City walk: Criminals & other rabble Know your city - these streets once belonged to them


City walk: Criminals & other rabble
| Wednesday d. 8. May. 2019 | Overgade 52, Odense C | Price: 0 Kr. | This week’s guest recommendation is wirtten by: Pil Lindgreen | Translated by: Malte Joe Frid-Nielsen

Location: Møntergården
Organizer: Odense Bys Museer

’Odense Police’s Album of Suspicious Personages 1867-78’ is pure gold. It is a collection of mugshots from Odense City Museum’s photographic archive. Not serial killers, traitors and mutineers; just your average everyday criminals. Here paupers, rag-pickers, day laborers, serving girls, and mothers to illegitimate children stare out at you with eyes that slice right through the centuries. Seen above is number 230 –Jens Christian Petersen. Don’t tell me that he isn’t going to haunt you later.

There are close connections between criminality and the early history of photography; in the middle of the 19th century, law breakers were among the most heavily documented groups (they were eminently available and hardly in a position to protest) and carefully studied to see if criminal tendencies could be deduced from facial features or head shapes.  Anyone studying their ancestry may happen upon their otherwise humble predecessor in such a collection – if they were registered by name and not lost to history without any impression more lasting than their steely gaze.

These lost characters and many others get a new life, when historian Camilla Schjerning leads a tour through the city’s alleys, gutters, and gallows Wednesday afternoon. It’s going to be shady, but definitely colorful  - the entertainment value tends to be high when Møntergården plays Know Your City.

 Here’s a bit of what they’re enticing us with: Stories about “A time when a simple scuffle could end you in the stocks or – worse yet – at the feet of the executioner, back when the city council held prostitutes…”

PS if you get a hankering for local rabble after this walking tour, you can continue the next day with the lecture ‘A Weak Man’s Fate’, where two genealogists chart the travails of an unassuming farmer from Kullerup on east Fyn, who landed in the jaws of a loan shark and horse trader (!) from Blommenslyst (!) back in 1875, and who, when he killed his tormentor, had to serve 49.5 years (!) in prison.

All of this has been discovered in one box from the state archives in Odense. Reality truly is stranger than fiction.

This bonus action takes place on the 9th at the City Archives. Entry is free. And it’s a great opportunity to explore the stacks, even for those who don’t have genealogical tendencies.

Link to the event

Written by Pil Lindgreen

Jeg er født her, og kan ikke skille byen fra mig selv. Jeg har været igennem alle faser af had, kærlighed og ligegyldighed. Som teenager gik jeg talløse, rastløse ture, som altid syntes at ende på ...




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