The Gangs of Birmingham (from the sloggers to the peaky blinders) by Philip Gooderson

Hello all

I hope that you’re all enjoying your easter and shoving lots of chocolate in your mouths, a long with hot crossed buns. It seems almost certain that I will have a job this week doing temping work – data entry. It’s better than the dole queue and it’s a step in the right direction. I also have an interview with ICAP, an organisation that works with Irish migrants in Birmingham and London. All looking good. Finally.

I am currently reading a book which, in its own way, has connections to do with my work in Honduras with some of the street kids who were linked to gangs. The Gangs of Birmingham (from the sloggers to the peaky blinders) by Philip Gooderson. It’s about Birmingham’s gangs in 19th century during Victorian times and the street kids living in poverty. Many of the case studies remind me of the street kids in Casa Alianza, being abandoned and turning to the gangs as a way of protection. Some things just don’t change, do they? It’s a fascinating read for brummies. There are similar books for Liverpool, Manchester and London, if that is where you are from. It’s extremely insightful. I’d no idea that Birmingham had deep religious segregation between Catholic Irish and Protestant English, leading to mass riots (the Murphy Riots). I recommend it. I picked it up for 3 quid at HMV if you’re interested. Otherwise, here is a link. The cover looks a bit grizzly, but don’t let put you off.

Here is a small interview with the author Philip Gooderson.

Here is something from modern-day Birmingham gangs which I found on youtube. It’s from the Lozell’s area of Birmingham, which is very poor by UK standards and is one of the most dangerous areas. But again, some of the kids rapping do remind me of the street kids in Casa Alianza. I hope you enjoy it.


About Nicholas Rogers

I am an English journalist/copywriter living in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and I have been here since 2011. I originally came to work with Casa Alianza, which supports street kids and vulnerable youths. I then stayed on, after meeting Pamela Cruz Lozano, who calls me her adopted Catracho. I work freelance journalism and I have my own translation business. Why did I come here? For the challenge, to open my mind and get out of my comfort zone. I love literature and I've written a book with street kids. I write novels, short stories and poetry, all of which you will find on this blog, as well as a lot of information about Honduras. View all posts by Nicholas Rogers

2 responses to “The Gangs of Birmingham (from the sloggers to the peaky blinders) by Philip Gooderson

  • Arran Milde

    To be fair, most of those kids are not abandoned, they are just very poor, or in most cases working long, monotonous jobs. I would recommend Gangs of Manchester if you want another, even better, take on Victorian youth & street crime – although this was pretty much a culture that was in every major English city.
    My only real criticism to your comment regarding Honduras, where I spent 4 years in 2000-2003, is whilst there is some similarity, in particular the poverty, the sheer (some would say pointless) violence of Victorian English cities has no real resemblance to any modern day culture.

    • Nicholas Rogers

      Hi Arran,

      Can you be sure to say “no real resemblance”? There are obvious differences in the geographic culture, but the way they form gangs out of self-defense, the way they behave as a unit, loyalty, etc. I think there’s quite a strong resemblance to street gangs here in Honduras. Having worked with some of the gangs, they talked about pointless killings, honor killings and the way they would go about robbing and disperse the money amongst the gang members.

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