Welcome to the Crime & Punishment Collections Network

The Crime and Punishment Collections Network (CaP) is a free Arts Council England Subject Specialist Network. Through dissemination of information, our online collections directory and training sessions, CaP aims to promote and support historic collections relating, for example, to prisons, police, probation service, pathology or courts. The network is of relevance to anyone working with crime and punishment collections – whether for universities, archives, libraries, heritage centres, museums or historic sites. CaP covers the UK, Ireland and beyond.

To participate in the network and receive regular email alerts about relevant funding, training, publications and conferences; to add your event to the event calendar below; or to include your organisation in our online directory, simply click on the relevant fingerprint, complete the form and we’ll be in contact!

Collection of the Month: December

The Shire Hall / Lancashire Museums Service is situated within the Medieval fortress of Lancaster Castle. The Castle itself is owned by the Duchy of Lancaster and Lancashire County Museum Service represent one of many organisations working within the castle walls. The Museum Service are custodians of a small collection of around 500 objects, with the most spectacular being the building itself which represents over 800 years of judicial and penal history. The first records of prisoners at the Castle date to 1166 and the first court in the 1200s. The prison closed in 2011 and the Courts still operate to this day. The Shire Hall complex includes the Old Cells (used for remand prisoners up until the 19th century) the ‘Drop Room’ where prisoners were prepared for the execution, Hadrian’s Tower c.1200, The Shire Hall and Crown Court (both constructed in 1796). The vast majority of the collection is on display. Due to the working nature of the court complex, access to the Shire Hall is by guided tour only. Onsite the guides re-tell the history and stories relating to those tried, imprisoned and punished within the castle walls. 

Lancaster Castle was used as a prison from around 1166 until 2011
The Shire Hall complex was constructed in the 1790s

Most of the collection is on display within the Shire Hall Complex, accessible by guided tour
Graffiti in the Old Cells
The Shire Hall displays over 800 coats of arms linked to the High Sheriff’s of Lancaster
The ‘Old Cells’
A-Wing c.1850s

If you would like your collection or site to be featured in our Collection of the Month please contact us!

Browse our events calendar below for details of seminars, publications, funding or training:

Please note: The calendar below includes events collected by CaP from a variety of sources and most are not organised by CaP. Unless CaP has organised an event we cannot be responsible for information published and any enquiries should be addressed to the contact details provided.

The image is a detail of a photograph of the main hall at Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin; photographer: Colin; it is in the public domain under a Creative Commons attribution share alike 4.0 international license.