Television historian Lucy Worsley OBE captivated an audience of Newcastle school pupils, delving into the nation’s peculiar fascination with crime as part of a powerful lecture series.

The renowned author and Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces explored society’s curious obsession with murder over the last 200 years before giving an insight into her life work and passions during her visit to Dame Allan’s Schools.

Addressing a packed audience of 250 students and parents, Lucy’s talk - 'A Very British Murder' - examined notorious crimes, such as the Ratcliffe Highway Murders, and illustrated how heinous acts became a form of national entertainment through literature, plays, puppet shows and poetry.

She admitted: “I do like reading about crime and I’ve always been an avid consumer of detective fiction… and I find the history of detective fiction fascinating, because it’s also the history of society. It’s the history of justice, it’s the history of gender, it’s the history of literacy, and it’s the history of literature.”

Lucy has brought history to life for audiences around the world. Her distinctive blend of scholarly research and narrative style has made her a beloved figure in the field of historical education and entertainment. 

Will Scott, Principal at Fenham-based Dame Allan’s Schools, commented: “Lucy’s lecture not only enriched our students’ understanding of history but ignited their curiosity and inspired them to explore the complexities of human nature.

“With her passion for the past and gift for storytelling, she was the ideal speaker at Dame Allan’s, making history accessible, entertaining and relevant to a contemporary audience.”

During her visit, Lucy was given a tour of the new archive room by history teacher and Head of Dame Allan’s Girls’ School, Elaine Fiddaman. They were joined by Head Girl, Imogen Golding-Douglass, the Sixth Form’s chief archivist – a position akin to a role Lucy held while a pupil at St Bartholomew’s School in Newbury.

Imogen, a Year 13 student taking A Level History, English Literature, and French, with aspirations to read Law at university, said: “It was an honour to meet Lucy Worsley in person. I was particularly proud to show her the archives and even more so to learn that she held the same position at school."

“Her talk was captivating for A Level English Literature students, who could gain a new insight into the crime aspect of the course by learning where the intrigue of murder began.”

Lucy also met with a select group of Sixth Form History and English Literature students. During their informal discussion, she was posed with an interesting question: which historical figures would she invite to her dinner table?

“I’m going to choose Jane Austin, Agatha Christie and Queen Victoria because they all had very distinct characters and all were a little bit, what we might call, opinionated, strong minded, clever and argumentative. I think they would have a spirited time together!” she said.

“Then, for some added amusement, I’d chose George IV, who was Jane Austin’s creepy fan. He loved her, but she didn’t love him because of the way he treated his wife.”

Lucy is renowned for her work in bringing the stories of Britain's royal family to a wider audience, with her documentaries on figures such as Queen Victoria and King Henry VIII gaining critical acclaim. She has also written a number of bestselling books on history topics ranging from the lives of British monarchs to the everyday experiences of people throughout history.

Lucy’s Newcastle talk marked the closing event of a second successful year for The Lectures at Dame Allan’s Schools. The series, backed by Allanian Mark Dolder, a pupil at the Schools during the 70s, has boasted an exceptional lineup of speakers over the last two years, including Dragons' Den entrepreneur Sara Davies and baking industry expert Jonathan Warburton.

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Mr Dolder, CEO of Northumberland-based Bazaar Group, said: “It's extremely impressive and equally heartwarming to see how The Lectures have become an eagerly anticipated event in the school calendar, as again, the Newsom Hall was packed to hear from Lucy Worsley. 

“Lucy's subject knowledge, coupled with her prodigious charisma and intellect, created a perceptible energy in the hall leaving everyone informed and inspired as she presented a talk that will live long in the memory. 

“The success of the series has set the bar high for next year, but the team, under the leadership of Paul Terry and Rebecca Miller, is ambitious and excited to create more exceptional evenings to enrich the lives of Dame Allan's students and its wider community.”