Bow Street Runners

(424 words)

Historical Context Note

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 …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are not a subscriber, please click here to read about membership. All our articles have been written recently by experts in their field, more than 95% of them university professors.

Citation:
Clark, Robert. "Bow Street Runners". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 27 March 2004
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=1403, accessed 22 August 2014.]