During the 19th century, the courts and the press noted an alarming rise in the unusual crime of ‘child-stripping’: the stealing of clothes from children, by force or deception. This was also reflected in literature. Charles Dickens (1812–1870) in Dombey and Son writes how young Florence Dombey was robbed of her clothes by old Mrs Brown, a rag-and-bone picker

‘I want that pretty frock, Miss Dombey’, said Good Mrs Brown, ‘and that little bonnet, and a petticoat or two, and anything else you can spare. Come! Take ’em off!’