Leeds nostalgia: Executions at Armley Gaol 1864 to 1961

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On the Retro page June 20, 2017, we said that 93 men and three women were hangedat Armley Gaol.

This was incorrect, as kindly pointed out by Malcolm Wright, former prisons officer and author of the definitive Armley Gaol 186 to 1961: The Execution Era, which chronicles all executions which took place at the Leeds jail.

Mr Wright informs us: “A total of 93 were hanged here, including one woman, Emily Swann, along with her lover John Gallagher, for the murder of Emily’s husband.

“They were hanged on December 29, 1903, this was double execution carried out by John Billington.”

We thank Mr Wright for the correction and feel it is only appropriate to give his excellent book further mention. Mr Wright served as a prison officer for almost 30 years, most of which was spent at Armley, retiring in 1994.

His book forms an exhaustive account of the 93 hangings at Armley and also the executioners, among them the infamous Thomas William Pierrepoint, who carried them out. Only two of the 93 hangings were public executions, those taking place in 1864.

The book is available on Amazon for £6, ISBN: 978-1-78280-625-7.