May 17th, 2015

Search Warrants Victorian London

I know that in modern America, the police need a search warrant to search your house or even your car. (I believe they can search your person without paperwork, if they can cite probable cause. Clearly it is not possible to rake in a judge and get a warrant if the criminal is fleeing on foot.)

My novel is set in London in 1861. Could the police search a man's hotel room, if they thought he might be a jewel thief? What about his person -- could they go through his pockets? This guy is a baronet, though a shady one, so he has some status.

Googling on 'search warrants' turns up tons of hits, none of them of the least bit use! I am reduced to reading Sherlock Holmes short stories, but Holmes was notoriously loosy-goosey about legalities.
Beware of People

Could a person safely wear a dress that was around for an atomic blast?

Searches: "would clothing be safe after atomic blast?" This brings up a lot of pages about what to do about the clothing a person is currently wearing during the blast (the answer is to change out of them before entering the shelter and get the dust off in a ventilated area, mostly) but not about clothing inside the home.

In my story, my 1940s-era main character is due to be married before an atomic bomb hits. Her home is still standing after the blast. Her wedding dress was kept in her second story bedroom.

18 years later, she gives her unused dress to another woman who needs one for her wedding.

However, I'm not sure if the dress would be safe to wear. I assume that it is because the house was still standing and the walls of the home would prevent the dress from fallout. However, the sites seem to think that the shelter one would need to protect against a blast needs to be air-tight, which this house would not be.

If the dress would NOT be safe to wear, how could my main character logically store the dress prior to the blast that would make it safe to wear 18 years later? It can't be locked up somewhere because another character needs to see the dress prior to the blast and remark on it.