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House of Correction


This prison is situated in Cold Bath Fields, and it is constructed on the late Mr. Howard's plan. It is surrounded with a high wall, and it has the best chapel belonging to any prison in the metropolis, excepting perhaps, that belonging to the Millbank Penitentiary. There were committed to this prison in 1815, 2,100 persons; and 3,667 persons in 1817. It was at first designed only as a kind of Bridewell, but having suitable accommodations for various descriptions of prisoners, it is used for criminals generally ;—the system of reform has failed, but whether it has been fairly tried, according to the projector's scheme, may be deemed a question. The daily occupation of the prisoners is that of picking oakum; but in fact there is little or no work carried on. There are between 280 and 290 sleeping cells in the prison, 12 of which are double, the others are all single; the women sleep two in a cell; and when the number of male prisoners exceeds the regular accommodation, barracks of wood are put up for them, where from 15 to 30 sleep together in the same room. Each cell is 8 feet, 3 inches long, 6 feet 3 inches wide, and 8 feet high; they are all arched, are airy and well constructed, those however that open into the courts are necessarily damp and cold; and to them the prisoners have access during the day; they have all shutters, which are closed at night. A practice formerly existed, of letting out a better kind of bedding to persons who could pay for it; but that is now done away with; all persons, whether they are confined as felons or for misdemeanors, or committed for re-examination, or as King's witnesses, are placed in the same sort of cell, and have the common bedding.

As some proof that the system of appointing in particular might be better conducted, when the Commons' committee examined this prison last year, they found Vaughan and Brock (two infamous fellows, belonging to a gang regularly engaged in swearing away the lives of human beings for the sake of the statute-rewards,) engaged as wardsmen! In fact, it ceases to be a "House of Correction ;" and the keeper and chaplain expressed their fears that prisoners went out worse rather than better for their confinement.

SOURCE: New Picture of London, Printed for Samuel Leigh, 18, Strand; by W. Clowes, Northumberland Court. 1819.

Related pages:



Tothill Fields Bridewell

Giltspur Street Compter

New Debtors' Prison

Clerkenwell Prison

Fleet Prison


King's Bench Prison

Borough Compter

Sheriffs Officers' Houses

Milbank Penitentiary

Source: Leigh's New Picture of London. Printed for Samuel Leigh, 18, Strand;
by W. Clowes, Northumberland Court. 1819