By exploring a single urban space – the Old Bailey in London - from four different perspectives – from four different varieties of data – this lecture asks: what happens to urban history when we combine and contrast approaches made newly usable by digital methods? By reconstructing the courtroom at the Old Bailey in 3D, and its place in a wider urban landscape; by analysing the voices heard there; and by tracing how each puff of air was turned to print; it asks if we can create a clearer understanding of the experience of power and suffering in a specific urban space. Along the way, it seeks to challenge urban historians to acknowledge the ways in which new digital approaches change the histories they write.
Tim Hitchcock was awarded a Professorship in Eighteenth-Century History in 2001; and was appointed Professor of Digital History at the University of Sussex in 2013; and is co-director and director of the Sussex Humanities Lab from 2015. He has published widely on the histories of gender, sexuality and poverty focussed primarily on eighteenth-century London. With Robert Shoemaker and others he has also created a series of websites helping to give direct public access to primary sources evidencing the history of Britain. These sites include amongst others “The Old Bailey Online, 1674 to 1913”; “London Lives, 1690-1800”; and “The Digital Panopticon: The Global Impact of London Punishments, 1780-1925”. In 2011 he was given the History Today, Trustees' Award for his contribution to historical research.