Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Forty Elephants


(Above: You could fit a lot of swag under one of those dresses.)

For two hundred years, an all-female gang terrorized London. Known as the Forty Elephants, they were master shoplifters. While at work, each of the thieves wore a specially-tailored outfit that was riddled hidden pockets. Many made fortunes selling the goods that they pilfered. Those ill-gotten gains were then used to throw lavish parties and to fund the ladies' extravagant lifestyles. Off duty, they were known to dress in the very finest fashions. (Of course.)

Much more here.

22 comments:

montana irregulars said...

That made my day

Kitty said...

This would make an awesome book...

Ari the Awesome said...

That's so cool! If only they used their skills for good instead of evil.

MushroomCloud said...

interesting article there. hard to read though. just y'all know, if you try to zoom in on it blurs. :D i always thought those skirts would be great for smuggling and such. imagine how rich someone would have been if they made those hoops bendable...

Anonymous said...

That just reminded be of Sidonia and her friends, the group of five girls, but their little clique had a name, didn't it? But I can't remember it! Aggghhhh, now that's just disgraceful. Embarrassing.
Still an interesting story, though. Another thing that reminded me of: hidden pockets on fancy dresses, like the ones Betty made. And, funny enough, just yesterday I was thinking about concealing things on your person, but I was thinking about weapons and not stolen goods, and I was trying to avoid pockets. But still.

to said...

Kitty- you are absolutely right. Any takers, Kirsten?

Toodles*** said...

oops, that last comment was by me. i think it was by 'to'. but i meant to say Toodles***

Elizabeth said...

That's great! I wonder if they ever started a school of thievery? And I agree with Kitty, that would make such an awesome book!

Kirsten Miller said...

Toodles: I've got something else up my sleeve, so to speak. ha

Anonymous said...

Good idea. Its wasn't "Proper" to look under a lady's skirts then so i bet they could get away with just about anything.

Ari the Awesome said...

Elizabeth,

Yeah, there was a school for theives. Kirsten blogged about it here:

http://kirstenmillerbooks.blogspot.com/2010/11/someday-i-write-about.html

Ironically enough, I'm currently reading a book called 'The Museum of Theives'. It's pretty good.

Chloe said...

Kirsten,
here's another article I found interesting! Did you know about this??:
http://beta.local.yahoo.com/legends-hidden-temple-washington-square-arch-opens-doorbriefly-curbed-ny

Toodles*** said...

*Gasp* ~ Yay!!! You might have something else up your sleeve?!?!?!?!

I really need to stop being surprised and pleased so easily.

But yay!!!

Ari the Awesome said...

Guess what today is! Come on, guess! "What?' you think to yourself, 'It's Thursday, the tenth, just another normal day.'

To those who think that, you are incorrect! Today is March tenth, The International Day of Awesomeness! YAY!!! This is officially my favorite holiday.

More here: http://plancast.com/p/4gm/international-day-awesomeness

And here: http://www.facebookallevents.net/the-international-day-of-awesomeness/

And also here: http://www.punchbowl.com/holidays/international-day-of-awesomeness

And it's here as well: http://dayofawesomeness.com/

MushroomCloud said...

just thought I'd share something with all my fellow Irregulars, though most will probably already know- according to an article I just read in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Arch has a room in it! that made me happy.....

Elizabeth said...

Ari the Awesome:
Haha, yes. Actually I was referring to the previous blog post. I didn't do a very good job of it though! ;)
It would have been fun to be back in that time period...

Chloe said...

@Mushroomcloud - that's what i posted about before! I kinda wanna go see it now XD

MushroomCloud said...

Chloe: i was wondering if your's was the same! :D

Alice the Elf said...

Oh, this is so cool, I wonder how young girls joined. I can't help imagining a room full of women drinking tea while taking about their latest heist and sewing old fashioned pocket knives into their socks....

Aria the Cellist said...

that was amazing! I love how they utilized the "constraints" of their day to serve their *unique* purposes :D

Anonymous said...

i found this website:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1342450/Female-shoplifters-ransacked-West-End-shops-hid-loot-knickerbockers.html

its really good.

Brian said...

The history of the Forty Elephants gang is part of a book by Brian McDonald called Gangs of London,published in 2011. The author researched London's historic gangs and this one was among his discoveries.