Subject Leader - History
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Dr Drew Gray is a social historian of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries who specialises in the history of crime and punishment. Drew is Subject Lead for History at the University of Northampton and teaches modules on both the History and Criminology programmes. Drew enjoys teaching and is a Senior Fellow of Higher Education Academy (HEA). He has developed innovative assessments based upon the Old Bailey Online website and uses a range of digital sources and active blended learning methods in his teaching approach.
Since 2011 Drew has been a member of the editorial board of the London Journal and is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.
Drew studied history at Northampton and gained his PhD here in 2006. He has authored several academic history articles and three books on the history of crime and punishment in the 18th and 19th centuries. He is now working towards his application to become a Senior Fellow of the HEA.
Dr Gray teaches at undergraduate and master’s level and supervises a number of PhD students.
At level 5 Drew runs HIS2010 Crime, Policing and Punishment in England, 1700-1900 which explores a number of themes in the history of crime such as the evolution of policing, the use of the law, changing punishment policies, violence and homicide and the effect of gender and youth on the criminal justice system. The module is designated for history, law and criminology students and leads many of them to then take his level 6 module, Crime and Popular Culture in the Late Victorian City which explores several issues surrounding the Whitechapel (or ‘Jack the Ripper’) murders of 1888, including crime, poverty, immigration, the rise of the popular press and the mythology surrounding the ‘Ripper’. At masters level students can continue to develop their interest in crime and violence via Drew’s module HISM046, Violence and the Law in England.
Within the History department work has been undertaken to develop the Personal Tutor (PT) scheme over the past three years using Year Tutors which includes a combination of data analysis and staff/student interaction. This has improved the student experience of the PT system at their subject level. Drew has worked with Anna Swales and Kate Coulson to investigate the operation of the PAT scheme (as part of the “First Year Experience” and “Enhancing Student Success” projects) across the institution and to draw up proposals for a new scheme for possible implementation in 2018.
Dr Gray’s areas of historical interest can broadly be described as ‘crime, punishment and social protest’ but his main research topic is the role of the justice of the peace (or magistrate) in the long eighteenth century and nineteenth century. What fascinates him is how the process of summary justice operated, whom it affected and how open was it for people to use. The criminal justice system of the eighteenth century is often assumed to be all about highwaymen and the gallows but most people would have experienced ‘justice’ in the parlour of their local magistrate and this continued and developed in the Victorian period.
Drew is currently working on the summary process in Victorian London exploring the work of the capital’s Police Court magistrates, the forerunners of our modern magistracy. Since April 2016 Drew has written a daily blog about his research which can be found at The Police Magistrate blog.