The Old Bailey Courthouse was a public place, with numerous spectators, and the reputation of the For further information on this topic, see How to Read an Old Bailey Trial. .. In fact, reports of convictions for this offence from that date also contain no testimony, and the crime Old Bailey Proceedings Online. The first published collection of trials at the Old Bailey dates from , and from is available on the About the Proceedings pages of the Old Bailey Online. The Old Bailey Online contains accounts of the trials conducted at London's central From this date a small number of more serious cases from other parts of .
The search pages do require a bit of thought to retrieve statistical data but the site offers a useful guide to conducting searches under each heading keyword, surname, offence, punishment etc. Statistical searches can be displayed as a simple table, or as bar or pie charts. This is another time saving device that this resource offers. The trials themselves are fascinating documents of social history, of use to a wide range of people — not all of them academics and certainly not all of them historians of crime.
The proceedings contain a wealth of social and cultural history. If one is interested in the fashions and consumer behaviour of the 18th and 19th centuries then the lists of goods stolen and from where is invaluable. I have recently used the site to explore the nature of burglary in the second half of the 19th century to try and see how householders and servants described these invasions of their homes. Others have been using the OBO to look at gender or to search for ethnic minorities in the records of trials.
All this is made much easier by the digitisation of the proceedings and the carefully constructed database. The authors of the project, Professors Tim Hitchcock from the University of HertfordshireRobert Shoemaker from the University of Sheffield and Clive Emsley from the Open Universityalong with their team of researchers, have also published historical essays and bibliographies on a range of topics directly related to the material in the resource.
Thus we have mini-articles on crime and punishment, gender, the Old Bailey courthouse and London itself. These are properly referenced and written to the highest academic standards.Central Criminal Court, The Old Bailey
As a result I am able to direct students of all ages to these essays with the confidence that they might find something more useful to read on the web than poorly referenced cut and pastes from Wikipedia. Hitchcock and Shoemaker have also produced a volume of cases from the Old Bailey which has been well received and offers students and the general reader another useful overview of the nature of the Old Bailey court and the sorts of crimes and offenders that came before it.
It has recently begun to carry advertisements to help it continue to exist as a free resource for users and these, so far, have not detracted from the content. Many other useful digitised resources such as the Burney Collection of English NewspapersEighteenth-Century Collections Online ECCO or the Times Digital Archive have high subscription charges that are sometimes beyond the budgets of smaller university libraries let alone the pockets of individual researchers or members of the public.
The fact that the OBO is a free to all resource makes it extremely valuable. In giving talks to local history societies on the nature of crime and punishment I find that local historians and genealogists are also using the site for their own research. Thus the OBO offers added value to a wide range of users.
This means the site can continually be updated as it has been since its creation in as new resources and information becomes available.
- Proceedings by Date
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There are quizzes and source material for both schoolteachers and university lecturers to use. I have been using the OBO site in undergraduate teaching for the past five years and now get students to recreate trials from the proceedings and discuss the themes and issues that relate to the history of crime across the 18th and 19th centuries.
The students find it easy to use, rich in detail and fascinating. The OBO is also an attractive resource.
The Proceedings - The Value Of the Proceedings as a Historical Source - Central Criminal Court
It contains plenty of high quality images and is presented in a readable font with neat links to content elsewhere on the site. It looks serious without being off-putting for the casual visitor for which the designer, Mark Hadley, deserves credit.
In terms of its technical design the site works extremely well and has very clear and detailed information about the digitisation and transcription process with clear acknowledgement of all those involved from the Gale Groups who had previously published the microfilm collection of the Proceedings from to the Humanities Research Institute HRI at Sheffield and the Higher Education Digitisation service at the University of Hertfordshire for their contributions to the project.
This gives the careful visitor the opportunity to seek out expertise and advice for similar future projects.
The OBO website is highly professional and well designed resource available free to the general public, academics, schools and students of all ages. It is hard to find fault with it but I would like to offer a small note of caution by way of balance. The digitisation of the Old Bailey Proceedings and other similar printed sources such as newspapers presents historians and others with some serious issues that need to be considered. First, the Proceedings do not contain all of the trials that took place at the Old Bailey between and Nor do the trials themselves offer a verbatim record of what took place in court, both facts that are recognised by the authors of the site and clearly explained.
In fact, she even forged a letter of attorney from her own mother. Two months later, in Junehe again wrote to the Navy Board, detailing forged documents supposedly from three people — a Captain Leake, former commander of the Sally Rose ship; Katherine Lovelace; and one Anne Lowe, deceased.
William Rycroft, a seaman on the Victory ship, had returned to England and gone looking for his owed wages.
Certain classes of forgery were felonies without benefit of clergy, but luckily for Leah, at the time she committed her crimes, they did not come under this category.
Legislation was passed in to tackle the problem. But in Januarythe London Gazette reported that she was up to her old tricks. She was sentenced to stand on the pillory in front of the Navy Pay Office, which was on the corner of Great Winchester Street and Old Broad Street in London, and to stay in prison for a month. Perhaps, brought up by her mother to forge documents, she was unable, or reluctant, to earn a living any other way.
From the late 18th-century onwards, there was a growing reluctance to discuss sexual offencesespecially homosexuality, in any detail. Finally, it must be remembered that when defendants pleaded guilty, which was increasingly common from the s onwardsthere would be very little to report. Unfortunately for researchers today, there was no legal requirement to take full shorthand transcripts of trial proceedings before the early 20th century and for the vast majority of 'ordinary' trials in London, the Proceedings provide the fullest record available.
You may however be able to find more information about a particular case in newspapers or pamphletsor in the manuscript court records ; see also this useful online guide.
Sorry, we are not the Old Bailey and we have nothing to do with the day-to-day running of the Central Criminal Court or Old Bailey, as it is often known. You need to contact them directly with queries about visits, work experience or current and recent cases. More information on the Old Bailey can be found here. Where can I find them? Unfortunately, we can't help you with this enquiry. The Proceedings of the Old Bailey website provides details oftrials from to but we cannot assist you with details of trials outside these dates.
You might find the following book, written by the project directors, of interest: Beyond this, consult the introductory reading sections on the historical background pages for a wide range of suggestions for relevant reading.
Researching Crime and Justice 1 Can you tell me what the 'benefit of clergy' is? Many phrases are explained in the glossary. If you can't find the answer here, you may find it within the Historical Background pageswhich provide more in-depth information on topics such as crimes and punishments. For example, a detailed explanation of the term 'benefit of clergy' can be found on the Punishments page.
If you can't find the answer within the glossary or the Historical Background pages, let us know - you may have found something that we need to add to the glossary.