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Archives in London and the M25 area


Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 PS/IJ
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1910-1997
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 155.32 linear metres (2061 volumes).
Name of creator(s): Inner London Juvenile Courts


Administrative/Biographical history:

Before the 1840s children received the same treatment in the courts as adults. Changes began tentatively in 1847, when the Juvenile Offenders Act permitted children not over the age of 14 and charged with simple larceny, to be tried and sentenced by two lay justices of the peace or one stipendiary magistrate. This was an alternative to the usual full court hearing by indictment before a jury (see MSJ/CY series in the Middlesex Sessions records).

The Summary Jurisdiction Act 1879 enlarged the provisions of the 1847 Act. Offenders under the age of 16 could be tried summarily for nearly all indictable offences. This reduced the number of juveniles in prison and simplified the trial process. However, juveniles still had to mix with adult defendants and prisoners.

The 1908 Children Act at last established separate juvenile courts. Cases concerning persons under 16 were to be heard in a separate room or building and at separate times from adult cases. The Act authorised the establishment by Order-in-Council of separate juvenile courts for the Metropolitan Police District.

An Order-in-Council, 2 December 1909, established six juvenile courts to cover the then fourteen police court districts. These courts were: Bow Street, Clerkenwell, Tower Bridge, Westminster, Old Street, and Greenwich. These courts were presided over by a Metropolitan stipendiary magistrate sitting alone.

From 1920, under the Juvenile Courts (Metropolis) Act, the Metropolitan Magistrate was to be joined by two lay justices (one to be a woman) drawn from a panel nominated by the Home Secretary. From the mid-1930s the juvenile courts became largely the preserve of lay justices.

In the early 1930s all the Metropolitan juvenile courts were administered from Bow Street. A Chief Clerk was subsequently appointed to deal solely with juvenile courts and was given full-time staff. This centralised administration still continues.

The original six courts, after 1909, changed names and location several times and were gradually increased. These changes can be traced in the Post Office Directories in the History Library.

Under the Administration of Justice Act 1964 and the London Government Act 1963 a unified system of magistrates' courts for Inner London was established, of which the juvenile courts formed part. At least one juvenile court was established for each of the new London Boroughs.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Inner London Juvenile Courts, 1910-1997. These court registers are the only surviving records of the juvenile courts to have been transferred to the Greater London Record Office (now London Metropolitan Archives). For a short period after 1909 two sets of registers were kept by each court, Part 1s and Part 2s. This mirrors the practice of the adult courts. Part 1s were cases arising mainly from arrests and charges by the police; Part 2s were normally cases brought by means of summonses. From the early 1920s most juvenile courts began to keep one series only containing both types of cases.

The information contained in registers includes: date of hearing, name of informant/complainant (often the police), name and age of the defendant, nature of the offence, the adjudication by the magistrate, and the latter's name.

These registers are not indexed. No other supporting papers have survived.

The Court Registers in this collection are for the following courts:

PS/IJ/B: Bow Street, including Bow Street, Dean Street, Caxton Hall, Chelsea.
PS/IJ/C: Clerkenwell, including Clerkenwell, Islington, Friends House, North London, Camden.
PS/IJ/CA: Camden
PS/IJ/CH: Chelsea
PS/IJ/G: Greenwich, including Greenwich, Woolwich, Woolwich Old Town Hall
PS/IJ/GRE: Greenwich
PS/IJ/HK: Hackney
PS/IJ/HKN: Hackney North
PS/IJ/HKS: Hackney South
PS/IJ/HM: Hammersmith
PS/IJ/IS: Islington
PS/IJ/ISN: Islington North
PS/IJ/ISS: Islington South
PS/IJ/LE: Lewisham
PS/IJ/LEN: Lewisham North
PS/IJ/LES: Lewisham South
PS/IJ/LM: Lambeth
PS/IJ/LME: Lambeth East
PS/IJ/LMS: Lambeth South
PS/IJ/LMW: Lambeth West
PS/IJ/O: Old Street, including Old Street, Toynbee Hall, East London, Hackney, Thames, Tower Hamlets
PS/IJ/SC: Special Courts
PS/IJ/SN: Southwark North
PS/IJ/SS: Southwark South
PS/IJ/T: Tower Bridge, including Tower Bridge, Deptford Town Hall, Southwark, South-East London, Lewisham, Greenwich
PS/IJ/TH: Tower Hamlets
PS/IJ/THE: Tower Hamlets East
PS/IJ/THW: Tower Hamlets West
PS/IJ/W/01: Westminster, including Westminster, West London, Lindsey Hall, Stamford House, Marylebone, Marylebone West, Hammersmith, Marylebone East.
PS/IJ/W/02: South Western, including South Western, Lambeth, Battersea Town Hall, Springfield Hall, Lambeth South, Balham, Lambeth North, Southwark North, Southwark South
PS/IJ/WA: Wandsworth
PS/IJ/WE: Westminster
PS/IJ/WEN: Westminster North
PS/IJ/CR: Court registers (including indexes 1989-1991)
PS/IJ/MR: Means registers.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Registers organised according to Court, as listed in the 'Scope and Content' section.

Conditions governing access:

These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information are subject to access restrictions under the UK Data Protection Act, 1998.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to these records rests with the depositor.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Deposited in three accessions; in 1984, 1993 and 2004.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

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

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