Living in Early Victorian London
Imprint: Pen and Sword History
224 Pages, 6.1 x 9.2 in, 40 mono illustrations
- June 2023
- In Stock
The most sensational crime of the epoch, the murder of Patrick O’Connor by Frederick and Maria Manning, filled the press in the summer and autumn of 1849. Michael Alpert uses the trial record of this murder, accompanied by numerous other contemporary sources, among them journalism, diaries and fiction, to show how day-to-day lives, birth, death, sickness, work, shopping, cooking, and buying clothes, were lived in the crowded, noisy capital in the early decades of Victoria’s reign. These sources illustrate how ordinary people lived in London, their incomes, entertainments, religious practice, reading and education, their hopes and anxieties. Life in Early Victorian London reveals how ordinary people like the Mannings and thousands of others experienced their multifaceted lives in the greatest capital city of the world.
Early Victorian London lived on the cusp of great improvements, but it was a city which in some aspects was mediaeval. Its inhabitants enjoyed the benefit of the Penny Post and the omnibus, and they were protected to some extent by a police force. The Mannings fled their crime on the railway, were trapped by the recently-invented telegraph and arrested by ‘detectives’ (a new concept and word), but they were hanged in public as murderers had been for centuries, watched by a baying, drunken and swearing mob.