Crime, Social History and Mystery

Crime and Social History

Day course

Residential course

Diane Janes

15 August 2021 to 20 August 2021

Non-resident fee £58 per day, £33 on Friday (morning only). £780 Single bedroom or shared occupancy, £890 Double bedroom single occupancy

Book now


These courses are part of Dillington Discovery Summer week.

A week of real-life murder cases, compelling questions and baffling mysteries! Diane Janes spins an overarching theme that embraces the world of crime, social history and mystery.  Attend all week or by the day, whatever you do, you’ll be gripped and entertained.  Once booked, you will receive the full course detail.

Click on the subject titles below for more details on each course.

Monday – The Story of Detection
Solving crime is generally perceived as being at the heart of policing, but this has not always been the case. Today we will explore how the British police force grew from its Anglo Saxon Watch and Ward roots, to become a world leader in modern policing methods, looking at the development of investigative police work from its early days right up to modern times. We will look at some landmark cases, ‘forensic firsts’ and probably shatter a few myths along the way…

Tuesday – Ask the Experts?
Or should we beware of experts? Was a well known politician right to say that we have had enough of experts? The courts have been using the services of ‘expert’ witnesses for generations, but today we will be considering the benefits, perils and pitfalls, with particular reference to the life and career of Sir Bernard Spilsbury, then putting the current and future role of expert witnesses under the microscope.

Wednesday – You the Jury
Become part of a jury and consider a real-life case of murder, which came before the British courts in the 1920s. You will listen to the evidence, considering a variety of material, including contemporary maps and plans, before discussing the case with your fellow jury members, then delivering your verdict. No distressing crime scene photographs will be shown. Participants will find a pen, a notebook and an open mind useful. When the verdict is in, the group will discuss a variety of issues which arise in respect of this and similar cases.

Thursday – Hanged in Error
Today we focus on a handful of famous cases which resulted in almost certain miscarriages of justice, looking at the circumstances of each case and asking whether these executions could have been avoided.

Friday – A Half Day of Mystery and Imagination
Something a little lighter to conclude the week… From the depths of Loch Ness to the summit of Mount Everest, via the Bermuda Triangle, there has always been an appetite for a good mystery. Today we will undertake a whistle stop tour of various mysteries, including unsolved murders, alleged hauntings, infamous disappearances and one or two notorious tall tales, exploring the crossover from fact to fiction and back again, considering the relationship between traditional storytelling and urban legends, and attempting to get to the bottom of our own fascination with the unsolved and the unknown. As a famous TV show once had it ‘The truth is out there’ – the question is, do we really want to find it?

Tutor information

Diane Janes is an award winning author, who has written five highly regarded crime novels and four respected factual books on real life historical murders. She is regularly invited to lecture on crime and social history to a wide variety of audiences, in locations as diverse as cruise ships and village halls, and her first work of non-fiction, Edwardian Murder: Ightham & the Morpeth Train Robbery is now referenced in academic text books on the history of policing.

Covid information

Dillington House wishes to reassure everyone that we are working closely with Somerset County Council to ensure every measure is being taken to make Dillington House a safe place for everyone.

All course participants will be sent further guidance prior to the course date.

Dillington House is following Government guidelines and adhering to new guidance including local or national lockdowns.

All places booked can be transferred or refunded in the event this course is cancelled. Individuals who are affected by local lockdowns will be able to transfer to an alternative course. All other terms and conditions apply.