Twenty-first century Sheffield is proven to be one of the safest places in England to live but, turn back the clock 150 years, and you enter a poverty-stricken town defined by grave tragedy, misfortune and murder.
Sheffield's Shocking Past is based on extensive researcher by life-long Sheffielder Chris Hobbs (www.chrishobbs.com), ably assisted by Matthew Bell, who provide an amazing insight into the more gruesome and grizzly episodes of Victorian Sheffield.
The Sheffield Flood of 1864, the single greatest man-made disaster in Victorian England, is well chronicled but scores of arguably more shocking episodes have lain largely undiscovered for decades, until now...
Multiple murders; child murderers; a burning boy running half a mile before his agonising death; strange deaths; untimely deaths; deaths by starvation; hideous accidents; a romantic double suicide and a factory explosion killing all in its wake. It all happened in Victorian Sheffield.
Justice was swift, unwieldy and brutal - Sheffield even had the dubious honour of being home to Thomas Williams, the first man to be hanged during the reign of Queen Victoria.
Not all crimes were solved; the murder of Boden Lane's “Bearded Lady”, for example, has remained a mystery to this day.
Drink, sadly, played a large part in many of these hideous tragedies - what else would encourage the bizarre Victorian 'prank' of pulling a (petrified) pet cat across Attercliffe canal on the end of rope in a bid to win more beer? In this case the animal escaped and the perpetrator drowned!
Read more about it here:
The iconic cover is courtesy of celebrated artist Martin Bedford.