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Capital punishment in London, its history and basis, is the theme of this new book on a darker side of London's history.
London had many sites of execution. Tyburn, of course, but also Clerkenwell, Wapping, Kennington, Tower Hill and Charing Cross, and sometimes the site of where a murder had taken place. All of these places allowed the public to participate either in approval or opposition. The spectacle, in the opinion of the authorities, provided deterrence at a time when numerous offences - often minor ones - warranted the death penalty.
Though the poor and uneducated made up the larger proportion of those that met their end on the scaffold, their deaths were witnessed by a mix of society. Samuel Pepys, for example, observed the hanging of a man he knew: his diary commentary seemed more concerned with his own physical discomfort in the crowded audience than the fate of his former acquaintance.
The author has researched archives for accounts of executions and the book is well illustrated with contemporary prints and new photographs.
245 x 185mm (hardback with 128 illustrations) 152 pages