Glasgow: The Real Mean City

True Crime and Punishment in the Second City of the Empire
Glasgow: The Real Mean City
True Crime and Punishment in the Second City of the Empire

Availability: In stock

Published: 6th December 2014
Format: Paperback 198x129mm
Extent: 256 pages
ISBN: 9781845027377
RRP: £7.99

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RRP: £2.99
ePub ISBN: 9781845026165
Published: 25th April 2013

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There cannot be many cities where crime could mean anything from stealing a ship to singing a seditious song, but nineteenth-century Glasgow was a unique place with an amazing dynamism. Immigrants poured in from Ireland and the Highlands while the factories, shipyards and mills buzzed with innovation. However, underneath the bustle was a different world as an incredibly diverse criminal class worked for their own profit with total disregard for the law.

Robbers infested the highways and byways, a glut of garrotters gathered to jump on the unwary, drunken brawls disfigured the evening streets, prostitutes lured foolish men into dark corners, conmen connived clever schemes and perfidious poisoners plotted. There were dark and dangerous places such as the Tontine Close and always the possibility of a major riot - with religion the excuse - as a volatile population became angry at unjust poverty and poor housing.

It was perhaps not surprising that Glasgow formed Britain's first professional police force and men such as Superintendent James Smart fought to stem the crime that at times seemed to overwhelm the city. The forces of law had to be mobile, with the robbery of the Paisley Bank involving a coach chase as far as London, while the robbery of Walter Baird's shop in the Argyll Arcade took Acting Superintendent George McKay over the sea to Belfast. The police had an often thankless task and The Real Mean City chronicles the century-long struggle of the forces of law and order to bring peace to a troubled city.


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Malcolm Archibald

Author Malcolm Archibald received the 2005 Dundee Book Prize. A Sink of Atrocity came about from his Masters dissertation in history and includes original and new research about the story of crime in Dundee. Malcolm Archibald lives near Elgin in Northern Scotland.

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