Our Criminal Ancestors has teamed up with heritage tourism app ‘What Was Here?’, from East Riding Archives, to create the ‘Beverley Crime Audio Trail’, guiding people around eight points of interest in the town, from the Railway Station through to the old House of Correction on Norfolk Street.

The trail is self-directed through the ‘What Was Here?’ app on your smartphone. At each point you can hear special audio commentary from Professor Helen Johnston, as she offers her unique insight into the history of crime and punishment in Beverley.

“Historically, Beverley as the county town was an important centre of administration and one of the main areas of administration was criminal justice,” explains Helen. “The county Quarter Sessions were also held in Beverley as well as the lower courts which dealt with a number of petty thefts, drunkenness, public disorder and nuisance and related summary offences.”

The audio commentary also guides you to Beverley Minster and the story of ‘Sanctuary’ where, during the 11th to 16th centuries, those wanted for involvement in homicide, assaults, theft, debt, or were simply fearful for their safety, could claim temporary refuge.

The key points of interest on the trail include:

Dick Turpin – find out about the real Richard Turpin who was arrested and detained in Beverley in 1739 What are the myths about this case and what is the reality? Learn more about Turpin, his crimes and his punishment and the role Beverley played in the outcome.

Beverley Minster – a place of sanctuary? Religious sites are often thought of as places of safety or sanctuary but what role did Beverley Minster play in the sanctuary of criminals in the past?

Prisons in Beverley – criminal justice buildings are all around us as we walk through the historic town of Beverley and they can tell us much about people’s views about crime and punishment in the past. In the 18th century, there were a number of small prisons in Beverley and by the 19th century, part of a nationwide prison ‘reform’ movement, a new prison opened for the East Riding.

The ‘Beverley Crime Audio Trail’ can be found by downloading the ‘What Was Here?’ app for free in app stores (search ‘what was here’).

See also www.whatwashere.org for links to the app stores from the menu.

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