London's Underworld: Three Centuries of Vice and Crime

Overview

London is a city that thrives on crime and the myths of crime, as its violent history and the colourful portrayal of criminals in fiction, from Defoe to Dickens, attest. London's Underworld examines the murky underside of the capital, surveying three centuries of vice and crime and a variety of perilous underworlds. Fergus Linnane's writing is full of vivid detail as he describes the city's underworld characters, such as the loathed, murderous, eighteenth-century bounty hunter Jonathan Wild, the Italian Sabini ...
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Overview

London is a city that thrives on crime and the myths of crime, as its violent history and the colourful portrayal of criminals in fiction, from Defoe to Dickens, attest. London's Underworld examines the murky underside of the capital, surveying three centuries of vice and crime and a variety of perilous underworlds. Fergus Linnane's writing is full of vivid detail as he describes the city's underworld characters, such as the loathed, murderous, eighteenth-century bounty hunter Jonathan Wild, the Italian Sabini gang which dominated London in the early twentieth century, and the more recent Billy Hill, Jack Spot, Frankie Fraser, Kray twins and Adams family. London's Underworld takes us on the nightmarish last journeys of condemned criminals to the gallows at Tyburn. We enter death-trap eighteenth century prisons, one of which the novelist Henry Fielding described as a 'prototype of hell'. We walk the crowded streets of Victorian London with its swarms of prostitutes and follow the ingenious villains who carried out the first great train robbery in 1854. We see the rise and fall of the interwar racecourse gangs and the bloody battle for control of the West End. This fascinating book, containing 25 images, illustrates how crime in the capital has evolved from the extreme violence of the early eighteenth century to the vastly more complex and lucrative, but no less brutal, gangland of today.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781861057426
  • Publisher: Anova Books
  • Publication date: 3/1/2005
  • Pages: 372
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements vii
Preface ix
Introduction xi
The Original Godfather 1
The Great Wen 24
Footpads and Pickpockets 33
Light and Heavy Horsemen 36
Highwaymen and Smugglers: Gentlemen and Ruffians 40
Citadels of Vice and Crime 55
Schools of Vice 70
Garotters and Dragsmen 80
The Greatest Train Robbery 83
Charlies, Peelers and the Met 91
A New Kind of Criminal 100
The East End 105
Guns and Gangsters 110
Career Gangsters 116
Changing the Map of the Underworld 126
The Battle for the West End 131
Another Train Robbery 160
The Firm 164
The Torture Gang 186
The Enforcer 193
The Lesser Breeds 196
Supercrooks and Supergrasses 201
Sin City 216
Vice Empires 245
Bent Coppers 255
Race and Riots 263
Killers and Hit Men 271
Robbing the Bank of England 276
In Durance Vile 280
From Reefers to Crack 296
Modern Times 312
Characters 318
Bibliography 324
Notes 329
Index 349
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