For heaven’s sake, why is Scotland Yard in London? Were the English so obsessed with everything Scottish that they named English institutions after “Scotland!? Were all the English police Scots in exile? And, how did Kerrigan’s Byrnes Heroine, Farah, come to work in the place???
Author Kerrigan Byrne guest posts here today and answers these questions of interest to many a reader of historical fiction.
First, here’s a bit about her new book and series:
To Tempt a Highlander/Victorian Rebels #1
by Kerrigan Byrne
St. Martin’s Press / St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Mass Market Paperbound/e-book
Audio available from Tantor Media
Book 1 in the To Tempt a Highlander series
Author Kerrigan Byrne | Narrated by Derek Perkins Publication date Sep 1, 2015
Running time 11 hrs
They’re rebels, scoundrels, and blackguards–dark, dashing men on the wrong side of the law. But for the women who love them, a hint of danger only makes the heart beat faster…
Dorian Blackwell, the Blackheart of Ben More, is a ruthless villain. Scarred and hard-hearted, Dorian is one of London’s wealthiest, most influential men who will stop at nothing to wreak vengeance on those who’ve wronged him…and will fight to the death to seize what he wants. The lovely, still innocent widow Farah Leigh Mackenzie is no exception–and soon Dorian whisks the beautiful lass away to his sanctuary in the wild Highlands…
But Farah is no one’s puppet. She possesses a powerful secret–one that threatens her very life. When being held captive by Dorian proves to be the only way to keep Farah safe from those who would see her dead, Dorian makes Farah a scandalous proposition: marry him for protection in exchange for using her secret to help him exact revenge on his enemies. But what the Blackheart of Ben More never could have imagined is that Farah has terms of her own, igniting a tempestuous desire that consumes them both. Could it be that the woman he captured is the only one who can touch the black heart he’d long thought dead?? (http://www.kerriganbyrne.com/victorian-rebels.html)
The Origins of Scotland Yard and Women in the Metropolitan Police Force
Having had a job very much like Farah Mackenzie’s, The Highwayman’s heroine, I had such a good time learning about the London Metropolitan Police in Victorian England.
The first thing I learned was that the story behind the name “Scotland Yard” really had nothing to do with Scotland. It was only name of the street that the rear entrance where the Metropolitan Police headquarters was located at Number 4 Whitehall Place.
It’s hard to believe that London went without a Police force until 1829. Before that, they had a rather disorganized private force called “The Watchmen,” and a force of men who called themselves “The Bow Street Runners” who were controlled by a powerful magistrate. London didn’t have a dedicated detective unit until the late 1840s.
Though the army and government of Britain had used a select few women as spies and such, a woman police officer was unheard of prior to the First World War. In the 1870’s, when I set Farah to working as a clerk at Scotland Yard, even the vast majority of secretarial positions were held by men. Women were considered unsuitable for tasks that were above caretaking, dress-making, and domestic service.
However Queen Victoria saw the need for book keepers all over Britain, and by the late 1870s had supported the establishment of journals which were devoted to employment for women who were seeking trade.
A clerk for Scotland Yard was a very respectable job, one where a man holding the office could expect to keep a wife and family on the salary. For Farah, an educated middle-class widow, it would have still been impossible to walk into Scotland Yard and apply for the job. She would have been laughed out of the building.
In fact, in all my extensive research into the history of Scotland Yard, I could find no mention of a female employee other than a charwoman or a maid. And so, this is where I decided Farah should start. Being a widow, she needed a way to support herself, so she began as a maid in the Police offices. One night, she was working late and happened to assist the Chief Inspector with some paperwork, as she was an educated lady. He saw her as a great help and began to pay her extra for her clerical services. Over the course of a few years, once the men employed at the Yard became used to her, they allowed her to become employed as a clerk. It was an undeniably unique situation for the time, but not unprecedented in the increasingly capitalistic society of Victorian London.
I wanted Farah to be other than the largely sequestered, coddled ladies of Victorian Society. In order to fall for the most notorious criminal alive, it would make sense for her to have extensive experience with the element.
But, of course, nothing could truly have prepared her for the moment she comes face to face with the Blackheart of Ben More.
Thanks Kerrigan! It’s very cool that your heroine is in the forefront of more rights for women! And, no doubt there were real women like Farah forging the path for the rest of us. And, I always thought Scotland Yard developed because of Jack the Ripper!
Print Publisher: http://us.macmillan.com/books/9781466887404
Author Website: http://www.kerriganbyrne.com/
Author FB: https://www.facebook.com/Kerriganbyrneauthor