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

New content from ⁦@HistoryWM⁩ ‘Not a penny off' - Birmingham and The General Strike 1926 https://historywm.com/articles/the-1926-general-strike-in-birmingham

We might not have a coastline here in Shropshire but there are plenty of other places to get into the holiday vibe. Can't afford a yacht on the French Riviera? Why not don a bikini and hike a lift on a supplies barge? [Blists Hill PH/M/1/4/128] #HolidayFashion

A house of correction in the 19th century and a women's prison in the 20th, the largest in Western Europe. Holloway Prison needs a fitting legacy. A women's building, with specialist services & accommodation for vulnerable women would be ideal. Read more https://tinyurl.com/277h6yz4

The greatcoats our #Nightwatchmen wore had gone up in price by 5 shillings in 1833 since they’d last been bought in 1828 for 28/5 each – about £100 in today’s money. Fascinating to see how the costs are broken down, such as ‘Altering capes to fit the neck’.
#Textilehistorians

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Lovely postcard from the collection showing #Manchester Assize courts. Designed by Alfred Waterhouse and completed in 1864 they were demolished in 1957 & suffered heavy damage during the Blitz.

We hold some calendars of prisoners for the Assizes in our collection.

#SecretsOfTheMuseum @V_and_A @BBCTwo female convict prisoners made mosaic tiles which make the beautiful floor in Cast Courts, Room 46 of V&A. Made by women held in Woking convict prison around 1870s/1880s #prisonhistory #prison @prisonhistoryuk @Victorian @YvonneJewkes

New article out now on 'flash houses' - pubs alledgedly used by members of the 'criminal underworld' in 19th-century London: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/09526951211024561

Have you ever wanted to stand inside a Kiln?

Well, at Coalport China Museum, you can!

Come and take at these amazing brick structures from inside and out 👀

Book your tickets now: http://www.Ironbridge.org.uk/plan/ticket-prices

#Museum #EngineeringMarvel

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Development Manager, National and Networks @SampsCaroline wrote a blog about the Research Resilience event we ran with @history_uk, where she calls for more conversations between historians and archivists to shape future ways of working.

Read it here: https://www.history-uk.ac.uk/2021/07/19/reflections-research-resilience/