London prisons


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By Henry Mayhew and John Binny, 1862


Many of these things would also have been very familiar to Samuel Speed ... The Crank ... The Treadwheel ... Picking Oakum ... the Separate Cell ... the Silent System ... the  Schoolroom ... the convict work gang ... the ships ...


The 'Black Maria' collecting prisoners from court.


School master giving a lesson in Pentonville's separate chapel: note the stalls separating the men. A similar chapel was at Port Arthur, Tasmania.


Boys' school room, Tothill Road prison.


Note, these convicts are not chained as they're loaded into the boats


A crowded convict hulk in the Thames. The later transports, such as the Belgravia, were generally much more open than this.


Mess room on a convict hulk. The transports would have been similar.


Millbank Prison: Tommy Jones and John Boyle O'Reilly knew it well.

So did Belgravia's school master, William Irwin.



Note the masks preventing them from recognising faces, and the need to hold on to guide ropes.



Picking oakum: note the short lengths of old rope being torn apart strand by strand...

And No Speaking



Picking oakum and treading the wheel, Holloway.



The crank: 'It is to punish you. Exhaust you ... The crank has no other purpose.'


'One f–– you all ... two bugger the lot of you...'

Note the 24 numbered separate stalls on this treadwheel and the men sitting resting.



Time for private meditation under the separate, silent system: this prisoner was put to weaving.




'The reformers also knew that mortification of the flesh was another sure path to virtue...'



The hanging hooks are  possibly gas lamps.



Everything under the watchful eyes of the screws....






The London lot.