PEOPLE of Teesside are being asked to help identify criminals from the region, including murderers, from almost a century ago.

A ‘mug shot’ book of early twentieth century criminals has been uncovered as part of the Middlesbrough Town Hall Refurbishment and Restoration Project.

As well as the criminals, photos uncovered included Middlesbrough police through time, chief constable reports and images of the old police station previously based at Middlesbrough Town Hall.

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A call is now being made to anyone who recognise any of the people pictured in the mugshots to help researchers put together the pieces of their story.

The photographs were taken by Detective Inspector James Scott, who worked for Middlesbrough Criminal Investigation Department in the early 1900s.

He carried out wartime photography whilst in Rouen during the First World War and carried this on in his local commitments.

As well as murderers, the mugshots also include photographs of those arrested whilst at war, local Middlesbrough criminals, racecourse pickpockets and criminals from Leeds, whilst the constable reports included data and reports on crime and policing in Middlesbrough between 1900 and 1930.

Visitors to Teesside Archives in Middlesbrough got the chance to delve into the pictures from the town's dark criminal past at an event last week.

Plans are also being made to digitise some of the material to help develop stories and learning opportunities, as part of renovation and enhanced access to the Town Hall’s former police cells and court room.

Ruth Hobbins, Teesside Archives Manager said: “The crime and punishment records held at Teesside Archives provide a rich insight into historic deviance and policing.

“They also provide a window into the social history of the area including the people who policed the town, the changing uses of buildings such as Middlesbrough Town Hall and wider developments over the centuries.”

Tosh Warwick, Heritage Development Officer, added: “The workshop by Dr Shore and the opportunity for the wider public to view the unique material was very beneficial.

“It has already created lots of new areas for research topics amongst the Middlesbrough Town Hall project’s Local History Research Volunteers, and we hope that others will be inspired to volunteer with the project.”

An £8m overhaul of Middlesbrough Town Hall began in January this year and is due for completion next spring.

The restoration will see parts of the building, currently inaccessible to the public, being opened up, including the Victorian courtroom, cells and fire station.

The plans also include the restoration of the carriage driveway with original glass roof which will become the main box office and circulation area, an external lighting scheme, the development of new café and bar facilities, and a new community space.

  • Anyone who can help with information on the identity of those in the mugshots is asked to contact townhallvolunteers@middlesbrough.gov.uk or 01642 729656.