If you had been walking down Mile End Road in London on Saturday December 19, 1931, you would have witnessed a scene common in the days before Christmas across Britain. A man who had celebrated a little too much a little too early was taken away by the police after he had consumed four or five pints and the best part of a small bottle of whisky and made a nuisance of himself. But this wasn’t quite as run of the mill as it seemed.
There was nothing in the incident that the police had not seen a hundred times before. Nor was it anything new to those sitting on the bench at Old Street Police Court, where a chastened casual fish porter at Billingsgate, one Edward Burton, was fined six shillings the Monday following – six shillings he couldn’t pay.… Read the rest