This book accompanies a major exhibition at the Museum of London Docklands on how London and Londoners' lives were shaped by nearly 700 years of public executions.
More frequent in London than in any other city or town in Britain, these morbid spectacles often attracted tens of thousands of onlookers at locations across the capital and were a major part of Londoners’ lives for centuries. From Smithfield to Kennington, Tyburn to Newgate Prison, public executions became embedded in London’s landscape and society. Even today, hints of this dark chapter in London’s history can still be seen across the city.
Featuring the lives and legacies of those who died or who witnessed public executions first-hand from 1196 to 1868, this book tells the rarely told and often tragic human stories behind these events. Illustrated with a range of fascinating objects, paintings and documents, many from the Museum of London’s collections, such as the vest said to have been worn by King Charles I when he was executed, portraits of ‘celebrity criminals’, and last letters of the condemned.
From the sites of execution to the thriving ‘gallows’ economy, this book reveals the role that Londoners played as both spectators and participants in this most public demonstration of state power over the life and death of its citizens.
Publisher: Philip Wilson Publishers