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Benjamin Hicklin JP (11 November 1816 – 16 March 1909), licensed carrier, farmer, solicitor and Borough Magistrate served as Mayor of Wolverhampton 1859/60.

Alderman Benjamin Hicklin, JP
Benjamin Hicklin

(1816-11-11)11 November 1816
Wolverhampton, Staffordshire, England
Died16 March 1909(1909-03-16) (aged 92)
Worthing, Sussex, England
OccupationSolicitor, licensed carrier, farmer
Known forMayor of Wolverhampton, Hicklin test


Hicklin caseEdit

The case centred on a Wolverhampton resident, respectable metal broker Henry Scott, a Protestant activist, who was reselling anti-catholic pamphlets obtained from London. The pamphlet The Confessional Unmasked: Shewing the Depravity of the Romanish Priesthood, the Iniquity of the Confessional, and the Questions Put to Females in Confession contained sections which appeared to contravene the recently enacted Obscene Publications Act 1857. The borough Watch Committee directed a police officer to bring a complaint before two justices of the borough, Hicklin being one of the justices. They issued a warrant for seizure and destruction of the pamphlets and 252 pamphlets were seized. On 26 May 1867 Scott appealed against the order at the borough quarter sessions. The recorder overturned the order of the justices and directed that the pamphlets be returned to Scott, subject to the opinion of the Court of the Queen's Bench. On 29 April the Court decided, "We have considered this matter, and we are of opinion that the judgment of the learned recorder must be reversed, and the decision of the magistrates affirmed."[1]

Hicklin testEdit

The Hicklin test is a legal test for obscenity established by the English case Regina v. Hicklin. At issue was the statutory interpretation of the word "obscene" in the Obscene Publications Act 1857, which authorized the destruction of obscene books.[2] The court held that all material tending "to deprave and corrupt those whose minds are open to such immoral influences" was obscene, regardless of its artistic or literary merit.[3]


Hicklin served as Mayor of Wolverhampton 1859/60


Hicklin was born in Wolverhampton on 11 November 1816, the son of wharfinger Benjamin Hickin and Elizabeth née Barney.[4][5] Hicklin became articled for five years to attorney at law, Joseph Foster of Wolverhampton, on 26 May 1832. In 1844 he was living at Graiseley House, and owned a part share of houses and land with his elder brother, James.

Hicklin married Mary Hatfield of Rugeley, Staffordshire on 22 August 1848. They lived at Wightwick, Staffordshire,[6] then The Holmes, Fordhouses, Bushbury, Staffordshire.[7][8] After Hicklin retired they settled in Worthing, Sussex, England[9] where he died in 1909, aged 92.


  1. ^ Regina v. Hicklin#Decision  – via Wikisource.
  2. ^ Robert H. E. Bremmer (1 January 1971). Children and youth in America: a documentary history. 1866 - 1932. Harvard University Press. p. 231. ISBN 978-0-674-11612-2. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
  3. ^ Craig R. Ducat (29 February 2008). Constitutional Interpretation: Rights of the individual. Cengage Learning. p. 540. ISBN 978-0-495-50324-8. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
  4. ^ ""England, Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," Benjn. Hicklin, 1816". Retrieved 6 November 2012.
  5. ^ ""England, Marriages, 1538–1973 ," Benjamin Hicklin, 1808". Retrieved 6 November 2012.
  6. ^ England Census, Staffordshire, Tettenhall. The National Archives, 1851
  7. ^ England Census, Staffordshire, Bushbury. The National Archives, 1861
  8. ^ England Census, Staffordshire, Bushbury. The National Archives, 1871
  9. ^ England Census, Sussex, Worthing. The National Archives, 1901
Political offices
Preceded by
John Hartley
Mayor of Wolverhampton
Succeeded by
Charles Clarke