Simply put, the 'underside' of society up through the Industrial Revolution made up a bit more than 90% of the population. They struggled not to 'build a better life' but rather to live to see the next morning. From what we can find, 90% of everyone who came before about 1780 had three choices. Die in this ditch, die in that ditch or figure out what they were willing to do to get their next meal. It is a bleak reality of history, and one rarely talked about in the reenactment world. But what were the options? If one was not born into a position or wealth, the odds were impossibly high that one could 'better themselves'. Crime and poverty were rampant and went hand-in-hand. It was not a matter of education or morality, it was a matter of survival. Criminals and the poor were often treated by the wealthy with the same disdain. Tho there were exceptions-the growing 'morality movement' to help the poor and 'transportation' to relieve the criminal element instead of execution-but still it was not enough. It was perhas easier for many of the criminals, as they were often seen as 'sticking it to the man' as it were, and the idea of the 'Robin Hood' criminal-one who robbed from the rich and gave to the poor-combined with the idea of freedom to be able to buy food and drink whenever you wanted gave rise to the stories and songs and rather romanticised idea of many of the criminals throughout history. The poor tho, had no such ideas of a romantic life of doing what they wanted. Carol had been portraying the plight of the poor as her 'Maggie' character, the story of a pauper guaranteed to make you weep and Eric had been working the idea of the 'scoundrel', the street conman who seemed to keep everyone happy while taking everything they had for many years. And they, along with their spouses Frank and Susan, had developed a friendship and working relationship. One evening after a day where Carol was busily telling her story and Eric was plying the gaming trade on the streets, they met up with Carol's husband Frank at a Jason's Deli in Dayton, Ohio. Over many glasses of iced tea ('chatter brew' for those of you who've read the Language page) they decided to take the idea of 'what would you do to survive' and present it in a historical-but family friendly-way and 'Scoundrel's Alley' was born. Their premise was simple: to take the reality of life in the 18th century and bring it out, combining the station of the poor that so often crossed into crime in groups that had formed ther own communities of wandering 'outcasts' called 'Canting Crews'. Many hours of research, reading, studying, talking, complaining and arguing later (those last two were from Eric's wife Susan, who was stuck making yet again MORE new costumes) they began to put in place some of what they had learned. And while harsh and dark, they also knew that they had to keep it lighthearted enough to remain 'family friendly'. 'Scoundrel's Alley' was always meant to be humorous and thought provoking and-we can't state this enough-historical and family friendly. The research we freely offer and we have put everything out there. Yes, we are snobs. Anyone wishing to become a 'Scoundrel' and join us in the alley must show their dedication to research, history and ability to keep it light for the families who come visit. We are proud of what we have put out. We hope you bring your curiosity and questions but most of all we hope you enjoy your visit. And as you leave, we just wonder...what would YOU do to survive?