Missed the hanging? See the plaque

Only in Birmingham… Just in case you weren’t sure of the location of the last public hanging in Brum (apparently it was mistakenly thought to have taken place somewhere else for all these years), it’s now been comemorated with a plaque:

The site of the last public hanging in Birmingham is being marked with a plaque, after the spot was wrongly identified for a number of years.

Philip Matsell was hanged for shooting and wounding, in front of a crowd of 40,000 in August 1806 on the corner of Great Charles Street and Snow Hill.  An historian’s research proved it was not in Ludgate Hill as earlier thought. Public executions in London took place in Ludgate Hill which may account for the mix-up.

The new plaque, known as a History Plate, is being unveiled by Birmingham’s Civic Society. Conceding it was a “gruesome” act to commemorate, a spokesman said Birmingham stopped its public hangings many years before other cities. Mr Matsell was executed for the murder of a “peace officer” – an early form of police officer.

The unveiling will be at the West Midlands Police Museum in Sparkhill, Birmingham, with the plaque being put up under the Great Charles Street railway bridge later.

Erm… Well, I’m sure that’ll be hotly attended – still, might as well go take a look at it. You can’t deny that it’s certainly an evocative thing to comemorate, if nothing else! I’ll always look at Snow Hill in a slightly different light now…

Published by Christopher

The guy behind About Brum - living and working in Birmingham and the Black Country. I love this city!

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