Patented: History of Inventions

FORENSICS: Fingerprinting

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Episode notes

We hear from London’s most inaccessible museum, the Met police’s Crime Museum, and take you back to India in the time of the British Raj. We hear about the first murder case ever to hinge on fingerprint evidence.

No one had to invent fingerprints. They’ve been around for ages…But to be able to use fingerprints in fighting crime required an obsessive colonial administrator, hard science and the invention of an ingenious filing system that would revolutionise policing around the world.

Our guests today are Chandak Sengoopta, historian at Birkbeck University and author of Imprint of the Raj: How Fingerprinting was Born in Colonial India and Paul Bickley, curator of the Crime Museum housed in New Scotland Yard.

This is the second episode in a mini-series we’re bringing you all about the invention of Forensics. Next week it’s Lie Detectors.


Produced by Freddy Chick


Executive Producer is Charlotte Long


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