The Proceedings of the Old Bailey was an inexpensive publication that summarized the proceedings at the old Bailey over the course of several centuries. The Proceedings of the Old Bailey was first published in 1678 and proved popular with the public. The main objective of The Proceedings of the Old Bailey web site is to make available in electronic format the text and images of these extensive proceedings publications so that their contents can be searched more efficiently.
Visitors to The Proceedings of the Old Bailey web site are able to search through these publications using several different search methods. Visitors can perform a keyword search, a name search, a place search, an advanced search, a statistical search and they can search by crime, verdict or punishment, or reference number or by a date. Visitors can also search the collection of Associated Records which are other sources of information about the happenings at Old Bailey. Searches are available at no charge to the visitor. The web site authors make a point of mentioning that the information found in these Proceedings has been transcribed as it appeared in the original documentation, but even so, the information contained in the Proceedings should always be verified using another reputable source of information.
In addition to the primary purpose of being able to search these publications, The Proceedings of the Old Bailey web site contains an extensive amount of very interesting information of historical significance including the publication history of the Proceedings, the history of crime and the criminal system, the history and the legal system and how it operated, the history of Old Bailey itself, a discussion of the types of punishments that were imposed, and much more. There is a section that discusses the early types of advertisements that appeared in the Proceedings and how these advertisements changed over time. The web site also includes samples of actual text and images from the Proceedings.
Much of the information that is included on this web site is referenced both at the bottom of each page and in the Bibliography section. There is a Glossary of some of the terms that are mentioned in the Proceedings. There is a contact form, a site map, a section which describes the current state of the process of transferring the actual documents into electronic format (this is an on-going process with many years' worth of Proceedings still in the transformation process), and there is a section that is devoted to schools. The intent of the For Schools section is to point out various ways that the content on this web site can assist with meeting the various curriculum requirements in the subjects of history, English, literacy, geography, citizenship, ICT and others. The web site offers project ideas and tasks for different grade levels.
Anyone interested in learning more about this type of period history should definitely take time to visit The Proceedings of the Old Bailey web site and read through its fascinating content.