Crime and Punishment - Sophia Constable

Investigating the life of 11 year old Sophia Constable

In October 1872 Sophia Constable's photograph appears in one of the Police Charge Books held at North Yorkshire County Record Office. At the time the photograph was taken she was 11 year old.


This information stimulated the interest of a Young Offender at HM YOI (Northallerton) during a project called 'Changes in Society' which the North Yorkshire County Record Office was undertaking with the Young Offenders' Institute. He could not believe that such a young child could be imprisoned. He asked the Record Office if they would be able to find out more information on Sophia, and through other documents her story began to unfold. You are going to go on this journey too...


Contemporary with the Police Charge Book are lists of prisoners, known as Calendars of Prisoners, which give more detail about the crime and the sentence to be carried out, previous convictions and sentences, and details of pleas as well as other information.


Enlarge the image of The Calendar of Prisoners for December 1872 above (a transcript is available to download in Word). What can you find out about Sophia Constable from this?


Do the same for the Census return of 1871 for Whitby image above (a transcript of the Census is available to download in Word).  What does this tell you about Sophia's background?

Document icon Learning article provided by: North Yorkshire County Record Office | 
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