- R. H. Davies
15th June 2010
Covering an area from Liverpool to London, Canal Crimes explores the whole range of criminal activity on Britain's Waterways during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Criminal court cases range from the opportunistic sixteen-year-old who was transported for seven years for stealing a man's clothes whilst he went for a dip, to those who seem to have literally got away with murder, and those who were not so fortunate as to escape the hangman's noose. At Stafford County Courtroom, the judge stated, 'I cannot refrain from remarking that I am afraid no men in this country are so destitute of all moral culture as boatmen.' This was the response to the murder and rape of Christina Collins on the Trent & Mersey Canal in 1840. Between these pages, R. H. Davies provides a truly fascinating insight into the trials discussed, by reproducing the authentic transcripts from the Old Bailey and contemporary newspapers. Rape, murder, theft, prostitution, child abuse - the canals have seen it all, and this book gives the reader a chance to hear the voices of the witnesses, the legal teams, and the accused as they echo down through the decades. But is the twentieth and indeed the twenty-first century any better? This subject is discussed in the final chapter.