Wednesday, 11 November 2020

The Cassini Tales From Victorian North London

A change of pace today with a personal post, and it appears that the Cassini family have a long and proud history with drinking and gambling. The next time I am accused of taking either of these perfectly harmless (in moderation) activities to excess, which does happen on rare occasions, I shall fall back on the excuse that it runs in the family, a claim for which I now have evidence.

The first story is about my great great grandfather who featured in the Tottenham and Edmonton Weekly Herald of Friday 31st July, 1891: 
Almost seven years later, his elder brother had some notoriety appearing in the Globe newspaper of Friday 20th May, 1898, in a story also covered in the same day's London Evening Standard:


Arthur Golding, 321, Upper-street, Islington, was summoned before Mr. Horace Smith for keeping and using the premises 376, Gray's Inn-road, for the purpose of betting. The defendant was further summoned for permitting the premises to be used by William Wolton and William Henry Golding for the purpose of betting on 4th May. William Henry Golding and William Wolton were summoned for using the premises for the purpose of betting. William Henry Golding and Wolton were further summoned, together with Henry Cassini and Richard Ray, for assisting in the conduct of betting at 376, Grays Inn-road.

From the evidence previously given, it was shown that Arthur Golding rented the premises known as the Great Northern Club, at £130 per annum, the landlord paying rates and taxes. The club was raided on 4th May by Superintendent Hammond and a number of officers of the G Division. No fewer than 855 betting telegrams and 863 betting slips were discovered on the premises, and while the raid was in course of progress, a number of telegrams relating to horse racing were received at the club. Wolton and William Golding were sitting at desks receiving betting slips. Mr. Muskett prosecuted on behalf of the Commissioner of Police. Mr. Travers Humphreys defended Cassini and Ray. The two Goldings and Wolton were represented by Mr. C. Mathews. 

After hearing the evidence, Mr. Horace Smith said he was of opinion that this was betting club used for the purpose of betting. It was obvious that a great deal of betting was carried on there, and also outside the club. He dined A. Golding £50 and 5gs. costs; W. H. Golding, £20 and 3gs. Wolton, £20 and 3gs. costs; and Ray, £5 and £1 1s. costs.

He dismissed the case against Cassini. Several defendants found on the premises were bound over.

Back to my great great grandfather, and it does appear there was something of a history of drinking. He was in Holloway Prison in 1881, though I have yet to find out what for and how long he was there for, but in September of 1875, he was caught in a pub (Nightingale Tavern, Hornsey - sadly now closed) after-hours:

As reported in the Hampstead & Highgate Express: 
With all these fines, I'm beginning to understand why the family fortune never made its way down to me.

There are other pleasures in life besides drinking and gambling and this Cassini story from 1891 completes the set, although it's not a happy tale. A nineteen year old girl killed herself after being pressured by her Mum to choose a Cuthbert over a Cassini - Cuthbert? Seriously? He may have gone on to work for the Trumpton Fire Brigade, but that is to be confirmed:

This is what happens when there is no sport to invest on - things get silly! 

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