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It is possible to draw parallels with the London street gangs of the s, whose behaviour was labelled hooliganism. The social commentator Alexander Devine attributed the gang culture to lack of parental control, lack of discipline in schools, "base literature" and the monotony of life in Manchester's slums. Gangs were formed throughout the slums of central Manchester, in the townships of Bradford , Gorton and Openshaw to the east and in Salford, to the west of the city.

Scuttlers - Wikipedia

Gang conflicts erupted in Manchester in the early s and went on sporadically for thirty years, declining in frequency and severity by the late s. Scuttlers distinguished themselves from other young men in working-class neighbourhoods by their distinctive clothing.


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They generally wore a uniform of brass-tipped pointed clogs , bell-bottomed trousers , cut like a sailor's "bells" that measured fourteen inches round the knee and twenty-one inches round the foot and "flashy" silk scarves. Their hair was cut short at the back and sides, but they grew long fringes, known as "donkey fringes", that were longer on the left side and plastered down on the forehead over the left eye. This is a solid piece of social history, and whilst it can get a little repetitive it is free from spurious psychological insights.

Stands well alongside other social histories of the period. Apr 10, Damian rated it really liked it. Very interesting survey of the social problems of inner city Manchester in the late 19th century. Some of it reminded me of the proles scenes in , some of it of The Wire.

Crime & Poverty In Manchester: Britain's Forgotten Men

The very poor were totally separated from society at large, and as they had no stake in it, had no interest in it or its mores. Oct 03, Neil Zeller rated it really liked it. A good read but I found it a bit to long for me and I got bored with it near to the end. However I read the last chapter.

Gangs in the United Kingdom

I was in Manchester a few days ago. And I saw a number of streets, that where in the book.

A fascinating read into some very dark times. Well researched, well written by an author who obviously enjoys the subject. Michele Mizejewski rated it liked it Nov 05, Laura rated it liked it May 12, Carl Greatbatch rated it liked it Jan 13, Jo rated it really liked it Sep 09, Susan Wands rated it liked it Jun 10, Claire rated it liked it Mar 11, Jane Kennedy rated it it was amazing Jun 05, Mark rated it liked it Nov 12, Nick Jackson rated it liked it Mar 10, Fiona Doyle rated it it was amazing Dec 17, Sandra Evans rated it it was ok Jul 09, Nick Torkington rated it liked it Dec 18, The final paragraph, which comments on the antics of the Bullingdon club at Oxford University in , did not feature in the BBC broadcast.

It was seen in Birmingham, Liverpool, London and Glasgow too, as the period from the s to the s witnessed recurring panics over what today we call knife-crime. Then as now, young people were routinely demonized by politicians and sections of the press. The terminology differed, of course.

Victorian gang members were labelled ruffians and brutes, barbarians and savages. But the rhetoric was used for many of the same purposes, not least to create the illusion that violence was new, and to deflect attention away from an unpalatable truth.

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In nineteenth-century Manchester and Salford, youthful gang members called themselves scuttlers. Some of them were girls and young women, and lads and girls alike revelled in the notoriety afforded them by the press. For years afterwards, he wore a jersey with the title journalists gave him sewn onto the front.


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  7. Gangs of Manchester: The Story of the Scuttlers;
  8. Victorian attempts to explain the problems of gangs and knife-crime seem startlingly familiar to us. Popular culture generates new forms of gang style, but these are surely adornments, not causes. In the search for blame, Victorian parents were castigated too. As the Manchester Guardian lamented: The Victorians, like ourselves, found solutions to these problems hard to come by. Gangs seemed to be largely immune to prison as a deterrent, and flooding the affected districts with police, in anticipation of what we might call zero tolerance, only seemed to disperse violence from one area to another.

    These new centres for education, training and recreation, established during the s, were targeted at precisely those impoverished neighbourhoods most afflicted by gangs. It took a generation, and a significant commitment of both time and money to improve facilities for young people, but as the clubs grew, gangs declined.

    Hooligans' history

    If this episode from our past is any guide, then working with — rather than against — young people will be our best way forward. And finally, as we ponder the sentences meted out following the recent disturbances, we should bear in mind another lesson from the nineteenth century: No looting was reported that night, but panes of glass were smashed.


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    In any other context, that would have constituted criminal damage. But then again, perhaps the line between youthful high jinks and mindless criminality is thinner than we care to admit.