But there was also about him an indescribable air which no mechanic could have acquired in the practice of his handicraft however dishonestly exercised: the air common to men who live on the vices, the follies, or the baser fears of mankind; the air of moral nihilism common to keepers of gambling hells and disorderly houses
; to private detectives and inquiry agents; to drink sellers and, I should say, to the sellers of invigorating electric belts and to the inventors of patent medicines.
Hannan took his campaign a step further in late 1864 when, for once working closely with the Improvement Commissioners, he proceeded against two beerhouse keepers under the 1752 Disorderly Houses
For a short period, 3 disorderly houses
were detected, 8 girls were detained.
The disorderly houses
of yesterday were now owned and operated by the city's leading citizens.
The work of the Runners grew to encompass foot patrols and two-man horseback units who patrolled the five main highway approaches to London, the infiltration of "disorderly houses
" for intelligence-gathering and the apprehension of criminals, and court appearances on behalf of the prosecution.
In short, Needless Alley was a "disorderly street", full of "disorderly houses
In the cities, taverns that catered to the poor, to laborers, and to slaves were much more likely to be prosecuted as "disorderly houses
" than those establishments whose patrons were wealthy elites.
In spite of the work of the squad of plain clothes men working for the city in connection with disorderly houses
and gambling places, a number of illicit games are reported to be operating in the city and to all appearances very successfully.