Bullet-throwing in Belfast

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The 1851 Summary Jurisdiction Act banned bullet-throwing, and the extent of the sport then becomes evident in prosecutions and related newspaper coverage. The crescendo does not arise immediately. Of 78 newspaper references found, there are only eight in the entire period up to 1865. The reform of the Belfast police in that year may have stepped up enforcement, and newspapers began to cover outlying petty sessions courts. The pace quickens dramatically with 41 references in 1866–75 and 36 in 1876–85. The fall-off then is equally rapid, with only five references in 1886–95. The sport for long flourished despite the onslaught of the authorities. In all, we can identify 79 prosecutions involving 207 individuals.


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