The nineteenth century was a time of growing awareness of the existence of an impoverished underclass - a terrifying demi-monde of criminals, tarts and no-hope low lifes. Uniformed gangs would 'hold their street' in violent clashes with opposing mobs, and foreign seamen would set up home close to the massive wealth of bonded warehouses - everyone knew about the alien hordes' propensity for making a living from thievery, opium, and whores . . .
Gilda O'Neill explores the teeming underbelly dwelling in the fog-bound streets, rat-infested slums, common lodging houses, boozers, penny gaffs and brothels in the heart of the greatest empire that the world has ever seen, revealing that Victoria's was actually a most unruly reign.