Wayward Women

Female Offending in Victorian England

Lucy Williams

Date Published :
March 2016
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
Illustration :
Format Available    QuantityPrice
ISBN : 9781473844872
Pages : 208
Dimensions : 9.21 X 6.14 inches
In stock


We most often think of the Victorian female offender in her most archetypal and stereotypical roles; the polite lady shoplifter, stowing all manner of valuables beneath her voluminous crinolines, the tragic street waif of Dickensian fiction or the vicious femme fatale who wreaked her terrible revenge with copious poison.

Yet the stories in popular novels and the ‘Penny Dreadfuls’ of the day have passed down to us only half the story of these women and their crimes. From the everyday street scuffles and pocket pickings of crowded slums, to the sensational trials that dominated national headlines; the women of Victorian England were responsible for a diverse and at times completely unexpected level of deviance.

This book takes a closer look at women and crime in the Victorian period. With vivid real-life stories, powerful photos, eye-opening cases and wider discussions that give us an insightful illustration of the lives of the women responsible for them. This history of brawlers, thieves, traffickers and sneaks shows individuals navigating a world where life was hard and resources were scarce. Their tales are of poverty, opportunism, violence, hope and despair; but perhaps most importantly, the story of survival in the ruthless world of the past.

About The Author

Lucy Williams is an experienced researcher with a PhD from the University of Liverpool. She specialises in the history of crime, women and gender, and the social history of the nineteenth century. For more than three years she has been part of the ‘Digital Panopticon’, a project tracing 90,000 men and women from London either imprisoned in England or transported to Australia. It is her work on this project which inspired Convicts in the Colonies. Her first book, Wayward Women, was published with Pen and Sword in 2016.

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