Thomas Painter

Old Bailey Proceedings Online (, version 6.0, 17 October 2011), October 1896, trial of THOMAS PAINTER (14) (t18961019-808).

Dated: 19th October 1896.


THOMAS PAINTER (14) , Feloniously showing a light upon the London and South Western Railway, with intent to endanger the safety of passengers travelling upon it. Another Count, moving certain machinery belonging to the railway, with a like intent. Another Count, with intent to obstruct engines and carriages, the property of the railway.

MR. SYKES Prosecuted.

CHARLES BALLARD . I live at Thorpe Lane Crossing.  My father is gateman at Thorpe Lane signal-box.  On Wednesday, September 16th, I was about two yards from the line, and about 400 yards from the signal-box.  There is an advance signal near it.  Between six and seven p.m. I saw Painter and George Hibbert.  Painter got hold of the lever of the signal, and worked it up and down.  The signal went up and down, and the colours turned from red to green.  Painter went up the ladder, and said to George Hibbert, “It is alight,” and he came down and threatened me it would be my death if I told of him.  Hibbert is a younger boy.  I knew the prisoner, he has been to our school.

CHARLES BALLARD . I am signalman and plateman at Thorpe Lane Crossing, of the London and South Western Railway.  On Wednesday, September 16th, the advance signal was worked up and down, I could see it by my repeater in the box, and by the signal itself.  It showed the red and then the green light.  This is not the first time it has happened.  I sent my little boy to see on several occasions; these boys not only trouble me on coming from school, but it gets our people into serious trouble.  I put on glasses, but could not see who it was.  This happened between six and seven p.m.

ROBERT WILLIAM GOODING . I am station-master in the employ of the London and South Western Railway at Staines Junction.  Between six and seven p.m. the 6.40 from Waterloo is due.  About 6.23, in consequence of information received, I went and saw a lad up the signal, not this lad.  I warned this lad and two other lads coming from the Direction of the signal.  I said, “Painter, I want to speak to you about playing with the signals.”  He said he was not coming with me, he was going on an errand.  He did not come.  The red means “Stop,” and the green, Go on.  It is dangerous, because the driver does not look to see when once the signals are moved.

RICHARD EDMUNDS . I am a police inspector in the employ of the London and South Western Railway Company.  I can speak about the trains.

Evidence for the Defence.

CHARLOTTE PAINTER . I did not know anything about this when the officers came and asked for the child, and warned him not to touch the thing.

GUILTY .   To be Imprisoned for Four Days, and to receive Twelve Strikes with the Birch Rod.