Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire

Exploring Sentencing Patterns for Female Drunkenness and Crimes of Violence in Mid-Victorian Lancashire

Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire (2017), 166, (1), 117–144.

Abstract

Concerns about drunkenness and violence were rife in mid-Victorian Britain. The 1870s in particular were a key period regarding such concerns. Drink became a party-political issue, with the passing of the 1872 Licensing Act a key moment in such debates. Additionally, concerns about violence, including brutal and common assaults, grew during this time. This article explores how these issues played out in the sentences given by magistrates in south-east Lancashire. It uses two case studies, the Boroughs of Salford and Rochdale, in examining how the authorities attempted to deal with the perceived problem of drunkenness and crimes of violence in their areas. Using a range of quantitative and qualitative sources, the article evaluates how women arrested for these offences were treated by the courts.

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Author details

Stafford, Craig