Friday, 27 November 2009

High Rip Gang and the Tithebarn Street Outrage

Hello ,

can you help me find any information about the notoroius Liverpool gang, called the High Rip Gang..




  1. Hello Peter,

    In 1874 a notorious gang murder became national news. One evening twenty-six-year-old Richard Morgan was walking home from a Bank Holiday trip to New Ferry with his wife and brother when he was set upon and kicked to death by a gang of youths. They were passing a pub at the end of Tithebarn Street, when Morgan was asked for ale money by McCrave, a member of the notorious High Rip Gang, who terrorised North Liverpool. Morgan made the mistake of suggesting that McCrave should work for this and was promptly knocked to the ground. Joined by other gang members Campbell and Mullen, the victim was kicked to the other side of the street before police could intervene.

    McCrave was arrested that evening after being pursued by Morgan's brother. The others were also in custody within days, Mullen tried to escape to sea. The youths, who were all 17, were sentenced to death but Campbell was reprieved on account of his previous good behaviour, after petitions to the Home Secretary were made by their families.
    McCrave and Mullen were hanged at Kirkdale on 3rd January 1875.

    McCrave, the gang ringleader displayed great terror at the end, but Mullen remained calm and indifferent throughout. Campbell received life imprisonment.

    The Tithebarn Street Outrage, as it became known, brought to public attention the mobs of thugs who plagued Liverpool at a time when the city was one of the world's greatest and most prosperous seaports. Long hidden in the shadows of the slums and alleyways, the gangs of Liverpool now emerged to take centre stage.

    Over the following years, the exploits of the High Rip Gang, who announced themselves with the infamous Blackstone Street Murder and went on to terrorise the city center streets as they fought a bitter war with their sworn enemies, the Logwood Gang. Emulating them were juvenile mobs with names, such as the Lemon Street Gang and the Housebreakers Gang.

    Please see the book "Gangs of Liverpool"


    Rob Ainsworth

    Programme Secretary & Web Administrator
    Liverpool History Society
    Web Site:

  2. Hello Peter

    As you will see in the book by Dr Michael Macilwee, The Gangs of Liverpool, there is some question about whether there actually was a "High Rip Gang" or if the term was applied to any gang of the time. The term does also crop up in the Jack the Ripper case, and one question is whether the "High Rip" designation might have helped coin the name for the unknown murderer, "Jack the Ripper."


  3. More than likely the history of the high rip gang is true, but in Liverpool folk stories the gang carried on or was mimicked for years and years. I used to hear my parents calling some thug a "Liverpool arab" This term came from "I-Rip" that in turn came from "high rip"
    A gang or thug would hold a knife to the throat of a victim to rob him, saying " I-Rip u from ear to ear". Later to be known as a I-Rip gang.
    I am from the Dingle, Toxteth, Liverpool 8 docklands and always thought the gang operated at the bottom of upper paliment street/ stanhope street around the flat iron pub.
    Anyway this is the story I was brought up on and I still hear the term Liverpool arab when I visit the city.

    Bill from Dingle L8.