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Hearing voices: Sound, space and experience at the Old Bailey

Recorded: 25 April 2017

Speaker(s): Tim Hitchcock (University of Sussex)

IHR Seminar Series: Digital History

Combining 3D modelling of the Old Bailey courtroom c.1800 with textual analysis of the recorded speech of defendants tried there, this paper explores how we might reconstruct the ‘voices’ of the dead, and locate them in an understandable material context. By combining statistical analysis of one of the most extensive verbatim records we possess of speech acts prior to the twentieth century – The Old Bailey Proceedings – with historical reconstructions derived from architectural drawings, contemporary images and archival research, this papers seeks to both illustrate an innovative methodological approach, and at the same time, revise our understanding of the evolution of both the trial process, and the experience of being tried.