Sunday, October 19, 2008

The real reason I bought "London's Underworld"

When I was looking at the book for the first time, I came across this table of statistics:

Number of disorderly prostitutes taken into Custody during the years 1850-1860, and their trades:

1850 -- 2,502
1851 -- 2,573
1852 -- 3,750
1853 -- 3,386
1854 -- 3,764
1855 -- 3,592
1856 -- 4,303
1857 -- 5,178
1858 -- 4,890
1859 -- 4,282
1860 -- 3,734

After some search I have been enabled to give the trades and occupations of those women.

74 were Hatters and trimmers.
418 were Laundresses.
646 were Milliners, etc.
400 were Servants.
249 were Shoemakers.
58 were Artificial flower-makers.
215 were Tailors.
33 were Brushmakers.
42 were Bookbinders.
8 were Corkcutters.
7 were Dyers.
2 were Fishmongers.
8 were General and marine-store dealers.
24 were Glovers.
18 were Weavers.

The remainder described themselves as having no trade or occupation.

There's just no way for me not be interested in stats like that - I mean, 646 Milliners? I didn't even know what a milliner was (Wikipedia has it as "the profession or business of designing, making, or selling hats, dresses, and hat trim to women." - I guess that's different from hatters in that hatters sell to men?).

Also, as promised, here's the Table of Contents for the 'Thieves and Swindlers' section:

The Sneaks, or Common Thieves

  • Stealing from the Tills
  • Stealing from the Doors and Windows of Shops
  • Stealing from Children
  • Child Stripping
  • Stealing from Drunken Persons
  • Stealing Linen, etc., exposed to dry
  • Robberies from Carts and other Vehicles
  • Stealing Lead from Housetops, Copper from Kitchens, etc.
  • Robberies by False Keys
  • Robberies by Lodgers
  • Robberies from Servants
  • Area and Lobby Sneaks
  • Stealing by Lifting Up Windows or Breaking Glass
  • Attic or Garret Thieves
  • A Visit to the Rookery of St. Giles and its Neighbourhood
  • Narrative of a London Sneak, or Common Thief

Pickpockets and Shoplifters

  • Omnibus Pickpockets
  • Railway Pickpockets
  • Shoplifters
  • A visit to the Thieves' Dens in Spitalfields
  • Narrative of a Pickpocket
Horse and Dog Stealers
Highway Robbers
Housebreakers and Burglars
Felonies on the River Thames
  • The Mudlarks
  • Sweeping Boys
  • Sellers of Small Wares
  • Labourers on Board Ship, etc.
  • Dredgemen and Fishermen
  • Smuggling
  • Felonies by Lightermen
  • The River Pirates
  • Narrative of a Mudlark
Receivers of Stolen Property
  • Dolly Shops
  • Pawnbrokers, etc.
  • Narrative of a Returned Convict
  • Forgers
  • Bank Notes
  • Cheques
  • Forged Acceptance
  • Forged Wills
  • Embezzlers
  • Magsmen or Sharpers
  • The Card Tricks
  • Skittles
  • Thimble and Pea
  • The Lock
  • Swindlers

This section proves to be just as interesting as the last was.


Anonymous said...

oh wow. that is fantastic.

what is a corkcutter?

Anonymous said...

ok, per The Book of English Trades by John Souter

"a cork cutter cuts the bark which is stripped from the cork tree into a variety of small round cylindrical pieces for the purpose of stopping casks, bottles, phials, etc"

oh wow. i guess someone has to make the corks