This 5 week course looks at the nature of criminal activity in Victorian England and changing ways in which the State responded to criminal activity.
It will look at how the nature of Victorian society led various groups and individuals to challenge the law, for personal gain, as a protest against living conditions, or because of their personalities.
It will also look at the working of the courts and the various punishments given for breaking the law.
Breakdown of the course:
Week 1 will look at the 'condition of England' and the ways in which a rapidly industrialising society contributed to social problems that led to some people breaking the law.
Week 2 will examine some key crimes during this period including the 'Great Victorian Train Robbery', the cases of Daniel Good and Maria Manning, and 'Ripper' murders.
Week 3 looks at the prison system in the Victorian period, and the efforts of reformers to bring about change in prison conditions.
Week 4 will look at capital punishment and examine the campaign to control the more extreme elements of the death penalty. It will also include a look at the development policing from the 1840s.
Week 5 deals with the causes and consequences of public unrest and political protest: rioters, anarchists and public disorder in the period.
By the end of the course you should be able to:
Discuss the social conditions in Victorian England that contributed to criminal behaviour.
Describe the range punishments that could be given by the courts.
Outline the main changes that took place in the detection and punishment of crime and disorder in the period.
Describe the features of key criminal cases that affected attitudes to crime and society in the period.