THOMAS PIERREPOINT The 1891 census shows Thomas Pierrepoint living with his wife Ann, in Wolseley Street, Clayton. He was aged 47, born in Nottinghamshire and was employed as a quarryman. In the houshold were three children, Thomas William, aged 20, who would become the hangman during the period 1906-1946, Annie Sophia aged 17 and Henry Albert, aged 13 who would become the hangman during the period 1901-1910 and who would have a son Albert who became the last sole official executioner in Britain.
THOMAS WILLIAM PIERREPOINT 1871-1954
Few men would go through life without discussing their jobs, but one exception was Thomas W Pierrepoint. Tom Pierrepoint as he was known died at the age of 83 with the secrets he had kept from even his closest relatives. A host of friends remember him only as a kindly old gentleman,quietly spoken and with a good sense of humour. He lived quietly at 14 Back Fold, Town End, Clayton, where his wife Lizzie had a shop. He kept mules and chickens and goats and also ran a haulage firm and a book making business. Occasionally he would disappear for a couple of days without saying much to anyone. He performed some 300 executions and was succeeded as executioner by his favourite nephew Albert.
HENRY ALBERT PIERREPOINT 1878 -1922
Father of Albert and younger brother of Tom. In 1901 Henry was appointed executioner after repeatedly writing to the home office to offer his services. He persuaded his elder brother Tom and influenced his son Albert to follow him into the profession. During his nine years as executioner he executed 105 criminals. In 1910 he arrived at Chelmsford prison having had too much alchohol and after a fight with his assistant, John Ellis, was dismissed from the post.
ALBERT PIERREPOINT 1905 -1992
Albert Pierrepoint was born at 5 Green End, Clayton in 1905. By 1911 his family had moved to Huddersfield, but as a child he spent a lot of time at his uncle Tom's at Back Fold, Clayton. During his career he executed more than 500 criminals,includung Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be executed in Britain. After his retirement he campaigned against the death penalty which was abolished by act passed in November 1965. He said that the death penalty never acted as a deterrent. He had a reputation for being very efficient and professional and travelled the world to carry out executions. Soon after the war he executed 220 war criminals including 27 in one day. In later life he became a pub landlord. Pierrepoint hanged the Rillington Place murderer John Christie and Timothy Evans who was later pardoned for the crime. In his biography he states " I do not believe that any one of the hundreds of executions I have carried out has in any way acted as a deterrent against future murder, in my view it achieved nothing but revenge."
Further Reading THE EXECUTIONER Albert Pierrepoint C.H.G Archive