Henry Fielding (4/22/1707 – 10/8/1754)
Well-known as a playwright and author, and considered to be the founder of the English novel, Henry Fielding is also known as the founder of the Bow Street Runners. In 1749, during a post-war crime wave, he created the Bow Street Runners (so called because their base of operation was at Fielding’s home on Bow Street) by paying retainers to a group of constables and ex-constables. Their job was to locate and arrest serious offenders, and they were entitled to claim the government rewards payable on conviction.
John Fielding 1721 – 9/4/1780
Sir John Fielding , half-brother of Henry Fielding, was also involved in reforms of the criminal justice system in England. He helped his brother found the Bow Street Runners and a “pioneer in the treatment of juvenile offenders.” Although he was blind from the age of 19, he was appointed as a magistrate in London in the middle 1700’s, and was said to be able to recognize 3,000 criminals by the sound of their voice.