I took it to mean that I'd would be told off for causing trouble. I realised what that term meant even when I didn't exactly understand its origins.
rather loud and throwing cabbages at a statue of a local dignitary, those in authority would deem that you were 'unlawfully assembled." You could be asked nicely to go home, but if didn't you would be dragged off to the local lock up and eventually find yourself standing in front of the local magistrate.
The Riot Act of 1715 went by the rather long title of "An Act for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies, and for the
more speedy and effectual punishing the rioters." It was introduced a year earlier when the country was troubled by a
number of serious disturbances with the intention of "many rebellious riots and tumults that have been taking place of
late in divers parts of this kingdom" and gave the warning
"Our sovereign Lord the King chargeth and commandeth all persons, being assembled, immediately to disperse
themselves, and peaceably to depart to their habitations, or to their lawful business, upon the pains contained in the act
made in the first year of King George, for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies. God save the King."
If you chose to ignore this new act you could find yourself imprisoned for a couple of years with just a hammer
and large rocks to keep you occupied."
parliamentary reform by magistrates who were panicked at the sight of the crowd. A year later in 1919 in Glasgow
the city's sheriff had the 'act' ripped from his hands as he was reading it to a crowd of over ninety-thousand people.
The Riot Act soon fell into disuse, however the last time it was read was in 1929 following a bonfire in Chiddingford
in Surrey, to one small boy and the attending police officers.