Regency Man Monday – Bow Street Runners

Bow Street Magistrates’ Court in London

I’ve been fascinated with the Bow Street Runners since reading about them in the (many) Regency Romances I enjoy. Namely Lisa Kleypas’s Bow Street Runners series.

Quick Facts:

  • Founded in 1749 by Henry Fielding
  • Originally consisted of 6 members
  • They were the private force for the Bow Street magistrates’ office
  • They served writs and arrested offenders under the authority of the magistrates
  • They traveled all over England to apprehend criminals
  • Considered to be London’s first professional police force
  • Disbanded in 1839
  • The group was the basis for the guiding principles for the establishment of force to control street life and make London safer
Further Reading:
Bow Street Runners – Wikipedia
Policing in London – Old Bailey Online
The Blind Beak of Bow Street by John Dashney – National Federation of the Blind (about John Fielding, Henry’s brother who took over after Henry’s death)
The First English Detectives: The Bow Street Runners and the Policing of London, 1750-1840 by J. M. Beattie – Oxford Scholarship (this is a book and this link gives you an overview of the contents of the book)

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