This film is part of Free

Tower Pictorial News: York Assizes

In this intriguing short film from the 1920s, a selection of York’s long gone imposing 18th Century judicial buildings are centre stage.

Non-Fiction 1924 3 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


This fascinating film showcases Mr Justice Talbot travelling to York Assize Court. At the beginning of the film, a horse-drawn carriage arrives at Judge’s House and leaves with Justice Talbot. Shortly after this, the carriage arrives at the courtroom and journeys inside the prison’s imposing wall. The film’s final shots are from a high angle above the prison courtyard.

An assize was a court that used to sit in every county in England and Wales. The courts dealt with both civil and criminal law. The men’s and women’s prison buildings seen towards the end of the film were constructed at the beginning of the 18th Century. The prison mainly contained debtors who were unable to pay their creditors, but it also housed some notable criminals such as highwayman Dick Turpin. The men’s prison and the large walls and gatehouse surrounding it have now been demolished. The women’s prison is now part of York Castle Museum.