MASON, George Johnstone

Male 1848 - 1885  (37 years)

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  • Name MASON, George Johnstone  [1
    Born 1848  St Georges Hanover Sq, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Gender Male 
    Died 1885  Birkenhead, Cheshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I212  My Genealogy
    Last Modified 28 Jun 2015 

    Father MASON, George,   b. Abt 1823 
    Mother JOHNSTONE, Mary Ann,   b. 1827, UK Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married Jan 1847  St George. Hanover Sq. London. Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F167  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family BOOTY, Sarah,   b. 1842, Ixworth, Suffolk, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Abt 1919, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 77 years) 
    Married 31 Jul 1869  St George Parish Church, Hanover Sq,, Middlesex, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
     1. MASON, George Hay,   b. 1870,   bur. 21 Oct 1871, 39 Sussex St, PimliCo. London, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 1 years)
     2. MASON, Mary Alice,   b. 1871, Middlesex, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1881, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 10 years)
     3. MASON, Florence M Lucy,   b. 13 Nov 1874, Lanes, Manchester, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 6 Nov 1964, London, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 89 years)
     4. MASON, Minnie Constance,   b. 1878, Lanes, Manchester, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 11 Jan 1964, Horton Hospital, Epsom, Surrey, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 86 years)
     5. MASON, George Johnstone,   b. Abt 1882, South Kensington, London, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Abt 1932, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 50 years)
    Last Modified 4 Feb 2017 
    Family ID F74  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 


      The Proceedings of the Old Bailey


      730. GEORGE JOHNSTONE MASON(15), WILLIAM BRADSHAW (19), and CHARLES HOOPER(18) , Feloniously forging and uttering an order for payment of 84l. 6s. with intent to defraud.
      MESSRS. SLEIGH and POLAND conducted the Prosecution.
      THOMAS WOOD . I am a cashier at the Bank of London, Threadneedle-street—the "City Building and Investment Company, Limited "keep an account there—on 27th March the cheque (produced) was presented for payment; I cannot say by whom-J cashed it—it is for 84l.6s., dated 23d March, 1863, and purporting to be signed by two of the Directors, and counter-signed by the Secretary—I paid a 50l. note, one 20l., and one 10l., and 4l. 6s. in cash—these notes (produced) are the three I paid—one note is No. 59,323, dated 9th December, 1862.
      RICHARD ADYE BAILEY . I am a clerk in the Accountants' Office of the Bank of England—these notes were exchanged for gold on 23d March of this year—the name on the back of the 10l. is "W. Hamilton, 3, St. Peter-street, Islington.
      JAMES HIGHAM . I am Secretary to the City Building and Investment Company, 29, Poultry—the prisoner Mason was a clerk in my employ for about six months—we keep an account at the Bank of London, and I produce my cheque-book—the signature to the cheque (produced) is not my handwriting—I do not know whether the signatures of the Directors are genuine; it is a very good imitation if it is not theirs—that cheque came from the Bank to me on the 27th or 28th, I happened to fetch the pass-book on that occasion myself—I looked at the counterfoil of my cheque-book, and immediately said the cheque was a forgery—there was no transaction to which it referred—Mason was in the office—I examined the

      the cheque-book, and found eight or nine or ten had been taken out—there were altogether twenty cheques taken out of that and other books—Mason would have access to the cheque-books—the cheque is No. 42—I find Nos. 41 and 43 in the cheque-book, but 42 is the identical number missing—I took Mason to the Bank of London, and he was given into custody.
      GEORGE DUDLEY FLECK . I am a photographic artist and an actor, living at 32, Chapel-place, Grovsenor-place—I have known Mason for some years, and have acted with him once or twice—in November last I became acquainted with Hooper—I knew him by the name of Stuart—I became acquainted with Bradshaw, I think, in the beginning of this year; I knew him by the name of "Hamilton"—I became acquainted with Hooper by seeing him in a cafe' in Pimlico; Mason and I were there—during the present year the three prisoners and myself have been together once or twice—once at the Trevor-Music Hall, Knightsbridge, and once at the "Windsor Castle "Tavern, near the Victoria Station—we were there on Thursday, 26th or 27th March—Mason and myself were there, and I think the other two came in afterwards—Mason was playing at billiards, and I was scoring—while I was so doing both Bradshaw and Hooper came up to me—one of them spoke; I do not remember which it was, and mentioned that Mason had asked them to present a cheque for payment, at the Union Bank I think it was—I told them they had better not have anything to do with it—something to that effect; nothing else was said then—when Mason had finished playing at billiards they went out, and I followed them, and they went up Shaftesbury crescent—at that time I was walking with one of them, I do not know which, and Mason was walking with the other in advance—the three of them had some conversation about some cheques, and Mason produced some—I heard the conversation, but what it was I do not remember—I won't be certain as to the number of cheques, but they were in blank, with the names signed—Mason said, but I am not certain whether it was then, or at a later time, that he had gone round to the Directors to get their signatures, as they hardly ever knew what the cheques were for; and then there was some conversation about their being filled in, and it was arranged that Hooper should fill it in—lie was asked, I believe, by one of them, and he consented—I do not remember what was said, or who said it—at that time the other cheques were burnt; they were passed round to see whose signature they thought the best—this was in the street, about the corner of Tothill-fields Prison, I should think it about half-past seven; there was a gas-lamp there—two, I think, of the cheques were burned at the gas-lamp—Mason climbed up the lamp—there was one or two left, I won't be certain—after this conversation we all four went to the door of 23, Gloucester-terrace, Vauxhall-road, which is a coffee-house—Hooper and Mason went in, and Bradshaw and I remained outside a few minutes, and Mason came out, and called us—we then went into the coffee-house, and joined Hooper—we all four had some coffee—Mason said Hooper was frightened to fill it in—I was asked to fill it in, and I refused; I am not certain which it was who asked me; it was Hooper or Mason, I am not certain—then Bradshaw sat down to the table, and had some coffee—there was a pen and ink there; so there was when I went in—I did not see Bradshaw writing, because I had my back to him most of the time—I saw a pen in his hand—I am not certain whether after that I saw the cheque or not; I might have seen it, but I do not think I did—Bradshaw said that as he had filled it in, be should not cash it—it had been arranged before that he should cash it—that was said before we went into the coffee-shop

      —after that we all four left together, and went to Lower Belgrave-street, near the Victoria Hotel—it was between there and the coffee-shop that Bradshaw said he would not present it as he had filled it in—I think Mason said, when we were standing at the corner opposite Victoria-station, that he had written the signatures himself—Hooper then said it was cold and be left, and we three remained behind—before Hooper left it was arranged how the proceeds of the cheque should be divided—I am hardly certain whether it was before he went away, but it must have been, I should think—it was arranged that Mason should have 50l., Hooper 12l., Bradshaw, 20l. and I was to have the rest, the 4l. and the odd shillings—Hooper said he ought to have 15l., and Bradshaw 15l., but Bradshaw would not consent to that, and it was arranged as before—I saw Mason on the following morning—he handed me over 3l. 10s.—he used the expression, "The job is done," or something to that effect.
      Cross-examined by MR. METCALFE. Q. When this conversation was going on as to who should present this cheque, did you not say that you would present it, but you had not time enough? A. I do not remember saying so—I might have said so, but I do not recollect it—when Bradshaw did not like to do it, I said it was quite safe—I was not trying to get Bradshaw to present it; he asked me if I thought it was safe, and I said yes—I merely repeated other people's words—he said he did not like to do it as he had filled it up—I do not remember that I said I would do it myself—I did not say at that time that I had a cousin in the bank, and therefore it would be awkward for me to do it—I think that was earlier in the day, and not to Bradshaw—I cannot swear whether Hooper left before the arrangement as to the division or not; to the best of my recollection he remained—I am quite certain it was Mason who went up the lamp-post, and not myself—I cannot climb—when he came down I lighted my pipe with one of the cheques, because I had no Vesuvians at the time—I was sixteen years of age last January—I am a photographic artist and a professional actor—I am now living with my parents, in Chapel-street, Hampatead-road—my father is house steward to the Earl of Erne—I mean he has been in the country part of the time—I have been living with my mother at home—I have the apparatus for taking photographs—I am not carrying it on at the present time, I am looking out for a place—at the time I have spoken of I did not carry it on; I have since—I carried it on in Regent-street with a friend—I am living with my mother, but I am carrying it on during the day—my friend is a carver and gilder, and I have been assisting him—I have not been carrying it on on my own account—it was his apparatus, but I have one of my own, which Thought since this affair—I have earned my living by acting for the last eighteen months, at the principal, provincial theatres—at Readings Coventry, and Windsor—at Winchester I was really ill and obliged to leave—the manager did not discharge me, I left of my own accord—I came up to town, and then I was so bad the doctor would not let me go down again—I have been doing nothing since then—I took a place myself for amateurs, and have had one or two performances—I do not look with contempt on amateurs, oh dear, no—the place was Bass's in Vauxhall-road—I do not call myself Mr. Bass—there is a Mr. Bass—I wanted the rooms, and engaged them—the name of the club was, "the British Amateurs Dramatic Club" the premises were taken for the night—the dresses were provided by me—I paid for the theatre—we managed to clear our way—the public appreciated it—they did not pay, they came in by tickets—our last performance was the "Corsican Brothers"—M Dudley Villiers" is my professional name—I
      See original 

      played the French nobleman—it was not then I got introduced to the prisoners—I knew them before; not all of them—I knew Hooper first—I saw Hooper and Bradshaw together after—I knew Mason before the others; we were almost brought up together—he kindly played for me once or twice, when we had not all our parts filled—sometimes he only paid half what the others did—one of the performances was in March, I think, the 17th or 19th, and the other in February—that was the first time I took this place—we were not associated before in that way; we knew each other merely at companions' and friends—of coarse we had been out together on pleasure, and to amusements—once or twice we went to the theatre together—I never asked him to cash a cheque before—I do not know whether this conversation while playing at billiards was the first of the sort or the first that I heard—I might have heard something more about it—I suppose I must have known perfectly well what was meant at the time—I did not know where Mason had got the cheque from—I might have heard him mention it—I cannot say that I did—I did not advise them to have nothing more to do with it—Mason advised the other two—when I was scoring they came up and I said they had better not have anything more to do with it—I must then have known what it meant—I might have heard from Mason before what sort of a transaction it was—I cannot say I did; it is a long time ago—it may have been mentioned once or twice, but what the words were I cannot recollect—I have heard it mentioned, but I never paid any attention to it—I do not mean that such a little matter as forgery would not attract my attention—I did not pay any particular attention; I treated it as nonsense—I advised these people to have nothing to do with it, because I thought it was getting to a head then—until I saw the cheque I did not believe it—I received 3l. 10s.—after the affair was over, if I wanted 10s. Mason very kindly let me have it—I cannot say how much I received altogether; it might be 5l. 10s. including the 3l. 10s.—I know a person of the name of Price—he was of my company, and played once or twice—Mason acted under the name of "Clifford"—Hooper never acted in my company at all—he was called Stuart—he has been called by that name ever since I have had the pleasure of knowing him—I never asked Price to cash a cheque, but he was asked by Mason—Price lives in Shaftesbury-crescent—I do not know the number, his father is a bookseller—I knew what Mason was about when he asked him, but I was talking to another individual—I think I heard the latter part of the conversation—I did not see the cheque produced—I have heard since that the cheque was shown, but I did not see it at the time—I am not certain that at the time I knew it was a forged cheque—perhaps it was one of those things I paid very little attention to—I will swear I did not tell Price there was nothing to fear, and I did not offer to pay him if he got it cashed—I have heard since—that that story has been circulated by Mason—perhaps it won't do me much damage—I do not remember saying he had nothing to fear—that transaction was before this one.
      MR. POLAND. Q. How long before was that conversation with Price? A. It might have been the same day or two days before—I do not know whether it wan in one afternoon—I cannot say I am not certain whether, when I said it was quite safe to present the cheque, I was or was not aware if it was the signatures of the directors or not—I might or might not have been; it was some time ago.
      JAMES TALLBOYS . I keep a coffee-house, No. 23, Gloucester-terrace, Vauxhall-road—I remember some young men coming to my house—I cannot tell the day—I cannot say whether there were three or four; it was
      See original 

      late in the evening, just as I was closing—to the best of my recollection it was on a Thursday in March last—it might have been the Thursday before a conversation took place, when the officer called upon me—I cannot say; there was nothing on the table other than papers and such like, not to the best of my recollection—I believe there were three or four young men came in one day and asked for a pen and ink, and they were supplied with it—they Remained about a quarter of an hour or twenty minutes; it might be over or under, I cannot say—I know they did not stop very long, as it was shutting up time—I shut up at 9 o'clock—I do not know who the young men were.
      JOSIAH GEORGE WILLETT . I am clerk to Dr. Deane, who has chambers at Doctor's-commons, and also in the Temple—I know Bradshaw and Hooper—in March last they were in the service of Dr. Deane—they were at either of the chambers as required—I know both their hand writings—I believe the handwriting of the body of the cheque produced to be in Bradshaw's handwriting—the endorsement on the 10l. note, "William Hamilton, 3, St. Peter's-street, Islington," appears to be in Hooper's handwriting—the endorsement on the 20l. note, "Charles Hamilton, Messrs. Fryer and Co., New-square, Lincoln's-inn," I believe to be in Bradshaw's handwriting—Hooper had been in Dr. Deane's service about two years.
      Cross-examined. Q. You placed considerable confidence in him during that time? A. Yes.
      JAMES HIGHAM (recalled). The endorsement on the 50l. note, "William Jones, 2, Took-court, "I believe to be in Mason's handwriting—I have no doubt of it.
      GEORGE SCOTT . I am a detective officer in the city police—I took Mason into custody on 2d April, Bradshaw on the 7th, and Hooper on the 8th, from Dr. Deane's chambers in the Temple—he was coming out of the door—I told him I was an officer, and that a statement had been made by a party in custody respecting him, and I must take him into custody for being concerned with Mason and Bradshaw ("Hamilton" I think I then said), on the charge of uttering a cheque for 84l. 6s. on the Bank of London—he said, "Must I go with you now?—I said, "Yes"—on the way to the station he said, "I never did any of the writing"—I cautioned him, and said he had better not make any statement to me, as I should have to mention it before the Lord Mayor, and he then said, "I wish to tell the truth. I was asked to fill in the body of the cheque, and I refused; I certainly was there, and received some of the proceeds"—I then took him to Mr. Mullen's office, on the way to the police-station—he was shown the 10l. note (produced), arid he said, in answer to some questions put by Mr. Beggs, "Yes; that is my writing on that note."
      WILLIAM PAYNE I am a director of the "City Building and Investment Company"—my impression is that the signature to the cheque produced is not in my handwriting, but it is a most excellent imitation—I never signed a cheque in blank.
      JAMES SMITH . I am a director of this company—I do not believe the signature to this cheque is in my handwriting; it is a very excellent imitation—I never signed a cheque in blank.
      JAMES HIGHAM (re-examined). The cheque-book was kept in the office—it was not looked up—I cannot tell when the first cheque was taken—I did not miss any until this cheque came back; I then went through the book—cheques were taken from some other books—I have, as secretary, four accounts—the cheque-books were in the iron chest, to which Mason would
      See original 

      have access—they were not locked up accept at night—they were all numbered consecutively, and eight were missing—I did not miss any before that time.
      THOMAS HOOPER— GUILTY .— Four Years' Penal Servitude.
      GEORGE JOHNSTONE MASON—GUILTY.— Six Years' Penal Servitude.
      WILLIAM BRADSHAW—GUILTY.— Four Years' Penal Servitude.

      Declared bankrupt 4 Dec 1875 Manchester.
      Living 25 Brunswick Street, Oxford Road, Manchester. Decorator and Dressmaker.

  • Sources 
    1. [S22] Mason memories, ACM Waller.

    2. [S40] Census 1891 England.

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