'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!
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.