Added: February 7, 2004 – Last updated: November 5, 2016


Author: Shani D'Cruze

Title: Sex, Violence and Local Courts

Subtitle: Working-Class Respectability in a Mid-Nineteenth-Century Lancashire Town

Journal: The British Journal of Criminology: An International Review of Crime and Society

Volume: 39

Issue: 1

Year: January 1999

Pages: 39-55

ISSN: 0007-0955 – Find a Library: WordCat

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 19th Century | European History: English History | Cases: Offenders / James Bamford, Charles Brown; Cases: Victims / Lillie Garrett, Mary Gradgrind; Types: Child Sexual Abuse; Victims: Girls



JSTOR (Restricted Access)

Oxford University Press (Restricted Access)



»Complex issues of class and gender were highlighted when sexual and physical violence against women came up in mid-nineteenth-century local courts. In Middleton, Lancashire, despite its large female industrial workforce, these cases mostly associated working women's social identities with home and neighbourhood. They presented masculinities that contradicted the increasing respectability of working men's organization and politics. Proceedings were published to a courtroom audience and in local newspapers. Men's sexual and physical violence, often associated with leisure and drunkenness, affiliation cases and women's neighbourhood quarrels, produced a composite picture of disorder which middle-class magistrates aimed to discipline. Respectable working-class opinion must also have disapproved. Local courts gave working women a public forum to air grievances, but one that entailed a real risk to their own reputation.« (Source: British Journal of Criminology)

»Examines how complex issues of class and gender were highlighted in local court hearings of sexual and physical violence against women in mid-nineteenth-century Lancashire, England. Association of working women's social identities with home and neighborhood; Allowance of woman to air their grievances in a public forum at the risk of ruining their own reputation.« (Source: EBSCOhost Connection)


  Neighbours and Kin (p. 40)
  Middleton in the Mid-Nineteenth Century (p. 42)
  Mary Gradgrind and Lillie Garrett (p. 45)
  Working-Class Masculinity: Sex, Courtship and Popular Leisure (p. 47)
  Conclusion (p. 51)
  References (p. 52)

Wikipedia: History of Europe: History of England / Victorian era