TitleSheffield Magistrates' Court
AdminHistoryWhen Sheffield received its charter of incorporation as a borough in 1843 it did not receive its own Commission of the Peace at the same time. This was probably due to the fact that it had refused, on financial grounds, to petition for a Court of Quarter Sessions and a Recorder at the time. Thus, for the time being, magistrates acting in the town of Sheffield did so by virtue of the West Riding Commission of the Peace.

Though Sheffield was not granted its own Court of Quarter Sessions until 1880, a separate Commission of the Peace was granted in 1848. Unfortunately, the early registers for this period do not appear to have survived.

The sessions for the borough and city of Sheffield were held daily, Monday to Saturday, at the Court House, Castle Street (formerly the Town Hall).

Together with the registers for the borough and city of Sheffield there are the registers of the Upper Strafforth and Tickhill Division of the West Riding Magistrates. Their jurisdiction lay with cases arising outside the borough boundaries, yet within the Upper Strafforth and Tickhill Division (Sheffield Division). Thus, these registers deal with cases arising in Handsworth, Ecclesfield and Bradfield etc. Sittings for this court were held separately from the borough magistrates in court No.3. The registers for the court are thus headed ''No. 3 Register''.

Section III of the Children Act 1908 had established the principle that the hearing of charges against children and young persons should be conducted in a different room or building from where the normal sessions were held, or on a different day (the object being to remove children from associating with the criminal classes). From 1917, a separate series of registers for juvenile sessions begins. The sessions were held at the Coroner's Court in Nursery Street.

The City of Sheffield Commission of the Peace ceased to exist on 1st April 1974 and was replaced by the Commission of the Peace for South Yorkshire.

The registers include the wide range of petty offences. Also included are the records of special sessions for the transfer of beerhouse and licenced victuallers licences, as well as registers of places of detention and other matters.

With regard to liquor, an Act of 1828 had consolidated the law as to the granting by justices of licences to inns, ale-houses and victualling houses. However, as far as beer was concerned, the permissive legislation of 1830 superseded the earlier Act. The 1830 Act, which had been greatly influenced by the free trade thinkers, allowed any householder to take out an excise licence. Though the hours for permitted sale were prescribed, justices were deprived of powers, except in the event of a riot, to order the closure of a beerhouse.

It was not until 1869 that pressure from the growing temperance movement affected the principle of free trade in beer. The Wine and Beerhouse Act of 1869 provided that licences for beer, cider, and wine should be granted under the 1828 Act. Thus an applicant could not obtain an excise licence until he had previously obtained a justice's licence.

An Act of 1870 continued and extended the 1869 Act, and an Act of 1872 provided that the grant of a new licence by justices must be confirmed by a standing committee of quarter sessions.

The term 'summary jurisdiction' simply means the defendant could be tried by a magistrate, without the need for a judge and jury.
DescriptionMC/1 Upper Strafforth and Tickhill Division (Sheffield District) of the West Riding Magistrates Court - Registers, 1882 - 1893
MC/2 City of Sheffield Petty Sessional Division - Court of Summary Jurisdiction - Registers, 1888 - c.1917 (continued at MC/4)
MC/3 Upper Strafforth and Tickhill Division - Registers, 1898 - 1973
MC/4 City of Sheffield Division - Registers, 1913 - 1999 (continued from MC/2)
MC/5 City of Sheffield Division - Precept Book, 1918 - 1935
MC/6 Upper Strafforth and Tickhill Division Registers of Licences, 1872 - 1896
MC/7 Sheffield Division Registers of Beerhouse Keepers and Licensed Victuallers, c. 1870 - 1935
MC/8 City of Sheffield Juvenile Court - Registers, 1917 - 1995
MC/9 City of Sheffield Court of Summary Jurisdiction - Registers of Convictions, 1880 - 1915
MC/10 West Riding Juvenile Court - Registers, 1933 - 1974
MC/11 Borough of Sheffield - Justices Who have Taken the Oaths, 1880 - 1910
MC/12 Borough of Sheffield - Highway Proceedings, 1880 - 1950
MC/13 Borough of Sheffield - Slaughterhouse Licence Books, 1880 - 1895
MC/14 West Riding (Division of Hallamashire) Petty Sessions - Fines and Costs, 1965 - 1966
MC/15 Borough of Sheffield - Enrolment Books, 1881 - 1932
MC/16 Reports from Approved Schools, [c. 1934 - 1942]
MC/17 Register of Places of Detention / Place of Safety, [c. 1914 - 1915]
MC/18 Summary Jurisdiction Orders, 1880 - 1915 (with gaps)
MC/19 Information Regarding Indictable Offences, 1891 and 1910 - 1915
MC/20 City of Sheffield - Licensing Section, 1888 - 2005
MC/21 Upper Strafforth and Tickhill Division - Licensing Section, 1903 - 1965
MC/22 City of Sheffield Matrimonial Court - Registers, 1981 - 1992

See Acc. 2008/27 and 2008/146 for uncatalogued licensing records; and Acc. 2009/43 for other uncatalogued Court records.

(Acc. 2009/43)
Justices' Qualification books, 1848-1980 (6 vols.); Precept Book, 1935-1948 (1 vol.); Probation and After Care Committee minutes, 1961-1974, and Juvenile Court Panel minutes, 1960-1967 (1 vol.); Courthouse correspondence and draft minutes, 1901-1916; various court case papers, 1909-1971; probationers' record files, 1938-1942; Water Works Bill poll, 1873; Advisory Committee corespondence, 1911-1973, and application of new magistrates lists, 1933-1966; miscellaneous file, including Sheffield Union Assistance Committee related, 1898, returns of fees/justices' clerks' salaries, Coronation celebrations related, 1911; various files, 1900-1949, including list of pauper lunatics sent from Wortley Union Workhouse to Wadsley Asylum, 1901, court case papers, Children's Act 1908 related papers, licensed premises and drunkeness related papers, 1915; also miners' strike, 1984/85; soliciting offences by prostitutes, 1980s; Courthouse architectural plans, 1897 (copies) and other plans/files relating to new law court building, 1960-1967; proposed alterations, 1967/8; Assize Court accommodation and opening, 1954-56; opening of new Magistrates' Court, 1978; computerisation of Magistrates' Court, proposals 1981-1985; bound Ordnance Survey map of Sheffield and environs, marked to show locations of licensed premises.

(Acc. 2010/142)
Records of the licencing section including:
Bingo and Casino plans
Register Books
Gaming minutes
Bookmakers' licencing files
Miscellaneous plans
Datec. 1870 - 2005
Extent1,871 items
AccessConditionsAll records are open to public inspection unless otherwise stated. Information in court records may be subject to access restrictions under the Data Protection Act, or may be subject to exemptions from the Freedom of Information Act. For further information please refer to a member of staff.
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