Ethel Major

Criminal Lives: Ethel Major, convicted of poisoning, executed Hull Prison 1934

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Just a small thing today: a letter and receipt concerning rate arrears from 1829, but it reminds us that until nationalisation in 1877 the administration and financing of most prisons and other penal establishments were matters of local responsibility.

How do you diffuse the guilt of a judicial execution? Involve the whole community, and an animal, in the mechanism. Here's a C19th representation of the famous early-modern "Halifax Gibbet" in operation.

Today's document touches on the murky world of early criminology. James Scott (Medical Officer of Brixton Prison and later Holloway) responds to an invitation to a lecture on "Degenerates" to be given by the eugenicist Robert Reid Rentoul.


This was a relatively early article for me & speaks to my fascination with the awkwardness of categories of intellectual history when applied to the actual beliefs of historical actors.
It was made possible by a much needed writing up grant from @ihr_history. I'm still grateful!

Beverley: such a terrifying place! In 1381 local officials were (allegedly) extorting money from locals under threats of violence:

We some archive staff returning to The Hive shortly & able to access the archives we are providing an enhanced research service for a limited period from next week

Good to see CMC steadily climb the Journal Citation Reports now sitting at 22 of 69 criminology journals. Successes no doubt due to the hard work of @ProfMBrown, Eamonn Carrabine, founders @YvonneJewkes Chris Greer,Jeff Ferrell & most of all countless reviewers & authors!