Unsolved Murders

James Dalziel

Age: 32

Sex: male

Date: 3 Mar 1934

Place: Bedford Parlour Dance Hall, 5 Kelty Street, Glasgow

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

James Dalziel was attacked at a dance hall in Glasgow, his throat had been cut with a razor.

He was taken to the Victoria Infirmary in Glasgow where he died.

Thirteen men were initially arrested over his murder and five men were tried. The charges against four of the five men were dropped during the trial and the last man facing the charge, who was identified as the man that had stabbed James Dalziel was acquitted. However, all five of the men were found guilty of mobbing and rioting and each sentenced to 12 months imprisonment.

It was heard that a fight had started between members of a gang known as The Bridegate Boys and members of another gang known as The Bedford Boys.

Members of The Bridegate Boys were said to have thrown bottles, crockery and other missiles, brandished knives and batons and to have also assaulted five people, including James Dalziel.

The doorkeeper of the dance hall said that a number of men entered the hall on the morning of 3 March1934 and a disturbance broke out. He said that he was also struck on the head with a bottle. He said that he saw James Dalziel standing at the end of a passage leading into the hall and then saw him walk forward and then saw a man step from the side of the hall and strike him. However, he said that he could not say if the man had had anything in his hand. He added that he had never seen the man that had struck the blow before.

The doorkeeper said that James Dalziel then staggered back into the passage holding one of his hands to his neck.

The doorkeeper later attended an identification parade and from 19 men picked out five men that had been in the dance hall on the night.

A man that sometimes assisted in the cloakroom at the dance hall said that he saw James Dalziel turn to face a man who was coming across the hall towards him. He said that as James Dalziel turned to face the man, a chap came from the bottom of the hall and stabbed him in the neck. The man said that he went to help James Dalziel and said that James Dalziel said to him, 'Don't let that chap get away'.

The cloakroom assistant later picked the man out in an identification parade of 12 men as the man that had stabbed James Dalziel, and the man was later charged with murder and was one of the five men that were tried. However, when he had described the man that he saw stab James Dalziel, he said that he was about his own age, 23-years. When the cloakroom assistant was later questioned he was asked to look at the man charged and asked whether he would say that he was about his age and when the cloakroom assistant hesitated in answering, he was then asked if he would be surprised to hear that the man was 18 years old. The cloakroom assistant said that he would and said that the man looked older.

A man said that he had gone to the dance hall for the purpose of selling papers and said that a young man came up to him and bought one. However, he said that he then saw that the young man had something in his hand which looked like a knife and said that he saw him wrap the knife with the paper after he had bought it. The newspaper seller said that he then saw four men come into the hall at about 1.15am in single file and said that they made for James Dalziel, who he called Razzles. He said that he saw a small chap with his hand raised although said that he didn't see him aim a blow at anyone. He later identified one of the men on trial as the man that he had seen with his hand raised but when he was asked if he was not mistaken, the newspaper seller said that he might have been mistaken, noting that it was just the way he saw the back view of the man and from the size of the man he took him at the identification parade to be the man that he had seen.

A girl that had been in the dance hall said that she heard a strange man pass the remark, 'Are you ready now?' and said that that was then followed by a bottle being thrown.

Another girl said that on the morning of the murder, one of the men tried had said that he had been singing in the dance hall and that a fellow had shouted at him and that he had then battered the fellow.

One of the men that was on trial for the murder and had been identified by several people as the man that had stabbed James Dalziel said that he had not been at the Bedford Parlour on the night.

The doctor that examined James Dalziel said that he had a small incised wound about half an inch long just behind the angle of the jaw at the right side. He said that in his opinion the wound was caused by a stab with a sharp-pointed instrument.

When the judge summed up the case in court he said that it was clear that at the time that James Dalziel had received the blow, he had been entirely passive, and added that the wound had been delivered with a lethal weapon.

He continued by saying, 'I have to direct you that whoever struck the blow, if it was struck consciously without provocation and without any element of self-defence, that person committed the act of murder, and the only question is by what hand was the blow struck'. He also said that he had been asked by counsel to direct the jury that there was no evidence against the last man under the charge of murder, but declined, saying that the evidence was for the jury to weigh. The judge added that, 'If the man struck the blow himself, he should have got blood upon his garments. From all we have heard one can hardly understand how the only blood to reach him outside could have been covered by a threepenny bit between the second and third buttons of his jacket'.

At the time, James Dalziel had been living in Surrey Street, Glasgow. He was a bookmaker's clerk.


see Illustrated Police News - Thursday 10 May 1934

see Dundee Evening Telegraph - Wednesday 25 April 1934

see Dundee Courier - Wednesday 25 April 1934

see Dundee Courier - Saturday 28 April 1934

see Western Gazette - Friday 09 March 1934

see Dundee Courier - Thursday 26 April 1934

see Dundee Courier - Friday 27 April 1934

see The Scotsman - Wednesday 25 April 1934

see Dundee Evening Telegraph - Wednesday 25 April 1934

see The Scotsman - Thursday 26 April 1934