Unsolved Murders

Charles Hiscoke

Age: 16

Sex: male

Date: 9 Oct 1900

Place: Harwar Street, Kingsland Road, Hackney, London

Charles Hiscoke was stabbed in Harwar Street by hooligans on the night of Tuesday 9 October 1900.

He had been a carman and had lived at 135 Old Bethnal Green Road where he was employed.

He had been sent out on an errand to take a harness to Shepherdess Walk in Hoxton but didn't return.

It was said that when he went out he had very little money. It was also said that he had no enemies.

He called at the harness shop at 7.15pm.

A woman that was closing the shutters on her house said that she saw him at about 7.30pm on the Tuesday beneath a street lamp on Harwar Street near the railway arch talking to two other youths. She said that they didn't appear to be quarrelling and had been talking very quietly and a few minutes later Charles Hiscoke turned and said 'Goodnight' and walked away. However, she said that he then turned back and as far as she could see one of the other youths struck him. She said that she didn't see any weapon.

The woman said that she and another woman then went to Charles Hiscoke's aid and found him covered in blood and apparently dead.

The assault was seen by a 13-year old boy who had been stood on the opposite side of the road. He said that he saw one of the youths take a knife out of his pocket and stab Charles Hiscoke. He said that after that he ran off towards Hackney Road.

Another youth said that he saw two lads running away from Charles Hiscoke and said that he would recognise them again saying that he knew them by sight and had seen them fighting in Haxton the week before. He said that he had seen them four times altogether and was certain that he would recognise them again.

When a policeman arrived at 7.50pm he said that he found Charles Hiscoke dead and his body was taken to the mortuary.

The post-mortem showed that Charles Hiscoke had a clean puncture wound in his breast which had penetrated directly through to the heart and had severed a cartilage. The divisional surgeon said that his death would have been instantaneous. He said that the weapon was a sharp one and that it had cut through his coat, vest and underclothes.

His inquest, held at Shoreditch on 13 October 1900, returned a verdict of wilful murder.

It was also reported that a young fellow, alleged to have been the captain of one of the local bands of hooligans, was arrested on suspicion, but nothing more is known.

It was noted that the term Hooligan had become a term used to describe a rough that committed any crime of violence in the street and that it had been coined a few years earlier from the bad character of a rather numerous family named Hooligan, who preyed upon the Waterloo Road, Stamford Street and district. However, it was noted that there had been similar crimes to the Kingland Road murder long before the hooligan family came to notoriety and that to describe the crime merely as Hooliganism didn't convey any idea of all the features and ramifications of the new aspect of ruffianism. It was added that it had become so general as to suggest a perfect organisation and that robberies were innumerable and most frequently took place near a railway arch, and that since the number of arches occasioned by the extension of the Great Eastern Railway had been built, the cases of outrages and robberies had increased in proportion.

It was added that the local inhabitants were loud in complaint of the language and general conduct of certain slum properties near and that it was suggested that there the organised schemes of robbery began, with boys and girls trained to steal and even snatch watches, whilst great hulking fellows would be ready to butt a victim in the chest with their heads, or trip him up, if he should attempt to pursue the youngsters and try to regain their property.

Harwar Street is now called Cremer Street.

*map pointers are rough estimates based on known location details as per Place field above.

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Worcester Journal - Saturday 20 October 1900

see Bournemouth Daily Echo - Saturday 13 October 1900

see Suffolk and Essex Free Press - Wednesday 17 October 1900

see Cambridge Daily News - Saturday 13 October 1900

see Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper - Sunday 14 October 1900

see National Library of Scotland