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Urban Crime in Early Modern London - Research Paper Example

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One of the most notable crimes during the period of study, included theft and robbery; and one of the most prominent names which featured most notably during the period was that of Mary Nichols, alias Trolly Lolly…
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Urban Crime in Early Modern London
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Download file to see previous pages She regularly stole various kinds of goods, broke into houses to steal them, and often lied to escape conviction and punishment. She was extremely poor, which is perhaps one of the most prominent reasons for her crimes. She used the alias "Trolly Lolly" in an attempt to hide her previous convictions. She was described as a 30 year old woman, who came to London when she was fairly young, married a butcher and earned an honest living selling meat and other eatables on the streets of London. However during the year 1713, she turned to stealing, since she lived in extreme poverty, and was often mistreated by her husband. Thus in order to secure a safe livelihood for herself and her children, she took to stealing, robbery and burglary and committed various felonies during her lifetime. However, she was convicted for the crimes committed and on account of lack of proper evidence in her favour, was held guilty and charged with felony. She was hanged on 21st September 1715.
Analysis of crimes: London, during the eighteenth century characterized a vibrant society which was abuzz with the introduction of world trade, the development of manufacturing industry, and a simultaneous rise in crime. During the year 1715, London underwent mixed feelings with regard to the socio-political status, characterized by enthusiasm and cheerfulness on account of crowning of the new King George I, on one hand and extreme economic unrest followed by the South Sea Bubble. Furthermore, there was a steady rise in the population, which further increased the rates of poverty and unemployment resulting in widespread destitution. The period marked the beginning of the "gin craze" in London, and was highly plagued with increased infant mortality rates, poor hygiene, cramped and inadequate living conditions, and constant migrations (Old Bailey Online, 2011). Thus, on account of this background, the types of criminal activity largely witnessed during the year 1715 (and most of the early eighteenth century) included theft, burglary, embezzlement, and prostitution to a certain extent. The incidences of murder were far and few in between, but a significant proportion of the criminal activities were aimed at amassing wealth. Most of the thefts and petty crimes such as pick-pocketing, involved women as well since they were mainly responsible for taking care of their children. The following table shows the various categories of crimes committed during the chosen period. This analysis is based on a careful study of the documents posted under “City of London sessions” on the London Lives project website. Table 1: Analysis of crime during the year 1715 Case# Date Description of the criminal Type of crime Other details 1 5th Aug, Male Theft Stole a horse 2 17th Dec Female Theft Stole a box with valuables worth more than hundred pounds 3 Jan, 1715 Female Pick-pocketing Mary Sound – a notorious pick-pocketer stole money at London bridge 4 20th Jan Male & Female Theft Stole stuff from an acquaintance and believed to have pawned the same at a higher price 5 Jan, 1715 Male Theft Stole sacks of mault, from someone’s house and sold them for a price 6 Jan, 1715 Female – Elizabeth Young, a single woman Theft Stole several times from several people and regularly sold it for a price 7 13th Feb Female Theft Francis Pitchell – a house maid, stole several bed sheets and pawned them for a price 8 16th Jan Male Forgery Fraudulently changed the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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