THE GARROTTING OF CHARLES HENRY MORT - SCOTLAND STREET SHEFFIELD
The following account appeared in the Times dated 2nd June 1852. Over 150 years later it seems still to have rather modern overtones. The advice about not walking alone along Scotland Street towards Upperthorpe after midnight is still as relevant today as it was then
ROBBERY AT SHEFFIELD.
Another of those horrid outrages called garrotte robberies, one of which at Hull has assumed the form of murder, was perpetrated at Sheffield last Tuesday night. Mr. Charles Henry Mort, son of Mr. Henry Mort, merchant and manufacturer, Castle.hill, on Tuesday night, about 10 minutes past 12 o'clock, was proceeding along Scotland-street alone, on the road to his residence at Upperthorpe. Immediately after he had passed the top of Snow-lane, which is on the north-east side of Scotland-street, he heard stealthy footsteps behind him and the next moment a man seized the back of his necker-chief, and, drawing it very tight to his throat, placed his other hand in front of him, and pulled him down to the ground. The pressure of the neckerchief round the young gentleman's neck was continued with such great force as to render it impossible for him to make any outcry or to offer an effectual resistance. While he thus lay in the face of his enemy a second man closed upon him, and rifled his pockets, stealing a gold watch, 21. in gold, and some silver. Having got possession of their booty, they ran away up a yard that leads from Scotland-street to Peacroft. The transaction was so short that Mr. Mort did not, as is often the case under such circumstances, lose his consciousness, but before he could do anything with the view of arresting the both of the aggressors they had got clear off, The, men must have operated with great adroitness, for there were several groups of persons in the vicinity, none of whom were cognizant of what was going on. Mr. Mort bad passed several persons at a fish-shop not 100 yards from the place where he was attacked, and just before coming to: the fish-shop he had seen six or seven men standing at the door of a dram-shop opposite to the top of Lambert-street. He also found, at a distance of not more than 90 or l00yards. beyond the scene of the robbery, two watchmen standing in Meadow-street, neither of whom had seen or heard anything remarkable transpire. The night was very dark and the robbery was effected without the least noise. Scotland- street is a much frequented thoroughfare, and it is provided. with gas lamps, but on that particular night, dark as it was. none of the lamps were lighted. It is a custom in Sheffield. not to light the public lamps at moonlight, nor when it ought to be moonlight; and thus it happens that when the moon is overcast this populous town is as completely dark by night as if artificial light had never been introduced. Those are the nights on which thieves go forth to ply their calling; and if certain nights in the year are thus, as it were, assigned to them, they really can desire nothing more. As compared with honest ratepayers who have occasion to be abroad after daylight, these marauders; have, unquestionably, the best of it.
The Annual Register, Or, A View of the History and Politics of the Year ...
Garrottings.... have become exceedingly common ; and from the nature of the attack the robbers generally escape.
One of these assaults at Hull resulted in the death of the victim. A most respectable young man, named Maplethorpe, cashier in a merchant's counting-house, was found dead within short distance of his father's house, in a new street building in the suburbs. Marks of a scuffle on the pavement, and the dragging of a body across the road were perceivable, showing that the poor youth had been attacked within a few feet of his own threshold. The external appearances of the body indicated that death had been occasioned by suffocation, no marks of violence being observed, except some scratches as of human nails upon each check, and the nose. Some flowers were scattered on the pavement, and a small tuft of fur, such as might have been torn from a woman's boa or tippet. A gold watch which the deceased carried had been torn from his waistcoat pocket, and his money, to the amount of about 11?., had also been taken from his person. The murder caused a great sensation at Hull, several cases of robbery with violence having recently occurred, and believed to have been perpetrated by a travelling gang.
Another garrotte robbery was perpetrated in Sheffield a
few days after. Mr. Charles Henry Mort, son of a merchant, about ten minutes
past 12 o'clock, was proceeding along Scotland Street alone, on the road to his
residence at Upperthorpe. Immediately after he had passed the top of Snow Lane,
which is on the northeast side of Scotland Street, he heard stealthy footsteps
behind him, and the next moment a man seized the back of his neckerchief, and
drawing it very tight to his throat, placed his other hand in front of him, and
pulled him down to the ground. The pressure of the neckerchief round the young
gentleman's neck was continued with such great force as to render it impossible
for him to make any outcry or to offer an effectual resistance. While he thus
lay in, the fange of his enemy, a second man closed upon him, and rifled his
pockets, stealing a gold watch, 2Î. in gold, and some silver. Having got
possession of their booty, they ran away up a yard that leads from Scotland
Street to Peacroft, and got clear off.
At Glasgow there was a slight variation in the mode of procedure. A fellow went at night to the residence of Mr. Alexander, a surgeon- dentist living in Union Street, and ascertained that he had not yet come home. Three men hung about the stairs, which in that city are common to all the residents in the house, and when Mr. Alexander, who is an elderly person, was ascending, one man threw his arm round his neck and grasped him to suffocation, while the others carried off his watch and money. Some minutes elapsed before Mr. Alexander had sufficiently recovered to raise an alarm.
1846 T. Burdett Turton - Master Cutler
1847 Henry Mort - Master Cutler
Mort, Henry (, saw, edge tool and shoe and butcher knife manufacturer).
Residing at Castle Hill; h. Gell Street Terrace, in 1833.
Recorded in: Whites History & Directory of Sheffield - 1833. and Transcript of the entry of "professions and trades"for SHEFFIELD in Pigot's Directory of 1834.
Mort, Henry (, Mercht & saw edge tool & shoe & butcher
Residing at Castle Hill; H Gell St Terrace, in 1837.
Recorded in: Whites Directory of Sheffield & Rotherham - 1837.
Mort, Hy (, mfr. of saws, edge tols &c.).
Residing at 9 Castle hill, house 259 Glossop road, in 1841.
Recorded in: Henry & Thos. Rodgers Sheff & Roth Directory - 1841.
1857 Whites Dirctory
Bread, Cook, and Pa-letter Knife Manfrs
Mort Henry, merchant, and saw, edge tool, and shoe and butcher knife manufacturer, Phoenix Works, Castle hill ; house: Upperthorpe
Mort, Henry (~, Merchant).
Residing at 13 Clinton Place (Broomhall Road), in 1871.
Recorded in: Whites Shefffield & District Directory - 1871.
Household Record 1881 British Census
Name Relation Marital Status Gender Age Birthplace Occupation Disability
Henry MORT Head M Male 77 North Shields, Northumberland, England Hardware Merchant (Chisels Knives & C)
Annie MORT Wife M Female 83 Burnley, Lancashire, England
Dwelling 13 Clinton Place Census Place Ecclesall Bierlow, York, England
Family History Library Film 1342119 Public Records Office Reference RG11 Piece / Folio 4634 / 106 Page Number 10
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