This section is intended to hold brief items, either by history4u staff or contributed by our visitors. If you have information or opinions which you would like to share, contact history4u.

Query #1
A New York Mystery - can anyone help us track down 'Bristol Bill', the Raffles of New York?

The following account was read in a nineteenth century Book of New York history, found in a Seattle bookstore:

"… Bristol Bill, a notorious New York burglar of the 1840s, … was the son of a Bristol MP. When in his second year at Eton in 1823, stole money from his Fathers desk and eloped with a curate's daughter. They went to London and got mixed up with the "Blue Boy" gang, involvement believed to be as a locksmith. There was trouble and they fled to Liverpool where he was caught and sentenced to 14 years transportation to Botany Bay. After ten years there he managed to escape to an American Whaler and arrived in New York in 1841. There he resumed his life as a burglar and became a type of "Raffles", specialising in jewellery thefts from society figures. He was eventually caught and either returned to England or died in a US jail."


Can anyone cast any light on this intriguing tale? Would anyone like to take it on as a project? If so please contact me and I will provide some other ideas on the subject. Contact Us

May 2008
Query #2
Identify the people in this 1920's Seaside Group Outing Photo

Dear Editor,
The attached photo of a group of people probably in the mid 1920's, includes my Mother then Miss Violet Williams, enjoying a day trip to the seaside. BUT which seaside? My Mother is in the middle, next to man with cap and moustache. It is most likely to be a Chapel or Factory outing, possibly a charabanc or Campbell's White Funnel steamer. The shadows indicate mid afternoon and the photo could have been taken by a professional as there is a number bottom left. I would be pleased to know if anyone can identify the location and perhaps recognise any of the people who were obviously having a grand day out. Even though they were at the seaside the formality of their dress is markedly different from nowadays - note the lady even wearing a fur boa. I am sure they are all from Bristol and they would not be going very far on a day trip.
Many Thanks
John Miell
Somerset, England. Can you Help? Contact Us
Posted Nov 2007
Query #3 
A wartime souvenir made as a ‘thank you’ for a family in Bristol England who provided a safe haven for Joseph Bleyens from Antwerp in 1917. Joseph hand made this small inlaid table from oddments of salvaged wood, and signed and dated it on the underside . If any relatives or descendants of Joseph would like this back to treasure as a family heirloom, Can you Help? Contact Us
 Posted June 2009
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