Many of us are avid readers of Victorian murder mysteries, or watch dramatised versions of murders, and murder mysteries, for entertainment. But how much do we actually know about the detection techniques of the Victorian era, and the real cases of the times?
On this course, we will become the detectives, as we revisit some unsolved nineteenth century murders, and other murders whose outcome is disputed, and using files of the original evidence, newspaper reports, police records, and other archival resources, we will review the cases and come to our own conclusions about them. At the same time, we will examine the growth of the police and detective forces in England and Wales, and the techniques available to them for solving violent crime. Did the detectives do the best job they could, with the resources at their disposal? What was the involvement of the media? Who were the key witnesses, victims, officers and family members involved in each case?
We will also put the police, and the murders, in the context of Victorian society, so that we can better understand the events of each case as they unfolded.
The course includes a group visit to a police museum, with guided tour.