12 November 2020

BOOK: David NASH and Anne-Marie KILDAY (Eds.), Fair and Unfair Trials in the British Isles, 1800-1940 - Microhistories of Justice and Injustice (London: Bloomsbury, 2020). ISBN 9781350050945, 76.50 GBP


(Source: Bloomsbury)

Bloomsbury is publishing a book using a microhistorical approach to the evolution of the modern justice system in the UK.


Adopting a microhistory approach, Fair and Unfair Trials in the British Isles, 1800-1940 provides an in-depth examination of the evolution of the modern justice system. Drawing upon criminal cases and trials from England, Scotland, and Ireland, the book examines the errors, procedural systems, and the ways in which adverse influences of social and cultural forces impacted upon individual instances of justice.

The book investigates several case studies of both justice and injustice which prompted the development of forensic toxicology, the implementation of state propaganda and an increased interest in press sensationalism. One such case study considers the trial of William Sheen, who was prosecuted and later acquitted of the murder of his infant child at the Old Baily in 1827, an extraordinary miscarriage of justice that prompted outrage amongst the general public. Other case studies include trials for treason, theft, obscenity and blasphemy. Nash and Kilday root each of these cases within their relevant historical, cultural, and political contexts, highlighting changing attitudes to popular culture, public criticism, protest and activism as significant factors in the transformation of the criminal trial and the British judicial system as a whole.

Drawing upon a wealth of primary sources, including legal records, newspaper articles and photographs, this book provides a unique insight into the evolution of modern criminal justice in Britain.


David Nash is Professor of History at Oxford Brookes University, UK. He is one of three Editors of the journal, Cultural and Social History. David Nash is the author of several books, including Christian Ideals in British Society (2013) and Blasphemy in the Christian World (2007).

Anne-Marie Kilday is Professor of Criminal History at Oxford Brookes University, UK. She is author of A History of Infanticide in Britain (2013), co-author of Cultures of Shame: Exploring Crime and Morality in Britain 1600-1900 (2010) and editor (with David Nash) of Histories of Crime, 1600-2000 (2010).


List of Illustrations

List of Contributors


Introduction, David Nash and Anne-Marie Kilday (both of Oxford Brookes University, UK)

1. "A Monstrous Innovation on the Laws": The William Sheen Case; Child Murder and Double Jeopardy at the Old Bailey, Heather Shore (Manchester Metropolitan University, UK)

2. That Justice Shall Be Done Impartially: Pre-Trial Publicity and Palmer's Act of 1856, Katherine Watson (Oxford Brookes University, UK)

3. "We Want Justice to be Done": Press, Jury, and the Question of Fairness in the Trial of George Vass, Clare Sandford-Couch (University of Northumbria, UK)

4. The Trials of Peter Barrett: A Microhistory of Dysfunction in the Irish Criminal Justice System, Niamh Howlin (University College Dublin, Ireland)

5. The Maamtrasna Murders: Lawful Trials v. Fair Trials, Conor Hanley (NUI Galway, Ireland)

6. George Bedborough and the Watford University Press: A 'Scandalous and Obscene Libel in the Form of a Book'; The Almost Accidental Prosecution of Sexual Inversion, Lesley Hall (Wellcome Library and University College London, UK)

7. Will the Real Oscar Slater Please Stand Up?: The 1908 Murder of Marion Gilchrist Revisited, Anne-Marie Kilday (Oxford Brookes University, UK)

8. Gott and Pack and the 'Leeds Police Fiasco': The Apparent 'Inevitability' of Unfair Blasphemy Trials, David Nash (Oxford Brookes University, UK)

9. The Framing of Alice Wheeldon: Anti-War Activist and Feminist Up Against the State, Lucy Bland (Anglia Ruskin University, UK)

10. The 'Bobbed Haired Bandit' and Smash and Grab Raider, Alyson Brown (Edge Hill University, UK)

Conclusion, David Nash and Anne-Marie Kilday (both of Oxford Brookes University, UK)




More info here

No comments: