How Do You Fix A Town Like Plymouth?

Chief Constable Joseph Sowerby, 1892–1917. Photographs with permission Graham Naylor, Plymouth City Library

  • Jill Craigie Cinema, Roland Levinsky Building

Save event

This 50-minute docudrama presented by Professor Kim Stevenson comprises a series of biographical reconstructions and dramatisations with expert analysis from legal historian Dr Judith Rowbotham. After the screening, Craig Newbery-Jones led an audience discussion with a selected panel to compare-and-contrast modern and historical policing issues which was recorded and transcribed as an additional Timelock production.

Born in Liverpool to the son of a landlord, Sowerby was brought up in Leeds where he rapidly rose through the ranks of the Leeds City Police receiving commendations for heroic rescues and arrests. Selected to head the Plymouth police force in 1892, Sowerby (29) was one of the youngest ever chief constables appointed nationally. During his tenure at Plymouth, he earned the respect of the local populace by effectively tackling drunkenness, crime and bad behaviour head on. Sowerby’s long career with Plymouth was synonymous with several significant and high-profile events including the arrest of Mrs Pankhurst, temperance marches and campaigns.

This broadcast quality biographical production depicts the life and times of uncelebrated Plymouth hero, Chief Constable Joseph Sowerby. Research conducted for previous ESRC festivals (2015, 2016) revealed the importance of Sowerby’s contribution to modern policing strategies.

The film is produced by Rob Giles with contributions from Judith Rowbotham, Craig Newbury-Jones and Iain Channing. It is presented by Professor Kim Stevenson.

Previous November 2018 Next
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
29 30 31 1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 1 2

Today's events

Biography: Rob Giles

Rob joined the University of Plymouth in 2005 having previously worked as a 3D crime scene reconstruction specialist on over 30 cases 2003-05. Rob has worked in partnership with Professor Kim Stevenson as director to produce an information film reflecting on Plymouth's sustainability, past and present for the ESRC Festival of Science 2015 and subsequently appeared on the ESRC website as an example of good practice and featured on the town centre big screen by Plymouth City Council.

Rob is a University of Plymouth BSc (Hons) Media Lab Arts graduate.

Biography: Professor Kim Stevenson

Kim joined the University of Plymouth in 2004 and formerly taught at Nottingham Law School, Nottingham Trent University, for 15 years where she lectured Constitutional and Administrative Law and Sexuality and the Law; she has also taught courses as part of business studies, surveying, social sciences and criminology degrees. She was also a visiting professor at the William Mitchell College of Law, St Paul, Minnesota, USA and the Open University Hong Kong. 

Kim has published Sowerby articles for the Police History Society, presented conference papers and Sowerby was the inspiration for her lead-edited book Leading the Police: A History of Chief Constables 1835-2017.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

We are constantly monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact. The University remains open with a safety-first approach to ensure our campuses are ‘covid-secure’ for our staff, students, local community and visitors, in accordance with government guidance.

University advice and guidance on COVID-19

Event photography and video

Please be aware that some of the University of Plymouth's public events (both online and offline) may be attended by University staff, photographers and videographers, for capturing content to be used in University online and offline marketing and promotional materials, for example webpages, brochures or leaflets. If you, or a member of your group, do not wish to be photographed or recorded, please let a member of staff know.