Transcripts from the Old Bailey (from 1674 to 1913) are now online, which has generated plenty of press.
As I suspect many others have, I went searching for references to my family name and I’ve found a few…
- In 1796, a 19 year old George Dallaway wandered into a warehouse and told the clerk that he wanted “half a hundred weight of sheathing nails”, but didn’t have the paperwork. The clerk gave him the goods, and thus a fraud was committed. Geroge was “respited to go for a sailor or soldier” which we take to mean he was given the opportunity to fight, but a few months later he’s in the proceedings as having a year in jail and a public whipping.
- Matthew Dallaway stole 12 spoons in 1769 and was transported. Nice touch in that he took them while the victim’s house was on fire. And he would have got away with it had it not been for the pesky pawnbroker grassing him up. His defense: “I was very much in liquor”, a phrase I plan to use whenever the situation merits it.
It’s worth having a dig around the site for some of the history to the publication. For example, the Proceedings were popular (“…in the opinion of many people one of the most diverting things a man can read in London”) until the rise of newspapers, and even carried advertising for a while.