This article appeared in the Nantwich Guardian on 7th July 1944. My thanks to Judy St Pourcain for transcribing it and to Andrew Lamberton who then passed it to me. Nantwich has had three pubs called the Red Lion, the one in this tale was the second Red Lion – which was on the east side of Oatmarket, quite close to the Talbot.
Annie Robinson age 68 of no fixed abode told Nantwich magistrates on Monday that she liked to be in gaol and wished that she could stay there.
The magistrates obliged her to the extent of three months by committing her to prison on charges of being drunk and disorderly in Malbank, Nantwich at 11.20 pm on June 27th and having wilfully broken a window at the Red Lion Hotel, Nantwich on the same date.
When asked how she pleaded on the charge of breaking the window, Robinson replied “it was an accident I meant to hit the policemen and not the window”.
Sergeant Norton, Nantwich, said that at 11.20 pm on June 27 he went to number 6, Malbank where he saw Robinson sitting on a couch in the kitchen. She used bad language and refused to leave the house at the request of the occupier. Witness persuaded her to leave eventually but when she got outside she refused to move and continued using bad language. Witness said he was obliged to arrest Robinson.
Sergeant Norton said that as they were passing the Red Lion Hotel Robinson suddenly hit the smoke room window with a stick.
When he cautioned her she told him ‘to go to hell’. As she broke the window Robinson remarked “I will give you something to arrest me for. When charged, Robinson said she was not drunk. She added “I did not intend to break the window. I intended to break your jaw”.
After cross examining Sergeant Norton with several questions Robinson declared “what’s the use of talking to him?”. She said the sergeant’s statement was not correct.
When asked by the magistrate if she had admitted being drunk, Robinson said “I had had a drop. Who can live without a drop these days?
Mrs. Olive Gertrude Mason, licensee of the Red Lion Hotel said the damage done to the window was estimated at £2.
Robinson “You can send me to prison for as long as you like. I get decency there. I am fed up with everything.
The chairman, Alderman John Smith “We are here to try to give justice”.
Robinson “It is a bunged up charge”.
Giving evidence Robinson said she had been a member of Sangers Circus for 28 years. On the night of June 27th she had been playing a piano in a public house and she went to the house in Malbank to shelter from the rain.
There was a quarrel between the occupier and his wife and the police were sent for.
Then this big beautiful animal (referring to Sergeant Norton) came up and caused the trouble she added.
Robinson said she was not going to live on tea and buns.
When the chairman told her she was still in a free country, Robinson replied “Free to starve. I wish some old yank would take me across the pond”.
Superintendent Bracegirdle said Robinson was described as an actress by profession.
She had 68 previous convictions including 35 for being drunk and disorderly and doing wilful damage and 33 for larceny and false pretences. Her record dated back to 1907.
Robinson protested against the superintendent giving details of her previous convictions and said there ought to be a law to stop this.
She was sentenced to one month in prison on the first charge and to two months’ hard labour on the second charge.