Graphical version

London Metropolitan Archives



Reference code(s): GB 0074 SWLS

Held at: London Metropolitan Archives


Date(s): 1966-1971

Level of description: Collection

Extent: 0.16 linear metres

Name of creator(s): South West London Quarter Sessions


Administrative/Biographical history:

The origins of the Justices of the Peace lie in the temporary appointments of 'conservators' or 'keepers' of the peace made at various times of unrest between the late twelfth century and the fourteenth century. In 1361 the 'Custodis Pacis' were merged with the Justices of Labourers, and given the title Justices of the Peace and a commission (see WJP). The Commission (of the Peace) gave them the power to try offences in their courts of Quarter Sessions, appointed them to conserve the peace (within a stated area), and to enquire on the oaths of "good and lawfull men" into "all manner of poisonings, enchantments, forestallings, disturbances, abuses of weights and measures" and many other things, and to "chastise and punish" anyone who had offended against laws made in order to keep the peace.

During the sixteenth century the work of the Quarter Sessions and the justices was extended to include administrative functions for the counties. These were wide ranging and included maintenance of structures such as bridges, gaols and asylums, to regulating weights, measures, prices and wages, and, probably one of their biggest tasks, enforcing the Poor Law.

The bulk of the administrative work was carried out on one specific day during the court's sitting known as the County Day. By the beginning of the nineteenth century, it was clear that the Quarter Session's structure was unable to cope with the administrative demands on it, and it lost a lot of functions to bodies set up specifically to deal with particular areas - the most important of these was the Poor Law, which was reformed in 1834. By the end of the century and the passing of the Local Government Act in 1889, which established county councils, the sessions had lost almost all their administrative functions. The judicial role of the Quarter Sessions existed until 1971, when with the Assize courts they were replaced by the Crown Courts.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the South West London Quarter Sessions, 1966-1971, comprising stopping up and diversion orders under the Highways Act 1959. The files usually contain a signed order, plans and correspondence. They relate to highways in Richmond, Kingston upon Thames, Surbiton, New Malden, Morden, Mortlake and Sutton.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

Orders arranged chronologically.

Conditions governing access:

Available for general access.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to these records rests with the Corporation of London.

Physical characteristics:


Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Deposited at the Greater London Records Office (now LMA) under the Public Records Act 1958 by the Clerk of the South West London Sessions.


DESCRIPTION NOTES 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

Court of Quarter Sessions | Courts | Administration of justice
Highways | Transport infrastructure
Local authorities | Local government | Public administration | Government
Quarter Sessions records | Documents | Information sources
Quarter sessions | Courts | Administration of justice
Roads | Transport infrastructure

Personal names

Corporate names
South West London Quarter Sessions

Morden | Surrey | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe
Mortlake | London | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe
New Malden | Surrey | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe
Richmond | Surrey | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe
Surbiton | Surrey | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe
Sutton (district) | Sutton | London | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe
Kingston upon Thames
Richmond upon Thames