Donate Now

Ethical Matters:
The Secret History of Female Sleuths

24th March 2024 · 3:00pm - 4:30pm

Doors open: 2:45pm

Brockway Room | Virtual event

Event has passed
Ethical Matters: The Secret History of Female Sleuths

Female private eyes have long been a staple of popular culture – from plucky Victorian ladies to ‘busy body spinsters’ and fearless modern investigators. But what about the real women detectives? What crimes did they solve? Where are their stories?

Dismissed as ‘Mrs’ Sherlock Holmes or amateurish Miss Marples, mocked as private dicks or honey trappers, they’ve been investigating crime since the mid 19th century – from theft, fraud and burglary, to missing persons, blackmail, drug dealing, robbery, marriage scams, ‘white slavery’, industrial espionage, and murder… Female detectives have caught counterfeit coiners, adulterers, jewel thieves, imposters, conmen, poison pen writers, railway robbers, wizards, shoplifting syndicates, stamp cartels, racetrack gangs, romance scammers, and killers. After more than a century of working undercover, it’s time to hear the real women’s stories with renegade women’s history author Caitlin Davies.

Caitlin is fascinated by the buried stories of women from the past, which feature in several of her books – The Ghost of Lily Painter is based on the arrest and execution of two Edwardian baby farmers, while Daisy Belle: Swimming Champion of the World is inspired by the lives of forgotten Victorian aquatic stars. Her non-fiction books include Taking the Waters: A Swim Around Hampstead Heath, Downstream: A History and Celebration of Swimming the River Thames, and Bad Girls: The Rebels and Renegades of Holloway Prison, which was longlisted for the 2019 Orwell Prize for Political Writing. Her newest book, Private Inquiries: The Secret History of Female Sleuths, will be available on the day.

Age Recommendation



Standard (in person) £9 • Concessions (in person) £6 Standard (online) £6 Members FREE

Access Information

Due to the age and Grade Il listing of the building, there is no lift access to rooms above the ground floor.

All the ground-floor rooms are fully accessible by wheelchair. Main Hall (street access, step-free), Brockway Room (street access, step-free), Bertrand Russell Room (street access, shallow ramp), Hive Cafe (street access, step-free), There is also an accessible toilet on the ground floor opposite the Brockway Room.

If you have any questions regarding your access needs, please get in touch with our team and we will accommodate as best as we can. Get in touch:

Event has passed

Further Info

This event will be held with an in-person audience at Conway Hall and online via livestream. Everyone wishing to join this event must register for a ticket in advance.

If you have any accessibility enquiries, please contact us at / 020 7405 1818.

Read more about how we use Cookies in our Privacy Policy.


We need your help!

We host talks, concerts, performances, community and social events. However, we are an independent charity and receive no funding from the government. Everything we do is dependent upon our commercial activity and the generosity of supporters like you.

Donate Now