palisades, pistols and bludgeons

A few months after the initial flare-up which saw the new police force driven from the streets of Colne, the town experienced far worse disturbances which left Joseph Halstead dead. The troubles back in April had led to a tripling of the police force in the town but this was reduced over the coming months back to its original level as the town remained calm, May through to the end of July.

riot aug 1840As with the first outbreak, the main target of the rioters was the new police force. It was only due to military intervention that order was restored and it was obviously felt that more unrest would follow unless a detachment of soldiers was based in the town, such a force making barracks in Colne Cloth Hall shortly afterwards.

Richard Boothman, a 20 year old weaver, was tried and convicted of the murder of Joseph Halstead and transported to Van Diemen’s Land where he died in 1877. He protested his innocence to the end.

Sources: R D Storch, “The Plague of Blue Locusts” in Crime and Society, Readings in History and Theory,  Fitzgerald, McLennan and Pawson (eds), 1981; J Carr, Annals of Colne, 1878, pp 28; E C Midwinter, Social Administration in Lancashire, 1830-1860, 1969

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