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A prisoner receives a haircut (COPY 1/420)
A prisoner receives a haircut (COPY 1/420)

This workshop combines some of the resources in the Crime and Punishment exhibition with a variety of other primary documents. The workshop aims to help pupils to use different types of documents to find out more about the types of crimes committed and punishments given from 1450 to 1900, and for pupils to consider how these vary from today.

The workshop begins with pupils consulting a range of documents from three different time periods: before 1450; 1450-1750; and 1750-1900. From this activity pupils will start to uncover the different types of crime that people committed in the past, and look at the new crimes that emerged during the Industrial and Transport Revolutions.

Pupils will then move on to discover the variety of punishments that were given in the past. Using a Prisoners' Record Book from 1873 they will concentrate on the types of punishment that different people received in Victorian England.

Pupils will consider whether punishments varied between men and women, and between adults and children. The workshop will draw to a close with pupils discussing whether or not these punishments were fair, what the purpose behind each type of punishment was and how crime and punishment in the past is similar or different to today.

Session options

This session can be delivered as a

  • Workshop
  • Videoconference
  • Virtual classroom

Contact us

All activities must be booked in advance.

Tel: +44 (0)20 8392 5365

Fax: +44 (0)20 8487 9202


Availability: Any time of year

Duration: 2 hours

Cost: Free of charge

Suitability: Year 7

Maximum number of pupils per workshop: 30

QCA links: History Unit 2: How did medieval monarchs keep control?, History Unit 2: Unit 3: How hard was life for medieval people in town and country?