The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, 1674-1913

The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, 1674-1913

From the webpage:

A fully searchable edition of the largest body of texts detailing the lives of non-elite people ever published, containing 197,745 criminal trials held at London’s central criminal court. If you are new to this site, you may find the Getting Started and Guide to Searching videos and tutorials helpful.

While writing about using The WORD on the STREET for examples of language change, I remember the proceedings from Old Bailey being online.

An extremely rich site with lots of help for the average reader but there was one section in particular I wanted to point out:

Gender in the Proceedings

Men’s and women’s experiences of crime, justice and punishment

Virtually every aspect of English life between 1674 and 1913 was influenced by gender, and this includes behaviour documented in the Old Bailey Proceedings. Long-held views about the particular strengths, weaknesses, and appropriate responsibilities of each sex shaped everyday lives, patterns of crime, and responses to crime. This page provides an introduction to gender roles in this period; a discussion of how they affected crime, justice, and punishment; and advice on how to analyse the Proceedings for information about gender.

Gender relations are but one example of the semantic distance that exists between us and our ancestors. We cannot ever eliminate that distance, any more than we can talk about the moon without remembering we have walked upon it.

But, we can do our best to honor that semantic distance by being aware that their world is not ours. Closely attending to language is a first step in that direction.


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