Crime and Punishment


This activity will teach you which crimes were considered most serious in the 19th Century. It will also teach you about what punishments were used at that time.


You will read about 10 real crimes from the 19th Century.

Your must decide which punishment to give each criminal.

At the end, you will be given a rating. There will also be some questions to answer.


In your writing books, copy the following infromation.

Please ensure that your writing is the best that you can do. Concentrate on ensuring that you form your letters correctly. Don’t forget to rule up your page correctly.

The Prison hulks
The hulks were old sailing ships at south coast harbours or on the Thames at Woolwich. They were originally used as holding prisons for people waiting to be transported. The rise in crime at the end of the French Wars caused a shortage of prisons, and so the hulks were more and more used to house ordinary prisoners.

At one point, over two thirds of all prisoners were on the hulks. Conditions in them were terrible. During outbreaks of disease such as cholera, large numbers of prisoners died because of the insanitary conditions on board and because water taken from the polluted Thames was used for all purposes. Prisoners were chained to their bunks at night to prevent them from slipping ashore. During the day most of them worked ashore, usually on hard labour.


There are 7 bottle caps. 88 bottle caps more are added. How many are there total?
Annie starts with 4 crayons. Matthew gives Annie 36 more. How many crayons does Annie end with?
Jeremy has 37 bottle caps. Antonio has 9 bottle caps. If Antonio gives all of his bottle caps to Jeremy, how many bottle caps will Jeremy have?
If there are 2 bottle caps in a box and Victor puts 11 more bottle caps inside, how many bottle caps are in the box?
Angela has 11 tickets. Annie gives Angela 4 more. How many tickets does Angela have in all?
Andrea collects 73 Skittles. Andrea’s father gives Andrea 26 more. How many Skittles does Andrea have?
Joshua has 62 cards. Christina has 64 cards. If Christina gives all of her cards to Joshua, how many cards will Joshua have?
If there are 66 pencils in a box and Bridget puts 44 more pencils inside, how many pencils are in the box?
Harold has 53 marbles. He gets 16 more from Steve. How many marbles does Harold have in all?
If there are 79 blocks in a box and Christine puts 15 more blocks inside, how many blocks are in the box?

18th Century British Crime and Punishment

It is the middle of the 18th Century and London is the jail capital of Europe. The jails stink, but not as much as the English justice system. It is unpredictable, disorganised and the toughest it has ever been. There is not really a police force, levels of crime are high and there is a need for low cost punishments. Punishments range from standing in the pillory, to branding, whipping and burning. Death is the penalty for over 200 offences. Even children are being hanged. This is not a good time to be on trial.
Courts were very different to courts today. The victim of the crime was usually the person who brought the case to court and presented the evidence. This meant that in most trials, the victim and the accused came face to face.
Prisoners were not allowed to see the evidence against them before trial. Before trial, the prisoner was expected to produce a written defence that was to be read aloud in court. This was a problem for the poor, who often couldn’t read or write.


What have you learnt about crime and punishment 300 years ago in England?