Managing Convicts: Understanding Criminals with Dr Laura Sellers and LCVS


Unfortunately, due to the current climate the University has reluctantly reached the view that the event with Dr Laura Sellers and the Thackray Emergency Museum taking place on Tuesday 21 April 2020 should be postponed. The University is very sorry to find itself in this position but hope you understand the decision we have had to take.

We look forward to welcoming you to campus when organisers have been able to re-schedule a new date.


Join us on campus and hear from Dr Laura Sellers as we explore the English convict system during the Victorian era in the seminar entitled ‘Managing Convicts: Understanding Criminals’. This event is led by the Leeds Centre for Victorian Studies (LCVS).

What’s happening?

The knowledge “that the English prison system is one of the best in the world has long been commonplace among scientific penologists”, claimed Charles Ellwood, an American professor of sociology, in 1916. This statement would have delighted the Victorian’s who developed Britain’s prison system in the nineteenth century.

Using case studies of convict prisons, Dr Sellers will argue that the creation and development of the English convict prison system during the Victorian era depended, to a significant extent, on the medical men who were employed there. Prison medical officers changed the architecture, management, and philosophy that shaped the developing prison system, in what was arguably an experimental era for prisons. At the start of the nineteenth century, England had a medley of regional systems, different types of prisons and inconsistent punishments; by the end, a more uniform, organised, national system had been formed through experiment and policy change. Prison medical officers played a vital part in this transformation, and they thereby shaped the British understanding of “the criminal” in the decades before the advent of criminology.

Guests at this event will also have the opportunity to explore the Thackray Emergency Museum ‘Ambulance’ on campus, which hosts a range of historical objects and provides a focus on Florence Nightingale for all ages.


This event has been postponed due to the current climate.

Tuesday 21 April seminar from 12.00 – 2.00pm in AG21

Thackray Emergency Ambulance from 10.30am to 12.30pm at the main entrance to campus


Leeds Trinity University, Brownberrie Lane, Horsforth, Leeds, LS18 5HD

Who should attend?

All with an interest in this era/field of study are welcome to attend. It will be of particular interest to members of the Leeds Centre for Victorian Studies, and post-graduate students.

Further information?

To book your place or to find out more, please email Jane de Gay.