by Michael Macilwee - £7.99 Milo Books (2007)
paperback ISBN 13: 9781903854600 | ISBN 10: 1903854601
Victorian Liverpool was a city of abundant wealth and abysmal poverty. By day the broad streets bustled with wealthy merchants making fortunes from the booming dock trade. By ngihtfall they were taken over by fearsome gangs from the foul courtyards and overcrowed tenements. Shrieks and screams cut the air, while brawls and brutal muggings were commonplace.
The Gangs of Liverpool is a fascinating tour through a long-forgotten netherworld where armed ruffians fought for territory or pride and no man was safe after dark. From warring Catholic and Protestant mobs in the 1850s, with names like the Hibernians and the Dead Rabbits, emerged the Cornermen, whose wicked exploits made them feared throughout the city. The brutal Tithbarn Street Outrage of 1874, when a young man was kicked to death in front of his wife and brother, brought starkly to public attention the thugs who plagued one of the world's greatest seaports.
Previously hidden in the shadows of their inner-city slums, the gangs now took centre stage. Most notorious of all were the High Rip, who announced themselves with the infamous Blackstone Street Murder and waged a vicious war against their sworn enemies, the Logwood Gang. Emulating them were juvenile mobs with names such as the Lemon Street Gang and the Housebreakers.
Dr Michael Macilwee has an MA in Victorian Literature and has a special interest in youth crime and disorder. He has conducted exhaustive research to portray the Merseyside underworld in one of its most colourful periods, replete with Dickensian cut-throats, iron-hard detectives, pitched battles and draconian punishments. From religious riots to bareknuckle brawls, The Gangs of Liverpool is a riveting journey into the dark but compelling criminal history of England's toughest city.
(Price & availability last checked: June 2018)