Proceedings of the Central Criminal Court

Summary:

This project, a continuation of the Old Bailey Proceedings Online, added a further 100,000 trials and 70 million words of text, extending the period covered from 1834 to 1913.

Project Status:

Completed

Funders:

Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)

Partners:

University of Sheffield
Open University
University of Hertfordshire

Subjects:

British Isles, digital archive, historical records, history, large datasets, online resource, social history

Technologies:

API, CSS, HTML, Java, Lucene, MySQL, Natural Language Processing, XML, XSLT

HRI Online Publication

Project Description

In 1834 the Old Bailey, the court where London’s serious crimes were tried, was given a new title and jurisdiction, and the established periodical which provided extensive accounts of its trials was renamed the Proceedings of the Central Criminal Court. This project, a continuation of the Old Bailey Proceedings Online 1674-1834, added a further 97,000 trials and 70 million words of text from the printed Proceedings to this database, extending the period covered to 1913, when publication of the Proceedings ceased.

Approximately 122,000 pages of text were digitised under the supervision of the Higher Education Digitisation Service at the University of Hertfordshire, using a combination of single rekeying and optical character recognition. Once the digitised page images and texts were transferred to the HRI, they were marked up with XML tags to identify key information such as names, locations, and types of crimes, verdicts and punishments, to facilitate online searching and statistical analysis. A combination of automated markup and manual tagging was used. The Old Bailey website, allowing users to search all the Proceedings published between 1674 and 1913, was launched in 2008. It also includes all surviving editions of the Proceeding’s sister publication, the Ordinary of Newgate’s Accounts, biographies of some 2,500 convicts executed between 1679 and 1772, compiled by the chaplain of Newgate Prison. These were digitized as part of a parallel project, Plebeian Lives and the Making of Modern London, which has digitised a wide range of additional primary sources about the lives of eighteenth-century Londoners.

Related Projects

Project Team

  • Prof. Robert Shoemaker (Department of History, University of Sheffield)
  • Prof. Tim Hitchcock (Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities Research Institute, University of Hertfordshire)
  • Prof. Clive Emsley (Department of History, Open University)
  • Dr Sharon Howard (Project Manager – University of Sheffield)
  • Ed MacKenzie (Digital Humanities Developer – University of Sheffield)
  • Jamie McLaughlin (Digital Humanities Developer – University of Sheffield)
  • Katherine Rogers (Digital Humanities Developer – University of Sheffield)