GANGS OF PAST; History Links in City Show
Byline: LAURA SHARPE
A UNIVERSITY professor's study of gangs in Victorian Liverpool has inspired a new stage show premiering in the city next month.
Andrew Davies, a lecturer in history at Liverpool University uncovered 30 years of youth violence across cities in the North West.
His work studying Manchester's "scuttles" gangs and Liverpool's "High Rippers" has inspired a new stage play Angels with Manky Faces.
Mr Davies, 47, said: "I studied archive records between 1870 and 1900 and found all the major cities of England had gangs.
"The gangs were particularly violent, fighting with knives and the buckle ends of their belts.
"Archives of newspaper reports and hospital records show the injuries were so numerous that hospital staff claimed they were overwhelmed." Mr Davies, who lives in Mossley Hill, said the gangs wore distinct clothing to identify themselves. They often had fringed hair, titled caps, patterned scarves and bell-bottomed trousers.
A rare mug-shot of a Liverpool prisoner shows John Kennedy, 28, who was sent to Stafford prison in 1903 for stealing a watch. …