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Crime and Punishment in Victorian London (Paperback)

A Street-level view of the city's underworld

More History Social History

By Ross Gilfillan
Imprint: Pen & Sword Social
Pages: 256
ISBN: 9781781593424
Published: 3rd March 2014

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'Crime loomed large in the minds of Victorian Londoners. All over the city, watches, purses and handkerchiefs disappear from pockets, goods migrate from warehouses, off docks and out of shop windows. Burglaries are rife, shoplifting is carried on in West End stores and people fall victim to all kinds of ingenious swindles.

'Pornographers proliferate and an estimated 80,000 prostitutes operate on London's streets. The vulnerable are robbed in dark alleys or garroted, a new kind of mugging in which the victim is half-strangled from behind while being stripped of his possessions...'

Discover Victorian London's grimy rookeries, home to thousands of the city's poorest and most desperate residents. Explore the crime-ridden slums, flash houses and gin palaces from a unique street-level view and meet the people who inhabited them.

Ross Gilfillan uncovers London's lost criminal past in this fascinating account of nineteenth century low-life. Come face to face with pickpockets snatching pocket watches; pornographers peddling guides to lewd London; swindlers deluding the unwary and murderers whose deeds made the headlines and shocked their readers; right through to the consequences of their crimes – prison, transportation, or the gallows!

As featured in the East Anglian Daily Times and Iceni Magazine.

As featured in

East Anglian Daily Times

This book's author makes liberal use of the work of leading Victorian social commentators and researchers: Dickens, Mayhew and John Binny, quoting them in quite large chunks and pulling it all together in an appealing and easily readable fashion.

Police History Society

We can tend to draw our perceptions of Victorian life from Charles Dickens' novels; this book gives a readable perspective that supplements our knowledge, in a happy style that is neither too academic nor too fiction-based.

History by the Yard

A dark and intriguing book that brilliantly captures the dangers of living (and surviving) in nineteenth-century Victorian London.

Discover Your History

Ross Gilfillan's examination of crime and punishment in 19th-century London provides an absorbing insight into the darker side of a period that still fascinates today. This is no 'schlock-horror' exploration of past crimes but instead shines fresh light on the lives of our poorer ancestors and their misdemeanours, often brought about by necessity rather than malice. Told via the keen pen of an author who knows a good story, it's history with a heart.

Family Tree Magazine

Takes readers deep into the city's squalid and dangerous underworld where serial killers stalk the streets and bands of thieves, cut-throats and conmen abound.

Suffolk Free Press
 Ross Gilfillan

About Ross Gilfillan

Ross Gilfillan is the author of The Snake Oil Dickens Man and The Edge of the Crowd and it was during research of these period-set novels that he developed an interest in the underside of Victorian society. A magazine journalist of long standing, he contributed a literary books column to the Daily Mail for twelve years and has written for a wide range of periodicals and newspapers.

Perfect Partner

The Victorian Guide to Sex Desire and Deviance in the 19th Century (Paperback)

An exciting factual romp through sexual desire, practises and deviance in the Victorian era. The Victorian Guide to Sex will reveal advice and ideas on sexuality from the Victorian period. Drawing on both satirical and real life events from the period, it explores every facet of sexuality that the Victorians encountered. Reproducing original advertisements and letters, with extracts taken from memoirs, legal cases, newspaper advice columns, and collections held in the Museum of London and the British Museum, this book lifts the veil from historical sexual attitudes.

By Fern Riddell

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