The Forty Elephants – the All Girl Gang of Victorian-era England: A Steampunk Feminist Perspective

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The topic of this article was inspired by the episode ‘Toronto’s Girl Problem’ of Murdoch Mysteries (Season Eight)

The Forty Elephants were a 19th-century all-female gang who specialized in shoplifting. Their centre of operations was the Elephant and Castle district, but they were known to range further in the hunt for worthwhile targets. One of their favourite strategies,  the whole gang would descend on a large store and ransack it, entering through numerous entrances to confuse staff and then seeing the scene just minutes later, while the staff were still confused as to what was happening. The gang members wore special clothing with extra pockets to conceal the stolen items. Like any other gang, they members of the Forty Elephants often resorted brutal beatings for exacting revenge on enemies, using with knives and metal bars.The gang was still in operation in the first half of the Twentieth century.

Gang members were  chosen for having…

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