From fire-raisers to con artists and the tale of a young girl’s cake theft, Shropshire's Victorian criminals will be in the spotlight throughout May.

Shropshire Archives will spotlight some of the crimes and punishment that hit the headlines in Victorian times in a series of events starting on Saturday, May 4.

The first of these will be a talk on Saturday, May 4 at 11.15am when Richard Ireland, an author and lecturer specialising in the history of crime and punishment, will give an overview of prisons in the 19th century.

There will also be short talks on some of the more unusual criminals, including the story of John Morgan, a notorious criminal who posed as a detective and conned both unsuspecting locals and members of the Shrewsbury Borough Police Force.

Learn, too, the stories of Georgiana Hutchinson, a 12-year-old schoolgirl from Cleobury Mortimer, who allegedly forged a note in order to get three cakes without paying for them and found herself up in front of the magistrates accused of theft, and James Lea and Joseph Grindley, labourers who were executed for setting fire to haystacks in Whitchurch during a time of civil unrest.

Book for the event on Saturday, May 4 at Georgiana’s case will be the subject of the 'Off the shelf' talk on Thursday, May 30 at Shropshire Archives in Shrewsbury. These talk take place on the last Thursday of every month and there is no need to book.

For further information visit the Events page at