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His autobiography is a very good read, starts from his childhood.
(Pierrepoint)

The book was a breakthrough when it first appeared, and most definitely still worth reading, but with the gradual release of information from other sources it is apparent that it contains some misleading, incomplete and inaccurate statements.
 

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Gout Man

LE
Book Reviewer
(Pierrepoint)

The book was a breakthrough when it first appeared, and most definitely still worth reading, but with the gradual release of information from other sources it is apparent that it contains some misleading, incomplete and inaccurate statements.
This is the one I have. What are these other sources? Just asking because I’m interested.
DE9207AA-022C-43D9-80F1-34B6372C3DB2.jpeg
 
This is the one I have. What are these other sources? Just asking because I’m interested.
This is factual, if you can lay hands on a copy -
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and of course there is a lot online.

I haven't read Executioner, Pierrepoint for a while, but as I recall he didn't make it clear in every case where he was assistant to his uncle, rather than being the Number One. In retrospect it gives the impression that he was taking credit (if that is the right word) as Number One, by not mentioning the actual principal hangman (often his uncle Tom.)

He was also unclear about the reason for his resignation in 1956. He mentioned his executions in Hameln, but didn't say much (if anything) about the wartime executions in Gibraltar. Also didn't mention the four servicemen he hanged in North Camp, Moascar, in the Suez Canal Zone in the 1950s.
As a youngster I had relatives who lived in the Newton Heath area of Manchester (where Albert resided for many years) and an uncle would sometimes point down a street and tell me "That's where Pierrepoint lives." The first pub that he took on, the appropriately named "Help The Poor Struggler" was in Hollinwood, Oldham, just outside the limits of what was then the City of Manchester (though all now subsumed by Greater Manchester.) The pub was on Manchester Road, on the corner of Baxter Street, now all covered by a car parts warehouse.

After the war, when Dad came home, he worked for the Prison Service at Walton. He didn't last long, and he never, ever mentioned it, so I don't know if he had any engagement with executions. However, I had a friend whose elder brother was a screw at Strangeways. and he was just a little less discreet. The protocols surrounding executions were kept secret, but from him I learned that the man on the trap was held steady by two screws who were perched on planks, one either side, which bridged the trap, and held on to knotted ropes with one hand to keep their balance. They placed their open palm under the armpit of the condemned man, and cut away as the trap opened.

There are other autobiographies of late 19th century and early 20th century executioners, the Billingtons, Ellis, Marwood et al, but those that came after Albert remained discreet by and large. One, Sid Dearnley (a Nottingham man IIRC) wrote a book, though I cannot remember the title. He was only ever an assistant, and helped out at a couple of dozen executions in the forties and fifties. Pierrepoint mentions him, though not by name, as the man who made an off colour remark about the genitalia of a hanged man as they were taking him off the rope. Albert complained, and Dernley was taken off the Home Office list. He (Dernley) purchased a gallows which was being disposed of by a prison, and erected it in the cellar of his house - there is a photo in his book.

Oh, another memory, another edit. I don't think you'll find this story anywhere else, because I was told it by a retired RASC colonel many years ago, just as an aside. In one of the Moascar executions the War Office flew the mothers of the condemned men (three I think) out to the Zone to see their sons for the last time. Unfortunately they also loaded Albert Pierrepoint on to the same RAF flight, and it seems that they realised who he was.
 
Last edited:

Gout Man

LE
Book Reviewer
This is factual, if you can lay hands on a copy -
Amazon product
and of course there is a lot online.

I haven't read Executioner, Pierrepoint for a while, but as I recall he didn't make it clear in every case where he was assistant to his uncle, rather than being the Number One. In retrospect it gives the impression that he was taking credit (if that is the right word) as Number One, by not mentioning the actual principal hangman (often his uncle Tom.)

He was also unclear about the reason for his resignation in 1956. He mentioned his executions in Hameln, but didn't say much (if anything) about the wartime executions in Gibraltar. Also didn't mention the four servicemen he hanged in North Camp, Moascar, in the Suez Canal Zone in the 1950s.
As a youngster I had relatives who lived in the Newton Heath area of Manchester (where Albert resided for many years) and an uncle would sometimes point down a street and tell me "That's where Pierrepoint lives." The first pub that he took on, the appropriately named "Help The Poor Struggler" was in Hollinwood, Oldham, just outside the limits of what was then the City of Manchester (though all now subsumed by Greater Manchester.) The pub was on Manchester Road, on the corner of Baxter Street, now all covered by a car parts warehouse.

After the war, when Dad came home, he worked for the Prison Service at Walton. He didn't last long, and he never, ever mentioned it, so I don't know if he had any engagement with executions. However, I had a friend whose elder brother was a screw at Strangeways. and he was just a little less discreet. The protocols surrounding executions were kept secret, but from him I learned that the man on the trap was held steady by two screws who were perched on planks, one either side, which bridged the trap, and held on to knotted ropes with one hand to keep their balance. They placed their open palm under the armpit of the condemned man, and cut away as the trap opened.

There are other autobiographies of late 19th century and early 20th century executioners, the Billingtons, Ellis, Marwood et al, but those that came after Albert remained discreet by and large. One, Sid Dearnley (a Nottingham man IIRC) wrote a book, though I cannot remember the title. He was only ever an assistant, and helped out at a couple of dozen executions in the forties and fifties. Pierrepoint mentions him, though not by name, as the man who made an off colour remark about the genitalia of a hanged man as they were taking him off the rope. Albert complained, and Dernley was taken off the Home Office list. He (Dernley) purchased a gallows which was being disposed of by a prison, and erected it in the cellar of his house - there is a photo in his book.

Oh, another memory, another edit. I don't think you'll find this story anywhere else, because I was told it by a retired RASC colonel many years ago, just as an aside. In one of the Moascar executions the War Office flew the mothers of the condemned men (three I think) out to the Zone to see their sons for the last time. Unfortunately they also loaded Albert Pierrepoint on to the same RAF flight, and it seems that they realised who he was.
This is Sid Dearnley book, and I also have this (do I need help). Again I found it very entertaining, the introduction is very good, he witnesses a 19 year old been executed, he actually spent his 19th birthday in the condemned cell.
Nice post very interesting, I wonder why those service men were topped in the 50’s? Time for a bit of Googling.


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