1.8 The London Monster

This time on the Fierce City podcast, we decided to delve into the darker side of London, if indeed there is a darker side and it is not just a many-sided shape with infinite dark sides. The London Monster was a serial attacker of women in the years 1788-1790 over whose identity a big question mark still hovers. We tell the tale of the rise and fall of the Monster and the panic of the London mob.

The story of the Monster brought in a lot of side-stories about 18th-century London: from the history of the police to the development of politeness.


We relied heavily on Jan Bondeson’s interesting book about the Monster, “A Sanguinary Tale”, which you can read for free at archive.org if you’d like more detail on the Monster or any of his many victims such as Anne Porter or Maria Smyth, or the dubiously helpful Mr Angerstein, or of course Theophilus Swift.

Our reading list for this month, with links to websites although these are very expensive to buy new – we read through libraries. Try abebooks.co.uk for secondhand if you don’t have an academic login:

The main image is an etching by James Gillray, licensed under Creative Commons from the National Portrait Gallery.