from the various districts of the town he attacked the rioters, and by dint of great exertions and the most praiseworthy determination on the part of himself and his officers, they at length succeeded in turning them and driving them off. In this attack three of the ringleaders were taken prisoners and lodged in safe custody.

After a short interval the rioters rallied and returned boldly to attack. By this time, however, Mr PARLOUR, the governor of the day police, came up with several of his officers and a large body of Mr WHITTY'S firemen. The latter armed with their tomahawks, dressed in their peculiar uniform, presented a very imposing appearance. With this force Mr WHITTY and Mr PARLOUR again attacked the rioters, whom they compelled to fly in all directions. They then assembled their men at the junction of the five streets, Vauxhall Rd, Hatton Garden, Tithebarn St, Great Crosshall St and Marybone, and dividing them into companies despatched them along those several avenues. By this judicious manoeuvre the streets were cleared. The activity of Mr WHITTY and Mr PARLOUR at this junction merits the highest commendation. We saw them in every quarter, animating the men by their example, dispersing idle bystanders, and apprehending or driving off refractory assailants. Immediately after this the preservation of the peace in this vicinity became a matter of certainty, by the arrival of Mr DOWLING with 100 men of the Dock-police. Shortly after which his Worship the Mayor and Alderman Sit Thomas BRANCKER made their appearance with 200 soldiers of the 80th Regiment under the command of Major NUN.

In the course of the conflict succeeding the first sally from the Bridewell, BICKERSTAFF, of the nightly watch, received a very dangerous wound by some sharp instrument from one of the rioters. The weapon penetrated beneath the left eye, and has been driven under the nose completely through, and out the other side of the face, the unfortunate man is not expected to live. Captains BAYLIS and BRADFORD, with WILLIAMS, KENNEDY and DEVEREUX of the nightly watch, have all received severe hurts. The other personal injuries sustained consist merely of bruises and contusions which are not of a serious nature. All the windows of the Vauxhall Rd Lock-up have been demolished and an immense number of panes of glass in the neighbourhood have been broken.

On Monday morning several persons, all Irish, were brought up before the magistrates charged with having taken part in the riots, but the town being still in an unsettled state, and many of the constables and watchmen still on duty, they were remanded. During the whole of Monday several quarters of the town still remained in a most unquiet and unsettled state, and numbers of shopkeepers took the precaution of closing their window-shutters. At an early hour in the morning, the rioters still under the impression that there would be an Orange procession, re-assembled in a large body in Park Lane. At about 9.30am Mr PARLOUR having received intelligence that the mob manifested a disposition to create disturbance in the neighbourhood, proceeded thither with a part of constables, to endeavour, if possible, to disperse, or reduce them to some degree of order. He found on his arrival that the inhabitants were in great alarm, their shops being closed and all business at a stand still. He immediately proceeded to disarm the ruffians composing the mob of the sticks which they carried. This he effected by telling them they would have them returned to them on application at the police-office on the following day, and that the magistrates would neither permit any procession of Orangemen, or any violent behaviour by their party. Some of the ringleaders, however, instigated those who had given up their weapons to turn upon Mr PARLOUR and his men and recapture them. All further remonstrance on the part of Mr PARLOUR was without effect, and seeing that the mob increased in violence, as well as in numbers, he deemed it necessary to send for a body of the dock police. Shortly after this the Mayor and Alderman BOURNE arrived on the spot, when his Worship perceiving that the rioters exhibited tokens of extreme excitement, determined upon calling upon the military, with the view of showing the ruffians that he was prepared and determined to preserve peace. A detachment of the 80th Regiment quickly arrived on the spot, under the command of Major NUN, when his Worship directed that they should be paraded through the disturbed streets till the demonstrations of violence were abated. This determined, but forbearing mode of procedure had its effect, for the crowd gradually dispersed, and the Mayor ordered the military back to their barracks with the directions to them to remain in readiness to co-operate with the civil power at a moments notice. While his Worship was passing to and fro in this vicinity he was repeatedly threatened, that if he did not release the prisoners who had been incarcerated during the preceding night, the main bridewell should be broken open, and they should be rescued by force.

When the mob quitted Park Lane, it appears that they proceeded to Vauxhall Rd, and joined another body of rioters who were there assembled. Here the aspect of affairs became so threatening, that the officers of the nightly watch were called out, and a body of 100 special constables sworn in and despatched to the spot, that the authorities in that quarter might be in a position to repel any aggression. Mr WHITTY visited the district several times during the morning, and lodged a body of men within the bridewell, giving them orders to ring the fire-bell in case of any attempt being made from without to force an entrance. Alderman CASE also rode up to Vauxhall Rd, and used every endeavour to quiet the multitude without effect. About 2pm it being found that the prisoners confined in Vauxhall Rd bridewell had become objects of great interest to the mob, it was deemed expedient to have them instantly removed to a place of greater security. Accordingly Mr PARLOUR, with a strong body of police-officers and watchmen, proceeded to the place and escorted 12 prisoners who had been placed in custody during the morning, to the main bridewell. The mob, seeing the great force which accompanied Mr PARLOUR, suffered him to perform the operation without making any attempt at rescue. During the afternoon the multitude was as great as ever, the rioters remained tolerably quiet. The Mayor conceiving that the peace and safety of the inhabitants of the town required it, had 400 special constables sworn in, to whom he gave strict orders that they should conduct themselves with forbearance, and not move unless called upon by their superiors, but when their exertions were required his Worship hoped they would behave with befitting firmness and resolution. During the day great numbers of the rioters were taken into custody, many of them with weapons of the most deadly description in their possession, and, owing to the precautions taken by the Mayor, and the admirable conduct of the town and dock police and the men belonging to the nightly watch, most of whom were on duty for 30 hours without intermission, the evening and night passed off in comparative quiet.

On Tuesday between 60 and 70 individuals were brought up before the magistrates in lots of 6 at a time, charged with being concerned in the riots of Sunday and Monday. Amongst the weapons produced having been taken from individuals amongst the number were a brass horse pistol of foreign manufacture, 9 inches in the barrel, found loaded with powder, a bullet, not cast but cut round, and several cobbler's sprigs. This was taken from a man named LOUGHLIN, who had also upon him a quarter of a pound of gunpowder, several leaden slugs, and a quantity of sprigs, such as formed part of the charge of the pistol. Another instrument was a thick ash stick, about 3 feet long, loaded at one end with a heavy iron nut, which fitted so exactly that it seemed to have been made for the purpose to which it had been applied. Another was a form of dagger, formed out of a butcher's steel, with a cross handle clumsily lashed with a cord, something in the shape of a carpenter's augre, and made extremely sharp at the point. It was probably from this or some similar instrument that BICKERSTAFF received his wound. There were also exhibited several sticks and bludgeons of most formidable dimensions, in admirable keeping with the conduct and character of the semi-savages who used them.

The following persons, 43 in number were identified as having taken part, and many of them as being ringleaders in the riots :-

Patrick HEANEY, John FITZPATRICK, Joseph M'ALISTER, William LOUGHLIN, John BURNS, Joseph DONNELLY, William HUTCHINSON, Morris QUIRK, Patrick FITZPATRICK, John M'INTYRE, Peter M'SHEA, Francis CURRAN, Peter KELLY, Michael FLAHERTY, Michael BURNS, Silvester DONOHUE, Edward MARR, Patrick KELLY, Michael M'KEWAN, Anthony CULLEN, James KEARNS, Hugh FINNIGAN, Thomas DUNN, James HOPE, Patrick HALL, John OWENS, Tim PARRY, Henry M'ANALTY, James MALONE, Michael TRAINER, Thomas CLARRY, John FORD, J. M. DANIELS, Michael SMITH, James FINN, Pat WOODS, Michael THORNTON, Samuel LEA, Patrick M'GINNIS, John CANNON, Hugh GALOOLEY, Patrick GOODWIN, and Thomas CARTHY.

They were remanded in order that the depositions might be taken against them, as were also the following who were not clearly identified :-

John HEANEY, John KEGAN, James BOWMAN, Michael ROONEY, William HUNT, Patrick PENTONY, John CALLAGHER and Tim CARLAND During the proceedings before the magistrates [the Mayor and Sir T. BANCKER] Mr PARLOUR spoke in the highest terms of the conduct of the firemen, observing that it was impossible for any body of men to behave better than they did during the riots. The magistrates paid similar compliments to the town-police, dock-police and nightly watch, for their behaviour.

On Wednesday eight of the last named were brought up again and John KEGAN and Patrick PENTONY were identified by SAUL one of the watchmen, as having been actively engaged in the row on Sunday night, armed with sticks, and cheering and inciting the mob. No person could identify any of the other prisoners, Mr BACHELDOR the bridewell-keeper stated that, in order to render the work of identification difficult, most of the prisoners had changed clothes with each other during the first night of their incarceration and had repeated the operation once or twice. Mr ELLIS produced a certificate stating that BICKERSTAFF the watchman, was better, but still not out of danger, the prisoners were remanded to wait the result. There is reason to believe that some attempts had been made to intimidate the watchmen and others from giving evidence against the prisoners, but we trust that such attempts will fail, and that every severe example will be made. either at the session assizes, of some of the semi-savages engaged in these lawless and disgraceful proceedings.

Edward MAGRATH and Charles O'NEILL were required to find bail for their appearance at the sessions for forming part of the mob which attacked the house and shop of John DOUGLAS, hairdresser, Blundell St, on Monday morning, breaking his windows, destroying his wigs and blocks, and threatening the lives of himself and his family. Douglas's offence was his being, or suspected to be an Orangeman, his assailants being of the opposite faction.

The prisoners were brought up again yesterday, when all those identified were fully committed to the sessions. 6 of the persons taken into custody John HEALY, CARLAND, KEGAN, CALLAGHER, and two others were discharged, there being no evidence against them. BICKERSTAFF the watchman is better, and now considered almost out of danger.

At the sessions the prisoners were given 6 months imprisonment.

Liverpool Mercury, July 24th, 1835

The Watchmen and the riots

At the meeting of the Commissioners of the Watch, on Friday last, the Mayor in the chair, a motion of thanks to the superintendents, captains and privates of the watch, for their exertions in putting down the riots, was unanimously agreed to, and Mr WHITTY was desired to communicate it to the parties concerned. The Mayor bore personal testimony to the excellent and efficient manner in which Mr WHITTY the captains and the watch conducted themselves. A reward of 2 was ordered to Captain David KERR, and 1 each to the following 11 men, who, with him, had enabled Mr WHITTY to disperse the mob, then about 2,000 :-

John GUY, Daniel DOYLE, William BICKERSTAFF, James LYNCH, John REARDON, William CLINTON, Philip DEVEREUX, Thomas GILMORE, Hugh O'HARA, Francis PINKERTON and Michael GARVEY.

A reward of 5 was voted to Captain William BRADFORD, who behaved with great spirit and was severely beaten. The sum of 2 was given to Captain William BAYLIS, and 1 to Captain BRADSHAW, for their creditable exertions in quelling the riots. BICKERSTAFF the watchman who was so grievously beaten and wounded by the rioters, is now, a little better, and his medical attendants hope he may recover.

2012 all rights reserved

MAIN PAGE