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

The National Archives (TNA) holds the records of:

The National Archives holds a huge range of records available, many of which are also now digitised and available from www.findmypast.co.uk.

The best way to explore what is available at TNA is by using their excellent online guides. For example: Criminals and Convicts, Criminal Trials in the Assize Courts, 1559-1971 and Police.

Local Record Offices also hold some criminal justice and policing records. For example, these include

  • local and regional police and constabulary archives
  • records of the court (Assize, Quarter Sessions, Petty Sessions or Magistrates court)
  • local prison archives and reformatory and industrial school archives.

Survival and access can vary from archive to archive. Many record offices have excellent online information online (for example, the West Yorkshire Archives Service and the East Riding Archives Service).

Before you visit an archive make sure you read the guidance on the website. Many allow you to register and even order in advance, so it is worth doing some initial preparation before you go. Archive staff are usually happy to answer questions although you are advised to contact them in advance of your visit, especially for more complicated queries (see the Researching Here section for getting started at TNA).

Latest Updates on Twitter

The famous Nidderdale poachers, Jack & Lyish Sinkler, the spurious sons of Jenny Hebden. Heroes to the people of Pateley, they defied the Ripon authorities for over 40 years.
@nidderdaleuk @Pateley_Bridge @ourcriminalpast

This sign was displayed on Keighley Police Station until 1968 when the West Riding Constabulary #Yorkshire merged with six other forces to become the West Yorkshire Constabulary. @BD1policemuseum @KeighleyLHS @BritPoliceHist @Police_Gazette

The only known photo of 'Jack' Sinkler, Nidderdale poacher, outlaw and legend. The photo can be seen in the Nidderdale Museum, the old Pateley Workhouse, where he spent the last six months of his life. @nidderdaleuk @Pateley_Bridge @ourcriminalpast

For anyone feeling that 2020 is so far lacking discussion of medieval law and disorder, Year Books and Welsh praise poetry, I have a new article out: 'Judging a Hereford hanging: Agnes Glover v. Walter Devereux, William Herbert and others, 1457' https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/0047729X.2020.1712077

Our blog is the Social History Exchange. We see it as a digital version of our conference, continuing the discussion all year round. We're starting the New Year with a daily run-down of the ten most popular posts from 2019. Think of it as a reverse advent for #twitterstorians

Happy new year to our followers! This is a reminder that our CFP deadline is in NINE DAYS! Feel free to contact the organisers with any queries, we are keen to hear from a variety of scholars and their research
#MWC20 #histpsych #twitterstorians

We start with a tie for joint ninth place. The first is Michael Schoeppner’s β€˜Black Sailors and Legal History from the Bottom Up’ which explains the writing process behind the author’s prize-winning book on citizenship in Antebellum America:

https://socialhistory.org.uk/shs_exchange/black-sailors-and-legal-history-from-the-bottom-up/

🐎 This is a Hansom Cab, created by Joseph Hansom in 1834 who lived in Micklegate. It was a popular new form of transport as the large wheels meant it was safer travelling at high speeds, and still only needed to be pulled by one horse, making it an affordable form of transport!

This murky photo of the Thames towards Westminster Abbey is an incredibly interesting & early view of London, when the Houses of Parliament didn't exist. It was taken by Fox Talbot in June 1841 from his flat in Cecil Street. Parliament had burned to the ground in October 1834