Oxford Brookes historian helps reveal the secrets of A House Through Time

Friday, 12 June 2020

Prof Joanne Begiato offers expertise on iPlayer

A leading historian from Oxford Brookes University has helped reveal a young woman’s troubled past for the popular BBC Two programme, A House Through Time.

Prof Joanne Begiato, Head of School for History, Philosophy and Culture, took part in the BBC Two programme, now in its third series, which sees presenter and historian David Olusoga reveal the complex history of a single building and the people who lived in it.

Episode two of the latest series examines the lives of residents of number 10, Guinea Street, in Bristol, from the end of the 18th century until the 1870s. The occupants ranged from a middle-class solicitor who became mayor, to a struggling former servant.

Joanne, an expert in the history of emotions, the family, marriage and law in the 18th and 19th centuries, was interviewed on camera and helped research the relationship between Ann Holbrook and a clergyman, James Poulson.

Joanne said: “James was not the man he claimed to be, and the lies and scandal that surrounded him eventually had devastating consequences for Ann and the Holbrook family.

“I helped interpret documents that gave clues about the couple and the reasons for Ann’s father accusing her of misbehaviour. We established that James was probably committing bigamy when they ‘married’.

“I was delighted to be involved with the programme and reveal to a wider audience the way in which women in patriarchal societies are frequently judged, silenced, and abused.”

A House Through Time, Series 3: Episode 2 can be viewed on the BBC iPlayer.