South Wales Echo - - CARDIFF REMEMBERED -

IN HIS new book lift­ing the lid on Cardiff’s crim­i­nal past, for­mer po­lice de­tec­tive John F Wake says: “Re­search­ing and writ­ing this book has been fas­ci­nat­ing.”

And I can truly add that The Cruel Streets Re­vis­ited – A Case File of Cardiff’s Law­less Past, its Growth, its Char­ac­ters, its Mur­ders, and its Mean Streets, has been a fas­ci­nat­ing read too.

The book has chap­ters about the in­fa­mous Min­nie McGuire, the Han­nah Wil­liams mur­der, “the shame of Tem­per­ance­town”, walk­ing the Tiger Bay beat, the No­to­ri­ous Mary Ann Street and much, much more.

John, who told me that he hates in­jus­tice, also tells the story of Ellen Ste­wart.

In 1900 she was sen­tenced to nine months of hard labour for steal­ing half-a-crown (2/6) from a coal miner.

And, as late as 1907, a starv­ing woman was sen­tenced to seven days of hard labour for steal­ing a loaf of bread from a Cardiff shop.

The 40 thieves race gang mur­der (which in­ci­den­tally fea­tures in my re­cently pub­lished book Rac­ing Rogues: The Scams, Scan­dals and Gam­bles of Horse Rac­ing in Wales), when Dai Lewis had his throat cut in St Mary Street, is also in­cluded.

The book is com­piled from ex­ten­sive re­search in pub­lic archives, con­ver­sa­tions with lo­cal peo­ple, and from the au­thor’s per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence as a cop­per for more than 25 years on the beat.

The story of the hap­less Min­nie McGuire, who was prob­a­bly born in Cardiff in the 1860s, is a shock­ing one

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