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The Gangs of Manchester

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Volgadon
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The Gangs of Manchester

Post by Volgadon » Fri October 31st, 2008, 11:37 am

There is a new NF book out, which looks fascinating. All about the street gangs of Victorian Manchester.
Bound to be some good story ideas in it.

http://gangsofmanchester.com/

Here is a bit from a review:
THE GANGS OF MANCHESTER is a well thought out, brilliantly told, historically accurate and definitive work about a phenomenon that swept the slums of Manchester during Victorian times: The Scuttlers. This was a Manchester of public houses, gin-shops, singing saloons, organ grinders and monkeys and music halls. Of prostitutes and pimps and lodging houses where men slept the line (if you couldn’t afford the price of a mattress they let you sleep on a wooden chair, the chairs were placed around the side of the room, and men would fall asleep upright on a rope stretched from one wall to the other). This was a Manchester of salvationists, revolutionaries, thieves, cadgers and Fenians. And Marx and Engels knew the Meadow, Ancoats, the Adelphi in Salford well and drank on the Crescent. It was here amongst the bedraggled that they formed their theories. And the author captures the mood, danger and violence of the times. So much so that you walk the streets of Manchester with the Scuttlers. The Scuttlers were groups of youths who caused murder and mayhem across the streets of our city and frightened the authorities into a frenzy.

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Volgadon
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Post by Volgadon » Fri October 31st, 2008, 11:48 am

And thise extract is so surrealy brutal.
One memorable fight on the Flags during the early 1860s was described by B.A. Redfern:
Perhaps the most noted event which has occurred for the last few years was a most vindictive fight between two one-armed beggars, which was witnessed by many hundred people, who were drawn together by the oddness of the conflict. ‘Bacup Billy’ was a quiet enough fellow till roused, when he came ‘dangerous’. Stumpy was a bully, and more ‘dangerous’ still, besides that he had been a navvy and was ’strong as a horse.’ Some bullying of Stumpy’s led to a challenge from Billy, which was eagerly accepted. The fight was all in Stumpy’s favour, much to the disgust of the spectators, until about the sixth or seventh round of the most close and determined character of fighting, when, Billy having been thrown, Stumpy gave him a crashing kick in the ribs as he lay. Then the spectators threw themselves on Stumpy, and would have torn him limb from limb but for Billy, who screamed out with tears of rage that the fight might be allowed to continue. This at last was permitted, and afterwards Stumpy became cowed, and all went in ‘Bacup’s’ favour. Once the men were rolling on the ground when the bigger villain bit through Billy’s hand (completely through), and the consequence was that the crowd smashed him into a crushed, shapeless and bleeding mass, in their indignation at such foul play.
Bacup Billy never recovered from the fight and died from his injuries the following year. Stumpy did recover, but he had no choice but to leave Manchester. Having breached Charter Street’s fighting code, he was an outcast among villains.

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Post by annis » Sun November 2nd, 2008, 1:51 am

Sounds a bit like the savage rough-and-tumble fights of the North American backcountry which took place in the eighteenth century ( and possibly longer) I still recall with a shudder reading this account of a particularly vicious bout

<A graphic description of "rough and tumble" came from the Irish traveler Thomas Ashe, who described a fight between a West Virginian and a Kentuckian. A crowd gathered and arranged itself into an impromptu ring. The contestants were asked if they wished to "fight fair" or "rough and tumble." When they chose "rough and tumble," a roar of approval rose from the multitude. The two men entered the ring, and a few ordinary blows were exchanged in a tentative manner. Then suddenly the Virginian "contracted his whole form, drew his arms to his face," and "pitched himself into the bosom of his opponent," sinking his sharpened fingernails into the Kentuckian's head. "The Virginian," we are told, "never lost his hold . . . fixing his claws in his hair and his thumbs on his eyes, [he] gave them a start from the sockets. The sufferer roared aloud, but uttered no complaint." Even after the eyes were gouged out, the struggle continued. The Virginian fastened his teeth on the Kentuckian's nose and bit it in two pieces. Then he tore off the Kentuckian's ears. At last, the "Kentuckian, deprived of eyes, ears and nose, gave in." The victor, himself maimed and bleeding, was "chaired round the grounds," to the cheers of the crowd.>

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Post by andydavies » Sun November 2nd, 2008, 7:09 pm

[quote=""Volgadon""]There is a new NF book out, which looks fascinating. All about the street gangs of Victorian Manchester.
Bound to be some good story ideas in it.

http://gangsofmanchester.com/

[/quote]

Thanks for publicizing the link. I'm already working on fictional treatments of some of the stories in the book. In the first instance, I'm collaborating with two Manchester-based writers on a play to be staged in 2009. Other projects are in the pipeline. If anyone is interested, I'll post further details in due course.

Andrew Davies (author of The Gangs of Manchester).

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Gangs of Manchester

Post by andydavies » Mon September 14th, 2009, 8:55 pm

The play inspired by The Gangs of Manchester - Angels with Manky Faces - will be performed by MaD Theatre Company at the Dancehouse theatre in Manchester on 6 and 8 November. Further details, including reviews of an earlier run at Manchester's Library Theatre, are posted on:
http://gangsofmanchester.com

The website also features poems by Mike Duff and a song - King of the Scuttlers - recorded by up-and-coming Manchester band Bye Bye Johnny, which forms part of the soundtrack to Angels with Manky Faces.

There is a film in the pipeline. Again, details will be posted here in due course.

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Post by Leo62 » Wed September 16th, 2009, 7:08 pm

LOL my mum comes from Bacup, so Bacup Billy may be one of my ancestors :eek:

Book sounds fascinating :D
listen:there's a hell
of a good universe next door;let's go
ee cummings

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