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June 13, 2022

These Are Some of Britain’s Oldest Police Mugshots, Taken From Between the 1850s and 1870s

These photographs were taken at the Moor Street public office in Birmingham from between the 1850s and 1870s, and were accompanied with scrawled notes about their crimes.

Some of the oldest known police mugshots released by police in Birmingham.

Police in Birmingham were the first force in the world to take mugshots with the first crook snapped in 1853. Many of the crooks appear expensively dressed in top hats in their mug shots which were taken by police following their arrest more than 150 years ago.

In the 1870s it was legislated that all police forces had to take photographs of people in custody, and this is when the first ledger of the Birmingham Police collection starts. These images show some sad characters – all in black, many in bedraggled clothing. Holding a chalk board for the reference number identifying their record, which also identified the year the image was taken.

Mugshot of John Dale who is one of the earliest recorded examples of a joyrider after he was jailed in 1862 for stealing a horse and cart.

Murderer William Smith was pictured after being charged with killing his wife in August 1866.

A mugshot of an unknown woman, crime and date unknown.

A mugshot of an unknown woman.

A mugshot of an unknown man in top hat.

A mugshot of an unknown man from between 1850-70.

Ann Vickers was pictured after stealing a watch from a person in May 1862.

A mugshot of Ann Young, crime and date unknown.

James Freeth was pictured in February 1861, but his crime is no longer known.

Samuel Crowlety was charged with having skeleton keys in October 1862.

Joseph Martin was made to stand for a mugshot in August 1862, though it is now known what his crime was.

A mugshot of Samuel Crowley, charged with having skeleton keys in October 1862.

A mugshot of Sarah Rivers in 1862, crime unknown.

A mugshot of an unknown man from between 1850-70.

A mugshot of John Williams (age unknown), charged with warehouse breaking and sentenced to 4 months hard labour in 1864.

Mugshot of an unknown man taken some time between 1850 and 1870.

Mugshot of an unknown man in a rather fetching stovepipe hat.

Catherine Legg who was arrested in May 1858 at a fair in Dudley, West Midlands.

A mugshot of Isaac Ellery, who was arrested on March 7, 1853 and was sentenced to 7 years in prison.

(Photos: South West News Service)




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