Crime, criminal networks and the survival strategies of the poor in early eighteenth-century London
in The poor in England 1700–1850

This chapter considers the function and form of crime and criminality in London parishes in the first half of the eighteenth century. It also considers three key 'deviant' activities (workplace theft, prostitution and receiving) in the context of the makeshift economy. Stories of robberies and attempted robberies by prostitutes from the unsuspecting country innocent were the staple fare of early eighteenth-century literature; moreover this literature linked them closely to the cities' criminal networks. Arguably the place of crime in survival strategies had been inadequately assessed; the role of criminal activity in the life-cycle merited closer examination than it had thus far received. The chapter explores the impact of structural factors that affected access to poor relief. It also explores the interweaving worlds of the poor and the criminal in early eighteenth-century London.

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The poor in England 1700–1850

An economy of makeshifts

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