London 1849: the city is filthy, plagued, criminal and filling up with refugees from the Irish Famine and the revolutionary wars on the continent…but it is on the brink of reform as stations are built, rioters pardoned and the Great Exhibition planned. The heaving city is the backdrop for the most sensational crime and trial of the decade: the Manning murder case. Throughout the sticky summer the people of London obsessed over the fate of a dominant mysterious woman and her weak husband as the full detail of their slaughter of her lover unfolded. London 1849 follows the murder, trial and execution of the couple, interweaving the scene that was London at the time: crime, noise, cholera, overpacked slums, prostitution, law and order, prisons, fashion, shopping, finance, transport, Marx and Dickens.
Acknowledgements. Introduction. 1. ‘Orrible murder in Bermondsey. 2. ‘An extremely fine woman’. 3. What they ate and what they wore. 4. In sickness and in health. 5. Money, housing and class. 6. Learning, literature and liturgy. 7. ‘A burst of applause that made the building ring’. 8. Outsiders. 9. Communications. 10. Crime and punishment. Epilogue. Bibliography. Index.