“At Execution Dock, criminals were hanged on a gallows erected on the foreshore at low tide. The bodies remained until three tides had washed over them…”
The Book Fairies are excited to recommend a fantastic new exhibition – Executions! This grizzly showcase is on NOW at Museum of London Docklands and this new book has been released to mark the event – copies of which are being hidden all around London! What will you learn about this unsavoury side of history today?
About the book:
A fascinating record of how London and Londoners were shaped by nearly 700 years of public executions.
More frequent in London than in any other city or town in Britain, these morbid spectacles often attracted tens of thousands of onlookers at locations across the capital and were a major part of Londoners’ lives for centuries. From Smithfield to Kennington, Tyburn to Newgate Prison, public executions became embedded in London’s landscape and people’s lives. Even today, hints of this dark chapter in London’s history can still be seen across the city.
Featuring the lives and legacies of those who died or who witnessed public executions first hand from 1196 to 1868, this book tells the rarely told and often tragic human stories behind these events. It includes a range of fascinating objects, paintings and documents, many from the Museum of London’s collections, such as the vest said to have been worn by King Charles I when he was executed, portraits of ‘celebrity criminals’, and last letters of the condemned.
From the sites of execution to the thriving ‘gallows’ economy, the book reveals the role that Londoners played as both spectators and participants in this most public demonstration of state power over the life and death of its citizens.
See the Executions exhibition:
This intriguing and impressive exhibition is on until April 2023 so there’s plenty of time to get down to the Museum of London Docklands! Find out more about the exhibition and museum here.
Would you like to be a book fairy yourself?
We’d love for you to join us! All you need to do is order some official book fairy stickers and start hiding books in your neighbourhood or on your travels!