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What will the neighbours say?! Warwick academic helps uncover house’s scandalous past

Dr LammasniemiA Warwick legal history expert has been chosen as one of the voices bringing the past to life in the new series of the popular BBC Two show, A House Through Time.

Dr Laura Lammasniemi, from Warwick Law School, will appear in the third episode of the new series, which brings David Olusoga and his team to Bristol.

The series will explore the history of Number 10 Guinea Street, an 18th century sea captain’s house near the docks, telling the story of those who lived there, from the time it was built until now, and exploring their fascinating life stories, along with cultural and social history.

Two of the residents had been convicted of a curious offence in late 19th century, and Laura was approached by the production company to understand their conviction and laws of the time.

She comments: “Through exploring the story of the seemingly ordinary family, and their conviction, I discovered that they had been convicted of a newly invented obscenity offence, relating to the running of their small business.”

In conversation with the series presenter, David Olusoga, Laura discusses tightening obscenity laws at the time, and how this all relates to Victorian ideals of sexuality and the family.

Laura’s research more broadly focuses on criminal law, gender and moral regulation in nineteenth century, and turn of 20th century. She is currently working on a Leverhulme funded project exploring how sexual consent was understood in every-day criminal trials before the legal definition of consent, and asks what that legal history can tell us about the very nature of this contested concept.

· A House Through Time returned to BBC Two on Tuesday 26thMay at 9pm. Laura appears on the third episode.

27 May 2020




Sheila Kiggins

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