Voices From The Old Bailey is back on Radio 4

Amanda Vickery explores the culture of 18th century Britain through its dramatic court cases. In this first programme of the new series, she hears evidence from 3 bloody riots. Ordinary Londoners caught up in violence on the streets tell their story, and rioters argue their case in court, desperately attempting to avoid the noose.

The 3 riots span the 18th century and reveal huge political change: we move from a group of sailors destroying a brothel in a drunken rampage to the first modern political riot, the ‘Wilkes and Liberty’ riot. Finally we hear evidence from the anti-Catholic Gordon riots, the worst episode of civil unrest in British history. The whole of central London was garrisoned with mounted troops, who shot to kill. Professor Vickery reveals that left-wing historians of the 70s and 80s ignored the Gordon Riots because they didn’t fit their ideological model of the noble rioter.

UK listeners (and others?) can catch up on iPlayer…

Programme information

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