This website allows you to search millions of records from around fifty datasets, relating to the lives of 90,000 convicts from the Old Bailey. Use our site to search individual convict life archives, explore and visualise data, and to learn more about crime and criminal justice in the past.
Several record sets included on this site contain details of the petitions submitted by offenders and/or their families and friends to the Home Office for the reduction or revocation of their sentences.
The Home Office usually, although not always, forwarded the petition and any supporting documents to the trial judge (or the Recorder of London, if it was a case from the capital), asking for a recommendation on the case.
Pardons provide some of the richest detail available on the lives of offenders. In putting forward the grounds for mercy, petitions often provide details of the offender’s life and circumstances at the time of the crime.Find out more
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The Digital Panopticon is a Digital Transformations project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
A collaboration between the Universities of Liverpool, Oxford, Sheffield, Sussex and Tasmania, it is published by the Digital Humanities Institute.