Wisdom at Shepherd’s Bush Market in 1952

The following article appeared in the West London Observer on 12th December 1952:

‘A detective rigged up the witness box at West London on Monday to resemble a market stall and demonstrated how a man put a £1 note and a cigarette lighter into an envelope and invited his audience of about 50 people to give him 2/6 for a ring and an envelope.

Before the court was Joseph Marks, 49, demonstrator, of Thurleigh Court, Nightingale Lane, Clapham, who was acquitted of a charge of attempting to obtain 2/6 by false pretences at Shepherd’s Bush Market.

“I now know that 69 envelopes contained pieces of tissue paper and a charm,” said Det. Taylor. “One man paid his 2/6, but no one else accepted the offer.”

The magistrate remarked, amid laughter, “It shows how wise the crowd were.”

Det. Taylor said that Marks quickly tore open an envelope before anyone had a chance to buy it and showed that it contained £1 and a lighter.

After this demonstration a woman immediately paid her 2/6 and the officer saw her envelope contained tissue paper and a charm. More envelopes, with similar contents, were then sold.

When the officer described how Marks again opened an envelope containing £1 and a lighter, the magistrate said it was an obvious form of lottery or gaming.

Det. Taylor said that on being arrested Marks replied: “You have got the wrong charge here.” The magistrate stated, “I am bound to say I think he is right.”

Marks was then discharged.’

Steve Russell

(Thanks to Colin Woodley for sending me the article)