Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Criminal Questions


Sometimes I am not quite sure why I do things. I have just spent a considerable amount of time translating a table I found in the Huddersfield Chronicle of the 10th December 1883 into a graphic which makes use of police photographs of Victorian criminals as a background. I like to think of it as - in some very small way - a work of art. Works of art are supposed to make you ask questions. It made me ask questions. Perhaps it might make you ask questions.

11 comments:

  1. Oh I like Bastardy Orders and I am glad to see it is staying even

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  2. But what does one do to disobey a bastardy order?

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  3. I want to ask that too! How does one disobey a bastardy order? Any clues Alan?

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  4. agree...but what are some of those other laws too? against edcation might be truancy ...there sure were a lot of them

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  5. You see, it made you ask questions!
    To disobey a bastardy order you would have refused to make payments for the keep of a child you fathered outside marriage (what today would be called breach of a child support order). As for the offences against the Education Acts, you need to remember that this was just over 10 years after the introduction of compulsory education - a breach would be keeping your child away from school.

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  6. A significant decrease in crime, I'd say. On the other hand, it shows despair is winning; more drunkenness, theft in employment, breach of the peace, willful damage, and, worst of all, the Employers and Workmen's Act. Sigh...

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  7. The court wasa a very busy place . It's interesting to see what the offenses were.

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  8. I think we have a lot of poor law acts in our justice system. heehee

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  9. You could probably make copies, frame it and flog it. OK - what crimes did the people in the pictures commit and what happened to them?

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  10. I was reminded of a TV programme I saw about prisons about how the Victorians experimented with totally secluding people - solitary confinement, masks over faces, even partitions between prisoners in chapel pews. The programme suggested it wasn't punitive - it was just thought that isolating people for a long period might "cure" them of a propensity to crime. I was reminded of later -similarly inhumane and futile- experiments in putting people with mental health problems to sleep for very long periods of time, hoping they'd wake up cured.

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  11. Whatever your reason, this is an inspired collage, Alan. I am intrigued by the background police photos. The use of the mirror to show the profile and an ear was a clever innovation. But it is the way they display their hands that interests me. I suspect it was to show any missing digits (which one man exhibits), as such a distinguishing feature was much more commonplace in the days of hard manual labor. It also says a lot about the powers of observation needed by the police in that era.

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