History and Information on Great Russell Street at Hockley and Newtown in Birmingham in the County of Warwickshire.

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Some history of Great Russell Street

More information on Great Russell Street to follow. I probably created the page as I had a link to Great Russell Street from another page. When building the site it is easier to place links as they crop up rather than go back later on. I realise this is frustrating if you were specifically looking for information on Great Russell Street. There is information on Birmingham dotted around the website - click here for a suitable starting place.

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Birmingham : Great Russell Street Housing and Shop [March 1967 : Photo by Phyllis Nicklin © MLA West Midlands and University of Birmingham]

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We Love Dark Star Beer - Click here for more details

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Street Scenes in Great Russell Street

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Brummagem Boozers


Great Russell Street Pubs

Genealogy Connections

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Mitchell's & Butler's - Good Honest Beer

Ansell's Bitter Men - You Can't Beat 'Em


Related Newspaper Articles

"The adjourned inquest on the body of Maud Mansell, aged fourteen years and nine months, 37 Court, 16 house, Great Russell Street, who died in the General Hospital on Wednesday last from injuries to the head, caused by a bullet fired from a revolver by Harry Holdcroft, alias Cooke, was held yesterday, at the Coroner's Court, Moor Street, by Mr. Weekes [deputy coroner]. Holder, who is a jeweller, nineteen years of age, and resided at 36 Court, 3 house, Great Russell Street, was present during the enquiry, in the custody of Superintendent Beard. The proceedings were watched on his behalf by Mr. F. Hooper. The mother of the deceased, Ann Mansell, who gave evidence of the identification of the body when the inquest was opened on Thursday, was recalled. She said her daughter worked for Mr. Jacobs, jeweller, Regent Place, Caroline Street. Holdcroft also worked at the same establishment. He lived in the next court to witness, and from the upstairs window of her house his house could be seen. She knew that he had had a pistol since last summer. He was in the habit of firing it off in the yard particularly during the past fortnight. On Tuesday week, the 27th January, she called to him and told him if he was not careful he would break the windows. On Saturday week, about half-past two in the afternoon, she was at the bedroom window, and saw Holdcroft at the door of his house. She saw him load the pistol and shake it in a menacing manner in the direction of her house. He then pointed the pistol at the house and fired. At that time the deceased was at the window of the room above where she was standing, and the pistol was pointed towards her. Shortly afterwards Holdcroft fired again, and both bullets struck a wooden screen between the two yards. John Jenkins, Moseley, an assistant in the office of the City Surveyor, produced a plan showing the position of the houses occupied by Mansell and Holdcroft. The screen in question was six feet high. There were several bullets embedded in the woodwork of the screen. The ground rose from Holdcroft's door to the screen to the extent of eighteen inches or two feet. From the level of the doorstep of Holdcroft's house to the screen would be about 7ft. high. A person firing from the doorstep to the attic window of Mansell's house would have to aim much higher than the top of the screen. The void house next to Mansell's could be seen from Holdcroft's doorstep, and a person firing at that house could fire into the bedroom window of Mansell's house. By Mr. Hooper: The distance between Holdcroft's house and the place where the girl was shot was twenty-two yards. By the jury : The attic window was about fifteen feet from the ground. John Clutterbuck, jun., 218, Bridge Street West, said he was employed by Mr. Jacobs, jeweller, Regent Place. On the 5th November last Holdcroft and the deceased were working at the same place, and a quarrel arose between them, but he could not say what about. He heard Holdcroft say to the deceased, "I should like to punch you." Two or three minutes afterwards, while sitting beside witness, Holdcroft produced a pistol, and, turning to him, said, "I should like to put her light out." Deceased could not hear what was said. Witness told Holdcroft to put the pistol away, and he did so. On Monday, the l0th November, there was another quarrel between the deceased and Holdcroft in the shop. It arose over some condensed milk. Holdcroft had a pistol in his hand, and he said he should like "to put one into her." At the time he used that expression he pointed the pistol towards the deceased. Witness again told him to put the pistol up, and he did so. Two days afterwards witness and Holdcroft quarrelled, and the latter struck him with a file, for which he was discharged from his employment. Joseph Fieldhouse, 10 Court, 7 house, Lower Tower Street, said Holdcroft and the deceased were courting up till the 4th or 5th November, when they quarrelled. He was present in the workshop on the 10th November, when they quarrelled. They accused each other of telling tales. He saw Holdcroft take a pistol from his pocket and point it at the deceased, saying, "I'll put this into you when you get outside." Witness told him to put the pistol away, and he put it in his coat pocket. Witness afterwards took the pistol from the pocket without Holdcroft knowing that he did so. He found it loaded with powder and lead, but there was no cap on it. Witness took it home and kept it until the 4th inst., when he gave it to Police Constable Farmer. On November 12th Holdcroft brought another pistol to the workshop, and another quarrel took place between him and the deceased. He took the pistol from his pocket, pointed it at the deceased and said "he'd put it into her." On the same day he quarrelled with the last witness, and was discharged. By the jury: Although on the 10th there was no cap on the pistol Holdcroft had some caps in his pocket. He gave witness two of the caps after he had missed the pistol from his pocket. He accused witness of having taken the pistol, but witness denied having done so. Maria Louisa Walker, fifteen years of age, 15 Court, 3 house, Great Russell Street, said she worked with the deceased. Holdcroft and the deceased walked out together, and witness walked out with a young man named Fox. She remembered hearing Holdcroft and the deceased quarrel one night in Great Russell Street. She heard deceased tell Holdcroft she did not want him, as she had got someone else. Holdcroft replied, "Let me catch you, and I'1l shoot your brains out, and the one you are with." After that witness never saw them out together again. Since then the deceased had been keeping company with a boy named Ward. Last Saturday week, about half-past ten at night, witness and deceased went out together and met their lovers, Ward sad Fox. In consequence of the rain they all went into the entry leading to Holdcroft's house. They stood near the street end of the entry. Deceased and Ward were on the right-hand side, and witness and Fox on the left. The entry was lighted by the lamps from the street. While they were in the entry Holdcroft came down the street and passed up the entry to his house. As he passed them he said "Good night." About four minutes afterwards witness saw him in the yard at the top of the entry without his hat and coat, and directly after that she heard the report of a revolver. Witness and deceased ran out of the entry, but returned almost immediately. Two or three minutes afterwards she heard another report, and deceased immediately said, "Oh, Louie, he's shot me; it's in my head." Deceased went into the street, and witness took hold of her. She was bleeding from the right temple. Holdcroft then came down the entry, and said, "Have I hurt her?" Ward replied, "Yes, you've shot her." Holdcroft said, "I'll fetch a cab," and did so. Deceased was then driven to the General Hospital. William Ward [sixteen years of age], 204, Great Russell Street, iron and steel driller, said he had been keeping company with the deceased during the past two months. He knew that Holdcroft previously kept company with her. He gave evidence corroborating that of the last witness with respect to the firing of the revolver down the entry. He said that when they went back into the entry, after the first report, he heard Holdcroft say, "That's frightened you, has it?" After the second report, and the deceased was shot, Holdcroft came down the entry and enquired if he had hurt anyone. Witness replied, "Yes, you've shot Maud Mansell" and the deceased answered, "It was quite accidental." Alfred Fox, fourteen years of age, 20 Court, 3 house, Great Russell Street, polisher, who said he had lately been keeping company with Louisa Walker, gave similar evidence with respect to the shooting. Maude Cooke, half-sister to Holdcroft [nine years old], 36 Court, 3 house, Great Russell Street, said she was at home on the Saturday night, when her brother entered the house. He took off his hat and coat, and then took the revolver produced from a cupboard, and some cartridges from a tin box. He loaded the revolver, and said to her "You see me frighten these girls out of the entry." He stood on the doorstep and fired towards the entry. After firing he said, "Has that frightened you?" and someone replied, "That don't frighten us, Harry." He reloaded the revolver, and remarking, "Does this frighten you?" fired again. A girl then screamed and her brother put the revolver on the table, saying, "I think there's a row." He ran down the entry, and she heard him say, "Have I hurt anyone?" Harriet Tandy, wife of Thomas Tandy, 10½, back of the Leopard Inn, Gooch Street, said she formerly lived in the same court as Holdcroft. She remembered the night of the 31st January because that was the night before she was married. During the evening, while stooping down at the water-tap, she heard a report of firearms, and looking up saw Holdcroft on the doorstep. Henry Stevens, 33 Court, 2 house, Hope Street, cabman, said that as he was driving along Wheeler Street Holdcroft stopped him, saying, "A lady is shot come with me." Witness said he was engaged, but Holdcroft said, "For God's sake, come." Holdcroft jumped on to the back of the cab, and witness drove to Great Russell Street. The deceased was put into the cab, and witness drove to he hospital. As he was driving away Holdcroft said "Let me get on the back: it's me that done it." Witness gave him permission, and on the way to the hospital he said, "I shot down the entry, and the bullet rebounded and hit the girl, but I was not aware until I fetched the cab." At the hospital, at the request of the nurse, witness and Holdcroft carried the deceased upstairs to the ward. Superintendent Beard said he visited the hospital on the Saturday night, and saw the deceased and afterwards Holdcroft. He arrested the latter, and charged him with shooting the deceased. The prisoner said, "There were a lot of playing and laughing in the entry, I stood at the top, by the garden gate. I fired against the wall for a lark. They jumped off the step into the street for two or three seconds. I went up to the door and stood. I again looked down the entry and they had returned. I fired down towards the top corner of the entry, and I think it must have glanced off the wall. They were at the bottom of the entry. I turned round to go into the house, when I heard someone squeal. I ran down the entry and said "Have I done anything? and Bill Ward said, "Yes, you've hit Maud Mansell." I then ran down the street after her to see if it was true, and directly I found it was true I saw a cab passing Wheeler Street. I ran after it and caught it, and after some persuasion, I got him to come and take her to the General Hospital." Witness took the prisoner to Kenion Street police station, where he was again charged with shooting the deceased. He then said that in firing he only intended to make a report, and that he bought the revolver for the purpose of shooting rats. Witness had examined the entry, and failed to find any trace of the bullet having struck the wall. He found bullet marks on the screen, and also holes in the bedroom windows of the void house, evidently made by bullets. Police Constable Farmer produced the revolver fired by Holdcroft and a box of cartridges which were given him by the prisoner's sister. He also produced the pistol given him by the witness Fieldhouse. The revolver contained six chambers, and five were loaded when it was handed to him. Superintendent Beard, recalled, produced the depositions of the deceased taken at the General Hospital before the Stipendiary. In her deposition the deceased said she had no quarrel with the prisoner before she was shot. She did not believe he fired at her on purpose, to hurt her. Evidence was also given to the effect that the bottom of the entry was well lighted when the deceased was shot. Kate Holdcroft, eighteen years of age, sister of the prisoner, said that a few days before the deceased was shot she saw her brother with the revolver and cartridges. She told him they were dangerous but he said he did not think they were. George Herbert Rose Holden, resident surgical officer at the General Hospital, said that when the deceased was admitted a circular wound, less than a quarter of an inch in diameter, was found over her right eye. She complained of headache, which increased the next day. She grew worse, and died on the following Wednesday. A post-mortem examination revealed the fact that the bullet had passed through the brain, and it was extracted close to the skull. The cause of death was due to laceration of the brain, the result of a gunshot wound, and subsequent inflammation along the course of the bullet. He saw nothing in the appearance of the bullet to indicate that it had came in contact with the wall of the entry. The Deputy Coroner, in summing up, said that great credit was due to Sergeant Gosling for the careful and diligent manner in which he had prepared the case. It was quite clear the deceased came by her death through a gunshot wound inflicted by the prisoner, and the question for the jury to consider was whether that act rendered him liable to a verdict of murder or manslaughter. If they believed that when he fired the second shot down the entry he saw the deceased and her companion, then their verdict must inevitably be one of wilful murder: but if they believed he fired at the side of the entry with a view to frighten the people only, and that the ballet rebounded down the entry and struck the deceased, the verdict would be one of manslaughter. The jury retired, and, after an hour's deliberation, returned into court with a verdict of "Wilful murder" against the prisoner Holdcroft, who was committed for trial at the Birmingham Assizes."
"The Great Russell Street Shooting Case"
Birmingham Daily Post : February 10th 1891 Page 7

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