Victorian Mugshot: James Freeth

SWNS_OLDEST_MUGSHOTS_007We have been looking at vintage mugshots recently discovered in the archives of the West Midlands Police Department, including the oldest mugshot in British history. These photos come from Birmingham England. This is James Freeth who was pictured in 1861 for an unknown crime.There is a certain Jesse James quality to this mugshot.  Freeth has a confident look of a guy toughened on the streets of Birmingham.  It reminded me of some of my favorite characters from the series The Peaky Blinders.

7 thoughts on “Victorian Mugshot: James Freeth”

  1. According to a website I found, “The Birmingham Daily Gazette of June 21st, 1869 reported on a case brought against James Freeth, a grocer & provision dealer of High St, West Bromwich. James was found guilty of having a pair of scales in his shop which were one and three quarter ounces out of balance caused by a loose piece of lead in the scale. He was fined £3.12s & advised that of there was another such case brought against him he may be accused of obtaining money by false pretences.” Tgat was 1869. Maybe his mugshot several years earlier was for a similar reason.

  2. One thing you do notice is how tidy all of these people look, in an era when an ordinary person likely had little in the way of a change of clothes, laundry was a wretched chore, and water had to be toted from street pumps or backyard wells. You cleaned your teeth with a cloth dipped in some abrasive.

  3. I won’t speculate on why W.A.S.P. people looked so good 150 years ago but they did.

    1. Acromion – wouldn’t that be alleged W.A.S.P. criminals? 😉

  4. Indeed. Mr. Freeth looks like he came out of central casting for “Peaky Blinders”.

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