Over the last few years, Professor Helen Johnston and Professor Heather Shore have been working directly with Leah Mellors, Curator at Ripon Museums Trust, on a number of projects.

Most recently, they contributed to museum content (interpretation panels) for the ‘Rogues & Vagabonds’ exhibition, which ran between June and December 2019 at the three Ripon museums: workhouse, courthouse, and prison and police station.

Photo: By Gerard Binks

A collaborative project between RMT and HMP Askham Grange women’s prison has also been informed by Professor Johnston’s historical research on women in prison through the creative arts project ‘Prisoners on Prisoners’, led by Faye Claridge (pictured, right) This fascinating project, which opened at the end of the February, will be at the museums until September 2020.

The project shares the experiences of current and historic female prisoners through audio, textiles and photography. Faye connects historic prison archives with inmates at HM Askham Grange, to explore similarities and differences in their lives and prison experiences.

Through prison workshops for participants to ‘adopt’ a prisoner from the museum’s Edwardian and Victorian criminal record books, Faye has made recordings of their comparisons and created portraits to link with archive mugshots. The artwork gives prisoners a way to share their perspectives and for prison museum visitors to consider the individual lived experience of justice systems.

Faye Claridge (pictured, right) said: “The participants at Askham Grange really connected with the museum archives. Their thoughts on how prison has changed their lives and what changes might have helped prisoners 100-or-so years ago are really moving.”

‘Prisoners on Prisoners’ will be in Cell 13 of the Ripon Prison and Police Museum until 6 September 2020. The project’s progress can be followed through Instagram and twitter with @fayeclaridge, @riponmuseums or #PrisonersOnPrisoners.

For more information, please visit Ripon Museums website.

Latest Updates on Twitter

The 1810 Bastards Act placed the responsibility for the maintenance of an illegitimate child on the putative father rather than the Parish. Mary Bilham of Carbrooke, Norfolk named Stephen Beeks as the father of her child. Her daughter was baptised in January 1812. #101Documents

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@victoriansleuth @ourcriminalpast Shouldn't be too difficult to knock up some stocks from a few wooden pallets and some scrap timber, attach some wheels, we're mobile. 🤔😂

I have several 'criminals' in my family tree, who were convicted of theft, poaching, swearing on the highway (!), and keeping a disorderly house 😱 Have you found any criminal ancestors? #AncestryHour

@TheRothOfKhan @PlymCSecResp @CrownhillPolice @PlymASecResp @plymspecial999 @PlymPoliceBSec @PlymouthVPC @CustodyPlymouth @MPSSouthwark @MPSGreenwich @DevonHeritage @HMNBDevonport @NatMuseumRN @theboxplymouth @britainsocean @PlymouthUK2020 @oneplymouth @sarewaddington Fortunately we also have a digitised copy of his divisional ledger entry on M, where he was M341. He'd switched from carman for a haulage company (1911) to labourer by the time he joined the Met, making the transfer to No. 3 (Devonport) Division on 4 July 1917.

@TheRothOfKhan @PlymCSecResp @CrownhillPolice @PlymASecResp @plymspecial999 @PlymPoliceBSec @PlymouthVPC @CustodyPlymouth Here's his Met joining signature. An Essex-born taxi driver in 1911, he started out on M (@MPSSouthwark) & was on R (@MPSGreenwich) at his retirement with an "Excellent" conduct certificate on 12 September 1937. Riverside divisions were quite a common pre-/post-Dockyard posting.

#OnThisDay in 1940, Reserve PC Alfred Crosby was seriously injured in an air raid whilst directing people to a shelter. He died the next day. RPC Crosby was an ex-Met PC & served 25yrs at Devonport Docks. He was the first policeman in Plymouth to die as a result of enemy action.

So, why produce this table of costs for public display? The clue is in the date. It's a consequence of the Rebecca Riots in Wales. One of the grievances aired therein was the excessive costs of justice.
Sorry if I already twote this: I'm starting to lose track!

Would you like to know more about the lives of these women and the stories I have told through textiles? Come along to my online talk on 24th July. https://ruthsingerstudio.bigcartel.com/product/criminal-quilts-talk

Original images from collections @ArchandHeritage #staffordshire #staffs #archivesathome

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Found police constable in your family history? Where next? Tracing your police ancestors - Our Criminal Ancestors https://ourcriminalancestors.org/police-ancestors/

Found an ancestor transported to Australia? Want to learn more? Source guide for tracing your transported convict ancestor(s) - Our Criminal Ancestors https://ourcriminalancestors.org/source-guide-for-tracing-your-transported-convict-ancestorss/