Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Law

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Dr David Churchill's Publications

Journal articles

  • Churchill D, ‘Security and visions of the criminal: Technology, professional criminality and social change in Victorian and edwardian Britain’, British Journal of Criminology, 56.5 (2016), 857-876
    DOI: 10.1093/bjc/azv092, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/88867/

    © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies (ISTD). All rights reserved.The later 19th century saw the formation of two distinct visions of serious criminality. Previous studies of the weak-willed, 'degenerate' offender, have neglected the simultaneous appearance of the modern professional criminal. This essay reveals that the rise of the security industry in the Victorian era served to reshape notions of criminal professionalism, imbuing them with a new emphasis on the technical proficiency of thieves. This image of the criminal provided an outlet for ambivalent reflections on social and technological change, much as similar, high-security visions of the criminal have ever since. Hence, this essay both traces the origins of a neglected aspect of modern criminological thought and reconstructs the historical role of security provision in shaping visions of the criminal.

  • Churchill D, ‘Local initiative, central oversight, provincial perspective: governing police forces in nineteenth-century Leeds’, Historical Research, 88.241 (2015), 458-481
    DOI: 10.1111/1468-2281.12090, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/80606/

    This article examines police administration as a branch of urban government, based on a case study of Leeds between 1815 and 1900. Making extensive use of local government and police records, it takes a longer-term view of ‘reform’ than most existing studies, and privileges the more routine aspects of everyday governance. It thus provides an original exploration of central-local government relations, as well as conflict and negotiation between distinct bodies of self-government within the locality. Previous studies have rightly emphasized that urban police governance was primarily a local responsibility, yet this article also stresses the influence of central state oversight and an extra-local, provincial perspective, both of which modified the grip of localism on nineteenth-century government.

  • Churchill D, ‘The spectacle of security: Lock-picking competitions and the security industry in mid-victorian britain’, History Workshop Journal, 80.1 (2015), 52-74
    DOI: 10.1093/hwj/dbv018, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/83078/

  • Churchill D, ‘I am just the man for Upsetting you Bloody Bobbies': popular animosity towards the police in late nineteenth-century Leeds’, Social History, 39.2 (2014), 248-266
    DOI: 10.1080/03071022.2014.912424, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/82388/

    Most historians of police-public relations in the later nineteenth century have asserted that popular animosity towards the police rested on the contexts of specific encounters, rather than any broader, principled opposition to the police as an institution. However, scholars have yet to engage with the voices of the policed, and have instead relied on inferring popular attitudes from other evidence. This article uses police occurrence books from three out-townships of Leeds to explore popular responses to the police in unprecedented detail. It highlights how various norms within working-class culture – domesticity, masculinity, communal autonomy – precipitated opposition to the exercise of police authority. Moreover, it demonstrates that hostile reactions to the police were motivated both by the contexts of particular interactions and underlying, unsavoury notions of the police as an institution. Hence, police-public relations can only be adequately understood as an interaction between these two factors.

  • Churchill D, ‘Living in a leisure town: residential reactions to the growth of popular tourism in Southend, 1870-1890’, Urban History, 41.1 (2014), 42-61
    DOI: 10.1017/S0963926812000740, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/82389/

    While historical interest in the seaside has grown appreciably in recent times, much of the literature remains preoccupied with issues specific to resort towns. This article examines the social dynamics of the seaside town more broadly, through a study of Southend residents in the 1870s and 1880s. It analyses their discussions of working-class tourists and the industries which catered for them, before examining attempts to regulate the use of public space in the town. This is a study of rapid urbanization in a small town, and how social perceptions and relations were reconfigured in this context

  • Churchill D, ‘Rethinking the state monopolisation thesis: the historiography of policing and criminal justice in nineteenth-century England’, Crime, Histoire et Societes/Crime, History and Societies, 18.1 (2014), 131-152
    Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/82390/

    This article reviews how historians have interpreted the changing relationship between crime, policing and the state in nineteenth-century England. Specifically, it traces the influence of the state monopolisation thesis – the idea of the ‘policed society’. The impact of this model is assessed by comparing studies of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century criminal justice, and exposing stark discontinuities in their treatments of key subjects. This article proceeds to critique the state monopolisation thesis, before outlining priorities for further research. These new directions promise to lead to a more sophisticated account of the governance of crime in modern England, and to return nineteenth-century criminal justice history to the study of ordinary people and their lived experiences. (Cet article examine la manière dont les historiens ont interprété l’évolution de la relation entre la criminalité, l’action de la police et l’État dans l’Angleterre du XIXe siècle. Plus spécifiquement, il retrace l’influence de la thèse de la monopolisation par l’État – l’idée d’une « société policée ». Le poids de ce modèle est évalué en comparant des travaux relatifs à la justice pénale des XVIIIe et XIXe siècles, et en pointant les discontinuités frappantes dans la manière dont ils ont traité certaines questions-clés. L’article présente ensuite une critique de la thèse de la monopolisation étatique, avant de dégager les priorités des recherches à venir. Ces orientations nouvelles devraient conduire à une vision plus sophistiquée de la gouvernance de la criminalité dans l’Angleterre moderne, et amener l’histoire pénale du XIXe siècle à étudier l’expérience vécue des gens ordinaires.)


  • Churchill D, King P, ‘Left to the Mercy of the Mob'. Ducking, Popular Justice, and the Magistrates in Britain (1750-1890)’, in Popular Justice in Europe (18th-19th Centuries), ed. by Delivré É and Berger E (Bologna/Berlin: Il Mulino/Duncker & Humblot, 2014), 135-168

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