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Welcome to the SOLON Database

Welcome to the SOLON Database of Crime Reportage, constructed with the support of a grant from the ESRC.

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What Is It?
A fully-searchable, free to access and download, qualitative database focused on nineteenth century crime reportage – covering the era when the modern legal system evolved along with the public presentation of that evolution through newspaper reportage. It contains newspaper extracts relating to bad behaviour and crime, mainly from the national press, with some from the provincial press. Extracts covering important developments in legislation, practice and key trials and personalities have been collected. The database is being expanded, so more material is regularly added.

What Period Does It Cover?
Currently the period included is 1851-1890, with data collected over approximately five year periods: 1851; 1856; 1861; 1865; 1870; 1875; 1880; 1885; 1890.  Material is regularly added to this, and the intention is to expand the time period covered to 1914, and in addition, Many entries are given in full; a clear indication of omission is provided: here manageability in the collection of data meant that in order to provide the fullest possible picture over a period, lengthy entries may have had to be provided in a form which indicates the key features of the case or incident. This is further justified now by the greater availability online of nineteenth century newspapers, so it will be easier for researchers to fill in gaps, if they wish, in such lengthy entries.  Full Text search has been applied to enable more effective searching through the archive and to allow results to be ranked in a meaningful way.

Historical Context and Modern Relevance of Victorian Crime Reportage
For further information about the methodology of data collection, crime reportage in the nineteenth century, and the Victorian legal process, follow the link

Solon Database Historical Essay

About This Project
The majority of the data was collected by Judith Rowbotham (Nottingham Trent University) as part of an ESRC-funded project on Victorian crime reportage. It is now hosted by the University of Plymouth - supported SOLON website, managed by Kim Stevenson, and with technical support provided by Plymouth University. Thanks also go to Paul Baker, the SOLON Project Manager 2000-2005, who initially developed this database with Judith Rowbotham and Kim Stevenson.


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