Slip Into Something Victorian

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Guest: Denysé Bridger


Victorian London – Police and Policing – Perception of policeman’s character According to an article published on SATURDAY, JUNE 17th, 1848…

The MODEL POLICEMAN moves only in the most fashionable areas. He is rather particular in seeing if the coal cellar is fast, about supper-time. He is never inside a kitchen, unless “the street door has been left open.” He is affable to the footman, and smiles to the page, but suspects the butler, and calls the French maid proud. His appearance and spirits are greatly regulated by the neighbourhood. In Belgravia he wears straps, plays with a pink, and buzzes to himself some popular tune. In St. Giles’s his cheeks get hollow, his buttons grow rusty, his belt is put on anyhow, and his highlows are polished only with blacklead!!

The MODEL POLICEMAN arrives at a row before it is quite over, and sometimes gets at a fire a minute or two before the fire-escape. He knows every pickpocket in the world, and has seen everybody who is taken up two or three times before. He has a vivid recollection of what another Policeman remembers, and if the testimony of an Inspector is impugned, he shows a great love for his cloth by swearing (as the saying is) “till all is blue.” He objects to “plain clothes;” he thinks them not uniform and “unperfessional”. He never smiles when inside a theatre, nor sleeps at a sermon, nor takes an opera-glass to look at the ballet when stationed in the gallery of Her Majesty’s. He rarely releases the wrong person he has taken into custody for disturbing the performances. He has a virtuous horror of Punch and Judy, and insists upon the India rubber Brothers “moving on” in the midst even of the Human Pyramid. He never stops at a print-shop, nor loiters before a cook-shop, nor hangs about a pastry cook’s, excepting to drive away the little boys who choke up the door where the stale pastry is exhibited.

He is not proud, but will hold a gentleman’s horse at an emergency, and take sixpence for it. He rings bells the first thing in the morning, runs to fetch the doctor, helps an early coffee-stall to unpack her cups and saucers, pulls down shutters, gives “lights” to young gentlemen staggering home, directs them to the nearest “public,” and does not even mind going in with them, “just to have a little drop of something to keep himself warm.” In fact, the MODEL POLICEMAN does anything for the smallest trifle, to make himself useful as well as ornamental. Above all, he never laughs. He is the terror of publicans on Saturday nights, but is easily melted with “a drop” – on the sly.

He is courageous, also, and will take up an applewoman, or a “lone woman” with babies, without a moment’s hesitation. He is not irritable, but knows his dignity. Do not speak to him much, unless you have a very good coat. Especially do not joke with him when on duty. You are sure to know it by his collar being up. Do not put a finger upon him, for he construes it into an assault. Of the two Forces, he certainly belongs to the Physical, rather than to the Moral Force. He is tremendous in a row, and cares no more for a “brush” than his oilskin hat. He hates the name of Chartist, and cannot “abide” a Frenchman in any shape, any more than a beggar, especially if he has moustaches. He has a secret contempt for the “Specials,” whom he calls “amateurs.” He rarely fraternises with a Beadle, excepting when there is an insurrection of boys, and it comes to open snowballing, or splashing with the fire-plug. He prohibits all sliding, puts down vaulting over posts, leapfrog, grottos, chuck farthing, and is terribly upset with a piece of orange-peel, or the cry of “Peeler.” He avoids a lobster-shop, for fear of vulgar comparisons, and hates the military – “the whole biling of them” – for some raw reason; but he touches his hat to “the DUKE.” He rarely sleeps inside a cab of a cold night. He never lights a cigar till the theatres are over. He is a long time in hearing the cry of “Stop thief!” and is particularly averse to running; his greatest pace is a hackney-coach gallop, even after a Sweep, who is following, too literally, his calling. He is meek to lost children, and takes them to the station-house in the most fatherly manner.

He is polite to elderly ladies who have lost a cat or a parrot, and gives directions to a porter in search of a particular street, without losing his temper. He is fond of a silver watch, and he reaches the summit of a policeman’s pride and happiness if he gets a silver chain with it. Next to himself, however, there is nothing he loves half so closely as his whiskers. He would sooner throw up staff, station, and be numbered amongst the dead letters of the Post Office, or the rural police, than part with a single hair of them; for the MODEL POLICEMAN feels that without his whiskers he should cut but a contemptible figure in the eyes of those he loves, even though he exhibited on his collar the proud label of A1! Beyond his whiskers, his enjoyments are but few. He watches the beer as it is delivered at each door, he follows the silvery sound of “muffins!” through streets and squares, he loves to speculate upon the destination of the fleeting butcher’s tray, and on Saturday night he threads the mazy stalls of the nearest market, his love growing at the sight of the savoury things it is wont to feed upon.

Thanks to the fabulous site VICTORIAN LONDON, owned by author and archivist Lee Jackson.

The police force of London was never in the public eye quite so glaringly as it was during the investigation of the notorious Jack The Ripper reign of terror. From that first accepted series of killings – serial murders – has emerged a timeless fascination with the people who investigated and failed to bring to justice the bloody killer.

In the two books of my Devane Mysteries, I have once again used these gruesome killings as a kind of eternal haunting of my hero, Police Inspector Michael Devane. Devane is haunted, clairvoyant and an opium addict in a time when such things were common but rarely talked about openly. If you would like to read the books, please visit Liquid Silver Books for excerpts and purchase links: Book One: OUT OF HELL  Book Two: AN UNSPOKEN BETRAYAL

To learn more about Denysé you can visit her website and blog, or  Sensual Treats Magazine. For free reads try Romantic Moments :


  1. Isabel Roman says:

    Thanks for stopping by, Denyse! I never knew a lot about the origins of policemen, but it explains a lot about why we envision them helping old ladies across the street or cats from trees. Huh, interesting!

  2. Denyse says:

    Hi, Isabel.

    There is so much wonderful history in this era, I don’t know if there’s enough time to explore it all! The whole Jack The Ripper mystery is endlessly fascinating, and the police of that time were really interesting in how they approached the case, and what they were up against politically. Being a policeman in this time was not an easy job, to say the least!

    Thanks so much for having me as a guest at your lovely site! This is wonderful!!! I’ll be in and out all day if anyone has any questions and comments to answer, and I’d be happy to grab a name from the comments and offer the two Devane books as a prize.


  3. Hey Denyse, This was extremely interesting. The amount of research you must do for your books is mind boggling to me! I’ve always been fascinated by crime book, hence “Jack the Ripper” but I never thought about reading anything about the frustration of the men so determined to catch him. I’m gonna give your “Devane Mysteries” a whirl 🙂

    Missy Martine

  4. Brigit Aine says:

    Hey Denyse,

    As always you boggle me with the amount of information you know. The Devane Mysteries are a treat and anyone who loves this time period should read them. They are truly wonderful and Michael is a hero to fall in love with.

  5. Great post, Denyse! Anything about Jack the Ripper will snag my interest!

  6. Denyse, what an interesting blog. Don’t you just love doing research? I am very interested in the “Jack The Ripper” era. Love it!


  7. Hi Denyse. This is not the genre I normally read, but after reading your post, I find myself wanting to read your books. They sound interesting and intriging.

  8. hotcha1 says:



  9. Denyse says:

    WOW – thank you so much, Ladies. Missy, nice to see you “out and about” as it were…. Michael Devane is a very special hero to me, he’s complicated and flawed, but I think very real to his time. I am proud of these books, and think they are among the best I’ve written.

    Brigit, my darling… you always have such kind words. Thank you for your endless support, my friend.

    Susan – the Ripper is a source of endless fascination, isn’t he? So many theories, and we will never really know the truth, so it’s never going to lose its intrigue.

    Research of this era is like chocolate to me… I love it, and absorb all I can… the atmosphere, the subtle manners, all of it is wonderful and interesting to me.

    Thanks everyone for coming by! Any questions, feel free to fire away, I’ll be back!! *lol*

    Hugs… D

  10. Denyse says:

    Phyllis – Hello! Yes, the research takes time but it’s so much fun! There is always something new to learn, or a new perspective to reexamine. The Ripper is about the only gruesome murder I never seem to find run-away-screaming repulsive – it’s more perversely fascinating. The crimes were horrific of course, but the mystery that surrounds them is really intriguing.

    Mary – Hello to you, too. Nice to meet so many new people. Of my many books, these are special, and the erotic element in them is not overly strong – it’s more about the character of Devane and his ever-changing personality. I am proud to say, the reviews for these stories have been spectacular, so I guess I got it right! Thank you for coming by.

    Lin – nice to see you!! Happy New Year to you, too, hun!!

    Hugs ~ Denyse

  11. Kelly says:

    Wow, police officers were certainly a different breed back then. What happened to those romantic, well-mannered times?

    Another great post, Denyse!


  12. Thanks for your post on the policemen. Gives a wonderful view of those times too.

  13. Denyse says:

    Kelly!!! Thanks for coming by. Yeah, you have to give them credit, the entire era was one of lovely, gentle manners in many regards, though the darker side of the whole East End was equally decadent and horribly down-trodden. Not as easy time to live in, to be sure.

    Hugs and Love,

    My God, this is great fun!! Can’t wait to see more…. 🙂

  14. Fascinating stuff, Denyse. I want to read these books. I can see the amount of research you put into these works will make them great reading. Congratulations.

  15. Denyse says:

    Jeanmarie – nice to see you here. Thanks for your comment. The police of Victorian London really did seem a breed apart in many ways, they were diverse and dilligent men, and I think often not given their due credit for a thankless job.

    LaVerne! Hello!!! I think I’ve been “researching” this era most of my life – I love it! Devane is a different hero, but one of my better ones. If you check out the books, I do hope you enjoy them!

    Thank you all for stopping by!! It’s so nice to see all these interesting thoughts and comments…


  16. Lisa J says:

    WOW! Sounds a really interesting couple of tales!
    I love the Victorian era -clearly I was born FAR too late LOL!!!

    It is interesting to see how the job has changed over the years……
    love ya!

    LJ x

  17. What an awesome post Denyse! It is so interesting to learn about stuff like this.

  18. Denise says:

    Hi Denyse! These books look great! I will have to pick them up! Thanks for sharing with us your work!

  19. Isabel Roman says:

    I started Out of Hell, OK about 12 or so pages in but I am really enjoying it! The research is also very well done. Denyse, want to come back for another guest blog? *G*

  20. Denyse says:

    Lisa – thanks so much. I think this was my era, too, so maybe we should fnd a time machine and travel?? And, yes, I agree, the job of being a police officer has certainly evolved in strange ways…

    Antonia – thanks for coming by, I think half the fun of doing this writer gig is all the cool stuff we get to learn!!

    Denise – thank you, also, for coming by today, if you pick up the books, I certainly hope you enjoy them!

    Isabel – I am so glad you’re liking the tone and atmosphere of OUT OF HELL – I do hope you enjoy the whole tale… And, by the way – I would LOVE to come back anytime… this is my kinda place!!! 🙂

    Hugs, D

  21. Isabel Roman says:

    We’d love to have you! Any time, just let me know. 🙂 Over at Love Romance Passion they have a whole blog on time travel in romances!

  22. Colleen Love says:

    Very cool article!! Gems like this make research so much fun!

    The Devane stories are awesome!

    Great blog today, Denyse! 🙂


  23. Denyse says:

    Isabel – have bookmarked that site for a better look around when I have more time – it looks wonderful, thank you! And, thanks for inviting me back… I’ll be taking you up on that, I’m sure!

    Colleen – always a pleasure to see my favourite Pixie stop by! Thank you.


  24. jo says:


    The series sounds FANtastic! I luv any books dealing with the the Jack the Ripper mystery and that era. I will definitely be checking this series out as it is obvious how much research time you spent on them. Thanks for the reads and for the chance for great prizes!


  25. Denyse says:

    Hi, Jo. Jack the Ripper seems to hold a rather UNholy fascination for many of us, doesn’t he? There is something endlessly compelling and eerily alluring about the fact that he’s never really been given a face or a name, he’s an eternal mystery. I’ve read about the murders for years, and there is a lot of the basic information used in various parts of this set of stories. I had planned to write more for the series, but until now it seemed there was no real interest. Maybe it’s time to pull out my notes for Book Three and reintroduce Inspector Devane?

    Thank you again.
    Blessings to you, always ~ D

  26. Maria D. says:

    This is one of my favorite periods of British history, Victorian England had so many things going on and as you stated much was not openly discussed. Jack the Ripper has always been fascinating because he was a serial killer that was never caught and so many speculated on his possible ties to the royal family. With the current film on Sherlock Holmes doing well at the box office your timing for going back to do a third book would more than likely benefit in sales as this will no doubt spark interest in historical fiction for some time.

  27. Caffey says:

    Hi Denyse! I so loved these two books of the Devane Files! I so hope there will be more in the near future! This is one theme I love to read in the Victorian and Regency time period. I don’t read mystery series usually, but only the historical ones (and I’m hooked). So that’s what these remind me of too because they also have the romance! I love the history info as part of the story and love looking up more but never got a chance to on the Model Police and this is absolutely fascinating! Great article Denyse! What sites were helpful for you for this in writing these books?

  28. Mary Ricksen says:

    Sounds like my kinda guy!

  29. WOW – how interesting to learn about the policemen. I have always been fascinated by the Jack the Ripper story. You picked a great time in history to base your stories.

    So glad to have you join us at Scandalous Victorians today, Denyse.

  30. Denyse says:

    Maria, hello. I hadn’t really thought about the Sherlock Holmes connection, despite loving the movie in which Holmes more or less solved the crime – the Royal connection. (Murder By Decree) You’re right of course, maybe this will stir some interest. All good!

    Caffey – ALWAYS a pleasure to hear from you, so thank you for coming by and for your comments. The research is always a good part of the project, and as I said, the Victorian London site is invaluable when you do anything of this period.

    Mary! Hi there!! Inspector Devane is a very complex hero, and they are always so intriguing, I agree.

    Paisley – this has been one of the most fun blog spots I’ve done in ages… I love the era, and everything about it, so I need little prompting to start spouting off! Thanks for letting me play here, today, too!!

    Hugs to all… Denyse

  31. Kelley says:

    Hi Denyse,

    What an awesome post. You continue to surprise me with your talent and knowledge. Jack the Ripper is my favorite serial killer. There is something paranormal about that whole mystery. Did you ever see the movie with Johnny Depp based on Jack the Ripper? It was really good and very dark. Your story sounds a bit dark and I love that. Flawed heroes are sexy to me.

  32. Denyse says:

    Hi, Kelley. Thank you for coming by. I have seen FROM HELL, it’s one of my favourite Depp movies, and partly inspired this series of stories! I think as we are all flawed people in some way, the flawed hero is somehow more real and empathetic to most of us, it inspires our desire to believe in him more, so I like them, too.

    Thanks to EVERYONE who came by yesterday and made this so much fun. I’ve picked a winner for the pair of Devane stories, it’s: Mary Collins, so if you want to send me an email, Mary, I’ll get your books off to you immediately.

    Ladies, thank you so very much for having me here today, and for inviting me back!! I’d love to do it again!!

    Much Love to all, and have a great one today!!
    Email Denyse

  33. Denise Eagan says:

    These look great Denyse, and that info about the model policemen cracks me up.

  34. Book Junkie says:

    Hi Denyse,
    I think that era is so interesting and it is so new to me to read about. I hear they give a killer Jack the Ripper tour in London! ohhhh…. someday.
    These both look fantastic and I can’t wait to read them!


  35. Denyse says:

    Denise, thanks so much for stopping by! The concept of the model policeman has certainly changed over the years, hasn’t it?? 🙂

    Brande, lovely to see you here, too. If you like a story that has hints of many things, Victorian London, The Ripper, an a flawed but very special hero who rediscovers his ability to love, then I think you’d enjoy these two books. I am very pleased with them, and that’s not something I say often or lightly!

    To everyone here… thank you again for allowing me to be part of your party – I have enjoyed it tremendously.

    Love and Hugs to all.

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