The crimes club: the early years of our society

Parris, Carrie (2016) The crimes club: the early years of our society. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

This Life Writing research thesis is a ‘biography’ of a private dining society, popularly known as the Crimes Club, that was founded in 1903 by a group of professional men who were fascinated by the Law and the psychology of criminals. ‘Our Society’ is the group’s official name, and it boasted among its early members such notable figures as Professor John Churton Collins, Arthur Diósy, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sir Edward Marshall Hall, Sir Travers Humphreys, H. B. Irving, Arthur Lambton, William Le Queux, A. E. W. Mason, Samuel Ingleby Oddie, Sir Max Pemberton, Bertram Fletcher Robinson, George R. Sims, Sir Bernard Spilsbury, P. G. Wodehouse and Filson Young. These barristers, actors, academics, journalists, authors, and scientists were fascinated by the criminal mind, and over regular dinners discussed notable villains such as ‘Jack the Ripper,’ Charles Peace, the Tichborne claimant, Kate Webster, Neill Cream, Dr. Crippen, George Joseph Smith and many others. Inspired by famous crimes and trials of the late Victorian era when they had been young men, the members of the Crimes Club came together in the early years of the twentieth century, at a time when both criminals and the justice system were becoming more professionalised. Members were able to use their influence to help with cases of injustice, and campaigned on behalf of Adolf Beck, George Edalji, and Oscar Slater. Their actions helped to bring about the Court of Criminal Appeal Act 1907. Drawing on material from published memoirs, biographies, newspapers and journals, public and private archives; this thesis explores how the members of Our Society, although they met in private, came to shape the public’s understanding of crime, justice, and forensic science at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Literature and Creative Writing
Depositing User: Jackie Webb
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2016 15:19
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2016 15:19
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/59228
DOI:

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