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Barnstaple’s Victorian criminal underclass: Prison photographs 1867-77

Tue. 9 January 2024 at 7:00 pm

Free – £2.50

A Zoom talk presented by Sadrudin Bhanji – collector, amateur local historian and author.

Sadru Bhanji is a former medical practitioner who took up a post in Devon in 1977 and has lived in the county ever since. On the advice of a friend, he turned to local history as a retirement pastime. His research is driven mainly by curiosity and has resulted in a number of papers on various topics, notably in the Association’s Transactions. A life-long collector of all sorts of things (including a samurai suit of armour!), he has an interest in photographs of Victorian Devon.

Some years ago, Sadru acquired an album which it transpired contained over one hundred photographs of some of the men, women and children admitted to Barnstaple Gaol between 1867 and 1877. Although the information given in the album is sparse, it proved possible using contemporary sources to explore the lives and crimes of all but a handful of the many named subjects. The results form the basis of a current exhibition at Barnstaple and North Devon Museum and of a recently published book.

The bulk of the talk consists of an extensive sample of the photographs along with accounts of the subjects.

Please book with the organiser (details below) by a day before the event. You will be sent a link to access the Zoom session.

This talk is part of The Devonshire Association Monthly Lecture Series – a programme of talks on a wide range of topics presented by informed and respected speakers throughout the year using Zoom technology.

If you would like to make a donation for this event (either before or after the event) please click the yellow button below. All donations are handled via PayPal. Credit cards and debit cards are accepted even if you don’t have a PayPal account.


Tue. 9 January 2024
7:00 pm
Free – £2.50
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Hon. Secretary, DA


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