Victorian Barnstaple Symposium

Jan 27, 2024   -   Jan 27, 2024

A day of talks, led by Dr Todd Gray and Dr Sadru Bhanji to accompany the museum’s exhibition Barnstaple Prisoners: Unveiling Barnstaple’s Victorian underclass 1867- 1877.


This event is part of the programme accompanying our community exhibition ‘Barnstaple Prisoners’, which brings Barnstaple’s Victorian underclass to light. The Symposium will take place at Barnstaple Guildhall.

A rare photograph album containing the images of local Victorian men, women and children, was discovered by the local historian and author Dr Sadru Bhanji in 2009, nearly all of whom were named. Dr Bhanji’s research revealed that all of the individuals had had their images taken at the Barnstaple jail, with each person having been arrested and imprisoned for committing crimes; including theft, fraud and embezzlement. The majority of these crimes were committed on Barnstaple’s streets, in its pubs, shops and markets.



10.00 Coffee & Tea

10.30 Start – Victorian Barnstaple – An Overview – Dr Todd Gray

10.50 Barnstaple’s Vanished Lace Industry – Deborah Gahan

11.30 – Comfort Break

11.50 Homes of Taste: Victorian Barnstaple’s Creative Renaissance – Alison Mills

12.30 Discussion

1 – 2 Lunch in town

2.00 Underclass of Barnstaple – Dr Sadru Bhanji

3.00 Victorian Buildings of Barnstaple – Naomi Ayre

4.00 Tea

4.30 Finish


Cost: Adults £10.00, Concessions £5.00


To book your tickets click on the link below:




This talk is part of the programme accompanying our major exhibition ‘Prisoners: Unveiling Barnstaple’s Victorian underclass 1867- 1877’. For more information about our events and exhibitions please visit our What’s On page.

A poster for the Vicrotian Barnstaple Symposium, with details about the event.

A scan of one of the pages of the photo album, discovered by Dr Sadru Bhanji, containing the images and names of Barnstaple’s Victorian Prisoners.

Dr Todd Gray

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