Ruth Ellis in the condemned cell: voyeurism and resistance

Seal, Lizzie (2012) Ruth Ellis in the condemned cell: voyeurism and resistance. Prison Service Journal, 199. pp. 17-19. ISSN 0300-3558

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When Ruth Ellis became the last woman to be
executed in England and Wales in July 1955,
execution had long been something which took
place in private. It is a well established argument
that the ending of public execution in 1868 made
the practice mundane and bureaucratic, and
‘wrung out of it any trace of the ceremonial and
festive’.1 However, whilst many twentieth-century
executions were carried out with little attention
from the press or public, there were also
‘spectacular’ cases which commanded high levels of
interest and were intensively reported. These cases
demonstrated that the execution audience still
existed and craved details about the final, tense
days of the condemned, when the Home
Secretary’s exercise of the Royal Prerogative of
Mercy was the only thing that could save them
from the gallows. The hanging of Ruth Ellis was
one such case.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Sociology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology > HV6001 Criminology
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Depositing User: Lizzie Seal
Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2012 07:49
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2013 12:33
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