Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Bow Street Runners

"The Bow Street Runners were established in 1749 by the novelist Henry Fielding in the same year that saw the publication of Tom Jones. Having done much to precipitate state censorship of the theatres through his political satires of the early 1730s, Fielding had qualified as a barrister, and was appointed Justice of the Peace in Westminster on 25th October 1748. He owed his appointment to his patron, the Duke of Bedford, who was the new Secretary of State.

So it was that on December 9th 1749 Fielding moved into the large house in Bow Street (near the current Covent Garden opera house), which had been the residence of Sir Thomas de Veil (the former incumbent, 1729-46, and a noted anti-Jacobite.) The ground floor of the house served as Fielding.s court room. Bow Street was next to the parish of St Giles where 30,000 people lived in cramped, unhealthy circumstances, and to the hundred of Drury - the theatre district around Covent Garden square which was notorious for its bawdy houses..."