James Greenwood was born in 1832 and died in 1929. Greenwood worked as a compositor in a printing works then began a career in journalism. He wrote novels, children’s books, short stories and collections of journalism. The most celebrated author of social reform was Henry Mayhew who wrote articles for the Morning Post and published a 4 volume survey of London Life and Labor (1861-1862) Greenwood’s brother Frederick was first editor of The Pall Mall Gazette in 1865 and suggested James spend a night in the casual ward of a workhouse. The ensuing articles entitled “A Night in the Workhouse” were published in 1866 and caused a sensation with the reading public. Booth, of The Salvation Army, called it “The beginnings of the reform of our poor law.”
Greenwood took up the cause of railway-men and was instrumental in gaining them a union. In 1895 he arranged with The Ragged School Union to send poor children to the country for summer holidays. An appeal by the editor of The Telegraph provided 80,000 pounds for Christmas hampers for crippled children. In 1866 he wrote The True History of a Little Ragamuffin, a documentary account of a street Arab. He wrote children’s books and one, King Lion, was an inspiration for The Jungle Book. The story King Lion appears in The Boy’s Own Volume of Fact, Fiction, History, and Adventure. It started in the Midsummer, 1864 annual and is continued and concluded in the Christmas, 1864 annual. These were the third and fourth annuals in the series of bound volumes of the boy’s paper, published by S. O. Beeton, 248, Strand, W. C. London.
P. J. Keating said his fiction was “a mixture of the domestic sentimentality of Dickens and the more brutal and bizarre elements of “the Newgate novel.”’ If we take Greenwood’s word for it, the author of Wilds of London spent three years in penal servitude for a theft from his employer. He was scathing in denouncing the penny dreadfuls, calling them "pen'orths of poison" and yet he wrote serials for penny dreadful publisher Edwin Brett. Lofts mentioned his work appearing in Young Men of Great Britain, Young Gentlemen of Great Britain, Boys World, Our Boys Paper, New Boys Paper and Boys Pocket Library. One dreadful was written under Greenwood’s real name, Joe Sterling, or, a Ragged Fortune.
Greenwood did not object to penny dreadfuls because of the violence, his objection was against the glamorizing of criminals. In The Adventures of Reuben Davidger he writes some horrible scenes that outdo anything I have ever read in a blood:
“Topmost of the burial pile was the head of our lady passenger, and so it was well placed, as its beautiful long brown curls (which many a time, as I waited at the captain’s table, had caused my heart to flutter with admiration) hung down and over the other ghastly heads, partially concealing the features. Attached to the brown ringlets by a long copper hairpin was a tag of red cloth, placed there, as I suppose, by the ruffian whose spoil the lady's head was, that he might know his own.”
Article on "Penny Awfuls," with portrait, is reproduced HERE.
Works of James Greenwood including melodrama:
Under a Cloud, by Frederick and James Greenwood, “The Welcome Guest” 1858. Published as a three volume novel in 1860.
Under a Cloud, drama in two acts by C. H. Hazlewood, 15 April 1859, Britannia
Wild Sports of the World. London : S.O. Beeton, 1861. Published in eight monthly parts, beginning in May, 1861. The title-page. reads: Wild sports of the world : a boy's book of natural history and adventure. By James Greenwood. With woodcuts from designs by Harden Melville and William Harvey, coloured illustrations from water-colour drawings by J.B. Zwecker, Harrison Weir and Harden Melville, portraits of celebrated hunters from original photographs, and maps showing the habitats of animals and plants all over the world.
“Under a Cloud,” by Frederick and James Greenwood, serial in The London Herald, New Series, (old Series H. Vickers) J. Berger, 13 Catherine Street, Strand. 1863.
“Reuben Davidger; or, Seventeen Years and Four Months Among the Dyaks of Borneo,” by James Greenwood, Boys’ Own Magazine, S. O. Beeton, 1863
King Lion, by James Greenwood, Illustrated by CHB, The Boy’s Own Volume of Fact, Fiction, History, and Adventure. Starts in the Midsummer, 1864 annual and is continued and concluded in the Christmas, 1864 annual. These were the third and fourth annuals in the series of bound volumes of the boy’s paper, published by S. O. Beeton, 248, Strand, W. C. London.
Curiosities of Savage Life by James Greenwood, London: S. O. Beeton, 1864.
Savage Habits and Customs. With woodcuts and designs by Harden S. Melville; engraved by H. Newsom Woods. London, S.O. Beeton 1864
Curiosities of London Life 3d edition London : S.O. Beeton, 1865
The Adventures of Reuben Davidger : seventeen years and four months captive among the Dyaks of Borneo, London : S.O. Beeton, 1865.
The Adventures of Seven Four-Footed Foresters : narrated by themselves, by James Greenwood with illustrations by H.S. Melville ; engraved by Vizetelly. London : Ward and Lock, (London : W.H. Cox) 1865
Silas the Conjurer : his travels and perils by James Greenwood. First published serially in the 1865 Midsummer and Christmas volumes of the Boys Own Volume of fact, fiction, history, and adventure. London : S.O. Beeton, 1866
A Night in a Workhouse by the “Amateur Casual” (James Greenwood) Pall Mall Gazette, January 12, 1866, first (of 3) installments. Others January 13, and January 15, 1866.
A Night in a Workhouse reprinted from the “Pall Mall Gazette,” 1866. 1 shilling edition.
A Night in a London Workhouse, Digby, St. Giles. One-penny broadside. 1866.
A Night in a Workhouse from the Pall Mall Gazette, London : Bowering, 211, Blackfriars Road, Sell & Son, King Street, Borough, and all Newsagents. 1866, penny edition. How the Poor are Treated in Lambeth ! The Casual Pauper! “Old Daddy,” the Nurse ! The Bath! The Conversation of the Casuals! The Striped Shirt! “Skilley” and “Toke” by Act of Parliament! The Swearing Club! The Adventures of a Young Thief! &c., &c, &c.
Brittania Theatre. THE CASUAL WARD; or, a Night in the Workhouse. Written by Colin Hazelwood. 18/2/66.
Royal Pavilion Theatre. THE CASUAL WARD; or, a Night in the Workhouse. 18/2/66. Joseph Cave, manager, Hazlewood, author.
Effingham Theatre. NOBODY’S SON; or, A Night in a Workhouse. 18/2/66.
The True History of a Little Ragamuffin by the author of "A night in a workhouse". London: S. O. Beeton, 248, Strand, W.C. (ten doors from Temple Bar) 1866, New York: Harper, 1866.
The Hatchet Throwers by James Greenwood with thirty-six illustrations, drawn on wood, by Ernest Griset, from his original designs. London : John Camden Hotten, Piccadilly., 1866.
The True History of a Little Ragamuffin by James Greenwood, author of "A night in a workhouse,” with illustrations by Phiz and J. Gordon Thomson. London: Ward, Lock, and Tyler, Warwick House, Paternoster Row c.1867.
“Jack Stedfast,” by James Greenwood, Boys of England, No. 97, 1867
Unsentimental Journeys; or Byways of the Modern Babylon, by James Greenwood, 1867
Legends of Savage Life by James Greenwood with thirty-six illustrations, drawn on wood, by Ernest Griset, from his original designs. London : James Camden Hotten, 1867.
The Purgatory of Peter the Cruel by James Greenwood with thirty-six illustrations, drawn on wood, by Ernest Griset. London: George Routledge & Sons, 1868.
The Bear King: a narrative confided to the marines by James Greenwood ; with illustrations by Ernest Griset. London: Griffith and Farran, successors to Newbery and Harris, 1868. Griset, Ernest Henry, 1844-1907. 98 pgs.
The Seven Curses of London, by James Greenwood, London : S. Rivers & Co. 1869
“Jack Stedfast ; or, Wreck and Rescue.” melodrama, 1869.- Brittania. Mr. C. Pitt’s adaptation of James Greenwood’s JACK STEDFAST 5/9/69.
Joe Sterling; or, A Ragged Fortune by James Greenwood, London : E.J. Brett, c. 1869
“Satan Free: a Story of Old Calaban,” by James Greenwood, The Young Men of Great Britain, no. 49, 1868, companion to Boys of England.
“Penny Awfuls” by James Greenwood, St. Paul’s Magazine, XII. 1873.
The Wilds of London by James Greenwood with twelve illustrations by Alfred Concanen, London: Chatto & Windus, Piccadilly, 1874.
In Strange Company Being the Experiences of a Roving Correspondent by James Greenwood, “The Amateur Casual” Second Edition, Henry S. King & Co. 1874
Low-Life Deeps an Account of the Strange Fish to be Found There by James Greenwood, a New Edition, London: Chatto & Windus, Piccadilly, 1876 (and 1881).
“Prince Dick of Dahomey,” by James Greenwood, The Boys’ World (John Allingham, pseudonym: Ralph Rollington) c. 1879
“Life in a Workhouse,” by James Greenwood (The Amateur Casual), illustrated by J. Barnard. The title was afterwards altered to “The Model Guardian.” Began serialization in The Million, No. 1,Vol. 1, February 12, 1870. From all accounts this was a fictional reworking of the original non-fiction articles.
“Bless Her Heart,” by James Greenwood, Wedding Bells, January 1, 1871.
Mysteries of Modern London by One of the Crowd, London: Diprose and Bateman, 1883.
Toilers in London by One of the Crowd The Toiler, as Herein Depicted, has no Claim, and puts Forth None, to rank in the Same Category with what are Vaguely Termed the Working Classes. London: Diprose and Bateman, 1883.
Odd People in Odd Places; or, The Great Residuum by James Greenwood author of “Tag, Rag, and Co. &c. London Frederick Warne & Co. 1883.
The Prisoner in the Dock: my four years' daily experiences in the London Police Courts, by James Greenwood, London : Chatto & Windus, 1902.