By Ross Gilfillan
'Crime loomed huge within the minds of Victorian Londoners. all around the urban, watches, handbags and handkerchiefs disappear from wallet, items migrate from warehouses, off docks and out of store home windows. Burglaries are rife, shoplifting is carried on in West finish shops and other people fall sufferer to all types of inventive swindles. 'Pornographers proliferate and an predicted 80,000 prostitutes function on London's streets. The weak are robbed in darkish alleys or garroted, a brand new type of mugging within which the sufferer is half-strangled from in the back of whereas being stripped of his possessions...' Discover Victorian London's dirty rookeries, domestic to hundreds of thousands of the city's poorest and so much determined citizens. discover the crime-ridden slums, flash homes and gin palaces from a special street-level view and meet the folks who inhabited them. Ross Gilfillan uncovers London's misplaced legal previous during this attention-grabbing account of 19th century low-life. Come...
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Additional info for Crime and Punishment in Victorian London. A Street-Level of the City's Underworld
There’s a horrible inevitability about what happens next. “I was taken by several poor ragged boys to sleep in the dark arches of the Adelphi”, he recalls. Here, he “often saw boys follow the male passengers when the boats came to the Adelphi stairs”. When the passengers had finished disembarking from the boats, Dick finds that his companions generally have “one or two handkerchiefs”. The boys then introduce the young Dick to a shifty man called ‘Larry’, a meeting which takes place in the unusual location of a (presumably abandoned) prison van.
After four more months, he is released. She was a tall, thin, genteel girl about 15 years of age”. In the cramped and foetid world of the low lodging houses, it wasn’t unusual to find adolescents living together as man and wife. The sleeping arrangements for many residents appalled commentators of the time. Dick is honest enough to admit that he “often ill-used and beat her”. At this point he has seen only the Bridewells, or places of short-stay detention. His first real stretch of imprisonment is spent in Tothill Fields Prison, which is then operating a rigid silent system.
Shadowy faces passed in the street – the crossing sweepers, cress-sellers, chimney sweeps and flower-girls, the street showmen, the rat-catchers, the ‘pure’ finders (who collect dogs’ excrement for use by tanners) and even the beggars – now have voices and histories, because Mayhew has drawn out their stories and has retailed them, as closely as possible, in their own words. Mayhew has introduced his readers to people whom extreme poverty has reduced to unimaginable occupations: the toshers, who crawl through sewers in search of dropped coins and the bare-footed mudlarks, children who risk septicaemia and disease on the muddy banks of the Thames in their search for bits of iron, lengths of old rope, lumps of coal or anything else which might turn a penny.