Mental Floss

The Girl Gang of London

Jill Harness

If you thought Victorian Era women were always demure and proper, the Forty Elephants could teach you a thing or two.

This London all-girl gang started in the late 1700s and lasted for over 150 years. The girls thrived in the atmosphere of Victorian England, where women were always afforded a great deal of privacy while shopping. In order to stealthily steal hundreds of pounds worth of merchandise, the women wore specially made hats, stoles, dresses and coats with hidden pockets built in. Of course, they started to be recognized around London after a while, forcing them to expand operations throughout the country. Eventually, society's view of women changed, making it impossible for the gang to thrive on naive attitudes of the general public, which helped put an end to the gang's long run.

Read more about Brian McDonald's new book on the subject, Gangs of London.