Style, Story, History

  ‘Crafting metaphors is dangerous for historians’ proposes Will Pooley. We are wary of metaphor—and other stylistic devices too—because the ‘clarification and illustration’ we use to build historical analysis might ‘fade into simplification and emplotment’—into chronology and cliché—narrative history, God forbid, rather than conceptualization and nuanced interpretation.   But Will is being provocative, for even […]
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The image of grief

Great Yarmouth Quarter Sessions, the Tolhouse, 23 June 1841 Head bowed, William John Jarvis grips the wooden stand to steady himself. His legs almost give way as the Recorder reads out the charges for embezzling letters from the Postmaster General. The postman has dreaded the trial since his arrest in March.[1] Yet he has longed for […]
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“I have a right to think as I like”

Great Yarmouth Borough Gaol. The Men’s Ward. 2 February 1841 Why are your lessons not learnt? The prisoners shuffle sullenly. Francis James can bare it no longer. She knows the reason. They’ve had no pens or paper. Not since the note was thrown into the female ward three days ago.[1] He leaps to his feet. I want […]
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Mewing like cats

The Infirmary, Great Yarmouth Gaol May 1837 The Gaoler catches the two young women leaning out of the infirmary window, flirting with the men in the airing yard below. They jump down hastily when he shouts their names.[1] It’s three weeks since Elizabeth Humphrey complained of being sick and was dispatched to the infirmary room, […]
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Plain work and stolen finery

February 1837 They find Sarah Rands in the taproom at the Sir Samuel Hood, laughing and drinking with a group of girls, teasing their jovial admirers. Her hazel eyes sparkle under a green velvet bonnet that frames her flushed cheeks, tied at the chin with silk ribbon bows. A few dark curls escape and nestle […]
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Have mercy on your dear child

Sunday 2 August 1818 Jemima Emmerson takes time between chores to sit on her step, cradling baby George in her arms, and soaking in the warm afternoon sunshine streaming into the yard. She listens out for her husband John to come strolling back from the alehouse, rested and jolly after a hard week labouring. Little […]
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Conviction: opening scenes

Great Yarmouth Borough Gaol, House of Correction dayroom February 1842   Have you never heard the words “Thou shalt not steal?” The young boy will not meet the teacher’s gaze. His eyes drift across the prison ward to the other boys, burying their faces in their books and suppressing the urge to giggle. Her voice […]
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Reading between the Lines

3 December 1839 ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven’. John King is chanting a verse from Matthew 5. His words disappear into the drone of a dozen boys and men, as the prisoners mumble their lines, heads bent over passages copied for them in the teacher’s careful letters. […]
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Convict Lads 1836-46: Friendship and Survival

This is a version of papers I gave at the European Social Science History Conference (Vienna 2014) and the British Crime Historians Symposium (Liverpool 2014). It explores what we can learn from multiple historical records about the friendship networks and survival strategies of boys and young men, transported to Van Diemen’s Land in the 1830s […]
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Blogging Our Criminal Past, part 3: Public and Creative History

By blogging for a public audience, historians of crime are contributing to popular representations of the ‘criminal’ past, from the many websites, dramas and ‘true crime’ books devoted to notorious cases and neighbourhoods, to the discovery of criminal ancestors in shows like Who Do You Think Your Are? and Secrets from the Clink, to museum […]
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Legal History Miscellany

Posts on the History of Law, Crime, and Justice

Deviant Irish Lives

Recovering the lost stories of those who lived beyond the margins in 19th and 20th century Ireland - A research blog by Dr. Conor Reidy

Divergent Paths

Irish Families in Victorian Stafford

Blue Anchor Corner

Home to the Seasalter Smuggling Company

Calum W. White

I am an historian reading for a DPhil in History at Balliol College, University of Oxford. My research is most concerned with housing in Britain during and after the First World War. I've been called a political historian, a social historian, and a cultural historian. I don't see any reason to be one and not the other.


History - Sport - Poetry


Reclaiming Our University is a movement that wants to turn the University back as a place for education, trust, community, and academic freedom

a sense of place

Ronnie Hughes

The Cabinet of Curiosity.

Literature, Science, Art and Culture in the long Nineteenth-Century.


Cold War history and other musings from a PhD candidate


A Group Blog on Early Canadian History

the way of improvement leads home

reflections at the intersection of American history, religion, politics, and academic life

Defining Mass Observation

An ESRC funded research collaboration between the Universities of Southampton, Birmingham and Surrey and the Mass Observation Archive

Historic Hospitals

An Architectural Gazetteer

Up The Oss Road

History, the Black Country, and a bit more