These Horrific Crimes

Jo Ellis
Jo Ellis Author Interview

Danger, Darkness and Destitution in Nineteenth Century Britain examines the life of a notorious serial killer and baby farmer, Amelia Dyer. What inspired you to write this book?

The inspiration I got from writing my book was from my history degree. I was looking for ideas for my dissertation and during my search I came across Amelia Dyer, I was so intrigued I had to research more. I went to the national archives in Kew, London and ordered to view original letters from Amelia to and from her unsuspecting victims mothers, the original newspaper adds and the original documents of Dyers time on the sentencing and after she was hung. I needed to find out as much as I could about the life of herself.

What was one thing about this time in history that surprises you the most?

The one thing that stood out for me was the lack of awareness and consequences of these actions. there was no children’s services at this time and no official way to adopt, so this made the likes of Dyers actions so easy for her to carry out. then this links to the zero support to mothers that feel like they had no other options with no regulations, and support. Dyer was not a one off there was many that chose this life and got away with it for many years.

What were some ideas that were important for you to explore in this book?

I felt what was important to explore was to highlight that in spite of these horrific crimes, this crime and conviction alone was the beginning of the NSPCC (child protection). it opened many eyes in a positive way and the realisation that child laws and regulations needed to be set in place.

I appreciated the detailed explanations in the book. What kind of research did you undertake to complete this book?

I researched thoroughly all primary sources I could find and see in person, to get the feel of it, how real it was. It was liking watching the story unfold I knew the ending but nothing I could do. then I read 2 books that included Dyers crimes and followed their reached areas that were stated in the bibliography, to then branch off my continuing research as one story always links to another.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

Victorian England was swamped in numerous of horrific headlines of baby farming and murder. Not all were dark shadowy figures stalking behind cobbled streets, many were trusted faces with inviting adverts in the local gazettes, while at the end of the 19th century, most people were shaken by the crimes of Jack the Ripper, often just as gory murders were happening. Amelia Dyer, the infamous baby killer known as the ‘angel maker’, spent three decades on a secret dark world and murdered 200 infants, possibly more. Many more killers were whose lives had taken a turn for the worst, known as unfortunates, had taken to crime to survive one of the most difficult times in the city’s history. These few stories alone show how dangerous London was in the Victorian era.

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Posted on November 4, 2021, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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