Vic Gatrell

Vic Gatrell at the IHR London February 2016

Vic Gatrell [or V.A.C. Gatrell] is a Life Fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. Born in South Africa in 1941, he graduated with Honours from Rhodes University before winning an Elsie Ballot scholarship to Cambridge. At St John's College he took first-class honours in history and completed his Ph.D., before becoming a Fellow of Gonville and Caius College. In the Cambridge History Faculty he was Lecturer and then Reader in British history, and co-editor of The Historical Journal, 1976-1986. He was among the pioneer scholars working on the history of crime and punishment. He became Professor of British History at the University of Essex 2003–9. He retained his Fellowship in Caius, and returned to Cambridge in 2009, where he now lives.

His The Hanging Tree: Execution and the English People 1780-1868 (Oxford, 1994) won the Royal Historical Society's Whitfield Prize, and was nominated as one of the historical Canon in the Times Higher Education Supplement, 2010. It is a seminal study of changing attitudes to and emotions about capital punishment across a period of profound cultural change.

His City of Laughter: Sex and Satire in Eighteenth-century London (Atlantic, 2006) is a study of satirical caricature and manners from 1780 to 1830. It was joint winner of the Wolfson Prize for History, won the PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize, was shortlisted for the Authors' Club Banister Fletcher Award for art history, and was listed for the Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction.

His The First Bohemians: Life and Art in London's Golden Age (Allen Lane and Penguin, 2013) is a history of 'proto-bohemian' Covent Garden and the 'lower' art world in eighteenth-century London. It argues for the significance of the arts that celebrated 'real life' in that era. It was shortlisted for the Hessell-Tiltman Prize.

Awards and honours

Select Bibliography


  1. "wyvern:extra". Archived from the original on 16 July 2007. Retrieved 24 November 2007. Honour for Essex historian
  2. "The Canon: The Hanging Tree: Execution and the English People 1770-1868. By V.A.C. Gatrell". Times Higher Education. 12 August 2010.
  3. Timothy R. Smith (April 9, 2014). "David Reynolds wins PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize". Washington Post. Retrieved June 7, 2014.

External links

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