Trial Reports

Proceedings of the Old Bailey

We are pleased to be able to present the following historic transcripts from trials which took place at the Old Bailey (Central Criminal Court). The transcripts show the early involvement of the various railway police forces in the judicial system.

Edward Thompson is our Project Manager for the BTP Constituent Forces Project and during his researches has put these cases together to give us some insight into our early professional forebears.

As Eddie says about the transcripts:

“I find the way the evidence is presented fascinating, the terminology used comes straight out of old movies. Witnesses appear to be aware of what others have said before them and to prosecute Railway related offences the Act of Parliament had to be proven, usually by the Supt of the Railway Police; much like the Bye-Laws in our day. Another point is the harsh sentences that were passed down, many involving transportation for long periods!”

We are indebted to the website Old Bailey Proceedings Online ( for their kind permission to reproduce these transcripts. The website is a collaboration between the Open University, and the Universities of Hertfordshire and Sheffield.


William Harris and Henry Round

A routine arrest for Sergeant William Lee of the Great Western Railway Police leads to deadly consequences for the suspect…..


Philip Percy Spriggs

Bullets fly as PC William Leys of the Midland Railway Police struggles with a prisoner…..


John Butler and John Sherringham

It was just sixteen pounds worth of cloth, but these two had plenty of time to rue their mistake…..


Francis James

Ex – Inspector James found a use for his old uniform; it led to an extended stay in Van Diemen’s Land…..


Thomas Smith

Our first instance of a Canal Police arrest. A relatively minor theft results in a stiff punishment…..


Albert Goring

A 13 year old boy learns a painful lesson…..


Giles and others

A simple house burglary where no violence was used, however two young men paid the ultimate price…..


Thomas Painter

Another teenager gets a stern punishment for playing on the railway…..


Henry Perry

A violent robbery on the Underground in 1880…..


Thomas Jones and Rebecca Fisher

A tourist has her purse stolen by pickpockets – it could be now, but it was 1838…..


John Hall

Mindless vandalism – 1887, only the punishment indicates the period…..


James Johnson

Harsh punishment for an old man…..


Thomas Cullum

He was 70 years old, but was still transported for the theft of a pillow…..


Ethel Courtien

Constable Allen of the Central London Railway learns the hard way about dealing with young ladies…..


William Simpson

A shooting on the Metropolitan Line means a lucky escape for the victim…..


Joseph Bransgrove, George Juett and John Juson

Theft of corn by staff on the canal. Our first case involving the London General Omnibus Company…..


John Harding

A second spell of transportation for this offender for a crime committed on the Regent’s Canal…..


William Hooker

Another case for James Taylor, the observant Regent’s Canal Constable closes the case…..


David Grimwood

A theft of a tarpaulin gives us our first case involving a constable from the Lea Conservancy…..