Archive of Transactions

City of Westminster magistrates’ badges

John Salter

The Commission for the Justices of the Peace in the City and Liberty of Westminster was issued in 1618 and withdrawn in 1889 when the Westminster Justices were transferred to the City of London. From early days minor officials of the Westminster Court had worn badges, but it was not until 1765 that permission to wear a badge of office was granted to the magistrates themselves. Eighteenth-century badges are shown in contemporary portraiture but the earliest surviving examples date to 1844; it is suggested that these represent a revival of the practice of wearing a badge, consequent upon the passing of the Middlesex Criminal Justice Act in that year.

The paper includes a full catalogue of the eighteen badges known to the author, most of which are silver-gilt and the work of William Chapman. An appendix gives brief biographies of the magistrates who wore them.

[Transactions 41 (1990), pp 29 – 38; abstract by Francis Grew, 02-Jan-98]

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