'A Year's Crime at Devonport: Drunkenness on the Increase'

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

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

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As part of Plymouth History Month, you are invited to join Professor Kim Stevenson and Dr Judith Rowbotham from the School of Law, Criminology and Government at Plymouth University for this public talk exploring the problems associated with policing Devonport from 1870 to 1914.

The talk is open to all and we welcome those interested in local history and heritage or who are proud of their local community, especially the iconic Devonport Guildhall where the town’s magistrates dealt with petty crime and low level offending. 

We would be delighted if any visitors have any stories, anecdotes or photographs about the magistrates who served on the bench, police officers based at the police station there until the 1960s, or lawyers and others who appeared at the court until it closed in the mid-20th century. 

We are currently working on a study to reveal the heritage of the Three Towns from the late 19th century onwards to recover forgotten tales and discover those never previously highlighted with a view to mapping continuity and change in how everyday offending was dealt with, and the impact it had on local communities, between two time periods 1880-1920 and more recently 1980-2020. 

In due course we want to engage the current community in discussing our findings to build a more comprehensive picture of the causes and effects of such offending.

There is a nominal fee of £2.50 for attendance to cover tea and coffee. Advance booking is required by phoning 01752 395028. 

Email Louise Evans (louise.evans@realideas.org) for further information or queries.

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Today's events

Kim Stevenson and Judith Rowbotham

Kim and Judith are both expert crime historians and have worked together for nearly 20 years investigating and exploring how crime has been managed in the past and also the present and especially how it has been reported and portrayed in the press. 

They founded a research network SOLON: Interdisciplinary Studies in Law Crime and History and have written and edited a number of books including Victorians Behaving Badly, Crime News in Modern Britain and Public Indecency 1857-1957.

More about their research: Connect (Spring 2016)

Professor Kim Stevenson and Dr Judith Rowbotham

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

Plymouth History Festival 2017 events on the University website

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