BRITISH TORTURE THROUGH TIME: A DARK LOOK INTO CAPITAL PUNISHMENT.
Peter Allen was hanged at Walton Prison in Liverpool, and Gwynne Evans at Strangeways prison in Manchester, for the murder of John Alan West. They were the last people executed in Britain under law, thus cementing their names into British history forever. This ended the long, macabre and complex line of torture and capital punishment in the UK. Torture is not unique to Britain, it is as old as humanity itself; here we take a look at a few key points, events and techniques in this thrilling, chilling topic.
‘Deeds not words’ was their motto but these acts led to many brutal arrests made over a period of time. Women were frequently beaten publicly by the police. As a protest inside the prison walls the suffragettes regularly went on hunger strike.The authorities, terrified that it would not help their cause if a suffragette died in their care, they took the extreme measure to force feed these women through a tube that they would push brutally down their noses and poor a watery porridge mixture down their gullet. “They fed me five weeks by the nose and at the end of that time my nose what they called ‘bit’ the tube, and it would not pass into the throat even though they bent it and twisted it into all kinds of shapes. Instead, it went up to the top of my nose and seemed to pierce my eyes… Then they forced my mouth open by inserting their fingers and cutting my gums… and the lining of my cheeks… when I was blind and mad with pain they drove in two large gags. Then the tubes followed and they pressed my tongue down with their fingers and pinched my nose to weaken the natural, and also the purposeful, resistance of my throat.” Mary Richardson 1914. In 1918 the Representation of the People Act was passed, allowing women over the age of 30 who met a property qualification to vote, a direct result of the sacrifice made by the brave women who went through all kinds of hell with many not living to see the act passed.
Force feeding. (Edwardian, 1901-1914) In Edwardian England a powerful movement gained traction and eventually was in full swing. The Suffragettes led a crusade for equality (labelled by the male dominated press as “a home-grown terrorist organisation” ) The goal was to gain the vote for women in England, however after years of peaceful protests and having their requests repeatedly fall on deaf ears, a change in approach was pushed forward headed by Emmeline Pankhurst. Smashing shop windows, disrupting transport and even blowing property up, these brave women did not hold back.
The Rack (The Stuarts, 1604) ‘Remember, remember the fifth of November, Gunpowder, treason and plot’. This well-known rhyme is now a traditional song children and adults alike will sing, in a bizarre yearly ritual in which we casually burn an effigy of Guy Fawkes, who was pushed forward as the ringleader of the plot to kill a King James I & VI. In 1604 a handful of Catholics and some converted protestants met and made a deal to blow up parliament. Guy Fawkes, Robert Catesby, Tom Wintour, Jack Wright and Thomas Percy met at the Duck and Drake inn in London and a plan was formed, a plan that would ultimately fail. The night came and Fawkes was caught
BY OLLIE GREEN Torture, noun; 1. the action or practice of inflicting severe pain or suffering on someone as a punishment or in order to force them to do or say something. Starting at the end.
THE HISTORIANS MAGAZINE
red-handed in the basement lined with barrels of gunpowder. To gain a confession from Fawkes a piece of equipment was used called the rack: This barbaric bit of kit was designed to stretch the body by tying each limb to a rope and cranking it around a cog, so eventually both arms and legs were stretched out in different directions (at times popping joints out of their sockets). Even once the torture was over, Fawkes was still to meet a grisly end. He was set to be hanged, drawn, and quartered. However, Fawkes sprang from the gallows before he could be hanged. The fall broke his neck. His remains were cut up and sent to the four corners of the kingdom as a warning to future plotters. Cucking and Ducking stools (17th century England) The humiliation of the Cucking stool was enough to shame entire families for generations, The Cucking stool (sometimes known as a scolding stool), was in a lot of cases a simple toilet “stool” placed in public view. The person in question was forced to sit on it and was marched through the town, however it was that Ducking stool that was far more severe. The ducking stool was in use in England by the 17th century, the equipment was made up of an iron or wooden chair onto which the accused was strapped down by force. The chair was attached to a long pole and was set up beside a pond, river other body of water. The person on the stool was plunged into the usually cold fast flowing water repeatedly. This usually proved fatal as the victim would either drown, fall from a height or simply die of shock. Hung, drawn and quartered (1305) William Wallace is somewhat unfairly remembered as a character played in the (Terrible) Mel Gibson movie Braveheart. Wallace was probably born around the year 1270 near Paisley in