Bath Record Office will reopen on 29 September. For more information please visit our reopening information page.

Image of the Board of Guardians Maintenance Case Book BGB/1/34/2 Show image info

Image of the Board of Guardians Maintenance Case Book BGB/1/34/2

Records of Official Bodies

The Council records are complemented by the records of official bodies such as the law courts, the police, hospitals, schools and the Board of Guardians.

We have created a summary of the records listed below in the accompanying leaflet.

Courts

We hold records for: 

  • Petty Sessions, later the Magistrates Court (ref 0136/), which dealt with minor cases of law-breaking 
  • Quarter Sessions (ref QS/), which dealt with more serious criminal cases, and may include some earlier Petty Session records prior to 1870
  • Bath County Court (ref 0325/), which heard civil cases mainly relating to debt and bakruptcy.
  • Coroner's records, including inquests, from 1776 until Bath Coroner's Court was amalgamated into Avon Coroner's Court in 1988 (refs BC/4/1 and 0070/). These are an incomplete run - see the leaflet for more information.

Assize Court records are held by The National Archives.

Poor Law

Until 1836 the Poor Law was administered by parishes, overseen by the Quarter Sessions. Poor rates were collected by the Parish Overseers, who also gave out poor relief. After 1836 parishes were grouped into poor law unions, managed by Boards of Guardians who were responsible for the collection of rates and administration of poor relief - either in the workhouse or for people who stayed in their own homes. A complete set of the minutes of the Board of Guardians is held by the Record Office, but unfortunately the survival of other records is very patchy. No workhouse admission and discharge registers have survived, apart from Registers of Casuals (vagrants who were allowed to stay only for one night), 1915-1934.                               

A full catalogue of the records can be found on our online catalogue under reference BGB/.

Hospitals

We hold records for a number of hospitals in the Bath area and for those which were within the Bath District Health Authority. These include the Royal United Hospital, Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (Mineral Water Hospital), St Martin's Hospital, Bath Eye Infirmary, Claverton Down Isolation Hospital and other smaller hospitals.

Most of the hospital records we hold have only a basic catalogue and are in process of being re-organised.

Police

Bath City Police Force was set up in 1836 following the Municipal Corporations Act of 1835, which required boroughs to organise and maintain a police force. We hold police records and the administration of criminal justice in the City of Bath until the 1960s at ref 0661/. 

Schools

School admission registers can be a useful source of information for family historians. However, only a small number of registers have been deposited in the Record Office. 

Please see this leaflet for more information about these records