A historian from Edge Hill University has had her suggestion of Lincoln Castle featured in the controversial BBC’s 100 Places That Made Britain Great.
Dozens of historians submitted their ideas to author David Musgrove, editor of BBC History magazine, who travelled across the country reviewing them all, from ruins to archaeological sites, castles to palaces and even trees The only criteria were they had to be interesting and open to the public.
Out of hundreds of suggestions, Dr Alyson Brown’s nomination was one of the 100 carefully selected places featured on the ‘unforgettable’ tour through British history.
The Reader in History at Edge Hill University chose Lincoln Castle and described it as being a place where ‘you can see the long story of British justice and punishment’. She also has a good knowledge of the site due to being on the advisory panel for the Lincoln Castle Project.
Unlike most castles, Lincoln’s had a Georgian magistrate’s court and a Georgian and Victorian prison building within its walls, showing that its purpose went beyond sword fights and siege towers. Currently it’s just the women’s prison that is open to the public but there are future plans to open the men’s prison too.
Explaining more about the site, Alyson said: “For me, the single most important aspect of the site is the complete separate system chapel, which may well be the last surviving in the world. It’s extremely evocative, with a very subdued, pensive, reflective atmosphere, but also with a hint of menace, control and submission. In short, this one room is imbued with the philosophy and practice behind the disciplinary system that was established in most prisons in Britain during the mid 19th century.”
In the new book, the academics’ choices cover 2,000 years of history and range from Canterbury Cathedral, the Tower of London and Henry VIII’s Hampton Court, to some decidedly lesser-known landmarks but what historians up and down the country believe to be the most important in defining the country.
Alyson said: “From my point of view I was delighted to have been selected for this project as it has received quite a lot of attention because of its captivating stories that make each chosen site great. Each one adds to our understanding of Britain’s story and hidden treasures.”