Following the riots in Waltham Cross in May 1900, there was a further affray in July when a group of beanfeasters on their way home to Barnsbury, North London stopped in the High Street on 21 July 1900, between 8 and 9pm.
Saturday nights are normally busy with traffic and pedestrians and the situation was exacerbated when seven or eight brakes stopped in the narrow part of the street between the Four Swans and the Castle. Some of the brakes were parked alongside each other making it difficult for other vehicles to pass. The reporter notes that “as a rule, the occupants of holiday vehicles are more or less intoxicated and neither their language nor their songs improve the moral atmosphere of the place.”
Once the Barnsbury beanfasters had got down from their vehicles they began dancing in the street and a crowd gathered, making the street impassable. Constable Hull asked them to stop but was the subject of a volley of abuse. He was then struck on the back and had his tunic pulled, whilst others jostled him. PC Hull arrested one of his attackers, but the prisoner “plunged madly about” and his friends came to his aid such that PC Hull was badly mauled.
PC Frampton attempted to aid PC Hull but was hampered by the crush : however the two of them were able to drag the prisoner about 20 yards from the Four Swans towards Cheshunt.
Eventually two members of the crowd responded to the police officers’ calls for aid and Mr Costello and Mr Kilham charged at the assailants, rapidly bringing half a dozen of them to the ground. A mounted constable and PC Bilman arrived to assist their colleagues and the prisoner was “run into” a Mr Hewitt’s yard. Yet more officers then arrived and the crowd dispersed.
The prisoner, Francis Capon of Barnsbury, was later sent to prison for one month.