New GCSE Crime and Punishment resources

To support the teaching of the  GCSE thematic study, Crime and Punishment, the Digital Panopticon team has developed Criminal Lives, 1780-1925 an exhibition and education pack for schools. This is an eight panel pop-up banner exhibition that uses historical images and archival documents to explore eight convict lives from the Digital Panopticon Archive.

Thomas Rowlandson, “The Old Bailey”, from The Microcosm of London (1808). © London Lives.

These pages provide overviews of critical historical developments, with a focus on London, along with more detailed descriptions of several key aspects of the broad history of justice and punishment between the late eighteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Eighteenth- and nineteenth-century London got the crime that it deserved. It was a city of unrivalled wealth, but also one of extreme poverty. The inducements to, and the opportunities for, crime in the metropolis were great. In an attempt to tackle the crime problem, major innovations were introduced in the policingprosecution and punishment of crime in this period; establishing several cornerstones of the modern criminal justice system.


A general introduction to crime in London, 1780-1925, including General Crime Trends, Moral Panics and Sources of Crime Knowledge.

An overview of the criminal justice system in London, 1780-1925, including Criminal Justice Pathways, The Court System and Themes of Change over Time.

A general introduction to the types of punishments imposed on Old Bailey convicts, including Death, Execution with Additional Cruelty, Transportation, Imprisonment, Corporal Punishments and Other Punishments.

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