Labourers were fined for being 20 minutes early

A pod of dolphins.

NOSTALGIA: Dolphins in Portsmouth Harbour     

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On this day in 1866 it was reported in the Hampshire Telegraph that labourers William Harris and George Williams were up before the police court for ‘conveying a quantity of night soil through Middle Street at twenty minutes to twelve at night’.

The defendants, it was explained by the clerk, would be entitled to remove the soil after midnight, but not 20 minutes earlier.

In their defence, Harris and Williams explained they had worked in Portsmouth for several years and had never been complained of before.

The clerk replied jubilantly: ‘Ah, this is under a new law’.

Harris and Williams were fined six shillings each – from John Sadden’s The Portsmouth Book of Days.