25 March 1895 Oscar Wilde was largely the architect of his own downfall. He was jailed on 25 May 1895 after an investigation into his private life. Reacting to what amounted to being ‘outed’, Wilde brought a public prosecution against the Marquess of Queensbury. It was this court case that brought his lifestyle under criminal and public scrutiny. John Sholto Douglas, the Marquess of Queensberry, was … Continue reading Oscar Wilde at the Old Bailey
In Digital Versus Physical Archives: a Personal Account I discussed my use of archives while researching my family history, describing how digital archives were the catalyst for my research in various archives in Britain and Ireland spanning several years. With ten years’ archival research behind me, I decided to study for a history degree. Those years were invaluable to me, as I headed into the archives … Continue reading Using Archives for Academic Research
The Proceedings of the Old Bailey Online is a fantastic resource for historians and it is one I return to time and again. I’ve used it as a basis for the study of poisoning crimes in nineteenth-century London and for various assignments that needed the bolstering of a primary source or two. It’s a fascinating insight into centuries of crime in London; the crimes that … Continue reading Witchcraft, Petty Treason and Poisoner? Women on Trial at the Old Bailey, London
Emily Wilding Davison’s infamy was guaranteed when she stepped in front of the King’s horse, Anmer, at the 1913 Epsom Derby. Emily, in a long campaign of civil disobedience as a member of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), was a vociferous agitator for equal voting rights with men. In late 1911, she attempted to set fire to the contents of the pillar box … Continue reading Suffragettes and the Post: Pillar Box Attacks in Edwardian Britain
In the early modern period, there was a huge stigma attached to having a child born outside of marriage. The distress and shame of the unmarried mothers-to-be would sometimes manifest itself in a mania, which led the new mother to murder her baby during birth. Not all women showed signs of mental illness; some babies were murdered with deliberate violence. However, not all women were … Continue reading Infanticide in the Early Modern Period: Account for the Relatively Low Conviction Rate in Cases of New-born Child Murder in England
The case of Eliza (or Elizabeth) Fenning caused much debate in 1815. Eliza was a domestic servant, aged twenty, who was accused of poisoning her employer, Robert Turner, and two other members of his family, with arsenic laced dumplings. She vehemently denied this and claimed that she had eaten the meal and was subsequently sick. She was arrested and sent for trial at … Continue reading Eliza Fenning – a Nineteenth Century Poisoner?
This article was first published on history@kingston, February 2015 So much of London’s fascinating black history is hidden from the historical record, so when I noticed the phrase ‘Black Boy’ written in the minutes of the Philanthropic Society during research for my recent MA dissertation on juvenile delinquency and philanthropy in the late eighteenth century, I was intrigued. It was the first time that I … Continue reading The ‘Black Boy’of the Philanthropic Society