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Royal Courts of Justice in London

Where to find criminal justice system records

The main historic records of the criminal justice system can be found in the National Archives and local record offices. Learn more about these records.

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Court gavel

Assizes

The Assizes was a regional court circuit held twice-yearly, often dealing with more serious offences such as murder, rape and highway robbery.

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Port Arthur penitentiary, Tasmania

Source guide for tracing your transported convict ancestor(s)

Find out how to trace your transported criminal ancestors with our detailed source guide.

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cover of the Hull and East Riding source guide

Source Guide for Hull and East Riding

Download our Hull and East Riding source guide to researching your criminal past.

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old photo of a police force

Tracing your police ancestors

Find out more about the sources available for tracing your police ancestors.

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inside a reformatory school

Industrial and Reformatory School Registers

Industrial and Reformatory Schools registers contain a great deal of information about the criminal and destitute children who were sent to these institutions from the mid-nineteenth century until 1933.

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Hull Quarter Sessions gates

Quarter Sessions

Find out more about the Quarter sessions, which were local courts usually held four times a year in the seat of the county or county borough.

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Holloway prison

HMP Holloway: History and Sources

A history of Holloway prison, which was originally built as the New City of London Prison in 1852 and later re-designated to became the first female-only local prison in England.

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Latest Updates on Twitter

@Dan_Johnson19 @LincolnCastle @interwarcrime @ourcriminalpast At Gloucester Prison, day rooms originally for prisoners awaiting trial or those serving short terms in gaol - only convicts separated day and night. Later overcrowding meant convicts sometimes put together to work.

I’ve just written about the HMP Wandsworth quilt for my book, which is exhibited at the V&A museum and was created by inmates of the prison. The quilt draws on the architectural layout of the prison, which reflects Bentham’s panopticon design
https://t.co/H3MyFRjsMu

Last call today to register to catch @YvonneJewkes, Zoe Alker (Liverpool U), @LindaMulcahy7, @RhiannonPickin, @AndrewMillie, and Gonçalo Goncalves (Rio) this Friday, talking about criminal justice history and the built environment:

https://t.co/4JJFYtRZ8Y

Did you know… we have a team of documentation assistants who research and record our stuff (like paintings, objects, sculptures…) onto the museum database?

To find out more about this #MuseumJob , take a look at this post: https://t.co/wv8JNYr9Un #SecretsMW

Here's a #SecretsMW for #MuseumWeek, under this trapdoor is 'The Hold' where debtors would be placed rather than in the normal prison cells. Bit awkward to get into (and escape from...) so normally safely locked up, we wouldn't want to lose any visitors down there!

2

Government plan to follow Scotland on scrapping shorter jail sentences may not be the fix UK prisons need https://t.co/slKKMFwfwI

The next Leeds Historical Criminology even on the 19th June, has the fabulous @francescrook @lizzieseal and Vivien Miller (Nottingham) talking about the historical (and more recent) evolution of the death penalty. All welcome, please RT:
https://t.co/0KN2xrIZYp

Just heading across Humber! Off to visit Great Grimsby Family History Society to talk about Our Criminal Ancestors, Town Hall 7:30pm

The next Leeds Historical Criminology even on the 19th June, has the fabulous @francescrook @lizzieseal and Vivien Miller (Nottingham) talking about the historical (and more recent) evolution of the death penalty. All welcome, please RT:
https://t.co/0KN2xrIZYp