(Re)Purposed Communities: Law, History and Heritage in Devonport

Newspaper Images, © British Library Board (from Aggy Weston, Ashore and Afloat 1887)

  • Devonport Guildhall, Ker Street, Devonport, Plymouth PL1 4EL

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This event explored Devonport’s crime heritage and how the town and community dealt with everyday offending in the past through the real life stories of those charged and convicted of criminal offences through an exhibition in the former police cells at the Guildhall. 

Attendees experienced what it would have been like to have been locked up in the cells or sent to Devonport Prison, stepped on board a Virtual Reality convict ship and was transported to Australia from Devonport Dock and heard the stories of those who were actually transported for committing what, in some cases, would today be perceived as relatively minor offences.


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Biography: Craig Newbery-Jones

Craig  is a lecturer in Plymouth's School of Law, Criminology and Government. His interests include legal history and the representation of the law and lawyers in historical and contemporary culture, often intersecting with considerations of the ethics and regulation of legal professionals. Craig also has a keen interest in pedagogical theory, research and innovation, having led numerous projects based around Experiential, Technology Enhanced, and Problem Based Learning. These interests have have recently converged into an aspiration to use contemporary technology and medias to engage the public in socio-legal historical research. He believes that virtual, augmented, and mixed reality experiences can be spaces of interactive experimentation for reflective learning within the heritage sector, and beyond.

Everyday Offending in Plymouth

As a maritime city Plymouth has a unique heritage as until 1914, when there was a need to combine resources to respond to the threat of the Great War, it was not one but Three Towns. 

Plymouth and East Stonehouse were the oldest, with Devonport, formerly known as Plymouth Dock, evolving in the early 18th century to serve the expanding naval defence base.

The Everyday Offending in Plymouth research team based in Plymouth Law School, are now developing a research project that will examine the incidence, policing and prosecution of everyday offending and minor crime in the Three Towns 1850 -1920.

Visit the research project website to find out more

Image credit: Plymouth Museum website