The ‘Peaky Blinders’ of Birmingham.

Records of the gang members and their crimes are preserved in Sparkhill’s West Midlands Police Museum. The dank, slum streets of Birmingham are ruled by gangs made up of hundreds of youths armed with knives, razor blades and hammers. Murders are rife. Robberies, thefts and riots are a daily occurrence at the hands of young […]

The London Guide to Cheats and Swindlers, 1819.

A comprehensive guide to help the unwitting visitor avoid falling victim to the various and nefarious crimes abound in early 19th-century London. Written by “a gentleman who has made the police of the metropolis an object of enquiry for twenty-two years”, the book is split into six main chapters: “Out Door Delinquencies”, “Inn Door Tricks”, […]

Flambard Escapes White Tower Prison.

A visual Impression of what Ranulf Flambard could have looked like. Ranulf Flambard, chief tax-collector, was imprisoned under King Henry I. He was the Tower of London’s first prisoner and also became its first escapee. Flambard had made himself unpopular doing King William Rufus’s dirty work, collecting large taxes and becoming very rich. When William […]

Billy the Kid, Outlaw.

Billy the Kid (1859-81) The American outlaw, born Henry McCarty, killed eight people before being shot dead at the age of 21. This new photo of the criminal (second from the left) playing cards, which is said to be only the second in existence of him, is being auctioned in Dallas, Texas and is expected […]

Bonnie and Clyde Barrow, photos by W.D. Jones, 1933.

Photos of the Real Bonnie and Clyde of the Notorious Barrow Gang Photographed by W.D. Jones, 1933 Bonnie and Clyde met in Texas in January, 1930. At the time, Bonnie was 19 and married to an imprisoned murderer; Clyde was 21 and unmarried. Soon after, he was arrested for a burglary and sent to jail. […]

The Knife Angel, Middlesborough town centre.

Middlesbrough, England The Knife Angel is installed in the town’s Centre Square. The 8m tall sculpture will stand for four weeks as a reminder of the devastation caused by knife crime. It was created by The British Ironwork Centre and is made from more than 100,000 discarded knives and weapons confiscated by police across the […]

The Men who Inspired Sherlock Holmes.

The inspiration for the character of Sherlock Holmes. Doyle said that the character of Sherlock Holmes was inspired by Dr. Joseph Bell, a surgeon at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh for whom Doyle had worked as a clerk. Like Holmes, Bell was noted for drawing large conclusions from the smallest observations. However, some years later […]

How Billy the Kid Really Died, 1881.

William Henry McCarty Jr., aka Billy the Kid, born in 1859, was killed in an ambush by Sheriff Pat Garrett in Fort Sumner, New Mexico, in 1881. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons Sheriff Pat Garrett would later claim that on the night he shot down Billy the Kid, the notorious outlaw was holding a gun. But […]

William Tyndale, died translating the Bible into English, 1536.

The execution of William Tyndale, who translated most of the Old Testament into English, in 1536. ‘It was the translation of the Bible into the vernacular, a project at the heart of the Reformation, that opened up the stories of the Hebrew scriptures to ordinary people,’ writes Giles Fraser. Photograph: Hulton Archive/Getty Images William Tyndale […]