Do you have a ghoulish mind? Want to read about some of the most celebrated trials in British history, like the poisoner Dr. Crippen, the first man caught by wireless? Now you can. A project bringing all the trials of Britain’s Central Criminal Court, universally known as the Old Bailey from 1674 to 1913 have been digitized and put online as The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, often as digital images of the original court documents, with almost 200,000 trials online. And just in case you think that’s not a big deal, on its first day the site crashed because of demand. Assembled by the Open University, along with the universities of Sheffield and Hertfordshire, users can search the database by trial, crime or punishment and read about murders, suffragettes and sheep theft – which at one time carried the death penalty. Project co-director, Sheffield University Professor of History Robert Shoemaker, said: "Up until now this treasure trove of social, legal and family history has only been available to a few dedicated historians who were prepared to spend months peering at microfilm. Now everyone from schoolchildren, amateur historians and scholars working in a range of academic disciplines can have easy access to this wealth of information."
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