The Notable British Trials began life in September 1905, when the Aberdeen Press and Journal announced the imminent publication of The Trial of Madeleine Smith by William Hodge and Company, the intended first volume of a series entitled Notable Scottish Trials.
Started as a hobby by general editor Harry Hodge, son of the company’s founder, the series was an immediate success and over the next few years several additional volumes were published in the green cloth-bound series.
Hodge’s plans for a parallel series south of the border were realised in 1911 with the publication of Trial of the Stauntons. H. B. Irving’s Trial of Franz Müller was released two months later, and the Notable English Trials series was born.
The two series ran side-by-side in harmony for a decade until 1921, when a new series title – Notable British Trials – was launched, perhaps appropriately with a reprint of A. Duncan Smith’s Trial of Madeleine Smith. The new volumes would be bound in now iconic red cloth which had identified the English trials series.
New titles would be added with great regularity for a further 38 years until, quite suddenly, the series came to an abrupt halt in 1959 with the publication of the eighty-third volume, Trial of August Sangret, edited by Macdonald Critchley.