A German news agency, Wissenschaft Aktuell, has covered the scuttlers here. The first reports of “scuttling” in the Manchester press surfaced during the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-71, when rival armies were formed in the Rochdale Road district of Manchester to re-enact continental battles. The “Prussians” were the Protestant boys of the slums of Angel Meadow and New Cross. Their opponents – young Catholic lads from the same neighbourhoods – formed a rival army, and marched into combat behind a flag bearing a single word: “FRENCH”. As “scuttling” spread across the Manchester conubation, this religious dimension was rapidly eclipsed by neighbourhood loyalties and by the mid-1870s, most “scuttling” gangs contained both Catholics and Protestants.
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