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The Liverpool UnderworldCrime in the City, 1750-1900$
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Michael Macilwee

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9781846316999

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846317064

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‘The Scum of Ireland’

‘The Scum of Ireland’

(p.58) Five ‘The Scum of Ireland’
The Liverpool Underworld
Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines the role of Irish migrants in the high crime rate of Liverpool during the nineteenth century. It explains that Liverpool's criminal class had long been synonymous with the lower orders of Irish migrants and their descendants and that most of the Irish people who came to Liverpool were not labourers but beggars and paupers. It was during the Great Famine in Ireland that Liverpool experienced a dramatic invasion of poverty–stricken Irish. About one–and–half million Irish people came to Liverpool between 1846 and 1853. Evidence of the unsustainable flood of migrants was seen not only in the crammed police courts but also the overflowing hospitals and overcrowded prisons.

Keywords:   Irish migrants, high crime rate, criminal class, beggars, paupers, Great Famine, police courts, overcrowding

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