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The Guildhall Gibbet
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The Guildhall Gibbet

Digital Item
Julie Thomson
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The Guildhall Gibbet
Strongroom Stack 24
Guildhall gibbet

1/4 Glass plate negative

Negatives Collection, Leicestershire Record Office

The gibbet was a device used to display the dead body of a convicted and executed criminal. The corpse was hung on display as a warning and deterrent to other potential criminals.

This gibbet- on display at the Guildhall, Leicester- is a replica of the one used on James Cook, the last man in England to be gibbetted. James Cook was a bookbinder in debt to John Paas, who had sold him some brass instruments. In August 1832, Cook murdered Pass and tried to dispose of his body by burning. He was convicted of murder, and sentenced to death by hanging, followed by gibbetting, due to the barbarity of the crime. The crime was widely reported in the news, and an estimated crowd of 40,000 turned up to witness the execution.

The gibbet was hung at the Saffron Lane/Aylestone Road junction in Leicester, but was removed after a few days due to complaints from residents and crowd problems.
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