The November issue of DYAP included Nell Darby’s article about the history of capital punishment in Britain, in tandem with an exhibition on this theme at the Museum of London Docklands. That exhibition – ‘Executions’ – is still on, running until 16 April (see museumoflondon.org.uk ).

No one exhibition can tell every single story of this kind, of course, but one not appearing there is worth looking at, not least because two literary giants happened to be eyewitnesses at it. So here is that story, a sombre reminder of the normalisation of capital punishment in our ancestors’ times and what it was actually like to attend an execution.