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Youth gangs, masculinity and violence in late Victorian Manchester and Salford.

It is surprising how few people, outside of the police and those residing in the immediate neighbourhoods where the outrages occur, really know what "scuttling" is. In the first place, the "scuttler" is not a thief, nor does he aspire to be a highwayman; he does not "scuttle" for any actually dishonest purpose.


A "scuttler" is a lad, usually between the ages of 14 and 18, or even 19, and "scuttling" consists of the fighting of two opposed bands of youths, who are armed with various weapons.

Alexander Devine, Scuttlers and Scuttling: Their Prevention and Cure (Manchester, 1890), p. 2.

Historians are well aware that Britain's cities have a history of conflict between rival youth gangs. In their influential studies of "hooliganism", Stephen Humphries and Geoffrey Pearson have both pointed to the existence of violent gangs such as the "scuttlers" of Manchester and Salford during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.(1) However, in the absence in Britain of a tradition of research in empirical sociology to parallel the classic Chicago studies of the gang during the 1920s and 1930s, our knowledge of youth-gang formation in British cities prior to the Second World War remains patchy.(2)

The most detailed historical exploration of the culture of the British youth gang is to be found in the work of Stephen Humphries. In Hooligans or Rebels? (1981), Humphries adopted a class-centred approach through which he was concerned to show that violent gangs emerged in inner-city areas characterised by deprivation and high levels of unemployment. Street-gang culture, Humphries asserted, "offered working-class youth the opportunity to conquer its feelings of hunger, failure and insignificance and to assert a proud and rebellious identity through which its members could feel masters of their own destiny."(3) According to Humphries, weapons were possessed by "a small minority" of gangs, but were "carried largely as symbols of defiance and resistance" and were rarely used.(4) In Humphries' account, "serious violence" was most likely to escalate when established street gangs turned against newly arrived immigrant groups, especially in periods of economic decline. The severity of assaults upon young Jewish immigrants in East and South London during the 1890s, for example, reflected acute anxieties over competition in local labour and housing markets.(5)

Humphries thus situated his analysis of street gangs within a broader discussion of class and ethnicity. By contrast, he showed little concern with gender, noting only in passing that "the assertion of masculinity" was one of the focal concerns of the working-class street gang.(6) My aim in the present paper is to develop a more nuanced analysis of confrontations between rival gangs in relation to masculine notions of honour and reputation. Moreover, by exploring the broader relationship between masculinity and violence in the working-class districts of late Victorian Manchester and Salford, I propose to show that gang conflicts were rooted in a much wider association between "hardness" and masculine status which permeated working-class culture.(7) "Hardness", or toughness, was considered a quintessential masculine virtue. Considerable kudos was derived from displays of fighting prowess and the ability to withstand pain, and boys and youths continually tested each other's mettle in order to prove themselves, and thus their masculinity, in the eyes of their peers.(8) In addition to courting peer respect, displays of male bravado were intended to impress young women, and youths assumed a chivalrous obligation to avenge perceived insults to their female associates. Working-class youths commonly regarded their "sweethearts" as their property, and the attentions of rival suitors constituted clear infringements of male honour.(9)

Gang conflicts provided a systematic means for young men to prove themselves against their peers, and affrays were invested with great significance by the participants. Borrowing from the anthropologist Gary Armstrong, it is possible to see late Victorian youth gangs as contriving "theatres of hostility."(10) Gangs of youths entered rival districts or city centre music-halls seeking confrontations in which honour and reputation might be acquired or maintained by defeating, and thus shaming, rival gangs. Equally, gang members were obliged to resist such incursions upon their own territory in order to defend their honour. Considerable prestige was derived from displays of prowess in "scuttling" affrays, although it is important to point out that the reputations of prominent gang members carried most weight among their peers and rivals. Even within the neighbourhoods which gangs claimed as their territory, adults' views of the gangs and their activities were, to say the least, highly ambiguous.(11)

Humphries drew his examples of hooliganism from a range of British cities. He did not attempt to undertake a systematic study of youth-gang violence in a specific urban context. I would suggest that if we are to develop a more rigorous and nuanced understanding of the nature of gang conflicts, it is necessary to adopt a narrower focus. The analysis which follows is based upon a sample of 250 cases of gang-related crimes of violence reported in the Manchester and Salford press between 1870 and 1900. A total of 717 young people were charged in these cases, with offences ranging from disorderly conduct to wilful murder. Significantly, 93.7 percent of those charged were male. Gang violence does therefore appear to have been an overwhelmingly masculine concern, and the discussion which follows focuses exclusively upon masculinity and violence. Nonetheless, it is important to acknowledge that young women formed a small but active minority of those involved in gang conflicts, and I have examined a series of cases involving "female scuttlers" in some depth elsewhere.(12)

An overview of the cases in my own sample suggests that a number of Humphries' central claims in his analysis of youth gangs are flawed. Contrary to Humphries' assertions, gang violence was by no means confined to the poorest and most notorious "slum" neighbourhoods. Moreover, scuttling affrays were characterised by the widespread use of weapons. Perhaps most importantly, my research suggests that gang conflicts in Manchester and Salford do not appear to have been structured to any significant extent by either short-term economic trends or ethnic tensions. Gang violence, rooted in local codes of toughness and manliness, appears to have been a recurring feature of local working-class life during the last three decades of the nineteenth century.

Of course, historians of crime need to be extremely cautious in using press reports as a source, not least in studies of street violence.(13) The local press reported only a small percentage of the cases heard in the Manchester and Salford police courts, and press reports may have exaggerated the extent to which scuttling was a new phenomenon in the early 1870s. Moreover, although the proceedings of cases which were heard at the higher courts of quarter sessions or assize were often reported in some depth, the majority of scuttling cases were dealt with at the police courts and were only briefly covered if at all by the local press. Significantly, for cases heard at the police courts, journalists appear to have frequently. given accounts which were closely based upon police testimony in court. This version of events tended to be reproduced as a factual report.(14) The competing narratives of those accused of gang violence were only rarely reported, even in fragments. However, I would strongly endorse Humphries' assertion that violent youth gangs were not an invention of the late Victorian press.(15) Accounts of scuttling gleaned from local newspapers are examined below alongside depositions (the sworn statements of witnesses) from cases heard at quarter sessions and assize courts during the 1890s, working-class memoirs published during the 1930s and 1940s, and oral history interviews conducted in Salford in the 1970s.

This paper is divided into four empirical sections. The first provides a brief overview of the pattern of gang conflicts in late Victorian Manchester and Salford. Secondly, I propose to examine the diverse role models available to boys growing up in working-class districts across the conurbation, and the broader relationship between masculinity and violence which formed the backdrop to young men's involvement in gangs. Thirdly, I aim to explore the nature of scuttling confrontations and the meanings attached to gang violence by the participants. The nature of gang conflicts as male contests over honour and reputation is then explored in more depth in a case-study of John Joseph Hillyar, a prominent Salford scuttler during the 1890s.


Scuttling gangs were neighbourhood-based youth gangs which were formed in working-class districts across the Manchester conurbation, from the independent county borough of Salford to the west of the city to the townships of Bradford, Gorton and Openshaw to the east.(16) Contrary to Humphries' assertion that gang violence was underpinned by deprivation, the gangs were formed in a wide range of neighbourhoods, from the central "slums" to the more prosperous working-class neighbourhoods in manufacturing districts such as Gorton and Openshaw. In addition to fierce local rivalries between gangs from adjacent neighbourhoods, there were wider antagonisms between gangs from Manchester and those from the borough of Salford.(17) Press reports suggest that gang conflicts erupted in Manchester in the early 1870s and flared periodically for three decades, before declining in both frequency and severity by the late 1890s. It is difficult to trace a causal relationship between levels of violence and downturns in the trade cycle. The years 1878-1879, 1884-1886 and 1892-1895 saw high levels of cyclical unemployment in Manchester, yet the most intense escalation of gang conflicts appears to have occurred in 1889-1890. Indeed, 1889 was a year of "exceptionally good trade."(18)

Territory, rather than ethnic identity or religious affiliation, formed the basis of allegiance to the gangs.(19) Manchester and Salford had substantial Irish Catholic populations, clustered, during the late nineteenth century, in the poorer working-class districts close to Manchester city centre. However, even in those districts with the highest concentration of Irish Catholic households, Catholic and Protestant families occupied the same streets and their children shared the fierce loyalty to street and immediate neighbourhood found throughout the working-class districts across the Manchester conurbation.(20) An intense local pride was reflected in the names adopted by scuttling gangs. The "Bengal Tigers" (from Bengal Street in Manchester's Ancoats district) and the more prosaically-named "Hope Street, Salford" were identified by their territorial rather than ethnic allegiances, although both gangs were drawn from districts where a substantial minority of local families were of Irish Catholic origin.

As Alexander Devine (police court missionary and pioneer of the local Lads' Club movement) pointed out, scuttlers were drawn overwhelmingly from the fourteen to nineteen age group. In occupational terms, they were employed in a wide range of semi-skilled and unskilled manual occupations. The ranks of the most prominent gangs included many factory workers as well as general labourers and carters, and it would be highly misleading to characterise scuttling gangs as drawn from the lumpen-proletariat or a distinct "criminal class."(21) It is rare, however, to find cases involving apprentices. This is perhaps unsurprising as apprentices clearly had more to lose if they were imprisoned for crimes of street violence. Nonetheless, the absence of apprentices is of some importance. As Keith McClelland has recently remarked, the learning of a trade was in itself a vital source of identity for a young working-class male, not least because his gender identity was enhanced as he absorbed "the mysteries of the craft in learning his skills."(22) For those in semi-skilled or unskilled occupations, gang membership offered an alternative form of masculine identity, which embodied very different notions of status. Significantly, although gang conflicts do not appear to have been structured by sectarian allegiances, many prominent scuttlers had Irish Catholic backgrounds. Again, however, this is unsurprising. Irish Catholics faced widespread discrimination in local labour markets and were over-represented in the ranks of unskilled manual workers.(23)

I have only been able to trace five fatalities inflicted by gang members during the period from 1870 to 1900.(24) Nonetheless, scuttlers appear to have carried weapons as a matter of course, and by the late 1880s, knives were increasingly used in affrays to inflict wounds (usually to the body) which required hospital treatment.(25) However, scuttlers' customary weapons were thick leather belts with heavy brass buckles. The straps of the belts, which were ornately decorated, were wrapped tightly around the wrist so that the buckle, which could fracture a skull, might be used to strike at opponents.(26) In the early 1890s, staff at the Manchester Royal Infirmary informed the police that "scarcely a day passed" without the admission of someone who had been injured in a scuttling affray.(27) Clashes between rival gangs attracted many lurid headlines in the local press, but the police court news columns also contained frequent reports of attacks by gangs upon individuals. In some of the most brutal instances, isolated scuttlers were confronted by members of a rival gang, but assaults were also made upon people who had no connection with gangs themselves. These included both local people who complained about a gang's activities, and occasionally, passersby who strayed into territory to which a scuttling gang laid claim.

Scuttlers were intensely style-conscious. Fashion was by no means a feminine preserve among young people in working-class districts, but it is significant that male gang members appear to have been much more concerned with their appearances than other young men in similar occupations.(28) Style was used by scuttlers to signify "hardness". Gang members distinguished themselves from other young men in working-class neighbourhoods by wearing a uniform of pointed clogs, "bells" (bell-bottomed trousers, cut "like a sailor's" and measuring fourteen inches round the knee and twenty-one inches round the foot) and "flashy" silk scarves. Their hair was cut short at the back and sides, but they grew long fringes which were worn in a parting and plastered down on the forehead over the left eye. "Pigeon-board" peaked caps were also worn tilted to the left, and angled to display the fringe.(29) This style of dress carried both status and risk, however, as any young man who adopted such fashions became a target for gangs from rival districts.


In order to develop an analysis of the relationship between masculinity and violence, it is useful to consider the role models for boys growing up in working-class neighbourhoods in Manchester and Salford before 1900. Contemporary anxieties were frequently centred on popular fiction, especially the "penny dreadfuls," which were seen as glorifying crime and criminals and prompting imitation on the part of a youthful working-class readership. As Alexander Devine put it, "there is no doubt that they engender a morbid love of horrors and atrocities that may account to some extent for the many acts of violence committed by lads of this class."(30) Scuttlers certainly borrowed from popular culture, occasionally when naming gangs, for example.(31) However, the assertion that popular fiction was one of the causes of gang violence is, of course, impossible to substantiate and my concern here is with the more tangible role models available to boys growing up in working-class districts.

In the working-class neighbourhoods of late Victorian Manchester and Salford, there co-existed a range of very different conceptions of what "being a man" entailed. As the principal wage-earners in most families, men claimed the status of breadwinner, stressing their capacity to provide for their wives and children, and thus deriving their standing as men in part from their role within the household. However, another pervasive conception of manliness centred upon a very different set of virtues, including toughness - expressed both in a man's physical labour and in his everyday public conduct - and the capacity to drink heavily, which earned a man peer recognition, as a "hard" man, or "man's" man. Of course, the categories of breadwinner and "hard" man were not mutually exclusive. Many men managed to subscribe to elements of both notions of what it meant to be a man, adopting different personas in different contexts. Others, however, were more clearly distinguished either as "family" men or as heavy-drinking, "hard" men, and boys growing up in such districts were therefore faced with quite diverse role models.(32) For young men in their mid- to late-teens, the status of breadwinner was usually unattainable. Within the family, most were restricted to the role of supplementary wage-earner and were subject to the authority of their fathers. The role of the "hard" man, which was available to them, thus appears to have been especially attractive.

Boys growing up in working-class neighbourhoods witnessed countless demonstrations of male violence.(33) Frequently, they were victims of such violence themselves. As Robert Roberts pointed out, corporal punishment was widespread and frequently very severe in working-class families, even for trivial offences. Fathers inflicted beatings with belts and canes, and Roberts recalled the case of a woman who boasted in his parents' shop how "My master [husband] allus flogs 'em till the blood runs down their back!"(34) Retrospective accounts also suggest that many (although by no means all) households were characterised by high levels of marital violence, largely perpetrated by men upon their wives.(35) In such families, boys learned quickly that violence was a customary means by which men vented their anger. Even those children who grew up in entirely peaceable households frequently witnessed violence on the streets. Domestic confrontations spilled out on to pavements and quarrels between neighbouring families could erupt into mass brawls involving both men and women.(36)

Fights between adult men were often bound up with drunkenness, and frequently occurred either inside public houses or in the streets outside. Displays of fighting prowess earned considerable local reputations, occasionally glimpsed in the courtroom boasts of men such as Samuel McGowan, who admitted to the sobriquet of "the Salford fighting man" following an altercation outside the Bridge Inn in Ordsall, Salford, in May 1885.(37) Similarly, John Crawley, a labourer from the Hanky Park district in Salford, bragged in court in 1887 that "there was not many others could lick him about Ellor Street at fighting."(38) "Fair fights", in which two men fought willingly with their fists, were an accepted means of settling an argument and rarely led to criminal charges unless police officers intervened at the scene. Breaches of this fighting code, in which a man was forced to fight against his will, or in which injuries were inflicted by kicking or the use of weapons, could prompt working men to initiate prosecutions for assault or wounding.(39) Fights outside public houses at closing-time at weekends assumed the status of a spectator sport in working-class districts. Children were enthusiastic observers, as William Bowen recalled in his account of his childhood in Greengate in Salford during the 1880s:

I can remember as a boy one Sunday afternoon, after closing time, a glorious summer afternoon, a crowd came out of a public house with two men stripped to their naked waists who began to fight and they fought until their naked bodies were streaming with blood. I thought, when I am a man I would like to be able to fight like that.(40)

As Bowen's account graphically suggests, fighting was an intensely public spectacle in which men proudly demonstrated their sheer physical power through their capacity to withstand pain. Watching these displays, boys were left in little doubt that toughness was one of the quintessential masculine virtues.

As Michael Childs has recently noted, boys from all strata of the working class were taught by their fathers to "stand up for themselves" from an early age, and to fight back if provoked by other boys.(41) Laying down codes of appropriate behaviour to their sons appears to have been a common way for men to validate their own masculinity. Billy Doyle, for example, who was born in Greengate in 1882, told how his father tried to prevent him from helping his mother with the housework. "A lad hadn't to do anything. We had flag floors and we mustn't clean the floor and 'They're not going to make a girl of my lad.' That was his idea." His father even punished him for losing in a fight, and Doyle recalled how "if I got a good hiding outside [my father]'d give me another one for getting a good hiding."(42) The emphasis on the need to be prepared to fight was further consolidated by peer group pressure among boys. Joe Toole, who was born in 1887, grew up in Ordsall and became the first Labour M.P. for South Salford in 1923. In his autobiography, Fighting through Life, Toole reflected on the emergence of a succession of famous local boxers:

No wonder we turned out fighters for you! You had to fight to survive in my early days in Salford. If you were not fighting for a living, you had to periodically defend your skin, which included your honour; if you declined a challenge to fight, you took a back seat at all games; and if you didn't swear vigorously, nobody believed what you said.(43)

Thus boys learned by example that violence was both a necessary and legitimate means of self-assertion.

Upon entering the world of full-time work, youths were again expected to demonstrate a willingness to stand up for themselves. Challenges to fight had to be accepted in order to gain peer-group acceptance in the workplace, and retrospective accounts suggest that youths continually tested each other's mettle. In a semi-autobiographical account of his Manchester childhood, Bart Kennedy told how fights between youths employed in a machine shop in Ancoats were prompted by the most trivial disputes. Fights were almost nightly events, and custom dictated that new arrivals were forced to accept the first challenges they faced. If they refused, they would be bullied relentlessly. Fights between youths, as between men, were highly public affairs. Generally taking place at the end of the working day, or on weekend evenings, they drew large crowds of onlookers who heaped praise on those who acquitted themselves well. Fights were held in the streets or on patches of open ground within working-class districts, and in Kennedy's account, youths were expected to fight "fair up," using only their fists.(44)

Reports in the local press lend support both to Kennedy's claim that youths fought with their workmates in order to prove themselves and to his depiction of a fighting code governed by the principle of fairness. In May 1889, for example, sixteen-year-old John Rowlands challenged "any lad of his own size" in Derbyshire's glassworks in Ordsall to fight him. Arthur Jones took up the challenge, and they went to a plot of vacant land opposite the works where they took off their coats, watched by a crowd of their workmates. They started to fight and Rowlands struck Jones several blows to the head and body, knocking him to the ground. Jones "appeared to have some sort of fit" and died shortly afterwards. When apprehended, Rowlands told the police "I will give myself up; but it was a fair fight. We shook hands before we fought." Convicted of manslaughter at the Liverpool assizes, he was sentenced to one day's imprisonment. The judge accepted witnesses' accounts of Jones' death as an "unfortunate accident."(45)

In a milieu in which youths tended to regard their "sweethearts" as their property, fights also frequently stemmed from quarrels over the affections of young women. The police court news columns of the local press are littered with tales of assaults and woundings committed by jealous suitors upon their rivals. In such cases, those who felt that their honour had been affronted frequently abandoned any notion of the "fair fight" and sought revenge with knives.(46) Similarly, young men were doubly keen to avenge insults suffered in the company of the young women with whom they were "walking out." Such insults were deeply felt, as young men were obliged to defend their honour not only among their peers but also in the eyes of their "sweethearts". In July 1890, for example, twenty-year-old George Smith of Pendleton, Salford, was sentenced to two months' imprisonment with hard labour for unlawfully wounding Patrick Cooney. Smith had been standing with his "sweetheart" when Cooney walked by, making a remark to them as he passed. Smith rushed after Cooney and stabbed him in the back with a knife. In court, Smith justified his action by claiming that Cooney had used "very dirty language" to them.(47)

Mirroring the behaviour of older men, youths were at times equally violent in their treatment of women. Young women who spurned a would-be suitor's advances could face violent retribution. In May 1897, for example, Thomas Buckley of Greengate was fined twenty shillings following a vicious assault upon Mary Madely. She told how Buckley had accosted her at 9:30 p.m. one evening, pulling her shawl from her head and asking her to accompany him for a drink. When she refused, he struck her in the face with his fist, then butted her twice.(48) Other Salford youths, upholding a tradition of male violence within the home, were charged with assaults upon their mothers and other female relatives. In February 1890, Joseph Hargreaves, aged nineteen, was gaoled for a month after assaulting his mother and smashing her furniture. In court, she told how "she was frightened of her son, who came home blind drunk every night."(49) Violence therefore appears to have been a common feature in the everyday lives of young men in working-class districts. Some aped the behaviour of older men in their violence towards women, whilst many fought with rival youths, whether to avenge insults or simply to prove themselves against their peers. This broader culture of male violence formed the backdrop to young men's involvement in violent gangs.


Gang conflicts constituted arenas in which young men could prove themselves both individually and collectively by more systematic means. Gangs both issued and resisted challenges in order to enhance their reputations and to maintain their honour. Public displays of aggression and acts of violence in affrays between rival gangs allowed those on the brink of adulthood to derive considerable status, and to imagine themselves as "hard" men. As Humphries has remarked, gang membership provided young men in working-class districts with a source of identity and excitement, and offered an opportunity to assert a form of power. In Humphries' terms, for young men who possessed little or no formal economic or political power, gang membership offered at least a partial and temporary "solution" to the experience of inequality and subordination in other spheres of life.(50) We might usefully add, however, that gang membership provided a means for youths to attempt to consolidate their gender identities, and that the collective assertions of power in which gangs engaged offered frequent opportunities for male bravado. The imagined identity of the "hard" man was given dramatic expression by the members of scuttling gangs. James Rook, for example, a twenty-one-year old labourer, was convicted of assault after a gang rampaged through Chapel Street, Salford's main thoroughfare, at pub closing-time on a Saturday night in January 1889. As he struck out at passers-by, Rook was reported as shouting that he "could beat any man in Salford."(51)

Confrontations between rival scuttling gangs could take one of three forms, and it is worth examining these in turn in order to demonstrate the limited extent to which gang members were bound by the code of the "fair fight." Firstly, any gang which was aggrieved by the actions of a rival formation could issue the challenge "Will your best lad fight our best lad?" If the challenge was accepted, it was understood that only fists were to be used.(52) Press reports occasionally enable us to document such encounters. In May 1892, for example, Thomas Callaghan, a "king" among the scuttlers according to the Manchester police, was convicted of fighting and creating a disturbance in Hulme. According to the arresting officer, Callaghan was fighting with another man in the centre of a ring formed by scuttlers armed with belts and knives. In court, Callaghan admitted the offence, but alleged that the other man hit him first.(53) On these occasions, clashes between rival scuttlers appear to have been governed by the wider convention in which men were expected to fight "fair up."(54)

The vast majority of affrays reported by the local press, however, took the form of full "scuttles". These were characterised by Charles Russell, another leading figure in the local Lads' Club movement, as "set combats" between gangs which were "twenty or thirty strong."(55) In these collective encounters, it was understood that weapons would be used by both sides.(56) Typically, full-scale scuttles were prompted by territorial infringements. Scuttling gangs staked control over territory through the occupation of strategic street corners and public houses. Incursions by one gang into the territory of another were treated as deliberate acts of provocation, and it possible to trace vendettas between gangs across the Manchester conurbation. In June 1890, for example, the Salford police told how the Hope Street and Ordsall Lane gangs had clashed once or twice a week over a period of eighteen months in which they had "carried on a dangerous sort of guerilla warfare," armed with sticks, belts and knives.(57) The feud resulted in a series of police court cases and two trials. Hostility between the two gangs was perpetuated as both attempted to salvage their honour by avenging woundings inflicted by their adversaries.(58) Similarly, in October 1890, eleven youths aged between seventeen and nineteen were convicted of riot and sentenced to nine months' imprisonment with hard labour following an affray in Gorton in East Manchester. A gang from the neighbouring district of Bradford had made a series of raids upon Gorton, leading to fights with bricks, stones and heavily-buckled belts, culminating in a "pitched battle" on Sunday 20 October.(59) In such collective encounters, the principle of fighting "fair up" was clearly abandoned.

Although scuttlers appear to have sought to wound rather than murder their opponents, feuds between rival gangs generated intense hostility and the use of weapons such as belts and knives was customary in the pursuit of status and reprisal.

In the third form of confrontation, assaults were made by a number of scuttlers belonging to one gang upon an isolated member of a rival formation. Such incidents were not uncommon and, as Alexander Devine noted, were "done for the purpose of terrorising and showing the superiority of one set over another."(60) Gangs were quick to interrogate individual scuttlers from rival districts who ventured into their territory, and appear to have regarded such territorial infringements as challenges to their honour irrespective of whether the hostile party numbered one or thirty. As the Manchester Guardian noted in 1898, the scuttler's uniform was like "a red rag to a bull" in rival districts. A Manchester youth, asked by the Guardian to describe how he would go about provoking a fight, stated simply "Suppose you want someone to fly at you ... you just soap your hair down over your left eye and put on a pigeon-board cap. Then you go into Salford. Then-you-go-into-Salford."(61) Again, the notion of the "fair fight" was abandoned when gangs made collective assaults upon lone rivals. Particularly brutal assaults were made as acts of reprisal, and it is significant that on the rare occasions when scuttling conflicts did lead to fatalities, the victims tended to be isolated and outnumbered in attacks of this sort.(62)

Territorial encroachments were not the only perceived insults which precipitated gang violence. Gang members also kept collective watch over their female associates. In effect, this amounted to an extension of their territorial claims. Charles Russell claimed that:

The gravest troubles generally arose from attentions paid to the sweetheart of a member of one gang, by a member of another - a caSus belli of first importance, and most dangerous consequences.(63)

Local journalists, following police officers and, on occasion, gang members themselves, were quick to blame young women for inciting gang conflicts. As the Manchester Guardian put it, "Everyone likes to feel herself a Helen of Troy."(64) However, gang members required little encouragement to interpret the actions of youths from rival districts as challenges. In February 1897, for example, James Tynan and Peter Fleming, two Manchester youths, were savagely assaulted after they walked Kathleen Whitham and Catherine Chambinzetti home to Greengate in Salford following an evening at a Manchester music-hall. Tynan was "keeping company with" Whitham, but upon arriving in Greengate, he and Fleming were immediately accosted by a gang of around a dozen local youths, one of whom shouted "This lot is out of Manchester." Tynan and Fleming were surrounded and struck with belts. According to Fleming, William Hopwood shouted "If you come this way, we will rip your bleeding hearts out," before stabbing Tynan. The knife punctured Tynan's lung, almost killing him.(65) In the eyes of the Greengate youths, Tynan and Fleming had committed two offences. Firstly, it was deemed an affront for Manchester youths to come into Salford. Moreover, it transpired that sixteen-year-old Hopwood was "keeping company with" Chambinzetti, and was sufficiently aggrieved by the sight of his "sweetheart" with Tynan and Fleming to inflict a near fatal knife wound.

If the notion of the "fair fight" was widely disregarded in gang violence, scuttlers nonetheless claimed to adhere to a code of honour by asserting that they did not assault those who were not themselves gang members.(66) This is, however, unconvincing. As Alexander Devine complained in 1890:

It often happens that a lad simply going to and from his work, and quite innocent of anything in the way of "scuttling," will be attacked, and possibly left on the ground bleeding. A lad with whom I am acquainted was a short time ago going on an errand to Miles Platting, and was there set upon and stabbed in the calf of the leg by a number of lads.(67)

Most of the victims of such assaults appear to have been young males. However, the local press occasionally reported the severe beatings suffered by adults who attempted to intervene on behalf of youths who were being assaulted by scuttlers, and there is evidence that witnesses called to testify against gang members in court were subjected to widespread harassment.(68) Assaults upon adults passing through streets which gangs claimed as their territory appear to have been less common, but occasional instances, sometimes motivated by racism and anti-semitism, were reported by the local press, and even young children in the company of their parents were vulnerable in such instances.(69) Moreover, gang members, in common with young men in working-class districts more generally, were also periodically convicted for assaults upon women, including their "sweethearts," mothers, aunts and sisters-in-law.(70) However, the perpetrators of such assaults may well have insisted that acts of violence against women should not be classed as "scuttling", since, in their own terms, they only "scuttled" rival gang members.

It is important to stress that participation in scuttling affrays was not universal among young working-class males, even in those areas where the gangs were strongest. Some young men, like Joe Toole, were willing to risk ostracism by their erstwhile peers. Telling how he was increasingly drawn to the local libraries in his youth, Toole recalled how:

The lads at the street corner began to miss me. They now referred to me as a snob, who was learning more than was good for him. At this juncture, the Ordsall lads had a feud with the "She Battery" mob in Regent Road, Salford ... and they needed help to save the "honour" of the gang. They received no assistance from me. A new world had opened up for me which was quite unknown for them.(71)

Those who resisted such requests from scuttling gangs were sometimes dealt with more severely, and the local press reported cases where young men were beaten up for refusing to assist local gangs in an affray, or for a refusal to contribute to collections to pay the fines of those convicted for scuttling.(72) As noted earlier, however, the "hard" man was only one of the role models available to boys within working-class neighbourhoods. Other more respectable models of mature masculinity, provided by local autodidacts and political or trade union activists, were mirrored in the lifestyles of youths who eschewed the street corner for more respectable, "improving" pursuits.


In order to develop a more detailed analysis of scuttling affrays in relation to masculine notions of honour and reputation, I now propose to examine a series of cases involving John Joseph Hillyar, a leading Salford scuttler during the 1890s. Hillyar's "career" as a gang member neatly illustrates the existence of a status hierarchy among scuttlers, and confirms the importance attached to the cultivation of both individual and collective reputations for fighting prowess. Before examining some of the affrays in which Hillyar took part, it might be useful by way of context to sketch his background and outline his history of court appearances. Hillyar was born in Fermoy, a market town in County Cork, in 1873, but moved to Salford during his childhood. At the time of the 1891 census, he was recorded as living in the Salford district of Ordsall with his mother and step-father, a furnace man.(73) Hillyar himself was working as a labourer in a copper works. He was involved in a series of court cases (I have so far traced eleven) between 1889 and 1899 arising out of incidents reported as cases of scuttling. These ranged from clashes between rival gangs to assaults either by or upon individual rivals. In eight of the eleven cases, Hillyar faced charges himself, ranging from disorderly conduct to unlawful wounding and attempted murder. In the remaining three cases, Hillyar appeared twice as prosecutor and once as a witness. His court appearances were made at the police courts and quarter sessions in both Salford and Manchester, and on one occasion, at the Manchester assizes. Significantly, from November 1893, Hillyar adopted the alias John Joseph Elliott, perhaps in an attempt to shed his string of previous convictions.(74) This was unsuccessful, however. He was too well-known to the local police forces.

Ten of the eleven cases occurred between 1889 and 1894, when Hillyar was aged between fifteen and twenty-one. He received six custodial sentences during this period, including three terms of two months' imprisonment and one of six months', and he was reported as living at a series of addresses in Salford and in neighbouring districts in Manchester between 1891 and 1895, which suggests that he was living in lodgings by the time that he was in his late teens. Hillyar received his longest sentence, of five years' penal servitude, following a conviction for attempted murder in 1895. He carried the scuttler's customary weapon of a brass-buckled belt as well as a knife, and he fought with rivals who were similarly armed. On at least three occasions, his own injuries were sufficiently serious to require hospital treatment.

A review of some of the cases involving Hillyar serves to illustrate a number of wider points about the nature of scuttling conflicts. His first conviction, on the relatively innocuous charge of throwing stones in Quay Street, Salford, was in June 1889, when he was aged fifteen.(75) Five months later, he was convicted of riot and sentenced to fourteen days' imprisonment with hard labour, following an incident in the Adelphi district of Salford. Hillyar was apprehended by the police whilst in possession of a butcher's knife. He had been struck on the head with belts, and was bleeding when he was taken into custody.(76) By the time he was aged seventeen, Hillyar was well-known to the members of rival gangs, and a third case shows how youths with prominent reputations were singled out by the members of opposing gangs during affrays. In May 1891, Hillyar was one of two youths who were severely injured by the members of a Manchester gang in an affray outside the "Cass," a popular music-hall in Manchester city centre. Thomas Callaghan, the "king" of the London Road scuttlers, was reported to have threatened Hillyar inside the music-hall. In the subsequent affray, which occurred in the streets outside, Callaghan allegedly struck Hillyar on the head with an iron bar. Hillyar fell to the ground, and was surrounded and kicked by the rival gang. He spent nearly two weeks in hospital recovering from his injuries.(77) The "Cass" was a common site of confrontations between rival gangs. In August 1891, Hillyar was himself sentenced to two months' imprisonment for stabbing a Bradford scuttler during an affray in the gallery.(78)

A further case confirms that although rival gangs fought to establish the collective supremacy of one gang over another, individual reputations for scuttling prowess were also fiercely contested. In November 1893, Hillyar (by now using the alias Elliott) was charged with unlawfully wounding Peter McLaughlin in New Bridge-street, Salford. According to police evidence in court, when apprehended Hillyar admitted that he had committed the offence, declaring that "McLaughlin thinks he is the champion scuttler in Salford, and he has got to see there is some one who can - take him down."(79) Hillyar was subsequently indicted at the Salford quarter sessions in January 1894. It was alleged that he had accosted McLaughlin (who presumably was wearing the scuttler's customary bell-bottomed trousers) with the words "Hallo, sailor! What do you say if I cut you in pieces?" before stabbing him in the back with a dagger. Hillyar was sentenced to six months' imprisonment with hard labour.(80) Shortly after his release, Hillyar and his companions were set upon by a gang of around fifty youths in Salford, and Hillyar in turn was stabbed in the chest. In view of the timing of the assault, it is at least possible that it was intended in part as a reprisal for Hillyar's stabbing of Peter McLaughlin.(81)

At the Manchester assizes in February 1895, Hillyar was indicted for the attempted murder of William Willcock, a Salford collier. Willcock alleged that Hillyar had struck him with a belt and stabbed him several times in the back in an incident which took place in Manchester city centre on a Sunday night in December 1894. The police officer who apprehended Hillyar stated that he had admitted to the offence. However, at the trial Hillyar claimed "He had a knife, and I did it in self-defence. They keep following me from all nations. I could only go in one part of Manchester, and then certain people were not satisfied until they had got me in prison again."(82) Hillyar, displaying a strong sense of his own importance, thus claimed that he was a marked man, singled out by rivals from across Manchester and Salford. Nonetheless, on this occasion, he was sentenced to five years' penal servitude.(83)

Each time that he appeared in court, Hillyar protested his innocence, usually pleading that he had acted only in self-defence.(84) However, he also played at times to the public gallery, conscious that his peers were assembled there. Reports of court proceedings in scuttling cases frequently testify to the presence of gang members as on-lookers, and to the "considerable uproar at the back of the court" which greeted the announcement of sentences.(85) At the Salford quarter sessions in 1894, for example, when sentenced to six months' imprisonment for unlawfully wounding Peter McLaughlin, Hillyar shouted "I will swing for it when I come out," as the Recorder of Salford announced the sentence.(86) Whilst signalling his defiance to the Recorder and to the police (as well as to the watching journalists), Hillyar's display of bravado may well have been intended for his peers, as much to impress his own associates as to intimidate McLaughlin.

A series of points emerge from these accounts. Firstly, this brief profile suggests that a clear status hierarchy among scuttlers, and the reputations of prominent gang members like Hillyar and Thomas Callaghan, spanned the working-class districts across the Manchester conurbation. Salford scuttlers clashed with rival gangs drawn both from Manchester and from the townships to the east of the city, such as Bradford and Openshaw. On Friday and Saturday nights, the city centre formed a contested terrain, as gangs drawn from as far apart as Salford and Bradford confronted each other in music-halls, nearby beerhouses and the surrounding streets. In these conflicts, the reputations of the leading figures were constantly adjusted, whether enhanced or undermined. Moreover, scuttlers who were worsted in an affray frequently appear to have launched revenge attacks in attempts to salvage their reputation and honour.(87) It seems likely that leading scuttlers such as Hillyar were the most famous working-class youths in late Victorian Manchester and Salford. They attracted more press coverage at this time than any local sporting figures, for example. However, whilst the leaders of scuttling gangs enjoyed considerable prestige among their peers and rivals, they also faced the constant danger of surprise assault. Just as Hillyar stabbed Peter McLaughlin, he in turn was subject to assaults by individual rivals who sought to enhance their own reputations at his expense.(88)

Hillyar's reputation was such that he was recalled, by his alias of Elliott, in an oral history interview conducted as part of Paul Thompson's project on "Family Life and Work Experience before 1918." In an interview which took place in February 1970, Arthur Collier, who was born in the Hanky Park district in 1885, described the scuttlers when he was asked about "rough" districts in Salford. Collier declared "Oh, they were terrible. They always wore belts you know, scuttler's belts with brass buckles on."(89) Asked whether he knew any scuttlers personally, he replied:

Oh yes, I knew a lot of them. There was Red Elliott. . . he was one of the leaders. . . He wore a jersey which said "Red Elliott" on it and "King of Scuttlers" . . . He stabbed a fellow on Hope Street bridge . . . where the Prince of Wales [public house] is.(90)

According to Arthur Collier, the stabbing occurred as "Red Elliott" fought against the Hanky Park scuttlers in a "row over girls". This incident took place in July 1899, and was widely reported in the local press. John Joseph Hillyar (who was still using the alias Elliott) was alleged to have wielded a belt and a knife during the affray. Now aged twenty-five, and currently on a ticket-of-leave from his sentence of five years' penal servitude, Hillyar was considerably older than the vast majority of those convicted of scuttling. In some ways, he must have seemed an anomalous figure in court, not least when it is considered that one of the young women present at the scene appears to have been only fifteen years old. Nonetheless, Hillyar was described in court by his old title as a "King of Scuttlers."(91) Significantly, this title was first used by the Salford press to describe Hillyar in 1893, which raises the intriguing possibility that a label originally devised by a journalist was adopted by Hillyar, for whom the title must have formed an ironic yet welcome mark of his status.(92)

It is important to note that scuttlers were themselves willing to use the criminal justice system. Although gang members generally attempted to avoid police interference at the scene of affrays, even those like Hillyar with strings of previous convictions of their own would sometimes initiate prosecutions against their rivals.(93) This raises the possibility that such prosecutions followed deals struck between gang members and the police, in which scuttlers agreed to prosecute their rivals in return for escaping criminal charges themselves. Alternatively, however, it is conceivable that gang members felt justified in complaining to the police in cases where they had been set upon without warning, or by superior numbers. Moreover, it is equally plausible that prosecutions were viewed as an alternative means of revenge for scuttlers who had been worsted in affrays. For those whose honour had been undermined by defeat, the courts may have constituted an alternative arena of conflict, and it appears that gang members may have attempted to manipulate the criminal justice system against specific rivals. Hillyar's plea, when charged with attempted murder in February 1895, that his enemies were determined to pursue him and to bring prosecutions against him, suggests that his rivals were as keen to see him in prison as the police.


In conclusion, it is tempting to reverse Humphries' characterisation of gang members as "rebels". When their activities are examined from a gendered perspective, we might view Hillyar and his rivals as striving to embody the workingclass ideal of the "hard" man, and thus as reproducing established patterns of male behaviour. Seeking to prove themselves through displays of aggression and fighting prowess, scuttlers both dramatised and endorsed the customary association between "hardness" and masculine status which permeated life in working-class districts. In cultural terms, therefore, scuttlers were archly conservative. Moreover, Humphries' emphasis upon gang members' alienation from respectable society must be qualified, as scuttlers were not, in any literal sense, outlaws.(94) Gang members did sometimes fight with police officers in their efforts to evade arrest, and displays of bravado in the dock frequently signalled their defiance of those sitting in judgement upon them. However, under certain circumstances, gang members were willing to use the law themselves and to co-operate with the police in bringing prosecutions against their adversaries. Perhaps the much smaller number of young women who took an active part in gang violence were more rebellious than their male counterparts, as female scuttlers clearly transgressed the codes of womanly conduct embedded in dominant Victorian ideals of femininity.(95)

Considerable peer-group prestige was at stake in scuttling affrays, and feuds between rival gangs generated a momentum of their own as gang members sought to avenge defeats and thus to salvage their honour. Youths tended to be more likely than older men to take part in street violence, reflecting in part the more precarious masculine identities of those aged in their mid- to late teens. For youths who had not yet reached the peak of their physical strength, and had still to qualify for the most physically-demanding (and high-status) forms of manual work, gang conflicts provided an alternative arena for displays of masculine prowess. Yet even Hillyar and his closest rivals were not regarded as the "hardest" men in Salford. Scuttlers sought out confrontations with rival youths, but do not appear to have pitted themselves against older "hard" men, such as local prize fighters. Indeed, for all the efforts of gang members to prove themselves, scuttling with knives and belts may well have been viewed almost as a boyish practice by men aged in their twenties and thirties, very few of whom ever chose to involve themselves in gang conflicts.

It must be stressed that within working-class neighbourhoods, there were sharply differentiated conceptions of what being a man entailed. Scuttlers generally drew upon notions of "hardness" rather than the alternative models of virtuous manhood provided by the breadwinner or the respectable artisan. Even in districts with powerful local gangs, such as Ordsall in Salford, gang membership was not universal among youths in semi- or unskilled occupations. Unfortunately, in the absence of autobiographical accounts by former gang members, it is not possible to examine why certain youths joined gangs whilst others, from comparable backgrounds, did not.(96) The absence of scuttlers' memoirs also makes it difficult to chart the behaviour of gang members over the course of the life cycle. There is fragmentary evidence that some scuttlers subsequently made domineering and violent husbands, and many gang members no doubt maintained reputations as neighbourhood "hard" men in later life.(97) Others, however, may well have become increasingly respectable once they took on "men's" work and the adult responsibilities of breadwinner and householder. Scuttling therefore appears to have been a pre-eminently youthful activity, in which young men on the brink of adulthood acquired both individual and collective status in the eyes of their peers.

School of History Liverpool L69 3BX United Kingdom


This paper is drawn from a project on "Youth Gangs and Urban Violence: Manchester, Salford and Glasgow, 1860-1939" funded by the Economic and Social Research Council as part of a Research Programme on Crime and Social Order, award number L210252006. For permission to consult the Registers of Prisoners' Offences (hereafter P.O. Registers) held at the Salford Magistrates' Court, I am grateful to John Davies, Clerk to the Court. I also wish to thank Claire Langhamer for her meticulous work in entering a sample of offences from 1889-1890 into a database.

Earlier versions of this paper were presented at conferences held at the Roehampton Institute, London, in May 1995, and the Martin-Luther-Universitat Halle-Wittenberg in September 1996. I am grateful to Laura Craig-Gray and Jon Lawrence for a series of discussions of the themes raise here. For further constructive criticism, I wish to thank John Archer, Penny Fraser, Jill Greenfield, Karen Hunt, Martha Kanya-Forstner, Sean O'Connell, Geoff Pearson, Ian Taylor, John Tosh and Pamela Walker.

1. Stephen Humphries, Hooligans or Rebels? An Oral History of Working-Class Childhood and Youth 1889-1939 (Oxford, 1981); Geoffrey Pearson, Hooligan: A History of Respectable Fears (London, 1983).

2. There are no British studies which compare with Frederic M. Thrasher, The Gang: A Study of 1,313 Gangs in Chicago (Chicago, 1927) or William F. Whyte, Street Corner Society: The Social Structure of an Italian Slum (Chicago, 1943). For a critical overview of the historical development of the contrasting North American and British literatures on youth and crime, see Geoffrey Pearson, "Youth, Crime and Society," in Mike Maguire, Rod Morgan and Robert Reiner (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Criminology (Oxford, 1994).

3. Humphries, Hooligans or Rebels? p. 179.

4. Humphries, Hooligans or Rebels? pp. 190-93.

5. Humphries, Hooligans or Rebels? pp. 193-8. Few historians would now endorse Humphries' claim that ethnic violence was a "misdirected expression" of class consciousness among white working-class youths.

6. Humphries, Hooligans or Rebels? pp. 179-80. Humphries turned his attention more directly to the issue of masculinity in a subsequent account of sexual behaviour among gang members. See his A Secret World of Sex. Forbidden Fruit: The British Experience 19001950 (London, 1988), ch. 6. In the case of the late Victorian youth gang, sexual behaviour is extremely difficult to assess given the paucity of the available sources.

7. For a recent assessment of notions of "hardness", see Paul Willis, Common Culture: Symbolic Work at Play in the Everyday Cultures of the Young (Milton Keynes, 1990), p. 103-9.

8. For an insightful discussion of peer recognition as a component of the transition to manhood, see John Tosh, "What Should Historians do with Masculinity? Reflections on Nineteenth-century Britain," His tory Workshop Journal 38 (1994): 184.

9. For Humphries' treatment of these themes, see Secret World of Sex, pp. 147-8.

10. Gary Armstrong, "False Leeds: The Construction of Hooligan Confrontations," in John Williams and Richard Giulianotti (eds), Games Without Frontiers: Football, Identity and Modernity (Aldershot, 1994), p. 301. My analysis of gang conflicts as contests over honour has been strongly influenced by this pioneering work on football hooliganism.

11. I have discussed the issue of broader working-class attitudes towards scuttling gangs in a separate paper, as yet unpublished, entitled "A Carnival of Knives and Belts: Youth Gangs and Street Violence in Late Victorian Salford."

12. Andrew Davies, "'These Viragoes are No Less Cruel than the Lads': Young Women, Gangs and Violence in late Victorian Manchester and Salford," British Journal of Criminology (forthcoming).

13. Rob Sindall, Street Violence in the Nineteenth Century: Media Panic or Real Danger? (Leicester, 1990).

14. The one-dimensional nature of police court news reporting was highlighted by Andrew Barrett, "Newspapers as a Source for the History of Crime," paper presented to the Historians of Crime, Policing and Punishment in the North West group, November 1994.

15. Humphries, Hooligans or Rebels? p. 176.

16. Manchester's municipal boundaries were significantly extended during the late nineteenth century. Bradford was incorporated in 1885, and Openshaw and West Gorton in 1890. See Alan Kidd, Manchester (Keele, 1993), p. 154.

17. Manchester Guardian, 5 February 1898.

18. Alan J. Kidd, "'Outcast Manchester': Voluntary Charity, Poor Relief and the Casual Poor 1860-1905," in Alan J. Kidd and K.W. Roberts (eds), City, Class and Culture: Studies of Social Policy and Cultural Production in Victorian Manchester (Manchester, 1985), pp. 51, 68.

19. See the comments of the Mayor of Manchester to the Home Secretary, Manchester Guardian, 13 December 1890. Neither of the principal commentators on scuttling featured ethnicity or sectarianism in their accounts of the conflicts. See Devine, Scuttlers and Scuttling and Charles E. B. Russell, Manchester Boys: Sketches of Manchester Lads at Work and Play (Manchester, 1905). Only in the first reports of scuttling in the Manchester press, following disturbances in the Rochdale Road district of Manchester during the autumn of 1871, were the conflicts characterised in terms of sectarian violence. See the Manchester Courier, 25 October 1871. Sectarianism appears to have been rapidly superseded by territorial rivalries as gang conflicts spread across the conurbation by the mid-1870s.

20. Steven Fielding, "A Separate Culture? Irish Catholics in Working-class Manchester and Salford, c. 1890-1939," in Andrew Davies and Steven Fielding (eds), Workers' Worlds: Cultures and Communities in Manchester and Salford, 1880-1939 (Manchester, 1992), pp. 26-8, 36-7.

21. See the insistent comments of local stipendiary magistrates to the Home Secretary, Manchester Guardian, 13 December 1890. I have profiled the occupational and family backgrounds of the members of Salford's Hope Street gang in "A Carnival of Knives and Belts" (forthcoming).

22. Keith McClelland, "Masculinity and the 'Representative Artisan' in Britain, 185080," in Michael Roper and John Tosh (eds), Manful Assertions: Masculinities in Britain since 1800 (London, 1991), p. 81.

23. Fielding, "A Separate Culture?", pp. 28-9, 37.

24. The most heavily-publicised fatality occurred in the Ancoats district of Manchester in May 1892. See the Manchester Guardian, 12 May 1892.

25. See the account of a series of cases involving the Salford scuttler John Joseph Hillyar, below.

26. Devine, Scuttlers and Scuttling, pp. 2-3. For an account of an affray in which a Salford youth suffered a fractured skull, see the Salford Chronicle, 10 February 1894.

27. James Bent, Criminal Life: Reminiscences of Forty-Two Years as a Police Officer (Manchester, 1891), p. 225.

28. On the youthful dedication to fashion in Manchester's working-class districts, see the colourful descriptions in local magazines such as The Shadow, 20 March 1869 and The City Lantern, 6 August 1875.

29. Manchester Guardian, 5 February 1898, Russell, Manchester Boys, p. 51. I am grateful to David Taylor of Manchester Central Reference Library for the first of these references.

30. Devine, Scuttlers and Scuttling, p. 5.

31. Four Salford scuttlers, members of "Buffalo Bill's Gang", were convicted following an affray in January 1890, Salford Chronicle, 25 January, 1 February 1890.

32. The notion of multiple masculinities is beginning to be developed across a range of social science disciplines. For a wide-ranging critical survey, see R. W. Connell, Masculinities (Cambridge, 1995). For a discussion of the contrasting lifestyles of "family" men and "hard" men in working-class districts in the early twentieth century, see Andrew Davies, Leisure, Gender and Poverty: Working-Class Culture in Salford and Manchester, 1900-1939 (Buckingham, 1992).

33. Paul Thompson highlighted the range of violence both suffered and witnessed by the children of two poor Salford families at the close of the nineteenth century in his "Voices from Within," in H. J. Dyos and Michael Wolff (eds), The Victorian City: Images and Realities, vol. I (London, 1976), pp. 73-9. See also Michael J. Childs, Labour's Apprentices: Working-Class Lads in Late Victorian and Edwardian England (London, 1992), pp. 106-9.

34. Roberts, Classic Slum, pp. 28-9.

35. Ellen Ross, "Fierce Questions and Taunts: Married Life in Working-Class London, 1870-1914," Feminist Studies 8, 2 (1982).

36. Robert Roberts, A Ragged Schooling: Growing up in the Classic Slum (Manchester, 1976), p. 118.

37. Salford Weekly Chronicle, 30 May 1885.

38. Salford Weekly Chronicle, 3 September 1887.

39. See the case of Michael Green and John McGratton, Salford Weekly News, 12 June 1875.

40. Henry Hill, The Story of Adelphi: Sixty Years' History of the Adelphi Lads' Club (Salford, 1949), p. 121.

41. Childs, Labour's Apprentices, p. 107.

42. Thompson, "Voices from Within," pp. 74-6. I have retained the pseudonym 'Doyle' used by Thompson. The term "flag floors" is used here to denote bare stone floors.

43. Joe Toole, Fighting through Life (London, 1935), pp. 5-6.

44. Bart Kennedy, Slavery: Pictures from the Depths (London, 1905), pp. 138-46. For an account of the frequent and public fights between youths in Greengate in Salford, see the Sphinx, 19 June 1869.

45. County Telephone, 25 May 1889; Manchester Guardian, 30 May 1889.

46. See, for example, the case of William Choularton, Solford Reporter, 13 January 1894.

47. P.O. Register, 8 July 1890, case no. 18; Solford Chronicle, 12 July 1890.

48. Salford Chronicle, 22 May 1897.

49. Salford Reporter, 8 February 1890.

50. Humphries, Hooligans or Rebels, p. 208. See also Barbara Weinberger, "L'Anatomie de l'Antagonisme Racial et de la Violence Urbaine: Les Bandes a Birmingham dans les Annees 1870," Deviance et Societe 15, 4 (1991): 417.

51. P.O. Register, 21 January 1889, case no. 11; Solford Weekly Chronicle, 26 January 1889.

52. Manchester Guardian, 5 February 1898.

53. Manchester Guardian, 24 June 1892.

54. Manchester Guardian, 5 February 1898.

55. Russell, Manchester Boys, pp. 52-3.

56. Manchester Guardian, 13 December 1890, 5 February 1898.

57. Manchester Courier, 7 June 1890.

58. The feud between the two gangs is explored in depth in Davies, "Carnival of Knives and Belts."

59. Manchester Courier, 22 October 1889; Manchester Guardian, 23 October 1889.

60. Devine, Scuttlers and Scuttling p. 3.

61. Manchester Guardian, 5 February 1898.

62. Manchester Guardian, 12 May 1892.

63. Russell, Manchester Boys, p. 52.

64. Manchester Guardian, 5 February 1898; Salford Reporter, 3 June 1899.

65. Solford Chronicle, 30 January, 13, 27 February 1897; Solford Reporter, 30 January 1897.

66. Charles E. B. Russell and Lilian M. Rigby, Working Lads' Clubs (London, 1908), p. 12; Manchester Guardian, 5 February 1898.

67. Devine, Scuttlers and Scuttling, p. 3.

68. Solford Weekly News, 1 April 1882; Salford Chronicle, 10 June 1893.

69. Solford Weekly News, 26 May 1877; Salford Chronicle, 20 June 1891.

70. See, for example, the case of John Devaney, Manchester Guardian, 31 October 1890.

71. Toole, Fighting through Life, p. 48. Providence Street, Salford was labelled the "She Battery" by locals, on account of the prostitutes who worked from the street, drawing the majority of their clients from a nearby barracks.

72. For two from a series of such cases, see the Salford Weekly News, 15 March 1879 and 21 August 1880.

73. The 1891 census recorded the family as living at 29 Woden Street. I have taken the spelling of Hillyar from the census entry. The local press generally used the alternative of Hillier.

74. Salford Chronicle, 18 November 1893.

75. P.O. Register, 4 June 1889, case no. 11.

76. P.O. Register, 7 November 1889, case no. 3; County Telephone, 9 November 1889; Salford Chronicle, 9 November 1889.

77. Manchester Guardian, 5, 13, 20 May, 13 June 1891; Solford Reporter, 9 May 1891.

78. Manchester Guardian, 28 August, 1 September 1891. The "Cass" was the popular name for the Casino music-hall, previously known as the People's Concert Hall. One of Manchester's most popular music-halls, the audiences were notoriously "rough". See Toole, Fighting through Life, p. 2.

79. Salford Chronicle, 18 November 1893.

80. Salford Reporter, 13 January 1894.

81. Salford Reporter, 21, 28 July 1894; Salford Chronicle, 1 September 1894.

82. Salford Reporter, 2 March 1895.

83. Salford Reporter, 2 March 1895.

84. For examples of Hillyar's pleas of self-defence, see the reports of his court appearances in the Manchester Guardian, 28 August, 1 September 1891; Salford Reporter, 13 January 1894; Salford Reporter, 2 March 1895.

85. Salford Reporter, 2 March 1895.

86. Salford Reporter, 13 January 1894.

87. Manchester Guardian, 13 June 1891.

88. For example, in a case reported in the Manchester Evening News, 9 May 1892, Hillyar alleged that he had been stabbed as he was leaving a ragged school in Deansgate, by a youth named William Wood, who was sentenced to a month's imprisonment.

89. "Family Life and Work Experience" interviews, Qualidata Archive, University of Essex, tape no. 90. I am grateful to Professor Thompson for his permission to consult this tape. The pseudonym "Collier" was used by Paul Thompson in "Voices from Within," pp. 77-9.

90. Ibid. I have re-transcribed this extract, which was originally cited in Thompson, "Voices from Within," p. 78. I am grateful to Dave Moore for alerting me to this reference.

91. Salford Chronicle, 29 July, 5 August 1899; Salford Reporter, 29 July, 5 August 1899.

92. Salford Reporter, 13 January 1894. Further thanks are due to Dave Moore for this reference.

93. For reports of cases in which John Joseph Hillyar brought prosecutions against rival scuttlers, see the Manchester Evening News, 9 May 1892; Salford Reporter, 21, 28 July 1894; Salford Chronicle, 1 September 1894.

94. Humphries, Hooligans or Rebels? p. 208.

95. Davies, "Young Women, Gangs and Violence."

96. The same question has vexed anthropologists studying football hooligan gangs in modern Britain. See Armstrong, "False Leeds", p. 321, and his "Like that Desmond Morris?" in Dick Hobbs and Tim May (eds), Interpreting the Field: Accounts of Ethnography (Oxford, 1993), p. 37.

97. See the portrayal of "Mr Carey", the father of a childhood friend, by Robert Roberts, Ragged Schooling, pp. 75, 79, 102, 119.
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