Introduction of Solomon and Lawrence.
Solomon and Lawrence.
A lot has been written over the past 100 years about Henry Solomon and his murder. In this piece I have tried to convey the story of the murder and the times of 1844. What was Solomon like, what was John Lawrence, the murderer like? Who were the important people linked to these two men It is quite important to know a little about those 19th Century times.
The small town of Brighton was beginning to thrive and although at this time the town was quite small with dirty, squalid streets abounding with people living in slum properties. The vast majority of the townsfolk were very poor, struggling to exist let alone enjoy some sort of life. Petty theft was a major problem as was vagrancy. At one stage the Town Commissioners were so worried about this that many meeting were taken up by these problems.
Vagrants, beggars and small time petty thieves were given hefty sentences for what these days would be considered very minor crimes but then the local Magistrates came down hard on these people. The Brighton Correction Centre was used extensively for these people.
In court vagrants from other towns would volunteer to leave Brighton immediately in preference to going to the Correction Centre where they were subject to ‘Hard Labour’ while there. Some Magistrates never gave them that option but immediately sentenced them to hard labour in the Correction Centre.
Punishments were very harsh and it has been known the children of 10 years, many already working as labourers being sentenced to ‘Hard Labour, Solitary Confinement as well as Private and Public Whipping. They were sentenced also to be deported for up to five years, going across the world to Australia; many not seeing their parents again. It was also known to hang children of this age group for breaking into other people’s residences and stealing property.
The 19th Century certainly made for very hard times.