Portraits of prisoners

Made:
c. 1890 in Wormwood Scrubs (HM Prison)
photographer:
Unknown
Portraits of prisoners, Wormwood Scrubs, 1890

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Portraits of prisoners, Wormwood Scrubs, 1890
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

A page from an album of criminal register photographs, taken by a unknown photographer at Wormwood Scrubs prison in about 1890. The criminals hold up their hands to show any identifying features, such as tattoos or missing fingers. A mirror placed on their right shoulder captures their profile.

A page from an album of criminal register photographs, taken by a unknown photographer at Wormwood Scrubs prison in about 1890.

The criminals hold up their hands to show any identifying features, such as tattoos or missing fingers. A mirror placed on their right shoulder captures their profile.

The use of photography to record known criminals - the 'mug shot'- had been in evidence as early as the 1840s. In 1871, the Prevention of Crimes Act made it a legal requirement that all persons arrested for a crime must have their photographs taken.

Details

Category:
Photographs
Object Number:
1987-5218/4
type:
photograph
taxonomy:
  • visual and verbal communication
credit:
The National Media Museum, Bradford