Gambling on Sundays not allowed!

Photo:A game of 'pitch-and-toss' in the street (photo not taken in North Laine)

A game of 'pitch-and-toss' in the street (photo not taken in North Laine)

From the Brighton Observer, Friday 6th July 1861

By Terry Etherton, North Laine resident

Charles Barnard (17), Henry Hobbs (16) and George Clifford (13) were charged with playing ‘pitch-and-toss’ at the back of Kensington Place on Sunday [1st July 1861].

Taken into custody

Prisoners were taken into custody by Detective Starloy, who stated that he had a complaint made to him of a parcel of boys gambling in a lane leading from Trafalgar Street, by the saw mills, into Glo’ster Lane. He and Detective Whittle took up a position in a greengrocer’s shop, where they saw the prisoners and others playing at pitch-and-toss with halfpence. They watched them play two or three games and then Whittle went round to one end of the street and the boys commenced running out of the end where the witness stood, and they caught the three.

They gambled every Sunday

Mr White said great complaints were made of boys gambling in this spot every Sunday and usually the boys had a lookout at each end of the street. Sunday gambling was carried on to a great extent in many parts of the town and, owing to the steps that the boys took, he should require a great increase of the force, as there were 20 places where they resorted to. He was sorry to say that Barnard, who bears a good character for industry from his master, had been in custody before for a similar offence, when his master paid the costs. He would like to withdraw the charge upon prisoners paying the costs, as the lowest fine which could be inflicted was 20s.

A fine or imprisonment

Mr Biggs said the fine under the Local Act unfortunately was too heavy, but as Barnard had been charged before with a similar offence, he would be fined 20s and costs, or 14 days imprisonment in default of payment. As the other two had not been there before, they would be discharged.

[Previously published in the North Laine Runner, No 209, March/April 2011]

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