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Repository Cheshire Record Office
Level Collection (Fonds)
Reference QP
Title Petty Sessions
Date 19th century-20th century
Location Please note that parts of this collection are held offsite. Please contact Cheshire Archives and Local Studies in advance of your visit if you wish to view these records.
Access Conditions Magistrates court records are closed for 30A years; and records containing personal information are subject to access restrictions under the UK Data Protection Act, 1998
Administrative History Petty sessions were first held in the early nineteenth century, taking the place of earlier informal meetings of justices. The first petty sessional divisions corresponded to hundredal boundaries but were gradually split to take account of increasing business and larger populations. Towns which achieved borough status were given their own sessions. Boundaries remained unaltered from 1913 to 1952 when some divisions were amalgamated, and again in 1967 and 1971, when Hyde, Dukinfield and Stalybridge were combined to form North East Cheshire Division. In 1974 new divisions were created to coincide with the district councils of new Cheshire. For further administrative details see Victoria County History of Cheshire, volume. 2. The Record Office holds records from all pre-1974 divisions except Stockport (held by Stockport Borough Archives), Stalybridge (held by Tameside Local Studies Library) and Altrincham (held by Trafford Magistrates Court). The office also has records for the pre-1974 divisions of Warrington County and Borough and Widnes. Post 1974 records are also held for a number of Divisions. Typical records include magistrates' meetings minutes, adult and juvenile court registers and minutes, adoption registers, registers of licences of alehouses, licensed victuallers, clubs, cinemas, lodging houses, registered premises (explosives) and premises licensed for liquor, music, singing and dancing and billiards, and notes of evidence and orders. Access: 75 year closure period for adoption records, the remainder 30 years.
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