For decades the high walls of Birmingham’s Winson Green Gaol have contained…
Hanged At Birmingham
For decades the high walls of Birmingham’s Winson Green Gaol have contained some of the country’s most infamous criminals. Until hanging was abolished in the 1960s it was also the main centre of execution for convicted killers from all parts of the Midlands.
The history of execution at Winson Green Gaol began in 1885 with the execution of Henry Kimberley, who had shot dead a woman in a Birmingham public house. Over the next seventy-five years many notorious killers took the short walk to the gallows here. They include the poisoner ‘nurse’ Dorothea Waddingham, IRA terrorists Peter Barnes and James Richards, and child-killer Horace Carter. Winson Green also saw the execution of Stanley Hobday, the West Bromwich murderer apprehended following a pioneering nationwide appeal on the BBC wireless; former police officer James Power, who committed a brutal murder in the shadow of the prison walls; ruthless Staffordshire killer Leslie Green, who battered to death his former employer, and Ernie Harding, who, in 1955, became the last man hanged for child murder.
Infamous executioners also played a part in the gaol’s history: James Berry, James Billington and his son William, John Ellis, William Willis, the Pierrepoint family and Harry Allen were all frequent vistors to the gloomy Victorian gaol.
Steve Fielding’s highly readable new book features each of the forty cases in one volume for the first time and is fully illustrated with rare photographs, documents, news cuttings and engravings. Hanged at Birmingham will appeal to everyone interested in the darker side of the region’s history.