The Construction of Forensic Knowledge in Victorian Yorkshire: Dr Thomas Scattergood and His Casebooks, 1856–1897

  • Laura M. Sellers
  • Katherine D. WatsonEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Histories of Policing, Punishment and Justice book series (PHPPJ)


This chapter uses notebooks and media reportage of the extensive medico-legal practice of Leeds-based doctor, toxicologist, and lecturer Thomas Scattergood (1826–1900) to examine the development of forensic techniques and the construction and circulation of forensic knowledge in the second half of the nineteenth century. We address three areas of historiographical and historical interest. Firstly, the medico-scientific content of the notebooks shows that the detailed work that underpinned even relatively uncomplicated forensic cases lies largely hidden. Secondly, the cross-referencing and multiple tests that Scattergood conducted are considered as a means of constructing forensic knowledge. Scattergood’s role as an expert witness, in the period when this type of witness was gaining public recognition, adds to our understanding of the historical development and professionalization of forensic investigation.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of LeedsLeedsUK
  2. 2.Oxford Brookes UniversityOxfordUK

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