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Rogues Gallery: Face-to-face with Scotland's criminal past

Mugshots of prisoners from between 1870-1917 will be shown for the first time.

Criminals from Scotland's past will be revealed to the public for the first time in a new exhibition.

The National Records of Scotland will display mugshots of prisoners in Rogues Gallery: Faces of Crime 1870-1917 at General Register House on Princes Street in Edinburgh from Wednesday.

Mugshot albums and trial papers from the Victorian and Edwardian eras will give an insight into the courtrooms and characters in Scotland's criminal underworld of the time.

It includes a look at the 1878 trial of notorious poisoner Eugène Chantrelle, who was reputedly the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson's Mr Hyde.

Attendees will come face-to-face with a cast of robbers, fraudsters, embezzlers and petty thieves in the exhibition, which promises to offer a snapshot of the people, processes and detection methods of Scotland's rapidly developing justice system.

Rogues Gallery

Robert Trotter.
Robert Trotter. National Records of Scotland

Robert Trotter from Berwickshire was charged with stealing sheep, housebreaking and selling stolen goods.

Lilly Barr.
Lilly Barr. National Records of Scotland

Lilly Barr from Wishaw was charged with theft at the age of 17 in 1911.

Bridget Duffy.
Bridget Duffy. National Records of Scotland

Bridget Duffy from Edinburgh was charged aged 34.

William Paterson, also known as John McDonald.
William Paterson, also known as John McDonald. National Records of Scotland

Glaswegian ironmonger William Paterson , who also went by the alias John McDonald, was photographed on January 10, 1900.

Paterson had ten previous convictions.

Thomas Queen.
Thomas Queen. National Records of Scotland

Thomas Queen, born in Uddingston in 1887, was charged with several offences, mostly theft and robbery. Photograph taken in 1910.

Horace Chapman.
Horace Chapman. National Records of Scotland

Horace Chapman was born in Ashborough 1851, he was charged with "Stg. Pictures, False Pretenses". ("Stg". = presumably "stealing").

William Stewart.
William Stewart. National Records of Scotland

William Stewart was charged with theft in 1874.

James Donovan.
James Donovan. National Records of Scotland

Age 25 and born in Mauchline, James Donovan faced several charges of pick-pocketing plus single charges of assault and larceny in 1901.

James McGuire.
James McGuire. National Records of Scotland

Irishman James McGuire was charged with theft in 1906, aged 62.

Joan McLean.
Joan McLean. National Records of Scotland

Joan McLean was charged with theft in 1874.

Elizabeth Stewart.
Elizabeth Stewart. National Records of Scotland

Elizabeth Stewart was charged with falsehood, fraud and "viceful imposition" in 1873.

Other items on display at the exhibition will include case papers from Eugène Chantrelle's 1878 trial; forensic photography of footprints that convicted John Aitken Swanston, a serial burglar of stately homes in 1909, and striking images from albums of criminal mug shots and associated trial records.

NRS chief executive Tim Ellis said: "Our archivists have created a compelling portrait of Scotland's developing criminal justice system.

"It's an intriguing sample of the wealth of historical and cultural treasures contained within the archives at National Records of Scotland."

Rogues Gallery: Faces of Crime 1870-1917 is part of the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology and will run from October 25 until December 1.

Culture secretary Fiona Hyslop said: "In the Year of History Heritage and Archaeology, Rogues Gallery throws light on a shadowy side of Scotland's story, revealing the rarely-told tales of famous and forgotten figures who are part of our nation's history.

"I commend NRS and Edinburgh City Archives for their joint effort in delivering this exciting exhibition and I invite everyone to visit our National Records and discover these unique items, for the first time on display together."

Entry to the exhibition is free.

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