Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Villains and victims - Sheffield’s criminal past

The Quarter Sessions court in Sheffield was a formidable place for anyone who stepped on the wrong side of the law…
Established in 1880, the court’s initial function was to hear criminal cases.  The court sat every quarter, usually in January, April, July and October.  Following each session a Calendar of Prisoners was published to record the personal details of people tried at the session and their offences.  Details included: the name, age and occupation of the defendant; the offence (and victim’s name); when tried and before whom; verdict; particulars of previous convictions; and sentence or order of the court.  A full set of these survive at Sheffield Archives dating from 1880 to 1971.
Volunteers from Sheffield and District Family History Society have indexed the names of defendants and victims (1880 - 1910) from the early Calendars of Prisoners and some interesting cases have been revealed.  The sheer array of items stolen - from barrels of crabfish and tame rabbits to steel scrap and opera glasses - is mind boggling.
The indexes can be searched on our website.  Whether you’re looking for one of your ancestors, or just want to browse the index, you’ll find all aspects of Sheffield life revealed:

Our thanks go to Sheffield and District Family History Society for opening up this fascinating window on Victorian and Edwardian Sheffield.