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Lost Londons
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Book description

A major study of the transformation of early modern London. By focusing on policing, prosecution, and the language and perceptions of the authorities and the underclasses, Paul Griffiths explores the swift growth of London and the changes to its cultures, communities, and environments. Through a series of thematic chapters he maps problem areas and people; reconstructs the atmosphere of the streets; and traces the development of policing in the city. The book provided the first full study of petty crime before 1660, analysing worlds and words of crime, criminal rings and cultures, and tracking changing meanings of crime to reveal alternative emphases on environmental crimes and crimes committed by women. It also examines the key roles of Bridewell prison, hospitals, medical provision, and penal practices, shedding light on investigation, detection, surveillance, and public prosecution. Viewed through this fascinating account, the city will never look the same again.


Review of the hardback:'… an immensely rich analysis of Tudor and Stuart London's underclass and of the fears, projects and policies of those officials and officers who struggled against it. Lost Londons is a major contribution to the history of the capital.

Source: The Times Literary Supplement

Review of the hardback:'Lost Londons is an important and challenging study of the development and transformation of early modern London…'

Source: The Historical Association

Review of the hardback:'[Paul Griffiths] opens up to us the world of crime and control in what was the greatest city in the world. I am sure that the medieval history scholar will find it an excellent reference work.'

Source: Open History

Review of the hardback:'… the book offers a great deal of interesting information on anti-social behaviour and its policing in London, some of it surprising.'

Source: Southern History Society

'… a welcome addition to the literature on urban growth, on how changing definitions of crime and criminality may reflect larger trends in understanding that growth, and, especially, on the transformation of London into a modern multifaceted metropolis.'

Suzanne Balch-Lindsay Source: H-Urban (

'This rich and lively book will be required reading for anyone working on the history of crime, London, or early modern towns more generally. it is also to be recommended for its careful use of the words of hundreds [of] Londoners otherwise lost from sight and sound.'

Source: Population Studies

'This ought to be compulsory reading for undergraduates who want to imagine the feel, the smell, the jumble and the make-do-and-mend of Elizabethan London.'

Source: Cultural and Social History

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