Launched in April, The West Yorkshire Collection provides details of more than 9,000 boys who were sent to reformatory schools in the county, including the East Moore Community Home School, The Shadwell Children’s Centre and Calder Farm Reformatory.
Fully searchable, the digitised documents note down the boy’s name, age and birthplace, with many also containing photographs, physical descriptions and comments on their behaviour.
Dating from 1856 to 1914, the records hail from a period when the idea of reform was gaining widespread traction. Rather than spending time behind bars, it was felt that reform school was a more appropriate place to send young offenders.
The youth offender records are joined by nearly 400,000 records relating to adult prisoners spanning 1801 to 1914. Details on each inmate’s age, name, occupation, offence, sentence and dates of admission and discharge are noted, with selected records also containing prisoners’ background information and physical descriptions. In addition to the adult and youth offender records, The West Yorkshire Collection contains more than 32,000 historic police records and 3,000 registers relating to local militia, all of which have been digitised from original documents held at branches of West Yorkshire Archive Service. Explore The West Yorkshire Collection at your local library using Ancestry Library Edition.