How to write a story set in victorian times prisons

A foot restraint for convicts On a recent trip to Kingston, Ontario a family member and I decided to go to a different kind of museum — a Penitentiary museum. And we were not disappointed. They also featured some of the barbaric tortures perpetuated on the convicts by the guards and the guards by the convicts.

How to write a story set in victorian times prisons

History[ edit ] Newgatethe old city gate and prison In the early 12th century, Henry II instituted legal reforms that gave the Crown more control over the administration of justice.

Charles Dickens as Social Commentator and Critic

As part of his Assize of Clarendon ofhe required the construction of prisons, where the accused would stay while royal judges debated their innocence or guilt and subsequent punishment. InNewgate was the first institution established to meet that purpose.

The addition included new dungeons and adjacent buildings, which would remain unaltered for roughly two centuries. The building was collapsing and decaying, and many prisoners were dying from the close quarters, overcrowding, rampant disease, and bad sanitary conditions.

Indeed, one year, 22 prisoners died from "gaol fever".

how to write a story set in victorian times prisons

The situation in Newgate was so dire that incity officials temporarily shut down the prison. Following pressure from reformers who learned that the women's quarters were too small and did not contain their own latrines, obliging women to walk through the men's quarters to reach one, officials added a separate tower and chamber for female prisoners in The gate and gaol were pulled down and rebuilt.

There was a new central hall for meals, a new chapel, and the creation of additional chambers and basement cells with no light or ventilation. By the midth century, Newgate could accommodate roughly prisoners.

Though the prisoners lived in separate quarters, they mixed freely with each other and visitors to the prison. The work followed the designs of George Dance and was almost finished when it was stormed by a mob during the Gordon riots in June The building was gutted by fire, and the walls badly damaged.

A Victorian prison - The National Archives

The building was laid out around a central courtyard, and was divided into two sections: Each section was further sub-divided to accommodate felons and debtors.

Some committed acts of petty crime and theft, breaking and entering homes or committing highway robberies, while others performed serious crimes such as rapes and murders.

For example, towards the tail end of Edward I 's reign, there was a rise in street robberies. As such, the punishment for drawing out a dagger was 15 days in Newgate; injuring someone meant 40 days in the prison. Otherwise, common debtors were sent to the "stone hall" whereas common felons were taken to the "stone hold".

The dungeons were dirty and unlit, so depraved that physicians would not enter. Prisoners who could afford to purchase alcohol from the prisoner-run drinking cellar by the main entrance to Newgate remained perpetually drunk. The legend of the "Black Dog", an emaciated spirit thought to represent the brutal treatment of prisoners, only served to emphasize the harsh conditions.

According to medieval statute, the prison was to be managed by two annually elected sheriffswho in turn would sublet the administration of the prison to private "gaolers", or "keepers", for a price. These keepers in turn were permitted to exact payment directly from the inmates, making the position one of the most profitable in London.

Inevitably, often the system offered incentives for the keepers to exhibit cruelty to the prisoners, charging them for everything from entering the gaol to having their chains both put on and taken off.

They often began inflicting punishment on prisoners before their sentences even began. Guards, whose incomes partially depended on extorting their wards, charged the prisoners for food, bedding, and to be released from their shackles. To earn additional money, guards blackmailed and tortured prisoners.

Indeed, the list of things that prison guards were not allowed to do serve as a better indication of the conditions in Newgate than the list of things that they were allowed to do.

Gaolers were not allowed to take alms intended for prisoners.Oct 15,  · Dickens was haunted all his life by the shame of his father's sentence, and the menial work he had to do, and told very little about it. Debtors prisons were . Nov 01,  · The novel is ‘placed’ immediately by the archaic use of ‘Threadneedle-street’ – and the fact of the oyster supper: a common meal in Victorian times and not the luxury food of today.

The language has a formality with words such as ‘had alighted’, all of which leaves the reader in no doubt that the genre is Victorian.

A Story set in the Victorian Ropery KS2 History and Literacy Chatham Ropery spinning room census as many worked part time, particularly the women working in the mills. Activity 4: Writing in the style of Dickens.

Great Expectations In Great Expectations, Pip, the protagonist and narrator of the story grows from a young child to a mannerly gentleman with high social status. Great Expectations was set in early Victorian times in England when great social changes were sweeping the nation.

The answer was to reform the police and to build more prisons. Between and , 90 prisons were built or added to. It was a massive building programme, costing millions of pounds.

Why Charles Dickens Wrote "A Christmas Carol" | Smart News | Smithsonian

You can see the big extension to Coldbath Fields prison in Source 1. Many Victorian prisons are still in use today. People wanted to reform prison for different .

5 responses to “ Nasty Victorian Punishment Devices ” She was given a life sentence, and served her time in Kingston’s Women’s prison. It is a superb read, filled with very accurate period detail. Also interesting, each chapter is named for an antique quilt pattern, with illustration of the pattern.

how to write a story set in victorian times prisons

And, it is set in Kingston.

The History Girls: ON WRITING VICTORIAN FICTION