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Crowdfunder launched to acquire criminal portrait album

Published: 14 October 2022

Our record office has launched a crowdfunder to raise the money to buy a criminal portrait album created by Derby police between 1890 and 1920.


The album has come up for auction and the record office has only a very short time to raise the money to buy it.

In 1871, a law was passed that required police to take a photograph of every person they arrested. These photographs were pasted into special albums that also recorded physical characteristics and criminal histories.

What makes this album particularly special are the portraits of Alice Wheeldon, her daughter Winnie and son-in-law Alfred Mason, who were convicted in 1917 of conspiring to murder the prime minister, David Lloyd George.

The record office is hoping that people with an interest in this item would be willing to donate money so that it can buy the album and make it freely available for everyone to see and enjoy.

The estimate is £2,000 to £3,000 but items at auction can sell for more, so the record office also applied to 2 potential grant funders. One of them, The Friends of the National Libraries, has already agreed but the record office still needs more support.

Councillor Barry Lewis, Derbyshire County Council Leader and Cabinet Member for Strategic Leadership, Culture, Tourism and Climate Change, said:

“This is a unique piece of Derbyshire history and it would be wonderful to add it to our collections at Derbyshire Record Office, so historians and local people can enjoy it and use it for research.

“I very much hope we will be successful so that this remarkable album doesn’t disappear into private hands.”

The record office plans to digitise the album and transcribe it with the help of volunteers, so that it would be easy for anyone to search it for whatever information they are looking for. A copy of the digital images and transcription would be held at Derby Local Studies and Family History Library, so the people of Derby would have easy access to it.

The auction is at Hansons Auctioneers in Staffordshire on Wednesday.