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CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
Execution Sites of London and the History of Beheading 
with Robert Stephenson and Frances Larson

Saturday 17th October at 1:00 pm

Historian, folklorist and gravestone expert ROBERT STEPHENSON will recount some of the more grisly episodes from this once popular spectator sport.
From medieval executions to present day medical dissections, DR FRANCES LARSON takes you on a tour of our unlikely history of decapitation and asks why the severed head is as compelling as it has ever been. 

Tickets £12 including a Hendrick's Gin Cocktail.

London was once known as the "City of the Gallows" for the frequency of its public executions. Since the 10th Century over two hundred thousand people are believed to have been beheaded, burned at the stake or hanged, for crimes ranging from counterfeiting to witchcraft. Public executions were once keenly anticipated events, attended by passionate and partisan crowds often numbering tens of thousands and London's execution sites, including Tower Hill, Tyburn, Smithfield and Charing Cross became popular destinations for visitors. 
Public executions were finally outlawed in Britain in 1867. 

Historian, folklorist and gravestone expert ROBERT STEPHENSON will recount some of the more grisly episodes from this once popular spectator sport.
From medieval executions to present day medical dissections, DR FRANCES LARSON takes you on a tour of our unlikely history of decapitation and asks why the severed head is as compelling as it has ever been. In the nineteenth century, the human skull became a prized scientific specimen, and skulls, shrunken heads and medical preparations are still amongst the most popular museum exhibits today. We think that trophy heads belong in another age, or another world, but the human cranium still exerts its power in our society, whether it be in the museum, the art gallery, or on the internet.

ABOUT THE SPEAKERS
Robert Stephenson is a qualified City of London Culture and Heritage guide and a trustee at Kensal Green and Brompton cemeteries. He teaches on London and death studies. Robert is also vice-chairman of the City of London Archaeological Society.

Frances Larson’s book "Severed: a history of heads lost and heads found" was published in 2014 to widespread critical acclaim. She is also author of a biography of Henry Wellcome, "An Infinity of Things", which was a Sunday Times Book of The Year and a New Scientist Best Book of 2009.