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Armley Gaol, bricked up tunnel in the prison boundary wall.


Armley Gaol, bricked up tunnel in the prison boundary wall.
Description:
December 2002. Image of Armley Gaol clearly showing the bricked - up tunnel in the prison boundary wall. This is where, on 10th September 1864, Joseph Myers and James Sargisson would have emerged onto the Gaol Field to view the light of day for the last time. This was the first and only public execution to take place at Armley Gaol and it was reported in the Leeds Mercury as 'a sad and horrible picture of humanity.' This referring to the crowds of between 80,000 and 100,000 spectators who had turned out to witness the hangings. The original prison gate, now no longer used, is in the background.

User Comments:

Name:
Don Smith

Comment:
I lived two streets from the Jail as a lad in the 1940s, on a Saturday mornings my mates and I went 'Comando Training' on this wall, we started a little ways up from were this image is taken climbing up the buttresses onto the wall then jumping down and up again on the next buttress every so far there was a small tower we went hand over hand round this and so on untill we had done the entire wall.

Email:
anne-donsmith@shaw.ca

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Name:
Michael Taylor

Comment:
This was not Armley's only execution. Indeed the prison had many. The execution of two notorious Sheffield Gangsters in the 1930s. The last execution at Armley was of a Hungarian man in 1961, following a murder in Roundhay. Besides the London prisons and Strangeways, Armley probably had the most executions in the modern era.

Email:
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Name:
Brian Brown

Comment:
At the bottom of the wall used to be the bowling Greens and every November 5th we had our bonfire on their.

Date:
21-Sep-2008

Email:
brianbrown4149@supanet.com

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Name:
Chris Martin

Comment:
Michael Taylor... the description says the only PUBLIC execution.

Date:
04-Nov-2008

Email:
chrisma5803@yahoo.co.uk

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Name:
Graham A. Schofield

Comment:
. . . . . . . . . 'a sad and horrible picture of humanity.' This statement would have been made by probably one person representing a very small group of proselytes to the Anti Hanging Cause. Where was the other voice: that of the thousands of people, many of whom would have travelled many miles to see the spectacle? They would have had a great day out. It would have been like a fair. Mongers of every kind would have been among the throng selling their wares. If the weather was right, the crowd would have had a very enjoyable day out seeing justice done. I can imagine that the Leeds Mercury didn't run an article about enjoyable day that everyone had. It was most likely that the minority voice and only the minority voice had to be heard, regardless of public opinion. The rancid whiff of political interference would have been in the air. Public Hangings were very popular events. I know that Hunslet Moor was a popular venue for Hangings, and that many thousands of people would gather there to witness the playing out of 'An Eye For An Eye'.

Date:
02-Dec-2008

Email:
GrahamScho@AOL.com

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Name:
Michael Kirby

Comment:
During the early 70s I bought a vinyl album by a local folk singer, Jon Rennard. The album was called 'Brimbledon Fair' and one of the tracks was called 'Joseph Myers'. It went something like this: "Joseph Myers is my name, In Armly Gaol I lie, And for the murder of my wife, I am condemed to die" I can't remember the rest of the song, but I always had the impression that it was a nineteenth century broadsheet, as Myers laments what he has done, and warns others not to do the same. By the way, Jon Rennard died in the late 60s or early 70s. He was a popular performer in folk clubs around Leeds, and I think he may have been one of the organisers of the Phoenix folk club, which used to take place in the RAOB club on North Street, before relocating to the Irish Centre on York Road.

Date:
06-Feb-2009

Email:
Not displayed

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Name:
Gilly Sloper

Comment:
Regarding Michael Kirby's comments, I remember Jon Rennard singing Joseph Myers at the club I used to sing in in 1969-70 in the Hind's Head in Alsermaston, Berkshire. If any one could furnish me with a copy of Brimbledon Fair or A Parting Glass by Jon Rennard I would be eternally grateful

Date:
28-Aug-2009

Email:
gillysloper@hotmail.com

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Name:
Carol Brook nee Roe

Comment:
I used to live in Model Avenue in the 60 s and 70 s ....i remember running past the "castle" as i thought it was when playing out on "jailey field" at the side of it????

Date:
21-Feb-2011

Email:
Chantasfinn@aol.com

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Name:
Terry Watson.

Comment:
In 1946 I started a seven year apprenticeship with J Wilby & son in Armley Road, and I ysed to walk across the jail field to work. Every morning outside the jail there would be a Sammy Ledgards bus loading up with prisonners which would take them up Stanningley Road to work the fields, no gym, computers, Tv`s just hard work. Oh! how times change and not always for the better. The fields they worked is now a housing estate.

Date:
22-Aug-2011

Email:
TellWatson@talktalk.net

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Name:
T G Holmes

Comment:
Zigi Pantokia.When came to Waterhaigh Colliery Rothwell for Work due to him being an Hungarian he was told to come back in weeks time and say he wasa Pole.He worked on the night shift has a main gate ripper.He now and again gave me a lift home on his Vincent Black Shadow motor bike.His mate Kolowaski who was a Contract driller drilling holes for the shotfirers.He drilled 120 holes a shift 6ft foot in to the coal.He murdered his girl friend in Quarry Hill Flats.He was hung at the Prison in Manchester not long after Zigia,Should any one have or knows where I can get a Picture of Pantokia's Grave stone.Please send it to sirtrevor2@btinternet.com

Date:
27-Mar-2012

Email:
sirtrevor2@btinternet.com

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Name:
Eric Walsh

Comment:
The present day car park has been built up around the tunnell, originally there were three steps down to ground lvel fromthis passageway.

Date:
17-Jul-2012

Email:
Not displayed

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Name:
T Holmes

Comment:
Does anyone one know or has a photograph of Zigia"s gravestone which was there in the Jails graveyard before been moved elsewere

Date:
10-Nov-2012

Email:
sirtrevor2@btinternet.com

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Name:
Malcolm Wright

Comment:
With regards to T HOLMES 10 Nov 2012, there were no gravestones for any hanged person at Armley Gaol. I worked there for thirty years. The only records kept for each person was a plan of where they were buried. Just before the extension was built some sixteen bodies were removed to the local cemetery in Hall Lane, to make way for the new wings. (From ARMLEY GAOL 1864 to 1961 the EXECUTION ERA). By Malcolm Wright.

Date:
18-Nov-2015

Email:
malwright@sky.com

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Name:
Mick Agar

Comment:
There's a contemporary account of this public execution on Secret Leeds. http://www.secretleeds.com/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=6130#p116208

Date:
03-Feb-2017

Email:
Not displayed

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Name:
Jacko

Comment:
Wow! From 80,000 -100,000 to watch a public execution? That's better entertainment than Leeds United could ever conjure up. You'd have to have been early with your packup to have gotten a good view...

Date:
29-Jun-2017

Email:
Not displayed

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