5th Edition

Crime and Society in England, 1750–1900

By Clive Emsley Copyright 2018
    342 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    342 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Ranging from the middle of the eighteenth through to the end of the nineteenth century, Crime and Society in England, 1750–1900 explores the developments in policing, the courts and the penal system as England became increasingly industrialised and urbanised. Through a consideration of the difficulty of defining crime, the book presents criminal behaviour as being intrinsically tied to historical context and uses this theory as the basis for its examination of crime within English society during this period.

    In this fifth edition Professor Emsley explores the most recent research, including the increased focus on ethnicity, gender and cultural representations of crime, allowing students to gain a broader view of modern English society. Divided thematically, the book’s coverage includes:

    • the varying perceptions of crime across different social groups
    • crime in the workplace
    • the concepts of a ‘criminal class’ and ‘professional criminals’
    • the developments in the courts, the police and the prosecution of criminals.

    Thoroughly updated to address key questions surrounding crime and society in this period, and fully equipped with illustrations, tables and charts to further highlight important aspects, Crime and Society in England, 1750–1900 is the ideal introduction for students of modern crime.

    1. Introduction: crime and the law
    2. The statistical map
    3. Class perceptions
    4. Ethnicity and gender
    5. Perceptions of place
    6. Fiddles, perks and pilferage
    7. The criminal class and perceptions of criminals
    8. Prosecutors and the courts
    9. Detection and prevention: the old police and the new
    10. Punishment and reformation
    11. Concluding remarks

    Further reading: further research



    Clive Emsley is Emeritus Professor of History at the Open University. His books include Hard Men: Violence in England since 1750 (2005); Crime Police and Penal Policy: European Experiences 1750–1940 (2007); The Great British Bobby (2009); Crime and Society in Twentieth Century England (2011); Soldier, Sailor, Beggarman, Thief: Crime and the British Armed Services since 1914 (2013); Napoleon (2014); and Exporting British Policing during the Second World War (2017).

    'Clive Emsley’s magisterial study of crime and society has been skilfully updated to incorporate new research and recent historiographical trends. It is highly recommended for all seeking to understand the depth and complexity of crime and punishment in the long nineteenth century.'

    Sarah Richardson, University of Warwick, UK

    'Clive Emsley’s Crime and Society in England, 1750-1900 has, for thirty years, been a valuable general guide for students and scholars to the history of English justice during a period of fundamental change. With each new edition of his volume he has substantially updated his synthesis of this rapidly changing field in the light of the best recent scholarship. For anyone interested in the social and institutional history of crime and the criminal justice system, there is no better place to begin than Emsley’s book.'

    Randall McGowen, University of Oregon​, US