19th century police charge books offer rare glimpse into Victoria's past

charge-books

Imagine a world where you could be criminally charged for merely looking suspicious, or speeding down the road on a horse. This was reality for Victorians living in the 1870s.

Thanks to a unique collaboration between the University of Victoria, the Victoria Genealogical Society and the Victoria Police Historical Society, these charges are being preserved for future generations.

Partnering to preserve a piece of the city’s history, five 19th century charge books from the Victoria Police Department were loaned to the University of Victoria Library’s digitization unit.

There, over 2,000 handwritten entries in the charge books were digitized and archived, many of which contain detailed, first-hand accounts of what life was like in Victoria nearly 150 years ago. Through proper documentation and preservation, these entries will help us gain insight into an important chapter in Victoria’s history.