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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

Researching Criminal Ancestors - Hornsea & District Civic Society - Our Criminal Ancestors - looking forward to this talk on Weds evening. #crimhist https://t.co/ytDqgaGb5S

This week's female convict on display in British prison museums is Phoebe Harris, who was burnt at the stake outside of Newgate prison in 1786 for counterfeiting coins. She is on display in a video at @JusticeMuseum #WomensHistoryMonth #publichistory #museums #crimehistory

Help transcribe prison record of Dennis Corbett convicted of larceny in 1873 at 14 years old #crimehistory #childhist https///criminalcharacters.com/.jpg

Up bright & early to welcome @BBCYork to @RiponMuseums to chat to them about our new exhibition Secrets in the Cellar

Send a little girl named Rose Ann Reilly, aged nine years to St. Joseph’s Industrial School, until she attains the age of sixteen years. She was frequently found begging on the streets of the town at late hours. Northern Whig - Wednesday 06 August 1924

This weekend I got see the new 'Road to Recovery' exhibition by the @wyorksarchives, which focuses on the Stanley Royd Asylum. It was great, and I was struck by how the issue of surveillance dominated the institution's design - v. similar to penal structures.

Fyi @MrsAlghrani @lucie_wade @ourcriminalpast @AnnaLoisMckay https://t.co/DZCVEbu0UQ

trespass in search of game 1891 #Hampshire Observer Mar 3rd @HantsArchives defendants said they were hunting #hedgehogs 🦔🦔🦔Fined 3s each and 7s costs @hedgehogsociety @WildlifeOrphan1 @hedgehogreview @ourcriminalpast @thevicsoc @HantsPolHistory @RuralCrimeTeam @ChrisGPackham

Research Associate in Modern History at University of Bristol https://t.co/kiMkv5h5wM #twitterstorians

Another mock blue plaque has appeared in Hull - this time @alternaheritage have done one for John Venn next to the Drypool Bridge. The series of plaques celebrate local quirks & people.