Rowland Hirst (1848-1923) was a publican and local politician in the East End of London.

Hirst was the proprietor of the Eagle Hotel, Snaresbrook and was a resident of Mile End Road. He was a member of the Mile End Board of Guardians,and in 1900 he became an alderman on the newly-created Stepney Borough Council. He served three consecutive terms as Mayor of Stepney in 1904-07.

His political career came to an end in May 1908 when a scandal broke out involving the Mile End Guardians. Hirst was one of ten people arrested: his arrest was somewhat dramatic as it took place at Stepney Town Hall while wearing his aldermanic gowns.

In August 1910, along with another ten members of the board of guardians, he was found guilty of corruption. The ten had conspired to award all building contracts for the board to a single contractor who had charged excessive fees and had also been paid for work he had never done. The board members had received a share of the moneys paid. Of the ten convicted, Hirst was identified as the ringleader, and received the severest sentence of two years imprisonment and a fine of £250.

The story was reported extensively in the press: [1] provides a summary, and some details here.

The Old Bailey page is here.

References[edit | edit source]

  • Peter Higginbotham (2013). A Grim Almanac of the Workhouse. The History Press. ISBN 9780752492308. 
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