The Ballad of Herbert Leonard Mills
 (aged 19 when he was hanged in Lincoln Prison,  December 1951)

Click here to edit title.

Nottingham, that   city

By the swirling River Trent.

Nottingham folk are  kind and decent

But some  sad lives cursed, blighted and bent.

For we have lived the cruel and bitter times

Years when penalties tried to match the crimes

Match the mindless cruelty,  the violence and futility

Indifference to the misery left behind




There’s  the tale of a young Nottin’ham lad.

A sad little story but true.

For they hung him up by the neck until dead

Back in 1952.


He was born club footed was Herbert.

He alus’  did limp when he walked

But for a kid from The Meadows,  left school at fourteen

He sounded quite posh when he talked.

But Herbert lived through cruel and bitter times

Years when penalties tried to match the crimes

Match the mindless cruelty,  the violence and futility

Indifference to the misery left behind

Herbert was dead set on being a poet

Like Shelley and Keats,   or The Bard

But when you can’t walk proper,  and talk a bit different

Down The Meadows,  your life can get hard.


Herbert were in’t pictures the night he met Mabel

There in the flicks in the dark

They made a date to see each other

They would meet at the gates of the park.


But Mabel was thirty years older

Though dolled up on that evening so warm

I reckon in’t long grass of the allotments

Young Herbert just couldn’t perform.


I’m guessing,  but perhaps she said something

That filled him with anger and shame.

He strangled Mabel,  told  rozzers he’d just found her body

Acting like it all was some daft game.


Herbert then sold his story to the News of the Screws

And when all that money was gone.

He called up their top crime reporter

And confessed to the killing he’d done


But Herbert said he were this great master criminal

A bloke with a reet evil plan

So they wheeled out the pantomime of judges and lawyers

And they all condemned the young man.


Albert Pierrepoint was the master hangman

For twas Albert that hanged the great dope

And Herbert’s young heart it stopped beating after

Half an hour on the end of a rope.