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A RAID ON THE LONDON GAMBLING HELLS., Issue 7952, 6 July 1889, Supplement
A RAID ON THE LONDON GAMBLING HELLS.
CONSTERNATION AT THE CLUBS. [From Our London Correspondent.] London, May 17. THE FIELD CLUB. It will be bitter for Sir Charles Warren, in his distant banishment, to read of Chief Commissioner Munro's successful raid last Sunday morning on that smartest and most notorious of West End gambling " hells "- Seaton's, or (as outsiders call it) the Field Club. For t*vo years Sir Charles and Scotland Yard concentrated some of their severest energies on "raiding" Seaton's. When all fashionable London was ringing with the nightly proceedings there, when Benzon used seldom to lose or win less than L 20.000 or L 30.000 at a sitting, and when on one occasion there was L 90.000 on the table at a time, then Sir Charles Warren tried in vain to entrap "Mr C, Seaton and friends." " Charlie " paid high for his information, but he boasted it was infallible, and till Saturday last (when " something went wrong with the works") it really seemed to be so. Again and again Sir Charles planned sudden raids—as he thought. Seaton had always " the office," and tho detectives could do nothing on arrival but look foolish and apologise. Munro wisely began his r&jime by disarming suspicion, It was allowed to leak out as if accidentally that the authorities found they could not interfere with places like the Field Club iu the present state of the law. Seaton foolishly believed this to be a fact. Forgetful of the " Park " raid (the " Field" was the "Park" revived), tho proprietors grew careless, and on Saturday night, or rather Sunday morning, Nemesis descended upon them. The police were well-informed as to events. They learnt there had been a heavy night at Seaton's on Friday, Lord Dudley and Mr C. J. Merry losing large sums, and that play was to be resumed on Saturday about eleven. HOW THE COUP WAS PLANNED. Their modus operandi was as follows : About 1,30 a,m, Superintendent Hume, who had his uniform concealed by his cloak, accompanied by Mr Stroud, who was in evening dress, presented themselves at the doorway of tho club, and in an instant asked for Mr Ernest Benzon. Fortunately, they found the outer portcullis door, which runs in a slide, and can be bolted, had been left open, or they would not have succeeded in making their entrance. The club commissionaire was pushed on one side before he could realise the situation, a burly constable knocked him promptly to the ground, and fifty to sixty police swarmed into the place. It does not seem that the noise of this scuffle had reached the upper floor, where the card room is placed. The officers first entered the supper room, a most luxurious apartment, and thence Inspector Stroud rapidly passed into the middle of a company of gentlemen, who in another room —the first floor back—were seated around a long table, which was covered with green cloth and marked with gold divisions for baccarat playing. At the moment the croupier had apparently stepped on one sid<?, whilst the clerk was counting up the bank, tho players having, it is supposed, just finished a conn, BLANK AMAZKMENT : THE ARRKST. One and all were astonished. Mr Benzon, who was the first to realise the situation, rose from his seat, and, addressing Inspector Stroud, said : " Here, what's all this about ?" Mr Stroud, throwing aside his coat, and appearing in e\cning dress, exclaimed : " Gentlemen, I am a police officer, and you must consider yourselves in custody, as we have entered under a warrant." Superintendent Hume had in the meantime come into the room and stated who ho was, and the geptlemen present were duly apprehended. Among them were the Earl of Dudley, Lord Lurgan, Lord Henry Paulet, Mr Samuel Lewis (the well-known financial agent), Mr Benzon (who has been already mentioned), Mr C. J. Merry, Baron Ferard, and Mr C. Seaton. The arrests were made without the slighteat trouble or disturbance. THE MONEY-COUNTERS. At the time of the arrest one gentleman held in his hand counters representing the value of L 2.000. It is estimated that the police have in their possession documents, cash, and securities worth upwards of LIB.OOO. Paper securities to the amount of L 12.000 were discovered, and on an examination of the rooms it was seen that the stock of counters would, in haid coin, be equivalent to thousands of pounds sterling. They are generally of circular shape, but some are oblong, and they bear their values in plain figures, from LI to LSOO. A LI counter is white, and a LSOO counter has the figures in white on a black ground, whereaa a LIOO counter is printed black on white. Reds denote the value of L 5. Besides these articles there were found 500 packs of cards, some of them for foarte, and most of them never having been used, aud there were also impounded a numberof ebony-handled rakes for collecting the cards, and a couple of scoops, or broad palm-leaf shaped utensils for gathering in the counters. IN PRISON. The fifteen delinquents were taken to Vine street police station. Hero they were duly incarcerated in cells with strict impartiality, but in a very short time messengers were being sent in all directions to find bail. Unlike the rigid rule at Bow street, where the prisoners had not such undoubted names and positions in the aristocratic world, bail was readily granted at Vine street, and before church time the members of the Field Club were liberated, with sufficient opportunity to attend their religious functions if they should so desire. The proprietor, a Mr Seaton, and a man, who, it is alleged, was "banker"' in the game which was in progress, were kept in the cells. SIR G. CHETWYND IN LUCK. Sir George Chetwynd had the good fortune to have left the place for a few minutes in order to get some cigars at another club, and when he returned, finding the premises in the possession of the police, he had the prudence to refrain from entering. On the other hand, one of the noble lords (the young Earl of Dudley) arrested, had not been seen in the house for the last six months, and had no intention of entering it again, but, unluckily for himself, was over-persuaded to do so a couple of nights before. AT THE POLICE COURT. Marlborough street Police Court on Monday morning was like Pall Mall, and the entrance to the police station like one of the fashionable clubs. A crowd of aristo-cratic-looking young men in elegant morning costumes were smoking cigarettes on the doorstep. There was Lord Dudley's dark and rather gcod-looking face; there was Jubilee Benzon, to look at whom is to know why he got the worst of the struggle with tho bookmakers, with a gay gardenia in his buttonhole. There was Sam Lewis, too. What was he doing there on settling day, jußt when there would be the greatest call for his kindly assistance ? There wore a dozen others in the crowd, and they all seemed to take a very easy view of their situation. Charles Seaton the elegant was not amongst tho gay crowd for a very good reason ! He was at the back in the cells, bail having been refused in his case. This is the list of the principal defendants as they appeared in Court: —
Charles Scaton, 3 Arlington street, r.o occupation. Lord Dudley, Dudley House, Park lane. Lord Lurgau, 430 St. James's place. Ernest Benzon, Brunswick Hotel, Jermyn street. Baron Tftrina Ferard, Grand Hotel,
Lord Honry Paulet, 286 Albemarle street, Samuel Lewis, 23 Grosveiior square, financial agent. Mount Charles Williams, St. James's place.
GOSSIP ABOUT THE RAID. LADY DUIUKV AT THE BOTTOM OF IT. Nearly all the flaneurs agree that the Field Club raid was inspired by Lady Dudley, who has openly stated she should leave no stone unturned to upset Seaton and his set. Since ho took the bit between his teeth, Lord Dudley (like almost all over carefully guarded youngsters) has been difficult to manage. At first it seemed as if he were going to join one of the quieter sets, but in an evil hour he met Benzon, and became " chummy " with that fatuous young man. Since then the boy has done most foolish things. The' Telegraph' says:— "To a certain extent history has repeated herself in the episodes of the raids made by the police, during the small hours of Sunday morning, on the so-called clubs in Park place and Maiden lane. Still, we miss some of the details with which the public used to be familiar some two score years ago, when Inspeotor Beresford and his merry men were accustomed to make their periodical incursions on the 'hells' of the Quadrant and other localities in the parish of St. James. Where are tho dice and the dice-boxes ? Is French hazard wholly dead ? Are ' mains' no longer called, and is eleven no longer a 'nick'? Where were the sledge-hammers with which tho myrmidons of the law used to batter down the inner doors of the gambling dens? Where is the convenient chandelier which, when perilous sounds were audible, used to be lowered to receive in its disc the well-fitting roulette wheel ? And, in particular, where is the tube through which the pack of cards, the croupiers' rakes, and all the apparatus of gaming used to be precipitated into the river ?*' BAD LUCK. In all the clubs yesterday the one topic of conversation was the raid on the Field and Adelphi, better known as the " Spooferies." In both instauces the present proprietors have beer, singularly unlucky. Mr Charles Seaton, of the Park place establishment, recently bought out his partner ; while Mr Samuel Cohen, owner of the Adelphi, purchased tho premises and goodwill only a few weeks back from Mr Joseph Pheill, a bookmaker. At Marlborough street there was a great crowd present to listen to the evidence. Many ladies put in an appearance, despite the early hour (half-past ten), and it was tolerably amusing to see certain frequenters of the Field gravely looking upon their fellow-delinquents with a satisfied air indicating " They didn't catch me." At Bow street somewhat stricter discipline prevailed, but the detectives were certainly of opinion that some of the names and descriptions of the prisoners were dubious, f ICKLK FORTUNE, It is whispered in society that the action of the police was prompted by the father of one and the mother of anothor of the captured gamblers, who very sensibly preferred tho scandal of their offspring appearing at Marlborough street to their being plucked like pigeons of a considerable portion of their worldly goods. Some of the incidents of the raid in question show that luck is still a main factor in all sublunary affairs. One noble lord drove up to the chib in a hausom, and, observing a good many policemen about, took in the situation at a glance, and with great presence of mind asked them whom they had captured, as he had come to bail them out. Another sportsman had intended coming, but, owing to the night being rainy, had been unable to obtain a cab in the part of London where he resides, and, lamenting his bad fortune, went to bed; while a third, though extremely anxious to woo the fickle goddess, found it happily inconvenient to do so just then. On the other hand, tho fates were not propitious to Mr S. Lewis, who had not entered the club for a twelvemonth, and, though a winner on the evening, was stripped of his possessions by the police. VARIOUS STORIES. In tho clubs today (says Tuesday's ' Herald ') the one topic of conversation was the raiding of the Field Club on Sunday morning. Of course there were plenty of stories going about, and a great number of jokes at the expense of the unfortunate cardplayers. When "Jubilee " Benzon realised his position he is said to have been very much alarmed. He approached his bosom friend, Lord Dudley, and said : " Shocking, isn't it ? And I know if will get into the papers, and everybody will think I am a gambler." What Lord Dudley retorted would not look well in cold type. " Sammy" Lewis cast his eyes aloft, showing all the whites, and shrugged his shoulders. Lord Lurgan looked pleased. He had just lost a small fortune in counters, when the constables rushed in and swept everything from the croupier's grasp. The story went that a cabman had been hanging round the door of the Field Club for a couple of hours, supposed to be waiting for some member. He noticed everybody go in. As the morning broke he grew restless and knocked at the door of the club, stating that he wanted his fare. " What is his name?" said the porter. "Don't know," said the disguised cabman, " but I would know him if I saw his face." With this he was allowed to pass the threshold, and, strangely enough, at the same moment individuals swarmed up in crowds, and, casting off their cloaks, appeared as policemen. This was one of the many yarns which gained credence in clubdom.
One thing is certain—that, once in Vine street, all the gamblers were remarkably keen to get out. There was a wild clamoring for bail. Luckily Pratt's Club was open, and several of the members were smoking and talking unconcernedly. The news came upon them like a thunderbolt. They were up and doing in a moment, led by old Mr Pratt, and marched all the bailing strength they could muster to Vine street. One of the best known of the dukes was in Pratt's, but he refused to bo drawn into the affair, and caused some amusement by the promptitude with which he jumped into a four-wheeler and drove away.
A RAID ON THE LONDON GAMBLING HELLS., Issue 7952, 6 July 1889, Supplement
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