Authority and Crime, 1835-1860: A Comparison between Exmouth and Torquay This thesis explores the impact of crime on seaside resorts in mid-nineteenth century England, together with the implications and challenges presented for authority and control. The evidence is based on a case study of two contrasting south Devon resorts, Exmouth and Torquay. The research findings are based mainly on the period between 1835 and 1860. In particular, the thesis considers the nature and scale of crime committed and the reactions produced amongst those in positions of power and authority. The responses of these influential individuals and groups were shaped by a range of factors such as social and economic change, class, gender and the unique characteristics of seaside resorts. As the fledgling tourist industry developed, it was important to provide an environment where visitors were welcome and their property was safe. The evidence from the two resorts reflected patterns of crime detected in other parts of the country, especially in relation to property crime, which is examined in detail. Larceny emerges as the most common category of crime. Here, the evidence indicates that this crime was regularly perpetrated by servants, with women often being convicted for stealing clothes and other wearing apparel. Workplace theft was common in Torquay, related to the fact that building work was going ahead at a fast pace from the 1830s. The most distinctive feature of crime within the two resorts can be found in the attention given to countering anti-social behaviour and keeping order on the streets. This was closely tied up with the maintenance of ‘social tone’, which was of crucial importance to the authorities in a number of nineteenth century seaside resorts, including Exmouth and Torquay.

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