The Thomas Sisters

Appearing drunk and disorderly, vandalisation of property and prostitution. The Thomas Sisters were a force of nature in Truro during the 1850s and a regular feature at City Hall’s court.

Miss Elizabeth Thomas, Miss Mary-Ann Thomas were charged with ‘willfully and maliciously breaking 10 squares of glass in a parlour window at the property of Abraham Wellington on Kenwyn street; and also for prostitution, wandering in the public streets, and for behaving in a riotous and disorderly manner.’

Over the course of forty years, the Thomas sisters were imprisoned numerous times between 1840 – 1870 for different petty crimes. Multiple accounts of their offences can be found in newspaper records for this time. Responses from the justice officials document early thinking about society’s treatment of the poor, questioning how it is that the ‘cold and dark’ jail cells of Truro’s City Hall could be a preferred place to live and sleep as opposed to the lifestyle and accommodation that they would have faced outside jail and within the local community.

The Royal Gazette from 1850 detailed the multiple offences of the Thomas Sisters over the years.