This week 60 years ago: Court tells Highbury dad of nine to stop having children

Islington Gazette: March 29, 1957

Islington Gazette: March 29, 1957 - Credit: Archant

An unemployed Highbury man was grilled in court about why he had so many children.

Reginald Deigan, of Petherton Road, was summoned before Highbury Corner magistrates to explain why he didn’t contribute to the cost of keeping his nine kids.

They were said to be costing the taxpayer £3,000 (£66,000 in today’s terms) a year, and resulted in a bizarre exchange in which magistrate Frank Milton suggested visiting the Family Planning Association.

But Mr Deigan was adamant: “No. I like all my children. I am glad I have them.” He added the state would get the money back when they grew up and paid taxes.

Mr Milton responded: “I agree there is nothing better than a large family but it is a bit irresponsible when you are unemployed. You think it’s all right to have any number of children to be kept at £7 a week by the country.”

The case was adjourned.