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Sheffield's Most Notorious Gangs (Paperback)

Local History True Crime Yorkshire and Humberside Social History

By Ben Johnson
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 150
ISBN: 9781526702968
Published: 2nd May 2018

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The returning heroes had been forgotten by their country. Men who had risked life and limb in the hellish world of the First World War trenches had no choice but to fight again; this time, for their livelihoods, their families, and a place in society.

Reduced to marching with motley suburban regiments, these were the men who left behind the war in Europe, and returned to fight their own wars on the streets of the Steel City. Rifles had been replaced with razors, and bayonets with butcher’s knives.

This time, the enemy was society itself, more often than not represented by the under-staffed and under siege police force. Money would be made, blood would be shed, and lives would be lost. Sheffield was a city at war with itself, as opposing gangs battled daily for control of the inner city streets.

Of these deadly street gangs, two of the largest rival factions held the city in the palm of their hands. The Mooney Gang and the Park Brigade had become the unofficial governing bodies in many of the poorer neighbourhoods, and the authorities seemed powerless to stem the ever growing tide of violence which swept through the streets like a deadly plague.

Unchallenged, uncontrollable and unwanted, the gangs of the Steel City seemed to be unstoppable. Only a show of brute force from the authorities could return order to the city. But, for one former soldier in particular, this shift of power arrived too late.

Ben W Johnson has done a really good job of telling a disturbing story that belies the book’s rather parochial title.

Ripperologist, June/July 2018 – reviewed by Paul Begg

As featured by

On: Yorkshire magazine

Article: 'Notorious gangs who ruled streets of 1920s Sheffield' words by Julia Armstrong as featured in

The Star (Sheffield), 14th July 2018

As featured in

True Crime Library, Bulletin 476

About Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson is a freelance writer, columnist and sub-editor. He currently writes for two true crime magazines, and has a first class Honours degree in Journalism from Sheffield Hallam University. It was while studying court reporting that he found his love for the dark subject of true crime, and since these days of sitting at cold, silent press benches, has been a prolific writer, with articles being published on both sides of the Atlantic.

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