19 May 2022

Regional History talk: ‘Violent, refractory and noisy girls’: Women and youth justice in Bristol

Red Lodge was the first reformatory school founded exclusively for young women.

It opened in Bristol in 1854 under the superintendence of Mary Carpenter. She was a leading female advocate of deprived and delinquent children. While reformatory schools were considered a new initiative to address juvenile delinquency, a range of organisations and institutions were established to reform ‘wayward’ or criminal girls and young women.

In this talk, historians Laura Harrison and Rose Wallis will use Red Lodge and the Bristol Female Penitentiary as a lens for exploring histories of women as activists and offenders. They will consider the development of youth justice in the nineteenth century, and address how these historical perspectives can help us reflect critically on young women’s experience of the criminal justice system today.


Dr Laura Harrison is a social and cultural historian of modern Britain at UWE. She has a particular interest in the histories of young people and youth culture. Her first book, Dangerous Amusements: Leisure, the young working class and urban space in Britain, 1870-1939 traces the beginnings of a distinct youth culture in streets and neighbourhoods across Britain, and will be published by Manchester University Press in 2022.

Dr Rose Wallis is a social historian researching the dynamic relationship between the law and society. Her particular interests include eighteenth and nineteenth-century criminal justice, and criminal justice heritage. Rose is Associate Director of the Regional History Centre at UWE. She is also consultant historian for Shire Hall historic courthouse museum (Dorset) and Creative Youth Network’s redevelopment of Bristol’s Victorian magistrates courts.

This event is part of our joint season of local history talks with Regional History Centre, UWE.

How to take part

This event is free and will be held online over Zoom. Please book your place below. Details of how to join the session will be in your registration email. Please check your spam folder if the email does not arrive. Please visit the Zoom website for guidance on joining meetings.

Book tickets for this talk

This event is free and will be held online over Zoom. Bookings close at 5pm on Thursday 19 May.

Although this talk is free, we would be grateful if you could consider making a donation.

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