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In addition to the Old Bailey sessions papers, what other primary sources are necessary for a balanced understanding

of the UK criminal justice process in the period 17501913?

John Walliss

In 2009, the Proceedings of the Old Bailey for the period 1674-1913 [The Proceedings of the Old Bailey; hereafter the Proceedings] were put online through a collaborative project between the Open University, the University of Hertfordshire and the University of Sheffield. The digitized proceedings, alongside the companion site London Lives 16901800, present the historian with a wealth of material on the operation of the criminal justice system during the period free of charge. The Proceedings are fully searchable and contain accounts of 197,0000 trials as well as supporting essays about the Old Bailey and the criminal justice process during the period. In addition to the qualitative material presented in the trial accounts, the site also has the functionality to allow the historian to generate tables and charts based on information contained in the Proceedings.1

www.oldbaileyonline.org. See also www.londonlives.org


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The Proceedings, however, only present a partial picture of the operation of the criminal justice process during the period 1750-1913. For a more balanced understanding, the historian has to consult a range of other primary sources, often in combination with each other. This essay will do two things. First, it will briefly examine the limitations of the Proceedings, showing how, despite John Langbeins claim that they are probably the best accounts we shall ever have of what transpired in ordinary English courts before the later eighteenth century, the information contained within them is limited in several ways. 2 Second, more substantively, the essay will then discuss four other primary sources Assize, Quarter Sessions and Summary Court records from other circuits, official statistics, newspapers, and books and periodicals, examining the ways in which they have been utilised by historians, how they can compliment other primary sources, as well their limitations. It will argue that only by consulting a range of primary sources in a process of triangulation can anything approximating a balanced understanding of the criminal justice process during the period be obtained.

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John H. Langbein, The Criminal Trial Before the Lawyers, The University of Chicago Law Review, 45, 2 (1978), 263-316, (p. 271).
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The material presented in Proceedings have been used by historians as a way of forming an image of crime and criminality in London during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in a number of ways. To take a few examples; Peter Linebaugh and more recently Andrea McKenzie used the Ordinary of Newgates Account to discuss public execution during the eighteenth century, the latter historian focusing particularly on the last dying speeches made by criminals and the role of religion in framing the execution scene.3 Malcolm Feeley, Deborah Little and Peter King have used the Old Bailey Sessions Papers in their discussions of women in the criminal justice system between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.4 More recently, Norma Landau has used the Sessions Papers alongside newspapers to examine the extent of crime in London in the eighteenth century.5

In spite of this, however, the Proceedings are not without problems as an historical source. Primarily, they can tell historians a lot about crime and the operation of justice in the capital and in one court, but nothing about crime and justice in the provinces of England; areas that were covered by other circuits. Second, while the information provided

Peter Linebaugh, The Ordinary of Newgate and His Account, in Crime in England 15501800, ed, by John S. Cockburn (London: Methuen & Co Ltd, 1977), 246-69; Andrea McKenzie, Tyburns Martyrs: Execution in England 1675-1775 (London: Hambledon Continuum, 2007). 4 Malcolm M. Feeley & Deborah L. Little, The Vanishing Female: The Decline of Women in the Criminal Process, 1687-1912, Law & Society Review 25, 4 (1991), 719-58; Peter King, Female Offenders, Work and Life-Cycle Change in Late-Eighteenth Century London, Continuity and Change 11, 1 (1996), 61-90. 5 Norma Landau, Gauging Crime in Eighteenth-Century London, Social History, 35, 4 (2010), 396-417.
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in the Proceedings is considered to be accurate, it is limited in several ways. The Proceedings do not contain a full transcript of what was said in court, often truncating or omitting completely the case for the defence. Legal arguments and the judges summing up were also frequently omitted, as were the speeches given by those convicted of capital cases. The commercial nature of the Proceedings also reflected which cases were reported, with cases involving sex or violence or those considered to be amusing being more fully reported than more trivial offences, such as theft of small amounts. That said, the amount of material presented in trial reports increased over the period in question. 6 Thus, the trial of an unnamed highway man on the 29th April 1674 runs to only 230 words, while the trial of Elizabeth Pettifer for murder on April 1st 1913 runs to eleven-times that length (2665 words).7

Clive Emsley, Tim Hitchcock and Robert Shoemaker, "The Proceedings - The Value Of the Proceedings as a Historical Source", Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.0, 28 May 2012), http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/static/Value.jsp (accessed 28th May 2012); Robert Shoemaker, The Old Bailey Proceedings and the Representation of Crime and Criminal Justice in Eighteenth-Century London, Journal of British Studies 47, 3 (2008), 559-80; Langbein, The Criminal Trial Before the Lawyers, Op. Cit; For a review of the Proceedings webpage itself, see Drew D. Gray, Review of The Old Bailey Proceedings Online (review no. 897), Reviews in History, www.history.ac.uk/reviews/review/897 (accessed 19th March 2012). 7 Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.0, 28 May 2012), April 1674, trial of Prisoner (t16740429-1); Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.0, 28 May 2012), April 1913, trial of PETTIFER, Elizabeth Florence (36, laundress) (t19130401-39).
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Many of the uses and limitations of the Proceedings can also be applied to Assize, Quarter and Summary Court records during the period. Quarter and Assize sessions reports have been widely used by historians to examine the operation of the criminal justice process between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries. Most notably, historians such as John Beattie, Peter King and John Minkes have used the records from Quarter and Assizes sessions to critique the claims made by Douglas Hay in his essay Property, Authority and the Criminal Law over the working of the Bloody Code between the mid-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries.8 John Beattie and Barry Godfrey and his colleagues have also examined court records, the latter scholars analysing them quantitatively, in their discussions of female offenders and sentencing patterns.9 In contrast to the Quarter and Assizes Sessions, Summary Courts have received somewhat less attention by historians, although useful work has been undertaken by Jennifer Davis

John M. Beattie, Crime and the Courts in Surrey 1736-1753, in Crime in England 15501800, ed, by John S. Cockburn (London: Methuen & Co Ltd, 1977), 155-86; Peter King, Decision-Makers and Decision-Making in the English Criminal Law, 1750-1800, The Historical Journal 27, 1 (1984), 25-58; John Minkes, Wales and the Bloody Code: the Brecon Circuit of the Court of Great Sessions in the 1750s, Welsh History Review, 22, 4 (2005), 673-704; Douglas Hay, Property, Authority and the Criminal Law, in Albions Fatal Tree: Crime and Society in Eighteenth-Century England, Douglas Hay, Peter Linebaugh, John G. Rule, E.P. Thompson, & Cal Winslow, (London: Verso, 1975 [2011]), 17-63. 9 John M. Beattie, The Criminality of Women in Eighteenth-Century England, Journal of Social History 8, 4 (1975), 80-116; Barry S. Godfrey, Stephen Farrell & Susanne Karstedt, Explaining Gendered Sentencing Patterns for Violent Men and Women in the LateVictorian and Edwardian Period, British Journal of Criminology 45 (2005), 696-720.
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and Drew Gray on the operation of Summary justice in the metropolis in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.10

The potential limitations of using Quarter Sessions and Assizes records have been discussed in depth by John Cockburn, John Beattie and Robert Shoemaker.11 Primarily, in contrast to the good preservation of Old Bailey material, much Assize and Quarter session material is missing completely, contain significant gaps which cannot be filled, or are too decayed or damaged to be consulted. Thus, in the case of the Chester Sessions, the National Record Office hold the Crown Books for between 1560 to 1711, but there is a gap in the material of over seventy years between 1757 and 1830. 12 Although some of this material for the period 1713-40 is partly filled by a Crown Book held at the Chester Public Record Office, there is still a significant gap in the record that makes longterm analysis almost impossible.13 The Quarter Session records held at the Chester PRO contain

Jennifer Davis, A Poor Mans System of Justice: The London Police Courts in the Second Half of the Nineteenth Century, The Historical Journal 27, 2 (1984), 309-35; Drew D. Gray, The Regulation of Violence in the Metropolis: the Prosecution of Assault in the Summary Courts, c. 1780-1820, The London Journal 32, 1 (2007), 75-87. 11 John S. Cockburn, Early-Modern Assize Records as Historical Evidence, Journal of the Society of Archivists, V (1975), 215-31; John M. Beattie, Judicial Records and the Measurement of Crime in Eighteenth Century England, in Crime and Criminal Justice in Europe and Canada, ed, by Louis A. Knafla (Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1981), 127-45; Robert B. Shoemaker, Using Quarter Sessions Records as Evidence for the Study of Crime and Criminal Justice, Archives 20, 90 (1993), 145-57. 12 The National Record Office, CHES 21, Palatinate of Chester: Courts of Great Sessions of Chester and Flint: Crown Books, 1532-1830. 13 Chester Public Record Office, ZCR 63/2/13, Crown Book of the Court of Session 171340.
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material from 1488-1971 and contain writs of summons, bills and indictments and constables and jurors presentments, although the record states that it is not possible to access some of the files as they are very dirty and impossible to consult without the possibility of damaging the documents. In order to consult much of this material, the historian would have to speak to the Archivist about the possibility of some remedial conservation work being carried out.14

A great deal of information contained in the existing records is also often unreliable. While the name of the defendent is typically accurate, bar the use of any aliases, their status or occupation is often either left blank or presented in broad terms. This, as Cockburn has observed, was to ensure that the indictment was not thrown out of court by clerks on a small technicality. In Middlesex, the designations yeoman was, he also suggests, used so regularly without detail given on the exact occupation of the defendant to make to render it meaningless. Women fared even worse, rarely being identified on the basis of their occupation, but rather typically by their marital status. Indeed, often the information about the offence presented in the various documents was contradictory, with Shoemaker finding only 22% of offences described in indictments and recognizances from Middlesex between 1664 and 1723 using the same language.

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Chester Public Record Office, ZQSF, Quarter Sessions Files, 1488-1971.


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More problematically, as Shoemaker has noted, the information recorded in the existing records represent only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the number of offences that were recorded, let alone the number of offences which actually occurred. 15 Prior to the mid-nineteenth century, the majority of cases were brought to court by victims who had to apprehend the culprit and then act as prosecutor in court. Many offenders were consequently never brought to trial, with minor crimes often being dealt with informally outside of the criminal justice process. A victim may, for example, have agreed not to pursue the matter if an item was returned, or an offender may have been punished within the community. In other cases, a victim may have been satisfied to see the offender punished prior to their trial by being held in a gaol, and would not attend court to pursue the matter any further.16 Moreover, cases were often prosecuted in different ways than through indictments, with many petty offences being settled summarily or through offenders being bound over by recognizances. For these reasons, while the court records can provide a useful window into the operation of the criminal justice process during the period, they must be approached with caution and can again only provide a partial image.

Information of a seemingly more substantial nature on the criminal justice process from the nineteenth century is provided in the official statistics published from the early

Shoemaker, Using Quarter Session Records, 146. 16 See Barry Godfrey & Paul Lawrence, Crime and Justice 1750-1950. (Cullompton, Devon, Willan Publishing, 2005), chapter 3; Beattie, Judicial Records and the Measurement of Crime in Eighteenth-Century England, Op. Cit.
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nineteenth century onwards. Parliament began to collect statistics on various aspects of the criminal justice process in 1810, and over the course of the century (particularly after 1857 with the annual publication of Judicial Statistics) the information contained in the criminal statistics became significantly more detailed and comprehensive.17 Consequently, while the early reports contain simply the number of persons in each county and in England and Wales as a whole who had been committed for trial on one of fifty indictable offences, discharged on no true bill being found, acquitted, or convicted, as well as the sentences imposed for each conviction, the post 1857 reports contain significantly more information. Primarily, for the first time, the reports contain information on those tried for summary as well as indictable offences. In both cases, the number of offences committed during the year is presented along with the number of apprehended persons either discharged, bailed, bailed for trail, committed for want of Sureties or committed for trial in each county, borough or district as well as in England and Wales as a whole. The class of persons proceeded against for both indictable and summary offences is also presented, distinguishing between the number of males and females in each category. Tables also summarise the size of the police force in each county, borough or district in numbers and in proportion to the population, as well as their cost and how much of this was met by the Treasury. Tables on the prisons summarise among other things, the number of persons

For an overview of the development of nineteenth century crime statistics see Leon Radzinowicz & Roger Hood, A History of the English Criminal Law and its Administration from 1750: Volume 5, The Emergence of Penal Policy (London: Stevens & Sons, 1986), chapter 4.
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committed to each institution, how many times and for how long they had previously been committed as well their age, sex, birthplace, occupation and level of instruction. The costs of running each prison is also presented, itemised according to building and establishment costs, the salary, clothing and allowances and pensions of the staff, as well as the expenses for the prisoners. Similar information on committals are also presented in the tables for reformatory schools and asylums.

The cornucopia of material presented in the official statistics have been used by historians in a number of ways, particularly by those interested in long term trends, such as in violent crime.18 However, contemporaries and historians have raised a number of concerns about both the reliability and validity of the statistics, with some historians, such as J.J. Tobias claiming that they have little to tell us about crime and criminals in the nineteenth century.19 Writing a century before Tobias, James T. Hammick noted in the See, for example, V.A.C. Gatrell & T. Hadden, Criminal Statistics and their Interpretation in Nineteenth Century Social History: Essays in the Use of Quantitative Methods for The Study of Social Data, ed, by E.A. Wrigley (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1972), 336-96; V.A.C. Gatrell, The Decline of Theft and Violence in Victorian and Edwardian England in Crime and the Law: The Social History of Crime in Early Modern Europe, eds., by V.A.C. Gatrell, Bruce Lenman & Geoffrey Parker (London, Europa, 1980), 238-337; Manuel Eisner, Modernization, Self-Control and Lethal Violence: The Long-term Dynamics of European Homicide Rates in Theoretical Perspective, British Journal of Criminology 41 (2001), 618-38; Peter King, The Impact of Urbanization on Murder Rates and on the Geography of Homicide in England and Wales, 1780-1850, The Historical Journal 53, 3 (2010), 671-98. 19 J.J. Tobias, Crime and Industrial Society in the Nineteenth Century (London: B.T. Batsford Ltd, 1967), p. 21. More recently Rob Sindell has echoed Tobias, concluding that that as a direct measure of criminality the usefulness of the criminal statistics is highly suspect - ; Rob Sindall, The Criminal Statistics of Nineteenth Century Cities: A New
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Journal of the Statistical Society of London, how improved as are Judicial Statistics in the main, they are still in some respects, defective and unsatisfactory.20 Thirty years later, William Douglas Morrison concluded that the actual number of offences annually committed is always largely in excess of the amount of officially recorded crime.21 Indeed, in a recent series of provocative articles, Howard Taylor has suggested that the statistics may in fact be fictions created by agents within the criminal justice system to keep down the costs of prosecutions and to create the appearance that the police were doing more efficient job than was actually the case.22

Historians such as Tobias and Sindall have pointed to a number of inaccuracies and inconsistencies that, they argue, seriously undermine the crime statistics as an historical source. It was only from 1892, for example, that the statistical year for all returns ended on Approach, Urban History Yearbook, 1986, 28-36, (p. 32). 20 James T. Hammick, On the Judicial Statistics of England and Wales, with Special Reference to the Recent Returns Relating to Crime Journal of the Statistical Society of London, 30, 3 (1867), pp. 375-426, (p. 380). 21 William D. Morrison, The Interpretation of Crime Statistics Journal of the Royal Statistical Society 60, 1 (1897), 1-32, (p. 3). 22 Howard Taylor, The Politics of the Rising Crime Statistics of England and Wales, 19141960, Crime, History & Societies 2, 1 (1998), 5-28; Howard Taylor, The Political Economy of Criminal Statistics since 1850, The Economic History Review 51, 3 (1998), 569-90; Howard Taylor Forging the Job: A Crisis of Modernization or Redundancy for the Police in England and Wales, 1900-39, British Journal of Criminology 39, 1 (1998), 113-35. For criticisms of Taylors thesis see Robert M. Morris, Lies, Damned Lies and Criminal Statistics: Reinterpreting the Criminal Statistics in England and Wales, Crime, History & Societies 5, 1 (2001), 111-27; Barry S. Godfrey, Changing Prosecution Practices and Their Impact on Crime Figures, 1857-1940, British Journal of Criminology, 48 (2008) 17189; John E. Archer, Mysterious and Suspicious Deaths: Missing Homicides in North-West England, 1850-1900, Crime, History & Societies, 12, 1 (2008), 2-17.
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31st of December. Until this time, the returns were collected at different times of the year the local and convict prisons being submitted on the 31st March, the police returns on the 27th September, the reformatory and industrial schools on the 29th of September, the criminal lunatic returns on the 31st of October, and the Quarter Sessions and Assizes Courts on the 31st of December. Consequently, the information presented in each set of returns covers different twelve-month periods.

The reliability of the statistics is also brought into question through the inconsistent ways in which police forces reported crime. Prior to 1861, the classification of known thieves and depredators was used by the Metropolitan police for anyone who had thus being convicted. After 1861, however, only those believed to be active criminals were classified as known criminals and, after 1864, only those who had committed a crime were so classified. Similarly, in Gloucestershire, anyone who had been convicted of theft would be classified as a known thief. In Yorkshire, in contrast, anyone who was known to do honest work would not be classified as a known thief, even if they had been convicted of theft. Consequently, whereas in one period Yorkshire returned 951 known thieves out of a population of 1,174,000, Gloucestershire returned 777 out of a population of only 400,000.23 Such inconsistency was also to be found in the manner in which infanticide was often classified by the police as concealment of birth rather than the capital offence of Thomas B. Lloyd-Baker, Abstracts and Inferences founded upon the Official Criminal Returns of England and Wales for the Years 1854-9, with Special Reference to the results of Reformatories Journal of the Statistical Society of London 23, 4 (1860), 427-454.
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murder.24 Information on the character and previous convictions of prisoners can also not be relied upon to be accurate. Prisoners might also lie about their religion; claiming to be a Roman Catholic in order to avoid chapel or, conversely, a Roman Catholic might claim to be a Protestant to avoid discrimination or even for the daily opportunity to leave their cell to attend worship. They might also falsely declare their occupation or level of education in order to obtain desirable work in prison or gain admittance to the prison school.25

Changes in both the law and in policing also had an impact on the criminal statistics in a number of ways. For example, between 1848 and 1850 there was a rise in the number of juvenile offenders within the statistics, a state of affairs that could be interpreted as the outcome of a crime wave among juveniles. The explanation, however, was simpler: in 1850 the age of maturity was raised from fourteen to sixteen years of age by the Juvenile Offenders Act. Similarly, the Summary Jurisdiction Act of 1879 transferred some 3,000 cases that would have been tried as indictable offences to summary jurisdiction A similar fall in the number of committals for indictable offences against property from 23,241 in 1853 to 15,928 in 1856 can equally be explained as a consequence of the 1855 Criminal Justice Act, that transferred a large number of formerly indictable larcenies to summary jurisdiction.26 Likewise, as Sindall has observed, the effectiveness of the police in securing convictions improved, largely as a consequence of more thorough evidence gathering.
24 Hammick,

On the Judicial Statistics of England and Wales, Op. Cit. 25 Tobias, Crime in Industrial Society in the Nineteenth Century, Op. Cit. 26 Gatrell & Hadden, Criminal Statistics and their Interpretation, Op. Cit.
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Thus, while 40% of those brought before metropolitan magistrates were discharged in 1858, by 1865 this had fallen to 30%. In this way, he concludes, an increasingly efficient police force ironically produced an increase in the number of criminals, at least on paper.27

Finally, there is the issue of the dark figure of crime; that many acts that could be classified as criminal are either not reported to nor detected by the police and hence do not figure in the returns. This is particularly the case with the reports for the period before 1857, which deal only with those persons who have been committed to trial on indictable offenses. While the post-1857 reports included returns on indictable offenses known to the police, the true number of crimes committed cannot be known because, as is still the case, a vast number are never reported to the police. Indeed, as Peter King has recently argued, this may even have been the case with incidences of the most serious of all offenses, murder; many incidences of which were either not discovered or reported to the authorities or went unreported due to the way in which the Home Office compiled the statistics. Consequently, while using offenses known to the police provides a more accurate measure of crime in society than the number persons arrested and brought to trial, it is still nevertheless a partial one.
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Sindall, The Crime Statistics of Nineteenth Century Cities, Op. Cit. 28 Peter King, The Impact of Urbanization on Murder Rates, Op. Cit. See also Archer, Mysterious and Suspicious Deaths, Op. Cit.
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Such issues have led some historians to approach the statistics in a different way. Rather than drawing on them to provide statistical information on aspects of the criminal justice system during the period, historians adopting an interactionist position analyse them as representations instead of changes within the justice system, such as differing policing or sentencing patterns.29 In his work on crime in the Midlands between 1835 and 1860, David Phillips adopted an interactionist perspective, arguing that the relationship between offences and law enforcement agencies is a reciprocal one as, on the one hand, the amount and type of offences committed will influence the actions of law enforcement agencies (who may, for example, choose to prioritise certain types of offence or offender or make an example of those found guilty of certain offences) while, on the other, such actions will influence which offenders are arrested and subsequently punished. Information on offences and offenders presented in the official statistics will then, in turn, both influence what contemporaries believe is the relative level of criminality in their society and lead to further responses from agents within the criminal justice system.30

More recently, Chris A. Williams has applied an interactionist perspective to his analysis of the police returns for Sheffield in the mid-nineteenth century. He shows how the justice system exercised a large degree of discretion in terms of who was arrested,

Barry S. Godfrey, Paul Lawrence & Chris A. Williams, History & Crime (London, Sage, 2008). 30 David Philips, Crime and Authority in Victorian England: The Black Country 1835-60. London: Croom Helm, 1977).
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committed for trial and convicted. Thus, while between 1845 and 1862, no person under ten years of age was convicted on an indictment, the proportion aged between fifteen and thirty ranged between 5.4% and 5.9%. In addition, only 1.5% of those indicted above sixty were convicted. The age of the defendant, therefore, he argues would appear to have influenced how they were treated by the justice system. The same was true in regard to gender, with women being twice as likely as men in the period to be discharged at trial (51.8% to 25.8%). Overall, he suggests, the police were targeting forms of anti-social behaviour, such as drunkenness, rather than for crimes where there was an identifiable victim. Finally, he shows how decisions were made about what charge a prisoner would face at trial, with some offenders having their offence re-labelled in order to more successfully secure a conviction. The returns thus, he concludes, do not record the actual level and types of crime in Sheffield that occurred during the period, but, rather, represent the outcome of a series of decisions made by the police and Justices about who to arrest, who to commit to trial, and for what kinds of offences they should be tried.31

This latter approach to the crime statistics - seeing them as social constructions and as fundamentally part of the process that they are representing - has also been applied to the study of newspapers. In many ways, the study of both the local and national press has Chris A. Williams, Counting Crimes or Counting People: Some Implications of MidNineteenth Century British Police Returns, Crime, History & Societies 4, 2 (2000), 77-93. See also Barry Godfrey, Changing Prosecution Practices and Godfrey, Farrall & Karstedt, Explaining Gendered Sentencing Patterns for Violent Men and Women in the Late-Victorian and Edwardian Period, Op. Cit.
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been made easier by the increasing digitization of newspapers in recent years. The historian now has access to a significant amount and range of newspaper reportage from across the country covering the period in question. National newspapers such as The Times, The Observer, The Guardian, The Scotsman and the Irish Times are all available online and provide coverage for most of the period. Eighteenth and nineteenth century local newspapers are also available online via the British Librarys Nineteenth Century Newspapers and British Newspaper Archive databases. In addition to these resources, public libraries and public record offices contain many more local newspapers on microfiche.

Developing on the formative work in the field by Peter King, Judith Walkowitz, Rob Sindall and Jennifer Davis in the 1980s and 1990s,32 scholarship over the last decade has examined how crime and criminal trials were reported in eighteenth- and nineteenth-

Peter King, Newspaper Reporting, Prosecution Practice and Perceptions of Urban Crime: The Colchester Crime Wave of 1765, Continuity and Change 2 (1987), 423-54; Judith Walkowitz, City of Dreadful Delight: Narratives of Sexual Danger in Late-Victorian London. (Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1992); Rob Sindall, Street violence in the nineteenth century: media panic or real danger? (Leicester, Leicester University Press, 1990); Jennifer Davis, The London Garotting Panic of 1862: A Moral Panic and the Creation of the Criminal Class in mid-Victorian England, in Crime and the Law: The Social History of Crime in Western Europe since 1500., eds, by V.A.C. Gatrell, Bruce Lenman, & Geoffrey Parker (London: Europa Publications Ltd., 1980), 190-213.
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century newspapers33 and in popular crime literature (particularly broadsides).34 Drawing on the work of the criminologist Stanley Cohen, a number of historians have analysed the role played by newspapers in the period in creating moral panics around certain forms of criminality or deviant behaviour.35 Peter King, in particular, has examined the recurring patterns in moral panics around violent street crime over a two-and-a-half century period, arguing that the claim that such panics are an inherently modern occurrence needs to be rethought. More recently, Christoper A. Casey has discussed the role of the Victorian press in creating a belief that crime was rising when the statistics showed that the opposite was the case. The increasing emphasis on crime in the press, he suggests, led contemporaries to believe that crime was in fact increasing when, instead, it was the

Simon Deveraux, From Sessions to Newspaper? Criminal Trial Reporting, the Nature of Crime, and the London Press, The London Journal 32, 1 (2007), 1-27; Elizabeth Snell, Discourses of Criminality in the eighteenth-century press: the presentation of crime in The Kentish Post, 1717-1768, Continuity and Change 22, 1 (2007), 13-47; Peter King, Newspaper Reporting and Attitudes to Crime and Justice in late-eighteenth - and earlynineteenth century London, Continuity and Change 22, 1 (2007), 73-112; Peter King, Making Crime News: Newspapers, Violent Crime and the Selective Reporting of Old Bailey Trials in the late Eighteenth Century, Crime, History & Societies 13, 1 (2009), 91116; Landau, Gauging Crime in Late Eighteenth-Century London. 34 Phillipe Chassaige, Popular Representations of Crime: The Crime Broadside - a Subculture of Violence in Victorian Britain, Crime, History & Societies 3, 2 (1999), 23-55. 35 Stanley Cohen, Folk Devils and Moral Panics: The Creation of Mods and Rockers (London, Routledge, 2002) Peter King, Moral Panics and Violent Street Crime 1750-2000: A Comparative Perspective, in Comparative Histories of Crime eds, by Barry S. Godfrey, Clive Emsley & Graeme Dunstall (Cullompton: Willan Publishing, 2003) 53-71. See also the contributions to two collections of essays edited by Judith Rowbotham and Kim Stevenson: Judith Rowbotham & Kim Stevenson, eds, Behaving Badly: Social Panic and Moral Outrage - Victorian and Modern Parallels. (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003); Judith Rowbotham & Kim Stevenson, eds, Criminal Conversations: Victorian Crimes, Social Panic and Moral Outrage. (Columbus: The Ohio State University Press, 2005).
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amount of crime reportage that was increasing, not necessarily crime itself. 36 While much of this work has focused on London and national newspapers, a growing body of work has begun to focus on representations of crime in the provincial press. 37 Complimenting V.A.C Gattrells magisterial discussion of capital punishment and execution during nineteenth century, for example, John Tulloch and Zoe Dyndor have examined in detail the representation of executions in local newspapers in Lincoln and Northamptonshire respectively.38 In doing so, they have shown the role played by the local press in a form of national dialogue over capital punishment itself, particularly after the 1820s.

Two other useful textual sources for the study of the criminal justice process during the period are periodicals and books. Again, as with newspapers, these sources can be used to illustrate contemporary views of crime and justice, but they can also be used to examine the emergence of discourses around crime and criminality during the period. Notable here is the work of the criminologist David Garland, who has drawn on a variety of nineteenth- and early-twentieth century criminological periodicals and books to examine Christopher A. Casey, Common Misconceptions: The Press and Victorian Views of Crime, Journal of Interdisciplinary History XLI, 3 (2011), 367-91. 37 Although see the work of Andrew Hobbs on how the distinction between provincial and national newspapers may be an artificial one during the nineteenth century at least Andrew Hobbs When The Provincial Press Was The National Press (c.1836-c.1900), International Journal of Regional and Local Studies 5, 1 (2009), 6-43. 38 V.A.C. Gatrell, The Hanging Tree: Execution and the English People 1770-1868 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996); John Tulloch, The Privatising of Pain: Lincoln Newspapers, Mediated Publicness and the end of Public Execution, Journalism Studies 7, 3 (2006), 437-51; Zoe Dyndor, Death Recorded: Capital Punishment and the Press in Northampton, 1780-1834, Midland History 33, 4 (2008), 179-95.
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the emergence of a science of the criminal during the period.39 Moreover, like many contemporary newspapers, such works are increasingly being digitized in online archives, such as googlebooks and JSTOR.

III

This essay has examined what other sources in addition to the Old Bailey sessions papers are necessary for a balanced understanding of the UK criminal justice process in the period 17501913. It has discussed how historians have made use of records from the Assize and Quarter Session records from other circuits, official statistics covering the period 1810 onwards, national and local newspapers and books and periodicals. In doing so, it has highlighted how each of the sources provide a partial picture of the criminal justice process during the period, and how serious questions can be asked about the reliability and validity of some of the sources, particularly the assize records and the official statistics. Finally, it has suggested that newspapers and other textual sources can be examined as part of the criminal justice system - in the sense of influencing what is seen to be the state of crime in society and in some cases creating crime waves - rather than simply reporting crime. David Garland, The Criminal and his Science: A Critical Account of the Formation of Criminology at the End of the Nineteenth Century The British Journal of Criminology, 25, 2 (1985), 109-37.
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For a balanced understanding of the criminal justice system during the period, the historian should use use a variety of sources in triangulation. Assize records could be supplemented with further information provided in newspaper reports, or the historian could examine the impact of perceived newsworthiness on what cases were reported and how they were reported. The official statistics could also, when used with caution,40 provide broad statistical data on particular crimes or punishments, that could then be examined in detail through court records. The historian interested in the operation of the Bloody Code could, for example, ascertain the broad trends on the number of capital cases in the late-eighteenth and early nineteenth-century where the convicted criminal was not convicted and then examine court records, including petitions and (where they exist) the judges notes, to try and uncover the decision making process in the court. (S)he could also examine what role, if any, local newspaper commentary played in appeals and reprieves.41 In cases where the convict was executed, the historian could then examine newspaper reports of the execution, focusing on how it represented and the extent of coverage given to it - either in column inches or geographically. Were some criminals and executions deemed more newsworthy than others and, in an era where local news was shared across the country, which executions/types of criminals were deemed of interest See Gatrell & Hadden, Criminal Statistics and their Interpretation for a discussion of what limiting conditions should be applied to the statistics for the analysis of longterm trends. 41 Martin J. Wiener, Convicted Murderers and the Victorian Press: Condemnation Vs. Sympathy, Crimes and Misdemeanors 1, 2 (2007), 110-25.
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often at the other end of the country? Finally, they could compare accounts of executions presented in elite national newspapers with how they were presented in more plebeian documents, such as broadsides or flash ballads.42

Both local and national newspaper reporting of crime could be examined to ascertain the way in which aspects of the criminal justice process more broadly were reported. The period in question saw the emergence of a professional police force, a growth in the number of prisons, as well as the abolition of transportation, and a historian could examine the ways in which these changes were both reported in the press and the way in which newspaper reportage and debate may have influenced changes in criminal policy. By examining newspapers aimed at both elite and non-elite, metropolitan and regional audiences, (s)he could examine how reportage and discussion of these debates differed depending on their audience. The historian might also examine local newspapers in triangulation with trial records and criminal statistics to ascertain whether, and in what ways, newspaper-fueled moral panics impacted on the criminal justice process. (S)he could in this way, examine the impact of a moral panic on sentencing patterns - reflected in both the assizes reports and the statistics - and the impact of the panic on long term trends. The same is true of books and periodicals. A historian influenced by the work of Michel Foucault may, like Garland cited above, wish to examine the learned periodicals in cogent disciplines to examine the emergence of a new form of governmentally based
42

Cf Gatrell, The Hanging Tree, Op Cit.


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around medical and criminological discourses.43 (S)he could then also examine the impact, if any, of these discourses in sentencing at both the Old Bailey and other assizes.

Finally, there are a wealth of other miscellaneous sources that could add further richness to our understanding of the criminal justice process during the period. Such sources would include such items as images (photographic, paintings or sketches), maps and plans, diaries or any of the other documents generated by the criminal justice process, such as warrants, police or gaol records. These sources could also be used to crossreference the information presented in the other sources discussed above or possibly even fill gaps in the record. For example, the city and county gaols in Chester were demolished over the course of the nineteenth century and there is only one contemporary image of the former. However, by consulting maps, plans, travelogue descriptions, archeological reports, as well as the report of John Howard in the late eighteenth century on prisons , the historian can build up an image of both institutions. Prison records for both institutions can then be used to enhance our understanding of how both operated during the period.44 Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (London: Penguin Books Ltd, 1991). 44 For the plans of Chester County Gaol by Thomas Harrison see Chester Public Record Office, ZCR 7/3, Thomas Harrison Collection. For travelogue descriptions, see Joseph Hemmingway, Panorama of the City of Chester (Chester, T. Griffith, 1836) and Thomas Hughes, The Strangers Handbook to Chester and its Environs (Chester, Thomas Catherall, 1856). The Chester City Gaol at Northgate is also discussed in John Howard, The State of the Prisons in England and Wales (Warrington, William Eyres, 1777). For an archeological report on the site of the second Chester City Gaol, see K.J. Matthews, An Archaeological Evaluation on the Site of a proposed Extension to the Queen's School, Chester, March 1992 (Council of the City of Chester, Department of Leisure Services
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To sum up, while the Old Bailey sessions papers - and the Old Bailey Online webpage - are an excellent resource for our understanding of the criminal justice process during the period, it is only one resource that should be consulted by the historian interested in the crime and criminality. Other sources, such as assize reports, official statistics, newspapers, books and periodicals and other miscellaneous sources should also be consulted in triangulation. Only in doing so can a balanced understanding, as far as it is possible, of the criminal justice process during the period be achieved.

(4721 words - excluding footnotes and bibliography)

Archaeological Service, 1992). Various records for both gaols are also held at the Chester Public Record Office (reference QAB).
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Bibliography
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