Nell Darby

crime historian | writer | presenter

CBS Justice spotlights the work of women detectives with true-crime marathons

• This Women's Month CBS Justice (DStv 170) celebrates the work of women detectives. • Ten episodes in back-to-back true crime marathons will air on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 August from 19:00. • As an introduction to Women on the Case, crime historian Dr Nell Darby gave Channel24 a quick overview of the history of women detectives. This Women's Month CBS Justice celebrates the brilliant work of women detectives and experts whose painstaking efforts and leadership led to uncovering the secrets

Scottish ancestry: How to find Scottish criminal records

The Scottish criminal records system has historically been different from, and separate to, the institutions of England and Wales. When the Act of Union took place in 1707, the Scottish legal and criminal justice systems remained separate from England. Since then, Scotland has generally continued to maintain its own systems, overseen by Scottish institutions. Historic Scottish criminal records now survive in different online collections. If your ancestors were among Scotland’s poor, they might

Murder by the Sea: Interview with Dr Nell Darby | Freesat

Exploring some of the most frightening and unbelievable murders which have taken place at picturesque British seaside resorts, Murder by the Sea uncovers the dark side of the seaside. But let’s hear more from Dr Darby herself... Hi Nell! First of all, for those who haven’t already seen the show, what can viewers expect from Murder by the Sea? As with previous series, we look at real-life crimes that have a strong link to seaside communities, showing the dark side of life, away from the candy f

Mythologising Criminal History | History Today

Last week, the Museum of London held a media briefing to detail some of the items it will be including in its forthcoming exhibition, The Crime Museum Uncovered, which opens this autumn. The museum has been allowed to display some 600 items from the private 'Black Museum' of the Metropolitan Police, which is not open to the public. The museum, which was opened in 1875, undoubtedly has much of interest to the criminal historian, including artefacts from famous cases from the 19th, 20th and 21st

Desolation Row: Victorian Britain’s Sensational Slums | History Today

On 2 November 1895, Rosina Meagher, a young Welsh woman, was attacked by her husband. The assault left her seriously injured. Rosina lived in a notorious lane in Newport known as ‘Quiet Woman’s Row’, so-called satirically in the local press as a shorthand for the domestic violence – aimed at women – that was seen as typical of slum areas. Coverage of Quiet Woman’s Row in the local press – and its gratuitous focus on violence – was typical of the late-Victorian and Edwardian penchant for ‘slumlan

Sister Sleuth: The Woman Who Spied For A Living

When I was researching my book Sister Sleuths: Detectives in Britain, 1850-1950 (Pen & Sword, 2021), I wasn’t surprised by how many women became private detectives in the 19th and 20th centuries. Women have always been regarded as inquisitive, curious about the world around them and the people they live amongst. Becoming private detectives has long been a way to put this curiosity to good use. To find out about others, to shadow individuals, to develop friendships with people so that you can fin

Oxford's Night Soil Man

The row of houses on the north-east end of St Clement’s Street today looks rather genteel. With their classic architecture and pastel-coloured frontages, they conjure up a world of professional Victorian gentlemen – lawyers, perhaps, or doctors, going about their daily work before returning to their parlours full of trinkets and ferns, side tables and family portraits. In 1881, though, one of these houses was home to Charles Herbert, the night soil man. He collected people’s poo, in short – tur

Running through my family history

As a historian, I often find myself admiring, or at least noticing, the history of the places I race in. In marathons, for example, I have run past a surviving section of the Berlin Wall, and also past Dublin Zoo, which opened to the public, for an admission cost of a penny, in 1840. I’d far rather run a marathon where there is something to look at, and in that way I’m a running tourist. But last weekend I ran the Swansea half-marathon, and there I was a different kind of tourist. Swansea is