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William Wadham, arrested for sleeping rough | by Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums
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William Wadham, arrested for sleeping rough

Name: William Wadham

Arrested for: Sleeping Out

Arrested at: North Shields Police Station

Arrested on: 11 July 1904

Tyne and Wear Archives ref: DX1388-1-51-William Wadham


The Shields Daily Gazette for 11 July 1904 reported:


"At North Shields, Charles Winlow (53), tramp, no fixed abode,

was charge with lodging in a hay stack in Mariners' Lane without having visible means of subsistence, and was sent to prison for seven days. William Wadham, Tyne Dock, William Smith or Morrison, shoeblack, and William Patton, no fixed abode, were charged with lodging in a hay pike at Kenners Dene Farm. Wadham and Smith were each committed for seven days and Patton was committed for 14 days".


For a mugshot of William Morrison (named as Morrissey in the album) see


Contemporary attitudes to rough sleeping can be seen in a report in the Shields Daily Gazette on 5 October 1903.


"At Jarrow today John Smith, Wm Cooper, James Bell, young men who said they came to the town in search of work, were charged with sleeping in Palmers Works last night. PC Lowery gave evidence and Supt Fleming said that the county was 'swarming' with fellows like defendants, who should be made to seek shelter in the Workhouses. Defendants were sent to prison for 7 days".


The Shields Daily Gazette of 8 October 1903 contains an article entitled 'Lazy Loafers':


"There are some people who will neither work nor want. They are the typical loafers we can see in the streets any day. Apparently we have a fairly good stock of them at North Shields. It is not because of depression of trade either. The other morning no fewer than half a dozen of such individuals were place in the dock on a charge of sleeping out. The officer had found them all huddled together in an empty room during the night and they could not give a satisfactory account of themselves. When questioned by the magistrates, the police officers stated that all the defendants were lazy loafers, who had never worked for a considerable time. They did nothing but lounge about the streets during the day and then obtained shelter in some empty room or outhouse at night. The magistrates marked their sense of the offence by sending them all to prison for a month each - each with hard labour. A month of hard work will probably do them a vast of good and will enable them to shake off that habitual tired feeling".


These images are a selection from an album of photographs of prisoners brought before the North Shields Police Court between 1902 and 1916 in the collection of Tyne & Wear Archives (TWA ref DX1388/1).


This set contains mugshots of boys and girls under the age of 21. This reflects the fact that until 1970 that was the legal age of majority in the UK.


(Copyright) We're happy for you to share this digital image within the spirit of The Commons. Please cite 'Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums' when reusing. Certain restrictions on high quality reproductions and commercial use of the original physical version apply though; if you're unsure please email

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Taken on July 11, 1904