Historic school records published
Published 30/04/2014 | 00:07
The criminal activities of children as young as five are revealed in records dating back to the 19th century shedding light on "delinquent and destitute" youngsters.
Family history website Ancestry.co.uk is publishing online thousands of school records, giving information on crimes and mugshot photographs as well as details of almost 400,000 adult convicts.
The collection, dating from 1779 to 1914, gives details of crimes such as forgery and burglary, including William Judge, aged five, who was sent to the Calder Farm Reformatory in Yorkshire after being found "wandering, not having any home or visible means of subsidence".
Another entry describes 12-year-old Richard Cardwall as "uncontrollable" as he was sent to East Moor Community Home School in Yorkshire after stealing a pigeon.
The West Yorkshire Collection also details crimes of adults in the West Yorkshire area, including Sarah Barlow, sentenced to three years for stealing an umbrella, and the Backhouse brothers, charged with murdering a policeman, for which one of them, Charles, was hanged.
Ancestry.co.uk content manager Miriam Silverman said: "These records chart the progression from zero tolerance to the idea of reform in Victorian society, for the young at least.
"Despite their early crimes, it's heartening to see that a few troubled children managed to avoid a life behind bars and prospered as adults, with some even commended for their wartime bravery."