Crime, Punishment, and Dark Tourism: The Carnivalesque Spectacles of the English Judicial System

  • Tony Seaton
  • Graham M. S. Dann


Trial and punishment may seem far removed from the hedonism of travel and tourism, but they have been associated throughout history. The Romans, who ruled Europe for 1000 years, crucified political prisoners, criminals, and escaping slaves along the Via Appia—the main highway that led travellers in and out of Rome. The Crucifixion of Christ was staged by the Romans in Jerusalem, as a recreational spectacle on the feast of the Passover—a Jewish public holiday. And, Rome’s most famous ruin, the Colosseum, was once the leading tourist attraction for thousands of Romans, who came to watch the execution of Christians and other enemies of the state, who had been sentenced to death in gladiatorial contests with wild beasts.


  1. Allcock, J. (2008). Rymer’s account for Lloyds Weekly Newspaper. www.John Accessed 17 Feb 2015.Google Scholar
  2. Anon. (1720). Magna Britannia et Hibernia Antiqua et Nova, or a new survey of Great Britain (Vol. 8). Savoy: Liz Nutt.Google Scholar
  3. Anon. (1742). Select trials at the sessions house in the Old Bailey (Vol. 4). Dublin: Smith, Faulkner and Wilson.Google Scholar
  4. Anon. (1768). The Tyburn chronicle: Or villainy display’d in all its branches, containing an authentic account of the lives, adventures, Tryals, executions, and last dying speeches of the most notorious malefactors (Vol. 4). London: J. Cooke.Google Scholar
  5. Anon. (1836). The complete modern British martyrology: Commencing with ‘the reformation’, A.D. 1535, 26th Henry VIII to A.D. 1684, 24th Charles II. London: T. Jones.Google Scholar
  6. Anon. (1935). The co-partnership herald (Vol. 5, pp. 179–180).Google Scholar
  7. Anon. (n.d. 1770s/1780s). The Newgate calendar; or malefactors bloody register (Vol. 5). London: J. Cooke.Google Scholar
  8. Attwood, M., Rankin, I., & Welsh, I. (2010). Crimestopping: an Edinburgh crime collection.Google Scholar
  9. Babington, A. (1968). The power to silence. A history of punishment in Britain. London: Robert Maxwell.Google Scholar
  10. Bartlett, R. (2000). England under the Norman and Angevin kings 1075–1225. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  11. Boorstin, D. (1987). The image: A guide to pseudo-events in America (25th anniversary ed.). New York: Atheneum.Google Scholar
  12. Booth, C. (1903). Life and labour of the people in London. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  13. British Broadcasting Corporation. (2015). Murder on the Victorian Railway. BBC2, 21 March 20.15–21.15.Google Scholar
  14. Bruce-Gardyne, T., & Skinner, J. (2007). Rebus’s favourites. The Deuchar guide to Edinburgh pubs, with a forward by Ian Rankin. Orion Book Company.Google Scholar
  15. Butler, I. (1973). Murderers’ London. London: Robert Hale.Google Scholar
  16. Byrne, R. (1989). Prisons and punishment of London. London: Harrap.Google Scholar
  17. Camm, D. B. (1910 [1936]). Forgotten shrines. An account of some old Catholic halls and families in England and of relics and memorials of the English martyrs. London: Macdonald and Evans.Google Scholar
  18. Carr, G. (2016). Guilty landscapes and the selective construction of the past: Dedham vale and the murder of the red barn. In G. Hooper & J. Lennon (Eds.), Dark tourism: Principles and practice (pp. 83–95). Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  19. Cawthorne, N. (2006). Public executions. From ancient Rome to the present day. London: Capella/Arcturus.Google Scholar
  20. Challoner, R. (1741-1742). Memoirs of priests…That have suffered death in England 1577–1684. London: Thomas Richardson & Son.Google Scholar
  21. Chapman, P. (1984). Madame Tussaud’s chamber of horrors. Two hundred years of crime. London: Constable.Google Scholar
  22. Collison, R. (1972). The story of street literature. Forerunner of the popular press. London: J.M. Dent.Google Scholar
  23. Collie, J. (2002). Hidden London. Accessed 17 Apr 2015.
  24. Cross, F. L., & Livingstone, E. A. (2005). The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian church (3rd ed., revised). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Cuddon, J. A. (1982). A dictionary of literary terms. London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  26. Dale, A. S., & Sloan Hendershott, B. (1988). Mystery reader’s walking guide: London. Lincolnwood: Passport Books.Google Scholar
  27. Debord, G. (1967 [Trans. 2010]). The society of the spectacle. Detroit: Black and Red.Google Scholar
  28. Dickens, A. G. (1989). The English reformation (2nd ed.). London: B.T. Batsford.Google Scholar
  29. Disher, M. W. (1949). Blood and thunder. Mid-Victorian melodrama and its origins. London: Frederick Muller.Google Scholar
  30. Duffy, E. (2009). Fires of faith. Catholic England under Mary Tudor. Newhaven/London: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Eddleston, J. J. (1997). Murderous Birmingham. The executed of the twentieth century. Derby: Breedon Bocks.Google Scholar
  32. Farrington, K. (1996). Dark justice: A history of punishment and torture. New York: Smithmark Publishers.Google Scholar
  33. Fido, M. (1986). Murder guide to London. London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson.Google Scholar
  34. Fishman, W. J. (1988). East end 1888. London: Duckworth.Google Scholar
  35. Gattrel, V. (1994). The hanging tree: Execution and the English people 1770–1868. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Gaute, J. H. H., & Odell, R. (1986). Murder whereabouts. London: Harrap.Google Scholar
  37. Gibbs, R. (n.d. c.1880). Buckinghamshire. A record of local occurrences and general events chronologically arranged (Vol 3, A.D. 1801 to 1840). Aylesbury: Robert Gibbs.Google Scholar
  38. Gibbs, R. (1880). Buckinghamshire. A record of local occurrences and general events chronologically arranged (Vol. 3, p. 46). Aylesbury: Robert Gibbs.Google Scholar
  39. Goffman, E. (1959). The presentation of self in everyday life. New York: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  40. Goffman, E. (1971). Relations in public. New York: Anchor Books.Google Scholar
  41. Goodwin, C. (2002). Inspector Morse country: An illustrated guide to the world of Oxford’s famous detective. London: Headline Books Company.Google Scholar
  42. Griffiths, A. (1898). Mysteries of crime and the police. London: Virtue.Google Scholar
  43. Haigh, C. (1993). English reformations. Religion, politics and society under the Tudors. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  44. Hamilton, D. A. (1904). The chronicle of the English Augustinian Canonesses, regular of the Lateran, at St. Monica’s in Louvain (now at St Augustine’s priory, Newton Abbot, Devon) 1548–1625. Edinburgh/London: Sands and Co.Google Scholar
  45. Hamilton, D. A. (1906). The chronicle of the English Augustinian Canonesses, regular of the Lateran, at St. Monca’s in Louvain (now at St Augustine’s priory, Newton Abbot, Devon) 1625–1644. Edinburgh/London: Sands and Co.Google Scholar
  46. Hamilton, J. R. (1968). My life with Sherlock Holmes. Conversations in baker St. by John H. Watson, M.D. London: John Murray.Google Scholar
  47. Hammond, J. L., & Hammond, B. (1933 [1952]). Crime, poverty, philanthropy. In A. S. Turbeville (Ed.). Johnson’s England. An account of the life and manners of his age (pp. 300–335). Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  48. Hayhurst, A. (2009). Greater Manchester murders. New York: The History Press.Google Scholar
  49. Henderson, W. (1937). Victorian street ballads. London: Country Life.Google Scholar
  50. Hirschkop, D., & Shepherd, D. (2001). Bakhtin and cultural theory. Manchester/New York: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  51. Hodgkinson, S., & Urquhart, D. (2017). Prison tourism. Exploring the spectacle of punishment in the UK. In G. Hooper & J. J. Lennon (Eds.), Dark tourism. Practice and interpretation (pp. 40–54). Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  52. Honeycombe, G. (1970). The murders of the Black Museum 1870–1970. London: Hutchinson.Google Scholar
  53. Hooper, E. (1935). History of Newgate and the Old Bailey and a survey of the fleet and other old London gaols. London: Underwood Press.Google Scholar
  54. Ichenhauser, J. (n.d. c1880). Illustrated catalogue of the original collection of instruments of torture from the Royal Castle of Nuremberg…lent for exhibition by the Right Honourable Earl of Shrewsbury and Talbot. London. Art expert exhibited in New Bond Street. Correspondence to be addressed to S. Lee Bafferty F.R.G.S.Google Scholar
  55. Knapp, A., & Baldwin, W. (1824). The Newgate calendar: Interesting memoirs of the most notorious characters who have been convicted of outrages on the laws of England (Vol. 4). London: J. Robins.Google Scholar
  56. Knight, A. (2002). Close and deadly: Chilling murders in the heat of Edinburgh. Edinburgh: Black and White Publishing.Google Scholar
  57. Langford, P. (1989). A polite and commercial people: England 1727–1783. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  58. Le Vay, B. (2007). Eccentric London. Chalfont St. Peter: Bradt Travel Guides.Google Scholar
  59. Lee, L. (1959). Cider with Rosie. London: Hogarth Press.Google Scholar
  60. Lennon, J. J. (2010). Dark tourism and sites of crime. In D. Botterill & T. Jones (Eds.), Tourism and crime (pp. 167–179). Oxford: Goodfellow.Google Scholar
  61. Leonard, K. W. (2004) The Oxford of Inspector Morse. Location Guides, no place of publication.Google Scholar
  62. Leonard, B. (2008). The Oxford of Inspector Morse and Lewis. Stroud: The History Press.Google Scholar
  63. Linebaugh, P. (2002). The London hanged. Crime and civil society in the eighteenth century. London/New York: Verso.Google Scholar
  64. Long, R. (1990). Murder in Old Berkshire. Buckingham: Barracuda Books.Google Scholar
  65. Longman, D. K. (2006). Criminal Wirral. Stroud: Sutton.Google Scholar
  66. Marks, A. (n.d. c1910). Tyburn tree. Its history and annals. London: Brown, Langham and Co.Google Scholar
  67. Newton, D. (1950). Catholic London. London: Robert Hale.Google Scholar
  68. O’Hagan, P. (2016, September 6). In jail with Oscar Wilde. The Guardian Newspaper, G2: 16–17.Google Scholar
  69. Poole, A. L. (1987). Domesday book to Magna Carta 1087–1216 (2nd ed.). Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  70. Posner, M. (1973). Midland murders. Wolverhampton: STAR Publishers.Google Scholar
  71. Radzinowicz, L. (1948–1956). History of the English Criminal Law (Vol 1), passim.Google Scholar
  72. Ramsey, W. G. (1997). The east end then and now. London: Battle of Britain Prints International Ltd.Google Scholar
  73. Rankin, I. (2005). Rebus’s Scotland. Edinburgh: Orion Books.Google Scholar
  74. Robinson, P. (2013). Tales from four towns – death, destruction and notable news from the nineteenth century. Wolverhampton/Walsall/Wednesbury: West Bromwich/Lulu.Com.Google Scholar
  75. Rose, M. (1951). The east end of London. London: Cresset Press.Google Scholar
  76. Said, E. (1978). Orientalism. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  77. Sailor, D. (1994). The county hanging town: Trials, executions and imprisonment at Lancaster. Lancaster: Challenge.Google Scholar
  78. Santucci, A. (2010). Antonio Gramsci. New York: Monthly Review Press.Google Scholar
  79. Scott, S. (1953). Blood in their ink. The march of the modern mystery novel. London: Stanley Paul.Google Scholar
  80. Seal, L. (2015). Capital punishment in twentieth century Britain: Audience, justice, memory. UK: Taylor and Francis.Google Scholar
  81. Seaton, A. V. (2012). Wanting to live with common people? The literary evolution of slumming. In F. Frenzel, K. Ko, & M. Steinbrink (Eds.), Slum tourism. Poverty, power and ethics (pp. 21–48). Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  82. Sheridan, P. (1981). Penny theatres of Victorian London. London: Dennis Dobson.Google Scholar
  83. Simms, R. (1894). Bibliotheca Staffordiensis, or a bibliographical account of books and other printed matter relating to…The county of Stafford… Giving biographical notices of authors and printers. Lichfield: A.C. Lomax.Google Scholar
  84. Spaul, M., & Wilbert, C. (2017). Guilty landscapes and the selective reconstruction of the past: Dedham Vale and the murder in the Red Barn. In G. Hooper & J. J. Lennon (Eds.), Dark tourism. Practice and interpretation (pp. 83–95). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  85. Speaight, G. (1946). Juvenile drama. The history of the toy theatre. London: Macdonald and Co. Green’s Juvenile Drama, “Jack Shepherd” as Home Entertainment.Google Scholar
  86. Steel, K. (1955). Detective story. In J. T. Shipley (Ed.), Dictionary of world literary terms (pp. 94–95). London: George Allen and Unwin.Google Scholar
  87. Strange, C., & Kempa, M. (2003). Shades of dark tourism: Alcatraz and Robber Island. Annals of Tourism Research, 30(2), 386–403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Talbot, R., & Whiteman, R. (1990). Cadfael country: Shropshire and the welsh border. London: Macdonald.Google Scholar
  89. Thornbury, W. (1878). Old and New London (Vol. 3, pp. 197–218). London: Cassell, Petter and Galpin.Google Scholar
  90. Thompson, E. P. (1991). Customs in common. London: Merlin Press.Google Scholar
  91. Tibbals, G. (1993). The murder guide to Great Britain. London: Boxtree.Google Scholar
  92. Tobias, J. J. (1967 [1972]). Crime and industrial society in the nineteenth century. London: Pelican.Google Scholar
  93. Underhill, A. (1950). The law. In Anon (Ed.), Shakespeare’s England. An account of the life and manners of his age (Vol. 1, pp. 381–412). Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  94. Whibley, C. (1916 [1950]). Rogues and Vagabonds. In Anon (Ed.), Shakespeare’s England. An account of the life and manners of his age (Vol 11, pp. 484–510).Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  95. Whiteman, R., & Talbot, R. (1991). Cadfael country: Shropshire and the Welsh borders. London: Macdonald.Google Scholar
  96. Wikipedia. (2015). Accessed 21 Apr 2016.
  97. Wilson, J. Z. (2008). Prison, cultural memory and dark tourism. Oxford: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  98. Worsley, L. (2016). A very British murder. A three part series first shown in 2013 and repeated in 2016. BBC 4.Google Scholar
  99. Worsley, L. (2016, February 21). Detection most ingenious. Episode 2 of A Very British Murder, BBC4, 9pm–10pm.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tony Seaton
    • 1
    • 2
  • Graham M. S. Dann
    • 3
  1. 1.University of LimerickLimerickIreland
  2. 2.University of BedfordshireLutonUK
  3. 3.University of Tromsø – Arctic University of NorwayTromsøNorway

Personalised recommendations