top of page
The Dark Figure: Crime in Victorian Bolton

This is a traditional historical work based on documentary survey and analysis of court and police records of Bolton covering the period from 1850 to 1880.


It assesses changes over time to relate these changes to their economic, social and political contexts. It also considers qualitative sources; official reports and town records, together with the selective use of local newspaper reports. It concludes by inviting the reader to consider four key questions:


  • In what way was crime a reflection of the social and economic life of Bolton during the period?
  • What were the institutions acting as stimulants to crime?
  • What patterns emerge from the statistical data and how reliable are they?
  • Finally, how did the police, courts and reformative bodies react to crime, and how effective were they?


The reader is left to reflect on whether crime and criminals have really changed much over time.


Dr David Holding studied history at Manchester University before entering the teaching profession in the 1970s. He taught in both state and independent sectors. During this time, he continued historical research culminating in both a Master's degree and a Doctorate. Having previously studied law, David gained a Master of Law degree in Medical Law, which enabled him to transfer to teaching legal courses at university. Since retiring, David has concentrated his research and writing on various aspects of local history, legal trials, forensic science and medico-legal topics.


Dr David Holding Says

In 1996 I undertook historical research for my MA degree in history, my Dissertation being Crime in Victorian Bolton. My particular interest both as an academic lawyer and historian was to consider whether criminal activity in the towns of Northern England during the mid to late Victorian period, reflected the changes in both social and economic respects. I chose Bolton because, like several other Lancashire towns. its prosperity waxed and waned in line with the fortunes of the textile industry. The Dark Figure is a traditional historical work primarily based on documentary survey and analysis of court and police records of Bolton covering the period from 1850-to 1880. In addition, qualitative sources including official council reports, town records and press reports provide a valuable overview of criminal activity during the period.


Published by Words Are Life. Do support independent publishers!

The Dark Figure: Crime in Victorian Bolton

SKU: darkfigure
    bottom of page