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The 19th Century Underworld (Hardback)

Crime, Controversy and Corruption

British History True Crime P&S History

By Stephen Carver
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 209
ISBN: 9781526707543
Published: 7th November 2018

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Underworld n. 1. the part of society comprising those who live by organised crime and immorality. 2. the mythical abode of the dead under the earth.

Take a walk on the dark side of the street in this unique exploration of the fears and desires at the heart of the British Empire, from the Regency dandy’s playground to the grim and gothic labyrinths of the Victorian city. Enter a world of gin spinners, sneaksmen and Covent Garden nuns, where bare-knuckled boxers slog it out for dozens of rounds, children are worth more dead than alive, and the Thames holds more bodies than the Ganges. This is the Modern Babylon, a place of brutal poverty, violent crime, strong drink, pornography and prostitution; of low neighbourhoods and crooked houses with windows out like broken teeth, wraithlike urchins with haunted eyes, desperate, ruthless and vicious men, and the broken remnants of once fine girls: a grey, bleak, infernal place, where gaslights fail to pierce the pestilential fog, and coppers travel in pairs, if they venture there at all.

Combining the accessibility of a popular history with original research, this book brings the denizens of this vanished world once more to life, along with the voices of those who sought to exploit, imprison or save them, or to simply report back from this alien landscape that both fascinated and appalled: the politicians, the reformers, the journalists and, above all, the storytellers, from literary novelists to purveyors of penny dreadfuls. Welcome to the 19th century underworld…

Stephen Carver takes part in 'Meet The Author' feature

WDYTYA? February 2019

Article: Henry Spencer Ashbee: the Southwark local who amassed 'world's largest collection' of pornography as featured by

Southwark News, 20th December 2018 (print) - words by Josh Salisbury

There is plenty for everyone, regardless of what aspect of the 19th century underworld they are interested in; Carver’s interest in, and knowledge of, the literature is evident throughout, and he takes the reader on a rapid walk through the nooks and crannies of 19th century life, where you’re never quite sure of what lurks around the corner, but whatever it is, it is bound to be darkly fascinating.

See full review here

Nell Darby, Criminal Historian

Article: Henry Spencer-Ashbee: The Southwark local who amassed ‘The World’s Largest Collection of Porn’ as featured by

Southwark News, 19th December 2018 (online) - words by Josh Salisbury

Article: Author delves in to the dark past of city’s infamous murderer

Norwich Evening News, 8th December 2018 - words by Derek James
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