Rogues Galleries: Exploring Scotland’s criminal past

From petty thieves and embezzlers to some of the most dangerous of the past, come face to face with hundreds of Victorian prisoners for the first time.

Mug shots and trial papers dating back to the 1890s will be on display at The National Records of Scotland in Edinburgh this week. The gallery hopes to give an insight into the characters and courtrooms of Scotland’s past.

Ever wanted to learn more about the case that some say inspired the character of Dr Jekyll? Case documents from the trial of poisoner Eugene Chantrelle will be available to visitors this week. Chantrelle murdered his wife at their home on George Street in Edinburgh in 1878 and was later hanged at Calton Prison for his crimes.

And discover the life of Robert Trotter who was charged with stealing sheep in 1865, or the story of Lily Barr, a 17-year-old imprisoned for theft in 1911. Each character has their own tale to tell.

Rogues Galleries gives a personal look into the criminals and victims of the past and offers visitors the opportunity to explore the societies that created them.

The exhibition will also include a gallery showing the development of photography over the years. Following the trial of serial burglar John Aitken Swanston in 1909, detectives and forensic teams began to realise the potential of keeping photographic records. Swanston was convicted following the examination of forensic photographs taken outside his numerous crime scenes.

Rogues Galleries will run from 25th October to the 1st December at the National Records of Scotland, General Register House, Princes Street. Admission to the exhibition is free.

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