London Metropolitan Archives - Item Details


Date of Creation:

1877 - 2001

Reference Code:


Scope and Content:
  • Records of West London Magistrates Court, 1877-2001, including court registers; registers for means enquiries, Small Tenement Act cases, civil debt cases, ex-parte cases, and licence renewals; Married Women Act orders; bastardy orders; domestic court proceedings; maintenance registers and Guardianship of Infants Act orders.

    Court registers record the date of the hearing, the name of the informant or complainant (often the police), the name of the defendant, a brief note of the offence and the decision of the magistrate.

    Domestic proceedings: a married woman under the provisions of the Summary Jurisdiction (Married Women) Act 1895 and subsequent Acts could go to a magistrates' court and apply for orders which in certain circumstances would enable her to separate from her husband, have custody of any children and receive maintenance from him. Under the Poor Law Amendment Act 1844 a mother expecting a bastard child or who had given birth to one could obtain a maintenance order against the putative father.
Extent: 144.79 linear metres (2097 volumes)
Site Location: London Metropolitan Archives
Level of Description:

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Administrative History:
  • West London Magistrates Court:
    This court was originally opened in Kensington (1 Church Court) in approximately 1841. It was known as the Kensington Police Court and administered jointly with Wandsworth Police Court. It was moved to Brook Green Lane, Hammersmith in 1843 and became known as the Hammersmith Police Court. In 1859 it moved to the junction of Vernon Street and Southcombe Street, West Kensington. In 1889 it was administratively separated from Wandsworth and became known as the West London Police Court.

    In 1996 both the old West London and Walton Street Magistrates' Courts closed and their resources amalgamated to form the West London Magistrates Court now residing in Talgarth Road.

    Magistrates Courts deal with a wide range of business coming under the general heading of 'summary jurisdiction', i.e. trial without a jury. The cases heard were largely criminal and of the less serious kind. Over the years statutes created many offences that the courts could deal with in addition to Common Law offences. Examples include: drunk and disorderly conduct, assault, theft, begging, possessing stolen goods, cruelty to animals, desertion from the armed forces, betting, soliciting, loitering with intent, obstructing highways, and motoring offences. Non-criminal matters included small debts concerning income tax and local rates, landlord and tenant matters, matrimonial problems and bastardy.

    Offences beyond the powers of the Court would normally be passed to the Sessions of the Peace or Gaol Delivery Sessions in the Old Bailey (from 1835 called the Central Criminal Court). From the late 19th century such cases would be the subject of preliminary hearings or committal proceedings in the magistrates' courts.

Creator: West London Magistrates Court
Copyright: Depositor
Source of Acquisition:
  • Deposited in 1984, 1985, 1994, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2006 and 2007.
  • B02/054
  • B03/055
  • B06/020
  • B00/007
  • B07/027
  • ACC/1933
  • ACC/2080
  • ACC/3102
  • ACC/3413
Access Restrictions: These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information are subject to access restrictions under the UK Data Protection Act, 2018
Physical Condition: Fit
Arrangement: Court registers: PS/WLN/A
Domestic proceedings: PS/WLN/B