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Archer, D., Gartner, R., Violence and Crime in Cross National Perspective, New Haven, Yale, 1984.
Archer, J. E., “Men behaving badly”?: masculinity and the uses of violence, 1850-1900, in D’Cruze, S. (Ed.), Everyday Violence in Britain, 1850-1950, Harlow, Longman, 2000, pp. 41-54.
Behlmer, G. K., Deadly motherhood: infanticide and medical opinion in mid-Victorian England, Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Science, 1979, 34, pp. 403-427.
Bickerton, T. H., A Medical History of Liverpool, London, John Murray, 1936.
Brabin, A., The Black Widows of Liverpool: A Chilling Account of Cold-blooded Murder in Victorian Liverpool, Lancaster, Palatine Books, 2003.
Campbell, J., Laxton, P., Homicide and Manslaughter in Victorian Liverpool: A Research Report, Dept. of Geography, University of Liverpool, 1997.
Cockburn, J. S., Patterns of violence in English society: homicide in Kent 1560-1985, Past and Present, 1991, 130, pp. 70-106.
Collins, W., The Woman in White, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1996 [originally published 1861].
Eisner, M., Modernization, self-control and lethal violence: the long-term dynamics of European homicide rates in theoretical perspective, British Journal of Criminology, 2001, 41, pp. 618-638.
Eisner, M., Long-term historical trends in violent crime, Crime and Justice, 2003, 30, pp. 83-142.
Emmerichs, M. B., Getting away with murder?, Social Science History, spring 2001, pp. 93-100.
Emsley, C., Hard Men. The English and Violence since 1750, London, Hambledon and London, 2005.
Gatrell, V. A. C., The decline of theft and violence in Victorian and Edwardian England, in Gatrell, V. A. C., Lenman, B., Parker, G. (Eds), Crime and the Law: A Social History of Crime in Western Europe since 1500, London, Europa, 1980, pp. 238-337.
Glasgow, G. H. H., The campaign for medical coroners in nineteenth-century England and its aftermath: a Lancashire focus on failure (part 1), Mortality, 2004, 9, pp. 150-167.
Gurr, T. R., Historical trends in violent crime: a critical review of the evidence, Crime and Justice: an Annual Review of Research, 1981, 111, pp. 295-353.
Havard, J. D. J., The Detection of Secret Homicide. A Study of the Medico-legal System of Investigation of Sudden and Unexplained Deaths, London, Macmillan, 1960.
Higginbotham, A., “Sin of the age”: infanticide and illegitimacy in Victorian London, Victorian Studies, spring 1989, pp. 319-337.
Lowndes, F. W., Infanticide in Liverpool, National Association for Promotion of Social Sciences, 1872-1873, pp. 397-412.
Monkkonen, E. H., Diverging homicide rates: England and the United States, 1850-1875, in Gurr, T. R. (Ed.) Violence in America. Vol. 1 The History of Crime, 1989, Newbury Park, CA., Sage, pp. 80-101.
Monkkonen, E., New standards for historical homicide research, Crime, History and Societies, 2001, 5, 2, pp. 5-26.
Morris, R. M., Lies, damned lies and criminal statistics in England and Wales, Crime, History and Societies, 2001, 5, 1, pp. 111-127.
Philips, D., Crime and Authority in Victorian England: the Black Country 1835-1860, London, Croom Helm, 1977.
Rose, L., Massacre of the innocents: Infanticide in Great Britain 1800-1939, London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1986.
Russell, J. B., Report upon Uncertified Deaths in Glasgow by the Medical Officer of Health, Glasgow, 1876.
Sharpe, J. A., The history of violence in England: some observations, Past and Present, 1985, 108, pp. 206-215.
Stone, L., Interpersonal violence in English society 1300-1800, Past and Present, 1983, 101, pp. 22-33.
Taylor, H., Rationing crime: the political economy of criminal statistics since the 1850s, Economic History Review, 1998, LI, 3, pp. 569-590.
Walton, J. K., Cox, A. (Eds), Low Life and Moral Improvement in Mid-Victorian England: Liverpool Through the Journalism of Hugh Shimmin, Leicester, Leicester University Press, 1991.
Watson, K., Poisoned Lives: English Poisoners and Their Victims, London, Hambledon Continuum, 2004.
Wiener, M. J., Men of Blood: Violence, Manliness, and Criminal Justice in Victorian England, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2004.
Wood, J. C., Violence and Crime in Nineteenth-Century England: the Shadow of Our Refinement, London, Routledge, 2004.
Gurr (1981); Gatrell (1980); Stone (1983); Sharpe (1985); Cockburn (1991). See also Eisner (2001) and (2003) for more recent studies which examine long-term decline in violent crime in a number of countries.
Ibid., Previous studies of homicide tended to measure the crime in rates per 100,000 of the population. Taylor, on the other hand, examined the annual homicide totals as published in Criminal Statistics.
Morris (2001, p. 118). In a brief survey of official homicide figures for seven European countries between 1900-1939 the annual number of killings varied much more widely than that of England and Wales. In the case of five countries, namely Germany (to 1930), Hungary (to 1938), Italy, Norway and Scotland the majority of years lay outside the 20% variant of the respective national average number of cases, whereas in the case of England and Wales only 7.5% of the years lay outside the 20% variant; see Archer, Gartner (1984).
In addition to the articles already cited above see Emmerichs (2001); Monkkonen (2001). Liverpool’s police surgeon, F.W.Lowndes, argued that coroners should be appointed from members of the medical profession, not the legal profession as ‘too many cases of poisoning were put down as visitations of God.’ See Bickerton (1936, p. 148).
Liverpool newspapers were consulted at the Liverpool Record Office(LRO), for Manchester papers, Manchester Central Library. Police annual returns are bound in the annual Proceedings of the Council, H352 cou, held at LRO and Manchester Local History Library and Archive, Liverpool Coroner’s Registers 1852-65, 347 COR 1, LRO.
Philips (1977, p. 253).
See Liverpool Mercury, 3 February 1893, which reported that the business of the coroner’s court was dealt with ‘remarkable dispatch’; Havard (1960).
Figures extrapolated from the Liverpool Coroner’s Court Register, 1863, and the Liverpool Head Constable’s annual returns for 1862-1863, 1863-1864, H352cou, LRO.
Proceedings of the Council, Head Constable’s Annual Return 1865-1866, p. 499. The emphasis is mine.
Proceedings of the Council 1864-1865, p. 463. The emphasis is mine.
Liverpool Head Constables’ Returns for the 1860s bound in the Proceedings of the Council.
Monkkonen (2001, p. 9).
For the number of infanticides in Liverpool see Campbell, Laxton (1997), a report commissioned by E. Monkkonen. I am grateful to the late Prof. Monkkonen for allowing me to use this document. The same information can be extracted from the registers at 347 COR 1, LRO. Higginbotham (1989). Rose (1986, pp. 38-39), makes comparisons between Liverpool, London and Manchester.
In 1862, prior to Lankester’s appointment as coroner of Central Middlesex, there were seven cases of infanticide in that area of London. A year later the infanticide cases had risen to 40. See Behlmer (1979, pp. 403-427). See also Glasgow (2004).
For Glasgow see Russell (1876), Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections, SC 5964. I am grateful to Chris Williams for bringing this report to my attention. Lowndes (1872-1873, p. 397) which lists the inquest verdicts between 1869-1871.
Ibid., p. 400.
Liverpool Mercury,26 November 1873.
Liverpool Mercury, 16 December 1868.
See Liverpool Head Constable’s returns for the 1860s, especially 1867-1868, p. 465; Monkkonen, (1989, table 3.1, p. 86).
Liverpool Mercury,14 April 1868 which reported that ‘cases of infanticide have become so frequent in Liverpool of late that Mr Clarke Aspinall, the borough coroner, communicated with Mr G. Hardy, the Home Secretary, on the subject.’ The latter ‘authorised’ the coroner to offer rewards for information that would lead to the arrests and prosecutions of the guilty parties.
Liverpool Mercury, 18 May 1878.
Liverpool Mercury,24 November 1894.
Liverpool Mercury, 4 February 1893.
Liverpool Mercury,3 July 1871. In the case of Mary Whiteside of Longridge near Preston, it was reported that her husband and two of her children, all of whom died in separate incidents in 1878, were members of the Prudential Assurance Society, Liverpool Mercury,18, 22 and 27 November 1878. It was recognised by police, insurance officials and civil servants that there were some attempts to defraud insurance and assurance companies. Even Wilkie Collins alluded to the practice ‘And murder will out…,will it? Ask Coroners who sit at inquests in large towns if that is true….Ask secretaries of life-assurance companies, if that is true….’, (1996, pp. 236-237). See also Brabin (2003) for a detailed account of the infamous Flanagan and Higgins, Watson (2004).
Liverpool Mercury,1, 5, 12, 22, and 23 February 1877.
Liverpool Mercury,1, 2, 30October 1879.
Liverpool Mercury,13 February 1877, the child was found between Leyland and Preston; ibid.,14 October 1881. In another case two fully grown female children were discovered in St Domingo’s Pit, Everton. ‘Upon each of the bodies’, it was reported, ‘string was fastened to the neck, the cords having been very probably placed there to produce strangulation’, Manchester Courier supplement, 24 April 1880.
Liverpool Mercury,7 March 1862; ibid.,16 May 1872.
Liverpool Mercury, 4, 5, 6, and 18 August 1892. In another case which caused great ‘indignation’ a four-year-old girl died shortly after being sexually assaulted on her way home from school in Crumpsall, Manchester. The assailant, a man named Gouth, who had committed similar crimes in the neighbourhood, was initially charged with murder and criminal assault. The post-mortem on the girl, however, concluded that death was due to ‘inflammation of the brain, produced by tuberculous deposit’. The coroner’s jury reluctantly returned a verdict of death from natural causes, Manchester Courier, 23 and 24 May 1870.
Rose (1986, p.145; pp. 136-158).
Liverpool Mercury,15 October 1875; Emmerichs found many suspicious drownings in the River Thames (2001, p. 96).
For the body tied up see Liverpool Mercury,7 and 8 January 1892; the body of a black man see Liverpool Mercury,12 July 1871; for the two canal cases see Manchester Courier,7 and 17 June 1887. Interestingly one body a week on average is retrieved from the River Thames by the police. Although modern pathology techniques allow the coroner and police to determine whether persons were alive when they entered the river, they still continue to have trouble determining whether a murder has occurred, consequently open verdicts are still most commonly returned by coroners’ courts, Guardian G2, 15 December 2004.
Liverpool Mercury,2 July 1870 and 20 November 1872.
Liverpool Mercury, 14 October 1879.
Excellent research on male-on-male fights has been published by Emsley (2005); Wiener (2004); Wood (2004).
Liverpool Mercury,10 and 17 July 1896. This case and others are cited in my chapter on male violence, Archer (2000, pp. 41-54).
In the case of the fatality involving a sailor who appeared to have been stabbed, no one, not even the deceased in his dying deposition, witnessed the use of a knife. Medical evidence also suggested other additional causes for the sailor’s death, Liverpool Mercury, 11, 12, and 15 August 1879. For the case involving Shepherd see Liverpool Mercury, 3 April 1865.
For the Jones case see Liverpool Mercury,17 April 1876; Ford see ibid.,1 November 1872; Gilligan see ibid.,19 December 1866.
Liverpool Mercury,29 September 1898; ibid.,9 and 10 January 1896 for the mysterious death of a prostitute in a Manchester warehouse. See also Wiener (2004, especially chapters 5 and 6, pp. 170-239). where he examines the killing of ‘Bad Wives’.
Liverpool Mercury,8 and 13 November 1894.
Liverpool Mercury,18 August 1879. See also the case of John Wright who was tried for the murder of his wife Henrietta who had died from a ruptured spleen inflicted during a quarrel with her husband. The newspaper reported that the ‘quarrel was not witnessed by any other person except the son of the parties, a lad of 12, and he said distinctly that the deceased woman struck her husband and then slipping upon some quills fell heavily against a chair’. Wright was acquitted, see Manchester Courier,29 January 1886.
Liverpool Mercury,28 and 29 October 1881.
Liverpool Mercury,4 October 1879. See also the report on the inquest on Emma Twist who died of erysipelas. Her family was convinced that she had been the victim of her husband’s violence, whereas the Twist family argued that she had slipped and fallen on a broken jug. The jury returned a verdict of death from injuries accidentally received, Liverpool Mercury,4 September 1878.
For M’Garvey see Liverpool Mercury,16 August 1880; for Walsh see Manchester Courier, 9 December 1885.
Wiener (2004, pp.170-239).
I have examples of mysterious deaths in mental asylums, Liverpool Mercury,12 August 1892 and 9 November 1872. In the former case an inmate of Rainhill Asylum near St.Helens, was found with fractured ribs. In the latter case at Haydock Lodge, inmate William Lord died from injuries to his chest, ribs, and legs. He was also found to have a black eye and bruising over the body. Before he died he had told his wife that ‘some of the patients and one of the attendants had abused him’. A subsequent enquiry into his death had concluded that Lord had not been ill-used by any attendants and that another patient named Booth, who had been found kneeling on him a month earlier, ‘had since died’.
Walton, Cox (1991, p.143).
Taylor (1998, p. 588).
Emsley (2005); Wood (2004, pp. 70-147).
Havard argued that prior to the nineteenth century no sudden deaths were investigated unless there was ‘manifest evidence’ of violence. ‘This meant…that the majority of cases of murder…or other “secret” methods of killing went unrecognised’ (1960, pp. 38-39).
As recently as April 2004 the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths reported that 30 to 40 under one-year-olds might be victims of covert homicide in England and Wales every year, Guardian, G2, 22 April 2004.Haut de page