Anti-German mob in Nottingham "The anti-German feeling that has been in existence in Nottingham since the sinking of the Lusitania broke out in earnest on Saturday night 15th of May, when for nearly four hours pandemonium reigned supreme in one part of Sneinton, and a similar disturbance of shorter duration was witnessed in Alfreton Road.
The trouble at Sneinton commenced shortly after nine o'clock outside Mr. H. Wagner's pork butcher's shop in Hockley. An epithet was shouted in a woman's voice at the proprietor. Then a male voice was heard, and the customers, evidently alarmed, made a hasty retreat from the shop. Within a few minutes a crowd of about 20 or 30 people gathered and, following a series of threats and accusations, a woman's shoe was thrown against the window.
Mr. Wagner promptly closed the shop and closed the blind. The crowd, however, increased in number, and three police officers who had come upon the scene obviously saw they could not deal with the now ever increasing concourse of people. Presently Inspector Cooper and about a dozen more officers arrived. The crowd was separated in front of the shop, one half being dispersed towards Sneinton and the other half towards the city.
They returned, however, a few moments later, one section lustily singing, "It's a long way to Tipperary," and the other, "They can't beat the boys of the bulldog breed." Cries from a group of women, "He's a German spy," "Down with the Germans," and "Who threw the gas bombs?" Some horse-play by a number of youths were elements that gradually produced a storm-scene, culminating with a brick being tossed over the heads of people on the footpath on the opposite side of the road. The next missile crashed through the window. From then there was a perfect fusillade of stones, bricks, and bottles which rattled against the window-frame and pavement. Again, there were cheers and singing.
The glass panels in the doors received attention in turn, and shivering glass falling on the anti-blind told that the windows on the second floor had met with a similar fate.
The police, now slightly reinforced, dealt with an unwieldy crowd of many hundreds of people most tactfully. Good humour took the place of force and eventually the people were moved back a considerable distance. It was nearly midnight, however, before the mass of people began to disperse. In the meantime, Mr. Frederick Hoffman's shop had been damaged.
At midnight there were boisterous scenes in Carlton Road, and between twelve and one o'clock another bang was evidence of the fact that Mr. Arthur Wagner's shop window had been broken.
Early yesterday morning [Sunday, 16th May] the damaged window of the Wagner's, who are brothers, were boarded up.
A canary in a cage, hanging just inside the shattered frame in the apartment above the Hockley shop, survived the bombardment, and it was yesterday the object of pity of many hundreds of people who visited the scene. [How British to sympathise with an animal rather more than a human being!]
During Saturday night a woman and a boy were arrested by the police in connection with the affair, but both were subsequently liberated.
Mr. George Wagner told a representative of the "News" that the damage at his shop amounted to about £10. "I have lived in Nottingham," he said, "42 years and I never thought that the people would have done this sort of thing. A lot of lies have been told about me, but those who know me know what I think of the Kaiser and Germany. I have been a naturalised Englishman over 14 years.
"The demonstrations in Alfreton Road outside Mr. Frederick Farber's shop was speedily ended by the shop being closed.
Shortly after one o'clock yesterday morning [16th May] a brick was thrown through the window of Berthold Dorer's furniture shop in Manvers Street.
An irresponsible section of the community continued the devastation last night. Another attack was made on Mr. Hoffman's shop in Sneinton Street, just after 10 o'clock. Two bricks were thrown, one of which sufficed to shatter a large window. The mob then marched up Sneinton Road, and reaching Mr. Hoffman's private residence, pelted with stones four windows overlooking the Parish Church. Practically, only the frames remained intact. Returning down Sneinton Road, the crowd, apparently suspicious as to the nationality of a newsagent, and a youth hurled a missile at his window, doing considerable damage. The victim in this instance is declared to be an Englishman.
Mr. Frederick Hoffman, it may be mentioned, was born in England, and married an English lady, a native of Nottingham in fact. His father, whom he succeeded in business, came to England when a young child, while his grandfather fought under the British flag at Waterloo. In respect to Mr. G. Wagner it may also be said that his son's wife, an English girl, has two brothers fighting with the British Army in France.
An attempt at a late hour last night at demonstration in the vicinity of Mr. F. Denner's shop in Union Road was frustrated by the police"
Only a few of those involved were brought before the courts. The story was reported in the local press but the punishment hardly fitted the crime, in monetary terms at least: The so-called "anti-German" agitation of last weekend was recalled at the Nottingham Guildhall today when three persons were fined for their participation in the scenes of Saturday and Sunday evening. In the first before Mr W. B. Baggaley and Mr. A. Eberlin, Muriel Parkinson, aged 30, an embroiderer of St. Ann's Well Road, was charged with throwing stones.
The incident occurred near the shop of Mr. G. Wagner in Hockley, where, according to a police officer, a crowd of 1,200 people had assembled. The officer said he saw defendant throw half a brick at Wagner's window, and further damage the glass which had already been broken - a fine of 5s. was imposed.
The second case concerned the shop of Mr. F. Hoffman in Sneinton Street, and defendants were Gilbert Norman (16), a rag-gatherer, of Gough Street, and Albert English (18), a porter of Knotted Alley. Defendants were seen throwing stones at Hoffman's window. They were arrested and Norman said, "The window was broken before we threw." On the way to the police station he dropped half a brick out of his pocket. The damage amounted to between £10 and £12.
Hoffman said that he was an Englishman and was born in Sneinton. His father was an Englishman and his mother was a Nottingham woman. He had no connection whatever with Germany. Defendants were ordered to pay 10s. each.