The Things History Found: Law and Order

 Last week, I made a post about the things that history lost, focussing on Paris in the Georgian and Regency era. The idea from Writing 101 was to make a series on lost things. But my prompt has told me to look at something found. So, in this post, I will look at the same period, but focus on two things on law and order.
  1. Cross-examiation in the Courtroom 

During the Gerogian era, the courtroom was not seen as a place of justice, but a place of entertainment. The person on trial was howled at, sentences was decided by the jury in two minutes, and the judge wanted every case done before lunch.

Enter a young William Garrow (1760 – 1840).

Sir William Garrow. This was painted in 1810 with Garrow aged 50. Source: Wikimedia.
He revolutionised the courtroom and reformed the system. He bought in evidence and cross-examined the witnesses.¹ If it wasn’t for Mr Garrow, I don’t think we would have justice in the courtroom as we do today. Eventually, he entered into the Houses of Parliament with the Whig Party, and became Sir. He was in office from June 1812 – May 1813.

[Garrow] revolutionised the courtroom and reformed the system. He bought in evidence and cross-examined the witnesses.

Despite his reform, Garrow has been largely forgotten. It was not until 1991 when there was article called ‘Garrow for the Defence‘ in History Today Magazine. In 2009, there was a series about him on the BBC called Garrow’s Law, starring the brilliant Andrew Buchan as Garrow. Therefore, he is not known about a lot.

For someone who did so much, we need to make the world more aware of Garrow.

  1. The Police Force

In 1829, during his time as Home Secretary, Robert Peel (1788 – 1750) founded the Metropolitan Police Force for London

Sir Robert Peel. Source: Wikimedia.
Because of his name, the policemen were known as Bobbies or Peelers. They only focused on the local area of London, but neglected the City. Crime was high during this time, but the force managed to bring it down.

As a result, by 1857, all cities had to have a police force. A massive change for the good of society.


Although I only write of two things here, these are two aspects of Georgian Law and Order that we still benefit from today. I am sure that there are many other aspects that I have not covered today, but I believe that these are the two most important that tend to get overlooked.

¹ Garrow Society.org, Who was William Garrow?http://www.garrowsociety.org/index.php/about-us/4-who-was-william-garrow, (7 December 2009), [accessed 25 April 2015].
² Metropolitan Police, How It All Began in 'History of Policing', http://content.met.police.uk/Article/The-Metropolitan-Police-how-it-all-began/1400015336362/1400015336362, (n.d.)[accessed 25 April 2015].
In response to Writing 101 - Day Twelve: Clouds on the Horizon, and Day Thirteen: Serially Found.
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