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Crime and punishment

April 21, 2009

Spent the weekend at the Crime Writers’ Association conference in sunny Lincoln.  Crime writers are a surprisingly cheery bunch considering what must be going on in their imaginations.

It would have been good to have more time in Lincoln, which turns out to be stuffed with historical buildings, including this Roman wall now doubling as a rockery in a hotel garden.  (Should that be ‘an’ hotel? Does anybody care?)

lincoln-roman-wall

And this arch, apparently the only Roman gateway in the world still used (and occasionally damaged) by traffic:

Stone archway over road

The abiding memory of the weekend, though, will be two insights into the minds of our ancestors.  Here’s a detail from the inside of the Cathedral:

Stone carving of puppy

…which is part of this screen, which is in turn part of a colossal and ornate building that wouldn’t fit in a photo.

Ornate carved screen with lilies around gate

An interesting contrast with what you’d have seen if you’d been unlucky enough to attend chapel as an inmate of the Victorian Prison a few hundred yards down the road:

View of stark wooden pulpit

Note the high front and the wooden shutters to each side, which were specially placed so that the inmates could see only the preacher and not each other. The seat is deliberately set at an angle so you slide off if you fall asleep.

I shan’t be drawing any morals here, but would just like to point out that the Cathedral is still in use, while the prison chapel only remains  as a museum piece.

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2 comments

  1. Can’t you murder each other? I mean, pretend to?

    Love the dog.


  2. Yep – sounds like the perfect setting for an Agatha Christie, doesn’t it?



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