Expert hangman called in to advise on design of gallows
Monday 03 October 2005
Documents released by the National Archives tell how an official was ordered to inspect the equipment at Winchester Prison after two condemned men hit their head or shoulder on one side of the pit as they were hanged. This could prevent their necks being broken.
The inspector discussed the design of the gallows with the famous executioner, John Ellis, who served as a hangman between 1901 and 1924. He praises Ellis' skill, saying "he must now carry out his work in a fraction of a second".
According to a subsequent Home Office report, Ellis expressed concerns that the trap doors of the gallows at Winchester Prison were too narrow and the walk from the cell to the gallows was too long. The pit was 1ft 10in narrower than the standard pit of 10ft 8in, such as the one at London's Pentonville Prison.
It continued: "I submit that the accidents in the two cases at Winchester were due to the opening being too narrow and I consider that a wider opening should be provided before another prisoner is hanged there." A new location for the gallows was found at Winchester prison in a wing near to the mortuary.
The unnamed Home Office official added: "Ellis considers the hinges and the arrangement of the draw bolt as clumsy and very noisy when compared with doors in Dublin, Belfast and Glasgow prisons. I gathered sufficient information to see that considerable improvements can be made."
New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain
By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen
New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning
Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy
- 1 'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
- 2 Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
- 3 Topshop at centre of row over body image as 'shocking' skinny mannequin photo goes viral
- 4 Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson criticised for beer tweet
- 5 The bubble bursts for Sodastream
'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson criticised for beer tweet
Halloween 2014: From the Screaming Man of Pluckley to the 'White Lady' of the Tower of London - Britain's 20 most haunted places
The bubble bursts for Sodastream
Russian politician says Apple CEO Tim Cook should be 'banned' from country after coming out as gay
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'
Huge surge in Ukip support after EU funding row, according to new poll
Ukip ‘exploiting grooming scandal’ to secure party’s first police chief
Nigel Farage: 'There’s nothing wrong with white people blacking up'
Maureen Lipman says 'she can't vote Labour while Ed Miliband is leader'
Muslims, immigration and teenage pregnancy: British people are ignorant about almost everything
£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The JobAt ...
£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Calling al...
£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - East Essex...
£19200 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Are you a ...