Reference code(s): GB 0074 ACC/2186
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
Title: QUEEN'S BENCH COURT/ LONDON AND MIDDLESEX DEBTORS' PRISON
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 0.01 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Court of Queen's Bench
Originally Middlesex prisoners were kept in either of the City of London's gaols - Newgate or the Bridewell (near Blackfriars). In 1615-1616 a Middlesex Bridewell (also known as the Clerkenwell House of Correction) was built on a site between the present Corporation Row and Sans Walk (demolished in 1804). On the same site, adjacent and to the south of it, a House of Detention (for prisoners awaiting trial) was built in the late seventeenth century to ease the overcrowding in Newgate. This 'New Prison' was rebuilt in 1818, incorporating the site of the old Bridewell; and again in 1845; before being closed in 1877 and demolished in 1890, the Hugh Myddleton School being built on the site. A new Middlesex House of Correction had been built in 1794 in Coldbath Fields (on the present site of Mount Pleasant Post Office), and which was also closed in 1877, and demolished in 1889. Although debtors were one of the largest categories of prisoner, a separate gaol for them was not built in London until the beginning of the nineteenth century (in Whitecross Street); prior to this they were kept in Newgate.
The Court of King's Bench (or Queen's Bench, depending on the monarch) was founded circa 1200 to hear common pleas, although it came to specialise in pleas of special interest and concern to the king, such as those which involved his own property interests, or breach of his peace, or an error of judgment by another royal court. By 1675 the King's Bench was the highest court of common law in England and Wales, with jurisdiction over both civil and criminal actions. Civil business was conducted on the 'Plea Side' and criminal business on the 'Crown Side'. It was absorbed into the High Court in 1875 (source of information: The National Archives Research Guides "Legal Records Information 34" and "Legal Records Information 36").
Scope and content/abstract:
Legal records, comprising certificate of custody in the debtor's prison for London and Middlesex, 1838, and order for payment issued by the Court of Queen's Bench, 1848.
ACCESS AND USE
Language/scripts of material: English
System of arrangement:
Two documents in chronological order.
Conditions governing access:
Available for general access.
Conditions governing reproduction:
Copyright to these records rests with the Corporation of London.
Please see online catalogues at: http://search.lma.gov.uk/opac_lma/index.htm
Immediate source of acquisition:
Deposited in October 1985.
Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.
Date(s) of descriptions: November 2009 to February 2010