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Official Table of Drops

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The Official Table of Drops, issued by the British Home Office, is a manual which is used to calculate the appropriate length of rope for long drop hangings.

Following a series of failed hangings including those of John 'Babbacombe' Lee, a committee chaired by Henry Bruce (Baron Aberdare) was formed in 1886 to discover and report on the most effective manner of hanging. The committee's report was printed in 1888 and recommended a drop energy of 1,260 foot-pounds force (1,710 J).

In April 1892, the Home Office issued a Table of Drops based on an energy of 840 foot-pounds force (1,140 J) In practise, however, the hangmen ignored this table and awarded considerably longer drops.

A significantly revised edition of the Table of Drops was published in October 1913, allowing 1,000 foot-pounds force (1,400 J) of drop energy.

After 1939, nine more inches (23 cm) were added to the drop found by the 1913 Table. The Table continued to be used in the United Kingdom until the country suspended capital punishment in 1965. The UK has since abolished the death penalty altogether. The Table remains in use in former British colonies that have retained capital punishment by hanging, such as Singapore.


Official Table of Drops Wikipedia

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