The Keyhole


This event is in the past. This is an archive page for reference.

Open-air community play staged as part of Southwark LGBT Pride Festival.

Lesbian and gay theatre company Homo Promos presents a re-enactment of the arrest, trial and execution of James Pratt and John Smith, the last two men to be hanged for sodomy in the UK.

On 29 August 1835, James Pratt and John Smith were arrested at 45 George Street (now Dolben Street) in Southwark; on 21 September they were tried for sodomy, along with William Bonill, whose room they were using.

They were sentenced to death, and Bonhill to transportation for life, after a trial lasting less than an hour, purely on the trumped-up evidence of the landlord and his wife.

The landlord and his wife changed their mind and appealed for clemency; the magistrate who committed them to trial appealed for clemency; the barrister leading the prosecution appealed for clemency. The prime minister made sure the appeals never came before the king.

They were hanged in public, outside Newgate Prison, on 27 November 1835.

The hangman William Calcroft was a drunk and an incompetent.

James Pratt left a widow and two young children.

This is a community play, designed to commemorate and acknowledge a major injustice.

  • 2pm
  • FREE


outside 45 Dolben Street

Gambia Street Garden
Gambia Street, London, SE1 0UQ
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This event is in the past. This is an archive page for reference.

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