The Real PIs of Victorian London

After a month’s hiatus from the blogosphere/Twitterverse I have returned to the land of the living with a little post about private investigators (or PIs). I came across private investigators during the early stages of my research. They were one of the groups who popped up among the (many) results of my keyword search for…

Detection in England from Bow Street to the Met

Originally posted on English Legal History:
Detectives have had a special niche in popular culture for many years. Beginning in the nineteenth century with the works of Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins and followed later in the century by Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, detectives captured the nineteenth-century imagination. Today, crime novels, although still popular, have…

The Birth of Detectives in the Met

As my previous post on European police suggested, many Britons equated centralized policing with government tyranny and espionage. To avoid such criticisms, when the Metropolitan Police was established in 1829 there was no detective branch.[1] The police commissioners and the Home Office felt that it would be better to make the prevention of crime the…

Bloggers, Beware!

Originally posted on WaywardWomen:
When I started WaywardWomen in April 2012, I wanted to create a space where I could explore the themes and points of interest in my PhD project – but more than this, I wanted to create a place in which I could share and exchange my ideas with others – be…

Worn Out: The Physical Price of Police Work

I’ve been too sick today to do any proper research, so thought I’d write about detectives who were forced to retire because of disease or infirmity. My illness will not, of course, lead to my retirement (one needs a job for that) but I thought it would be a fun subject for a blog post.…

European Police in the English Imagination

Lately, I’ve been reading about European police agencies to better understand nineteenth-century English prejudices against continental policing. By far the most prominent criticism made against European governments was that they spied on their citizens. Although the English recognized that such tactics could be effective, political policing remained anathema to British sensibilities. The well-trodden statement of…

Beating up Bobbies

As I mentioned in a previous post, undercover work was a significant part of policing London. The only problem was that, in the beginning, undercover police had no way to properly identify themselves. They had full powers of arrest as police constables, but when not in uniform they sometimes had trouble convincing the public that…