Staffordshire Working Lives
Deposition relating to a theft

Deposition relating to a theft of silk from a workshop in Leek (1831).

(© Staffordshire Record Office: Q/SB/1831/M)

Archive sources
View image
Download transcript (RTF format).


At the silk workshop: witnesses to a theft

Deposition relating to a theft of silk from a workshop in Leek, 1831.

The high value of silk meant that it was a target for theft. This document relates to a criminal case of the theft of 43lbs weight of silk in 1831 which resulted in the transportation to Australia of the thief.

There are several witness statements in all, which give a sequential narrative to events, starting with the working day before the theft happened, then the discovery of the break-in, witnesses for the night-time period, and the eventual finding of the missing silk hidden above a baker’s oven. But the statements give a wealth of incidental detail about the lives of silk workers and others in the town of Leek, a glimpse of nightlife and personal business, with a real voice given to the people as they reportedly spoke.

This main statement shown here is by Samuel Tatton, a silk apprentice, and it gives a great deal of background about how the silk works operated, with several owners sharing premises. Silk twist of various colours was hung on pegs during the “working up”, and then wound on large bobbins. There was a careful locking-up procedure.


Return to menu page

Agriculture & Rural Lives Mining, Quarrying & Mineral Extraction Domestic Service Homepage Manufacturing-texile