Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Saturday, 20 July 2013
The last drop
I have just watched the film, 'Pierrepoint' (starring Timothy Spall), about the life of Britain's most jovial and efficient executioner - Albert Pierrepoint - who, though having hanged over 600 people in his career ending with Ruth Ellis, was not quite our last one.
I have been putting off seeing this film, because I thought it might be too depressing, but I was surprised at how little it was. He was responsible for seeing out most of the Nazi war criminals in Germany at 1945, processing around 13 a day for two weeks.
When he was not hanging people, he was running a pub, and the executions were a little side-line. He prided himself on the speed of his methods, breaking previous records by getting a condemned prisoner from the waiting cell to a six-foot drop in around 12 or 13 seconds. Not bad. Saves all that hanging around, and we all hate long goodbyes.
A few years ago, I had the opportunity to buy Mr Pierrepoint's professional briefcase containing tools and equipment - the leather straps for ankles and arms, the last bit of good rope with metal noose, a white cotton hood, a tape measure and a few of his notebooks containing hand-written comments on various jobs (how it went, how tall/heavy the prisoner and how thick/strong his/her neck, etc.) - but H.I. said she didn't want them in the house.
Shame. I could have bought them for £2000, but I see they are now for sale at £65,000.