Mr. Philip Bailey1 succeeded Mr. Richard Bonington, in 1800,2 as "Gaoler": the official title of the position at that time. He held that office for a period of twenty years: assuming the above date to be correct. Philip Bailey's grandson, Philip James Bailey, in Brown's Worthies, describes the official under notice as possessing "a somewhat, puritanical severity of character, coupled with unbending purpose, activity, and vigilance," which "doubtless recommended him" for the post of Jailor of the Town Gaol. The same writer also states that his grandfather "was one of the principal manufacturers" of silk hosiery; but Wylie3 asserts that Philip Bailey, "was a stocking maker, and resided at one time in Portland Place, Coalpit Lane; at another period his residence was in Black Lion Court, Castle Gate, where he had a shop of stocking frames. He simultaneously left Coalpit Lane and the loom, having received an appointment to the office of Town Jailor." As the status of that office is much misunderstood it should be stated, once for all, that the salary of "Gaoler of the Town," in 1800, was only £33 a year, out of which the turnkey was paid. Probably he had a suit of clothes and a hat annually, and rooms. The bread bill for felons and debtors amounted to £44, in 1800; bread selling at about one shilling and fourpence per quarter loaf at the time. The daily average number of prisoners was about twenty.

Philip Bailey, we are told by Wylie, "was held in high estimation; and it is related that during the twenty years in which he discharged the duties of Jailor, so honourably vigilant were his habits that there was not a single instance of a prisoner having made his escape." George Vason having been deposed from the mastership of the Union Workhouse, by "the Justices of the shire, in the exercise of their newly-acquired power," Bailey voluntarily resigned his situation "for the purpose of allowing the town magistrates to confer the vacant office upon Vason. After retiring from his duties, he received a permanent annuity." His salary by this time had been considerably increased.

Mr. George Vason was a native of Muskham, and was born about 1772. After completing his apprenticeship to a builder there, he removed to Nottingham. He joined the Baptist Church in Park Street; and in 1796 proceeded as a missionary carpenter to the Southern Seas in the Duff. As John Frost Sutton wrote, "Vason, being located at some distance from his brethren, and becoming a bosom friend of one of the leading chiefs ... he wholly abandoned himself to the manners and customs of the natives. . . . He adopted their mode of dress, was tattoed, cohabited with one of the chief's daughters, and acquired a small landed estate. . . . He took a second wife, acquired more land, and rose to considerable importance." He escaped, and landed in England in 1802. "Though he never regained his former position in religious society he conducted himself with great propriety, and moved in a respectable sphere. His benevolence and generosity were proverbial, and his chief failing was an occasional irrascibility of temper. . . . His personal appearance was peculiar. An habitual gravity approximating to a melancholy thoughtfulness . . . marked his countenance." Vason became Master of the Union Workhouse, but owing to his electioneering activities he was dismissed from his office, although "no charge of incapacity or of inattention to duty was alleged." As previously stated, Phillip Bailey having voluntarily retired from his position at the Town Gaol, Mr. Vason was appointed to succeed him as Gaoler. This was in the spring of 1820. He retained his position until his death at the age of sixty-six years, on 23rd July, 1838. He was interred in the Baptist Burial Ground in Mount Street, but no stone marks the spot where he was buried.

(1) Philip Bailey was the father of Thomas Bailey (born 31st July, 1785), the future annalist of the shire who in early life was engaged in the hosiery manufacture, and subsequently became a hop, wine, and spirit merchant; editor and proprietor of a local newspaper; poet; and publicist. Thomas Bailey was the father of Philip James Bailey, the distinguished writer of "Festus," and of other books.
(2) Down to 1806, Bailey was still described as an f.w.k."—framework-knitter, journeyman hosier, or stocking-maker. (3) In support of Wylie's statement, we may say that Bailey was rated on a £3 rental, for his house in Portland Buildings (afterwards known as Portland Place), in 1800. This house was one of several dwellings specially built for working hosiers: the third story having windows extending the whole width of the houses. On the floor of each house were stocking-frames, which were generally rented at about a shilling per week by these "bag-hosiers." Portland Place extends from Coalpit Lane to Cur Lane, and formerly had small gardens in the middle of it.