The Clink Prison, London

>>  Friday, August 22, 2014

The Clink Prison is in Southwark, near London Bridge.

It is a small museum but the sort of place I enjoy.  It takes no more than an hour to go round and there is a lot of really interesting information in there.

This is the site of one of the earliest prisons in England, there since 1144, and the inmates there had it pretty bad.

 There was no food given to the prisoners, they had to have someone bring it in to them, beg for it or starve.

The prison flooded at high tide filling the cells with sewerage from the Thames.  But there were no buckets for slop outs anyway so the cells were already pretty rancid.
 There was an area called the hole where prisoners were literally put and forgotten. Left in flood water until the flesh rotted and fell off their bones or the typhoid and cholera ridden water passed on it's diseases.
There are many different types of torture and execution instruments to be seen, with plenty of information given about how they were applied. The boards are in easy to read snippets with interesting facts.  Did you know the word 'loo' probably comes from people throwing their slops out of an upper window and shouting 'Gardez L'eau' as it was thrown!

The term in the clink, comes straight from this prison.

How about 'pulling your leg'  when friends and family would pull onto the legs of those being hanged to try to speed up their death. A short rope was often used on purpose to ensure a slow and painful death.

A lot of these people did very little to get themselves there, just victims of circumstance.  Sometimes being robbed themselves, leaving them unable to pay debts and once jailed for being a debtor you still needed to clear the debt, the interest stacking up against the debt and now pay your prison fees too before you could be released.  Being sent to prison was pretty much a life sentence.

We have Elizabeth Fry to thank for a lot of prison reform, we recently thanked her by taking her off the £5.

The Clink Prison Museum is costs £7.50 an adult and £5.50 for children.  We had a 2 for 1 train ticket voucher (if you don't use them you really should!)

There aren't any facilities there but this is very close to numerous good cafes and bars, plan your visit around a drinks stop.  The close by Hope and Anchor is child friendly.


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