Black Lives, British Justice – Inherited Learning

Black Lives, British Justice Logo
Adapted from an 18th century cartoon.

Digital Archives, Built by Students, For Students

Leaving learning resources richer than when we found them.

About this Project

Black Lives British Justice logo Beginning in 2016, University of Hertfordshire students enrolled in the ‘Britain & Africa’ module were asked to identify historical criminal trial accounts in the Old Bailey Proceedings that contained a reference to a black individual. The students had to filter through thousands of false matches amongst the 127,000 trials, and produced a set of approximately 500 cases that we believe represent all mentions of black individuals in these records during the age of enslavement. Subsequently, the project leaders have been working with community groups to build a new digital resource from these materials that foreground black experience in 18th century London.

Module Aims

This resource is now used in the “Migrants & Minorities” final year history module, which is designed to give students a deep exposure to issues and sources surrounding the history of migrants and minorities in Britain during the long eighteenth century. It also provides a context in which to develop the practical skills needed to present historical research, giving students the intellectual tools to critique a range of primary sources, and to understand the context of their creation.

Project Aims

  • Become aware of black experience in a predominantly white set of sources.
  • Learn about contextualizing black experience in historical records.

Project Outputs

  • Adam Crymble & Emma Azid, ‘Black Lives, British Justice‘ (event), Black Cultural Archives (11 June 2019).
  • Chris Lloyd & Adam Crymble &amp, ‘#WhyIsMyCurriculumWhite?’, University of Hertfordshire Learning & Teaching Conference (June 2019).
  • Adam Crymble, ‘Cultural Diversity in London, 1821’ The Migration Museum Project (2018).
  • Ian Chowcat, Adam Crymble, ‘Digital Archives Built by Students for Students: Inherited Learning at University of Hertfordshire’, JISC (September 2018).
  • Ian Chowcat, Karen Colbron, Adam Crymble, ‘Digital in the Undergraduate History Curriculum: Spotlight on the Digital Case Study’, JISC (November 2016).

Software and Primary Sources

This project’s data is compiled from the Old Bailey Online.

Students gathered images from around the web, but found the image collections of the British Museum and the Lewis Walpole Library particularly useful.

Student Contributors

A number of students in 2016-2018 contributed to this project. They were not asked to give their permission for us to share their names, and so we thank them anonymously.

Project Team

Please direct any correspondence, including takedown requests, to Adam Crymble (

Dr Adam Crymble
Black Lives, British Justice Project Director
Senior Lecturer, History
University of Hertfordshire
Ms Emma Azid
Teaching & Learning Assistant
University of Hertfordshire