The black sheep of the Silk family

Findmypast.co.uk published half a million Crime, Prisons and Punishment records last week, in association with The National Archives.

While testing the new records with a few of my family names, I discovered that my great-great-great-uncle William Silk was tried on 1 April 1913 at the Central Criminal Court in London – otherwise known as the Old Bailey.

Here’s the record I spotted:

William Silk in findmypast.co.uk's Crime, Prisons & Punishment records

William Silk in findmypast.co.uk’s Crime, Prisons & Punishment records – please click to enlarge

It tells me that William Silk was 49 years old and a Post Office Overseer. He was accused of stealing postal packets and postal orders to the value of £1. 10s. 6d., pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 18 months hard labour at Wormwood Scrubs Prison.

William Silk was the older brother of my great-great-grandfather Charles Silk, who I know also worked for the Post Office. Charles was employed as a Sorter from when he started work in 1890 to when he retired in 1931, but census records reveal that William had progressed to being an Overseer by 1901.

The 1911 census below was taken two years before William was sent to prison and shows him living with a wife and four children. I wonder how the family faired after William’s trial, and also whether it was this incident that affected Charles Silk’s progression at the Post Office.

William Silk in the 1911 census

William Silk in the 1911 census – please click to enlarge

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