Kings Cross Fraudster (The) – Leopold Redpath His Life + Times

by David A Hayes & Marian Kamlish

An excellent introduction to this fascinating rogue of the early GNR era, who became one of the biggest and most notorious fraudsters of the Victorian era. He worked in the registration department of the GNR, rising to the role of Chief Clerk. He spotted a weakness in the system and was able to create significant numbers of bogus shares which were released onto the stock markets and effectively stole the equivalent to about £25 million (in today’s money) of the GNR monies – but never actually stole any cash. Had the GNR not been generally well-managed, by the standards of the time, it would probably have spelled the end of the line which was only a few years old and really only getting to grips with running as one of the big railway companies of its day. His crimes were discovered in 1856 and his court case at the end of the year and into 1857 made national headlines in all the papers and was a source of real interest across the nation. He was also a well-known philanthropist and was respected by many across the top end of society and gave liberally to good causes – almost a Victorian Robin Hood although the source of his wealth was always assumed to have been as a result of a string of fortuitous railway investments.

While it covers the life of Redpath, it is not as embedded in the GNR history as it could have been had it been written by a GNR historian, but it is otherwise very well-researched and a great addition to the bookshelf of any GNR history fan.

Available on Amazon and other websites like abebooks.co.uk but it is unusual to find it priced at under £20 – still worth the money in my view.

 

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