Author Stephanie Carter is launching her latest book on Saturday at the New Road Community Centre in Earby.
“Skeletons in the Cupboard – True Crime Stories of Earby and District” details a whole range of criminal activities from petty theft and drunkenness to embezzlement and murder in Victorian and Edwardian Earby, Thornton, Kelbrook and Salterforth.
Methods of keeping law and order in the days when the parish constable was appointed by the local Vestry were revolutionised with the introduction of the police force in 1856. With the development of the cotton industry, the population grew rapidly, with a corresponding increase in crimes of all descriptions.
Using the local newspapers as the primary source, with reports from the Petty Sessions, the book records many crimes resulting from over-indulgence in the demon drink.
Money, the root of all evil, led to some well-known cases of embezzlement.
There are many tales of animal neglect, child abuse and cruelty, matrimonial problems and gambling. Some particularly appalling offences were committed, including infanticide and murder.
Major trials were followed avidly and reported in graphic detail in the press. There was a strong local anti-vaccination movement, leading to imprisonments and juvenile crime was punished by the birch or by the offender being sent to an industrial school.
Margaret Brown, secretary of the Earby and District Local History Society, said: “The original plan was to record a whole series of murders which took place in the locality of Colne and Skipton. Some of these notorious crimes do receive a mention.
“However, there was an abundance of material to keep the author rooted in Earby and District and readers will find the book, which is published by Earby and District Local History Society, fascinating.”
The launch will be held between 10am and 1pm. Refreshments and a light lunch will be served by “Just ask Jess”.
There will also be a small exhibition, help with finding your own criminal ancestors and Stephanie Carter will be doing book signing. Admission is free.