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Crimes and Misdemeanours: Deviance and the Law in Historical Perspective

Special Edition: Centennial Reflections on the Children Act 1908

Volume 3, No 2, November 2009
ISSN 1754-0445


SOLON is delighted to announce that Crimes and Misdemeanours is marking the centenary of the ground breaking statute, the Children Act 1908, with its first special themed edition. Based on a Conference held at the University of Kent 30 June -1 July 2008 The Children Act 1908: Centennial Reflections, Contemporary Perspectives this volume comprises a comprehensive editorial from the Guest Editors which reviews the Act in its historical and contemporary context supported by five articles on specific issues.  All the contributors and Journal editors wish to express their appreciation for the input and advice received from the two external referees – Professor Sandra Walklate, Eleanor Rathbone Chair of Sociology and Head of School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Liverpool and Dr Pamela Cox, Dean of the Graduate School and Course Director BA Criminology with Social Psychology, University of Essex

Guest Editorial:

Kate Bradley, Anne Logan and Simon Shaw, Youth and Crime: Centennial Reflections on the Children Act 1908 1-17


Anne Logan, Policy Networks and the Juvenile Court: The Reform of Youth Justice, c. 1905-1950 18-36

Kate Bradley, Inside the Inner London Juvenile Court, c. 1909-1953 37-59

Daniel Grey, More Ignorant and Stupid than Wilfully Cruel’: Homicide Trials and ‘Baby-Farming’ in England and Wales in the Wake of the  Children Act 1908 60-77

Imogen Lee, Negotiating Responsibility: Ideas of Protecting and Disciplining the Child in London Schools 1908 and 1918 78-97

Stella Moss, “A Grave Question”: The Children Act and Public House Regulation, c. 1908-1939  98-117


SOLON Editorial: (below)

Conference Reports

Crime Violence and the Modern State II May 2009, Herzen State Pedagogical University, St Petersburg, ' Blame, Shame and Culpability' Judith Rowbotham 118-125

British Legal History Conference July 2009, University of Exeter, ‘Making Legal History: Methodologies, Sources and Substance’ Henry Yeomans 126-129

The second issue in the third volume of SOLON’s e-journal is largely taken up by our first special collection of essays – produced under the capable guest editorship of Kate Bradley, Anne Logan and Simon Shaw – which marks a new development for us. There is always a question over the extent to which any journal should regularly resort to special issues, as it can be argued that the ‘special’ focus can fail to attract the interest of readers not directly engaged in the area involved. But while accepting that too many special issues can be detrimental to the general appeal of any journal, we believe that the inclusion of a number of special issues strengthens the appeal of a journal and permits a depth of discussion that enhances the journal’s mission to provoke the widest possible debate. We also feel that this particular issue has a great topicality, one that the ostensible association of the papers with the anniversary of the Childrens Act 1908 almost distracts from. The scope of the papers, in terms of topic and chronology, is impressive and raises a number of timeless issues, as recent news reportage underlines.

It is not our intention, in this Editorial, to repeat or take over the editorial role of the guest editors, and there are other issues to be addressed in the Editorial. One reflection relates to the two highly successful conferences that SOLON, together with partners such as the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and the Centre for Contemporary British History (both School of Advanced Study, University of London) held during 2009. The War Crimes conference (see the Conference Report in the last issue) has continued to provoke interest and debate, and plans are well in hand for the second conference in February 2011. In May 2009, the second Crime, Violence and the Modern State conference took place, in St Petersburg (the conference report is included in this issue). While (as a matter of deliberate policy) the numbers of delegates were relatively smaller than the interest expressed in both, the substantial debate emanating from both underlines the importance of events of this nature in promoting effective debate – but it also underlines the importance of the writing and publishing of conference reports, to expand the discussion still further. The essays in this issue themselves resulted from a conference and the editorial introducing them gives a good flavour of the issues discussed there, but there are many good conferences which do not produce any print outcomes, given the difficulty of persuading publishers to print edited collections, the relative limits on journal space – and the practical issues for would-be editors of putting together such collections (the Editorial Board has, severally and individually, wide experience of such difficulties….) In times of recession, it is not always easy to afford attendance at conferences and there is also always the issue of time to go to all the attractive conferences advertised. What the SOLON consortium has set itself to do in this e-journal is to promote debate and the exchange of views and opinions by disseminating, through a variety of print and print-related formats, information and ideas relevant to our broad interests in law, history, criminology – and in ‘bad’ and criminal conduct of all types. In the interests of furthering this mission, we are also happy to publish in this issue not only the Conference Report from the St Petersburg conference, but also a thought provoking reflection on the recent Legal History conference, held this summer. We hope that this will encourage others to produce similar reflective reports, and to consider sending them to us for publication in Crimes and Misdemeanours.

Finally, an advance notice of further developments in the SOLON e-pages, in association with the journal. We will, at the start of 2010, be publishing an edited edition of George Bakewell’s Memoirs, with an introductory essay from Chris Williams. Again, we hope that this will be the first of other such edited primary sources. Also in the spring of 2010, we will be posting an online exhibition, associated with an expansion of the SOLON database pages. Judith Rowbotham and her colleague Gary Moses, with Bev Baker (librarian, curator and archivist at the Galleries of Justice) supervised a student project, undertaken by Neil Littlewood, into the Borstal Aftercare Society’s records of the first releases,1907-1910, from the Borstal experiment. The resulting database, an introductory essay and the online exhibition should go up in February.

We continue to plan future SOLON conferences, including Crime, Violence and the Modern State III for 2011, and are looking forward to the timely and topical fourth conference in the Experiencing the Law series, to be held on 4 December at IALS – Objectifying Children!

The Editorial Board
November 2009



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