Anarchist: Extreme radicals, often political refugees from the continent, who sought to undermine the capitalist system and the state. From 1892 onwards, many were tried at the Old Bailey for possessing bomb-making equipment or causing property damage.
Associated Records: The term used on this website to refer to documents, books, and other primary sources which contain further information about the crimes tried at the Old Bailey.
Beadle: Full time officials in the City of London with the responsibility for maintaining order during the day and organising the night watch in their ward of the city.
Benefit of Clergy: A right to be excluded from the death penalty.
Black Act: 1723 statute, passed in response to an outbreak of poaching committed by men who disguised themselves by “blacking” their faces, which created several capital offences including damage to property and poaching. Repealed in 1823.
Bloody Code: Laws introduced between the 1690s and about 1750 which dictated that those convicted of specified crimes should receive the death penalty.
Bobbies: Nickname given to the Metropolitan Police (founded in 1829) owing to the fact that the man who pushed hardest to create them was Sir Robert Peel.
Bow Street Runners: Thief-takers hired by Henry and John Fielding from about 1750 and based at the Fieldings' office in Bow Street, Covent Garden. After crimes were reported, the runners were sent out in order to detect and apprehend the criminals.