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The present yolnme completes the series of papers on the lower phases of 
London Life^ so ably commenoed by Mr. Heniy Mayhew. 

In the first portion of '^ London Labonr and the London Poor/' the respectable 
portion of the world were for the first time made acquainted with the habits and 
pursnits of many thousands of their fellow-creatoresj who daily earn an honest 
livelihood in the midst of destitution^ and exhibit a firmness and heroism in 
piirsning 'Hheir daily round and common task'' worthy of the highest com- 
mendation. Yet these had long been regarded as the dangerous classes^ as men 
and women who were little higher than Hottentots in the scale of civilization ! 
The publication of Mr. MayheVs investigationSj illustrated by the recitals of the 
people themselves, for the first time led to a knowledge of the poorer world of 
London^ of which the upper classes knew comparatively nothing. Acquaintance 
with disease is half way towards its remedy, and the knowledge thus acquired, has 
led to various ameliorations of the hardships undergone by these classes, and to a 
better UBderstanding between the various ranks of society, although much still 
remains to be done. 

Li the second department of the series " Those who will not work," Mr. 
Mayhew cmd his able assistants have laid bare the really festering sores of London, 
and have shown which are in reality the dangerous classes, the idle, the profligate, 
and the, criminal j those who prey upon the health and the property of others, and 
who, or many of whom, would not be tolerated in any other European capital. 
Here, however, the extreme jealousy with which the law guards the liberty of the 
subject when not engaged in any criminal act, so ties up the hands of the 
executiye, that vice is allowed to parade itself with the most brazen effrontery. 

Li the present volume the readers will, also for the first time, find a complete 
account of the Criminal Prisons of London, compiled, like the preceding portions of 
the work, from actual investigations, mostiy made within the walls, or supplied by 
the officers connected with them. It is scarcely necessary to point out the great 
contrast which the prisons of the present day present to those of the past century 
and the early part of the present. Formerly the only object in view was punish- 
ment, occasionally of the most careless leniency, and at other times of the most 


atrocious severity. Criminals were allowed to go on from crime to crime, and from 
bad to worse, until the police of the day thought them sufficiently advanced for 
promotion to the penal colonies, or to the gallows, which was ever crying out for 
fresh victims ; prevention was imthought of, punishment was regarded as the only 
means of repressing crime. Modem philanthropy has pointed out the better and 
the cheaper course; it pleads that it is the duty of the State to see that the 
children of the poor should be taught the diflference between right and wrong, and 
to take such measures with regard to crime that if its prevention be impossible, 
detection and punishment shall be almost a matter of certainty, not of chance. 

Of the punishment of crime this volume more particularly treats. Prisons were 
formerly hotbeds of vice : prisoners, yoimg in crime, came out confirmed miscreants. 
Old offenders of the gravest description and young misdemeanants were herded 
together, and reformation was a thing unknown. Now times are changed ; prisons 
are places of punishment ; idleness, which was formerly the rule, is now almost 
banished, and consequently, the habits of order and industry, which are forced 
upon all inmates, are so irksome to the idle, that prisons are in reality places of 
punishment, and to be avoided. Still better, they are reformatories also ; the 
prisoner is now taught that honesty is not only the best but the happiest policy, 
and the majority of persons who have completed their term, at least all but con- 
firmed delinquents, leave the walls of the prison with the determination of not 
again breaking the law. 

The publishers think it right to state that, in consequence of Mr. Mayhew's 
absence from England, they placed the completion of the volume in the hands of 
Mr. Binny, who has supplied all after page 498. They also take this opportunity 
of thanking the governors and the various prison authorities for the facilities they 
have rendered and for much useful information supplied. 

Stationsbb* Hall Cottbt, 
April, 1862. 





A Bau^ook YiKW av London 7 

SoKB Idea of the Size and Population 

ov London 11 

London pbom Dipfevent Points op View.. 18 

The Entry into London bj Bail 20 

The Port of London 21 

London from the Top of St. Paul's 24 


The CoNTBASTfl of London 28 

Of the Riches and Poverty of London . . , 28 

The Charity and the Grime of London... 28 
Of the London Streets, theib Teaffic, 

Kames, AND Ghabactes 53 

Of the Komenchiture of the London 

Streets 56 

Character of the London Streets 58 





The CBnciNAX Pbisonb and Prison Popu- 
lation of London 80 

Prisons for Offenders after Conyiction 82 

Prisons for Offenders before Conriction ... 82 

Of the Prison Popidation of London 82 

Of the Chancter of the London Criminals 84 

Toe London Contict Prisons and the 

Convict Population 91 

Of Prison Discipline 97 

Prisons in the Olden Times 97 

Of the Several Kinds of Prison Discipline 99 

The Classification of Prisons • 99 

The Silent Associated System 100 

The Separate System 103 

The Mixed System 105 

The Mark System 105 

THE comricx prisons of London 


PxNTONTiLTJi Prison 112 

History and Architectural Details 113 

Interior of Pentonville 117 

A Work-Day at PentonyiHe 122 

Departure of Convicts 125 

aeaning the Prison 128 

The Prison Breakfast 129 

The Refractory Wards, and Prison 

Punishments 135 

Exercising and Health of the Prisoners. . . 141 

Arrind of Conviots 145 

Prison Work and Gratuities 153 

dosing the Prison for the Night 159 

A Sunday Morning at Pentonrille 1^2 


Pentonyille Prison (continued) : 

Quitting the Chapel 167 

Of theMoral Effects of the Discipline 168 

The Fskale Contiot Prison at Brixton... 172 
The Histoiy, Plan, and Disciphne of the 

Prison 174 

Interior of the Brixton Prison 177 

ADay at Brixton 183 

Exercising 185 

Beports, Punishments, and Befractory 

Cells 187 

The Convict Nursery 189 

Delivery of the Prison Letters 192 

Female Convict Labour 194 




The Htozs AT Woolwich 197 

The Hiatory of the Hulks 398 

Conyiot Labour and Discipline at Wool- 
wich 202 

Yalue of Labour at the Hulks 203 

Convict Gratuities 205 

Badges, etc 206 

A Day on Board the " Defence" Hulk 208 

The Turning Out of the Conricts 208 

Officers' Duties 218 

Muster and Breakfast, Diet, etc 214 

Debaroation of Prisoners for Work in 

the Arsenal 216 

The Library and School at the Hulks ... 218 

The Working Parties in the Arsenal 221 

The Convicts' Burial Ground 223 

The Convicts at Dinner 226 

The « Unit^" Hospital Ship 228 

The "Sulphur'' Washing Hulk 229 

The « Warrior*' Hulk 229 

MiLLBANi Peisok— Thb Comtict DbpAt ... 282 
Plan, History, and Discipline of the Prison 285 
The Present Use and Begulations of the 

Prison 240 

The Interior of the Prison 244 

The Reception Ward 244 

The Chain-room 246 

The Cells at Millbank 248 

The School-ropm 240 

Working in Separate Cells 250 

Peculiar Wards 256 

Befractory and Dark Cells 258 

Guarding the Prisoners, etc 259 

Breakfast, etc 261 

Exercising 262 

Large Associated Booms 263 

The Infirmary 264 

The General Ward 265 

The Prison Garden and Churchyard 266 

The I'emale Convict Prison at Millbank ... 269 




The History and Construction of the 

Prison 280 

The Discipline of Coldbath Fields Prison 284 

The Interior of the Prison 289 

The Interior of the ^Mam" Prison and 

Counting the Prisoners 290 

The Prisoners' own Clothes Stores 292 

Liberation of Prisoners 293 

Arrival of Prisoners 294 

Visit of Prisoners' Friends 296 

Of "Hard "and "Prison" Labour 299 

The Tread-Mill 803 

The Tread-Wheel Fan 807 

Crank Labour 807 

ShotDrill 308 

Oakum Picking 810 

The T^tiloiB' and Shoemakers' Boom 813 

The Printing Office and Needle Boom ... 815 

Mat Boom 816 

Artisan Prisoners 817 

Education and Beligious Instruction of the 

Prisoners 819 

Chapel 820 

The Prison Accommodation 822 

Cells 822 

Dormitories 826 

Of the Silent System 828 

Stars 386 

Middlesex House of Cobbsctiok, Cold- 
Bath Fields {continued) : 

Beport Office 386 

Of the Different Sands of Prisons and Pri- 
soners, and the Diet allowed to Each 339 

Vagrants' Prison 839 

Misdemeanants' Prison 840 

Fines 841 

Of the Prison Kitchen and Diet 846 

The MiDDUtasz House oe Cosebotiok, 

Tothill Fields 853 

Of the Old " Spitals," Sanctnariei, etc. ... 854 
The History, Character, and Discipline 

of the Prison 859 

Of the Boy Prisoners at Tothill Fields 

and Boy Prisoners generally 876 

The Interior of Tothill Fields Prison 398 

The Boys' Work at TothiU Fields ... 420 
The Boy Prisoners' School-room and 

Libraiy 429 

Beception and Discharge of Prisoners ... 481 
Of Juvenile Offenders in connection wiih the 

increase of crime in this Country ... 489 
The Female Prison at Tothill Fields, and 

Female Prisoners generally 453 

Tl^e Interior of the Female Prison 468 

The School-room, Work-room, etc. ... 470 

The Nursery 478 

The Female Work-room 475 

The Female Prifonen' Goihes Stores 483 




Tkb Bjtbxkx 9oubi of OoBBioTiosr, Wands- 

WOBTH 487 

Tbt "History md Coii8<aruction of the 
Prison 489 

£Bstoi7 of the House of Gorrecfcioii 492 

G^wdtj and Cost 494 

Beasons for Building the Chapel on the 

Separate System 496 

Form of Hard Labour Adopted 496 

Of the Sjstem of Prison Discipline 497 

The Interior of the Prison 500 

Reception Cells 505 

Prisoners* Old Clothing-room 506 

Reception Store-room 508 

Cells 509 

Oakum Picking 510 

MatMaking 510 

Shoe Making 512 

Chapel 512 

Exercising (abounds 515 

The Pump House 514 

MiU House 515 

Hand Labour Machines 515 

School 516 

The Bakery 517 

TheKitchen 518 

Ponishment Cells 518 

Store-rooms 519 

The Female Prison, Wandsworth 522 

The Reception Ward 523 

CbntralHall 524 

Matron's Clerk 525 

TheLaundzy 526 

The Teacher 627 

Punishment Cells 528 

The Storekeeper 528 

Visiting the Cells 530 

Return of the Terms of Imprisonment at 
Wandsworth 531 

The City Houbb of Cobbbctiok, Holloway 533 
The History and Construction of the 

Prison ,.., 535 

The Interior of Holloway Prison , 539 

The Outer Gate and Courtyard 639 

OflSse, Cells, etc., of the Reception 

Ward 641 

Discharge of Prisoners 543 

Mode of Receiving Prisoners 546 

Stores 547 

Newly Arrived Prisoners 649 

Main Passage 551 

CentralHall 663 

Cells 564 

Mat Rooms 556 

Schools of the Male Prison 569 

State of Education 562 

Tailors* and Shoemakers* Room 562 

Infirmary 666 

Chapel 567 

Hearing Reports 669 

The Treadwheel 570 

Exercising Ghrounds 571 

TheKitchen 572 

The Engineers' Department 574 

Visiting the Prisoners in their Cells 675 

The Juvenile Wing of the Prison 578 

Ordinary Distribution of a Prisoner's 

Time 680 

The Female House of Correction, Holloway 680 

Reception Ward 680 

Laundry 681 

The School 682 

The Outer Watchman 683 

Employment of Prisoners 583 

List of the Dietaiy for Prisoners 584 

Average Expenses of Holloway Prison 686 

Return showing the Time and Value of 
Prisoners' Labour 587 


NxwoatsJail 686 

Interior of Newgate JaU 593 

The Bread Room 594 

Murderers' Busts 596 

TheKitchen 597 

Corridor of Male Prison 697 

Cells 598 

Visiting ofPrisoners by their Friends 600 

The Murderers' Cells 601 

Burying Ground of the Murderers 601 

Newoatb Jail {continued): 

Exercising Grounds 602 

Old Associated Rooms 603 

The Chapel 604 

The Female Prison 605 

Reception Cells, Punishment Cells, &c. 605 

The Laundry 606 

The Boiler Room 607 

The Sessions House 607 

General Statistics of Newgate Jail 610 



The House of Deteetiok, Clebkekwell 611 

Reception Ward 611 

Central Hall 616 

The Chapel 616 

The Kitchen 617 

Visiting the Cells 618 

Exercising Grounds 620 

The Female Prison 621 

Reception Ward 621 

The Laundry 621 

The Corridor, etc 621 

General Statistics of Clerkenwell Prison ... 622 

HoBSEMOHaEB Lake Jail 623 

Reception Ward 624 

HoBSBMOKaEE Laeb Jail — (eoiUintted) t 

The Kitchen, etc 626 

The Engineer v 626 

The Chapel 627 

Exercising Ghronnds 627 

Visiting the Cells 628 

The Infirmary 630 

The Female Prison 630 

Reception Ward , 680 

The Laundry 630 

The Teacher 631 

Visiting the Cells 631 

General Statistics of Horsemonger Lane 

Jail 633 

*ii* All after page 498 is written hy Mr, John Binny, 


Fboktibpiboe, London Traffio as aeon from the Top of St. Paurs. 

Ictnoos AS A Gbbat Wobld : ^ 
The Port of London. 
Kap of the Population of London. 

Lboal Lohdon :— 

M^ of the Luis of Court. 

Ki^ of the Metropolitan Prisons. 

Opening of the Courts, Westminster. 


Ticket of Leare Men. 
Male and Pemale Conyicts. 

Fbhtostillb Pbibok: — 
Bird's-eye View. 

Portcullis Gateway. 
Conricts Exercising. 
Sepazate Cell. 

The Chapel during Divine Service. 
Chief Warder. 
Instrument for Signalling the Prisoners. 

Tee Fsxaui Coktict Pusoir at Bbixton :-~ 
Bird's-eye View. 
Separate Cell in the old Part. 
Separate Cell in the new Part. 
Principal Matron. 
Wash House. 
Ironing Boom. 
The Convict Kurseiy. 
Female Convicts Exercising. 
"FemaXdB at Work during Silent Hour. 

Thb Huueb at Woolwich :— 

The ••Defence" Hulk and the " Unit^" Hos- 

pital Ship. 
Oiapel on Board the " Defence." 
A Ward on Board the " Defence." 
Sectional View of the <* Defence." 
Plans of the Decks of the <* Defence." 

Thb Hulkb at Woolwich — (continued) : 
Convicts forming a Mortar Battery. 
Convicts Scraping Shot. 
The Escape Signal. 
The Convicts' Burial Ground. 
The Convict's Flower. 
Convicts returning to the Hulks. 
The "Warrior^' Hulk with the "Sulphiur" 

Washing Ship. 
The Deck of the « Unite" Hospital Ship. 


General View. 

Bird's-eye View. 

General Plan. 

The Workshop under the Silent System. 

The Chain Boom. 

Prisoner at Work in Separate CelL 

Prisoner in Keiractory CelL 

Convicts Working in the Garden Ground. 

Female Convict in Canvas Dress. 

Burial Ground. 



Bird's-eye View. 

Ground Plan. 

Fumigating Prisoniers' Clothing. 

Friends Visiting Prisoners. 

Large Oakum Boom under the Silent System. 

Prisoners Working at the Tread Wheel, 

The Tread Wheel Fan. 

The Tailors* and Shoemakers' Boom, 

Mat Boom. 


Liberation of Prisoners. 


General View. 

Bird's-eye View. 

Ground Plan. 

Workshop on the Silent System. 



{continued[) : 
QirU' School Boom. 
Boys ExerciBing. 

Female PriBonen' own Olothes Store. 
Bojb' School Boom. 
Court Yard and Goyemor'B House. 
SerFing Dinner in the Bojb' Prison. 
Mothers with their Children Exercising. 


General View. 

Bird's-eye View. 

Ground Plan. 

Interiori with the Prisoners Turning out 

after Dinner. 
Veiled Female Prisoner. 
Cell, with Prisoner at Crank Labour. 
Pump Boom. 

Adult School in the Chapel. 
Ventilating haft. 
Prisoner's Mattrass. 
Cell Indicator. 
Whip, or Bod. 
Whipping Post. 

City House of Cobsxctiok, Hollowat : — 
Bird>-eve View. 
General View. 
Ground Plan. 
Outer Gate. 

Thb City Hottsb of Oobbbotiok, Holloway— 

(eonUnued) : 
Tread Wheel and Oakum Shed. 
Inner Ghite. 

Interior of the Kitchen. 
Heating Apparatus. 
Lifting Apparatus for Seiring Dinner. 
Separate Washing Cell 

Nbwgatb Jail: — 
General View. 
Chamberlain's Gate. 
Old I^ewgate. 

Ghround Plan before the Beoent Alterations. 
Present Ground Plan. 
Gateway, and Prisoners' Friends. 
Court, with Trial Going on. 
Prisoners' Consulting Boom. 
Condemned Cell. 

House of Dbtentiok, ClsbkeitweIiL : — 
Bird's-eye View. 
General View. 
Cbound Plan. 

Interior, Prisoners' Friends Visiting. 
Prison Van Taking up Prisoners. 


G^eral View. 
Ground Plan. 




" Lmdre* n'ett plia tm» vilh: e'ett unt frovmet eowerie it motion*," t&ya H. Horace Say, 
the celebrated Prencli economiat. 

The remark, however, like moat French moU, is more eparkling than lucid; for, if 
the term " province" be used — and bo it often is by the inconsiderate — as if it were synony- 
mons with the Anglo-Saxon " shire," then assuredly there Is no county in England nor 
" difmitmenf' in France, which, in the extent of its population, is comparable to the Sritisli 
lletropoliB. Not only does London contain nearly twice as many souls as the most extendve 
dinnon of the Frencli Empire, but it houses upwards of a quarter of a million more indi- 
vidoala than any one county in Great Brit^.* 

How idle, tlierefoTe, to speak of London as a mere province, when it comprises within 
its boundaries a greater number of people than many a kingdom ! the population of the 
Sritish Uetropolis exceeding — by some five hundred thousand persona — that of the whole of 
Hanover, or Baxony, or 'Wnrtembui^; whilst the abstract portion of its people congregated 
on the Uiddlesex side of the Thames only, out-numbers the entire body of individuab 
included within the Grand Buchy of Saden.f 

* The population of the dtfartimmt da Kord it, in round nnmbcn, 1,130,000 ; and tlitt o( ths Seins 
1,Ses,000. The population of Lancuter, on the other buid, ia 2,031,236. 

t The populitios of tha abore-mentianed oooDttiM ii, according to ths retDmi of 18S0, u foilovi : — 
Suonj, 1,836,433 ; Haaover, 1,7BS,8S6 ; WnrtemburK, 1,713,827 ; Bodsn, 1,349,030.— JCOrf&fA'* Ota- 
frafHial Dieiienitry. 


Nay, more: towards the close of the J 4th centoiy, there were not nearly so many men, 
women, and children scattered throughout dS England as there are now crowded within the 
Capital alone.* 

Further : assuming the population of the entire world, according to the calculations of 
Balbi (as given in the Balance Politique du Globe), to be 1075 millions, that of the Great 
Metropolis constitutes no less than 1 -450th part of the whole ; so that, in every thousand of 
the aggregate composing the immense human family, two at least are Londoners. 

In short, London may be safely asserted to be the most densely-populated city in all the 
world— ^containing one-fourth more people than Fekin, and two-thirds more than Paris ; 
more than twice as many as Constantinople ; four times as many as St. Petersburg ; five 
times as many as Vienna, or New York, or Madrid; nearly seven times as many as Berlin ; 
eight times as many as Amsterdam ; nine times as many as Rome ; fifi;een times as many 
as Copenhagen; and seventeen times as many as Stockholm. f 

Surely then London, being, as we have shown, more numerously peopled than any single 
province — and, indeed, than many an entire State — may be regarded as a distinct Wobid ; 
and, in accordance with this view, Addison has spoken of the British Metropolis as composed 
of different races like a world, instead of being made up of one cognate family like a town. 

'^ When I consider this great city," he says, j: '' in its several quarters or divisions, I look 
upon it as an aggregate of various nations, distinguished from each other by their respective 
customs, manners, and interests. The courts of two countries do not so much differ from 
one another as the Court and City of London in their peculiar ways of life and conversation. 
In short, the inhabitants of St. James's, notwithstanding they live under the same laws and 
speak the same language, are a distinct people from those of Sheapside, by several climates 
and degrees, in their ways of thinking and conversing together." 

Viewing the Ghreat Metropolis^ therefore, as an absolute world, Belgravia and Bethnal Green 
become the opposite poles of the London sphere — ^the frigid zones, as it were, of the Capital ; 
the one icy cold from its exceeding fashion, form, and ceremony ; and the other wrapt in a 
perpetual winter of withering poverty. Of such a world, Temple Bar is the immistakable 
equator, dividing the City hemisphere from that of the West End, and with a Hne of Banks, 
representative of the Gold Coast, in its immediate neighbourhood. What Greenwich, too, is 
to the merchant seamen of England, Charing Cross is to the London cabmen — ^the zero from 
which all the longitudes of the Metropolitan world are measured. 

Then has not the so-called World of London its vast continents, like the veritable world 
of which it forms a part? What else are the enormous trans-Thamesian territories of South- 
wark and Lambeth ? Moreover, the localities of St. Bonetfink, and St. Benetsherehog, or 
even Bevis Marks, in the heart of the City, are as much terra incognita, to the great body of 
Londoners themselves, as is Lake Tchad in the centre of Africa to all but the Landers or Dr. 
Barths of our race. 

Again, as regards the metropolitan people, the polite Parisian is not more widely 
different from the barbarous Botecudo, than is the lack-a-daisical dandy at Almack's from 
the Billingsgate "rough." Ethnologists have reduced the several varieties of mankind 
into five distinct types ; but surely the judges who preside at the courts in Westminster 
are as morally distinct from the Jew ''fences" of Petticoat Lane as the Caucasian frt>m the 
Malayan race. Is not the '' pet parson," too, of some West End Puseyite Chapel as ethically 

* The population of England in the year 1377 was 2,092,978. 

t The figures from which the above deductions ore made are as follows : — ^Pekin {reputed population\ 
2,000,000 ; Paris, 1,650,000 ; Constantinople, 950,000 ; St. Potersborg, 600,000 ; Vienna, 500,000 ; Mew 
York, 500,000; Madrid, 450,000; Berlin, 880,000; Amsterdam, 800,000; Home, 275,000 ; Copenhagen, 
160,000 ; Stookhohn, I60,000.-^ffajfdyii*» Dictionary of Dates. Sixth Edition, 

t Spectator, No. 340. 


and plijaicaUy different from the London prize-fighter, and he again ^m the City Alderman, 
as is the Mongol from the Negro, or the Negro from the Red Lidian. 

In the World of London, indeed, we find almost every geographic species of the human 
fiimily. If Arabia has its nomadic tribes, the British Metropolis has its vagrant hordes as 
veil. If the Carib Islands have their savages, the English Capital has types almost as 
bmtal and uncivilized as they. If India has its Thugs, London has its garotte men. 

Nor are the religious creeds of the entire globe more multiform than those of the Great 
HetropoliB. We smile with pity at the tribes of the Bight of Benim, who have a lizard for 
their particular divinity ; and throw up our hands and brows in astonishment on learning that 
the BiflsagOB offer up their prayers to a bam-door cock. But have we not among us, in this 
''most enlightened Metropolis," and in these most " enlightened times," people who devoutly 
believe that Mrs. Joanna Southcott was designed to have been the mother of the Messiah ? 
others who are morally convinced that Joe Smith was inspired by the Almighty to write 
the Book of Mormon — an unsuccessM novel that is regarded as a second gospel by thousands? 
others again who find a special revelation from the Most High in the babbling of nonsense 
by demented women — the uttering of "imknown tongues," as it is termed ? and others still 
whose steadfiaflt faith it is, that the special means of communing with the spirits of the other 
world are alphabets and secret tappings under the table ! 

Further: the philological differences of the several races scattered over the globe are 
hardly more manifold than are the distinct modes of speech peculiar to the various classes of 
Metropolitan society. True, the characteristic dialect of Bow-bells has almost become 
obsolete ; and aldermen, now-a-days, rarely transpose the v's and w*s, or '' exasperate " 
ibe h*8, and -no longer speak of some humble residence as '' an 'ouse, an 'ut; or on 'ovel," 
nor style it, with like ortho^y, a ''Hightalian wilier," or a '^ French cottage Aomy (omcftf)." 
But though this form has passed away, there are many other modes of speech still peculiar 
to the Metropolitan people. 

Your London exquisite, for instance, talks of taking — ^aw— his afternoon's tride — aw — in 
WoUon Wo— aw — aw— or of going to the Opetra — ^aw— or else of running down^— aw — to 
the WaceB — aw — aw. 

The affected Metropolitan Miss, on the other hand, loves the ble-ue ske-i, and her bootio 
little do^e and birdie, and delights in being key-ind to the poor, and thioks Miss So-and' 
so looked '' sweetly pretty" at church in her new bonnet. 

Then the fast young gentleman positively must speak to his governor, and get the old 
brick to fork out some more tin, for positively he can hardly afford himself a weed of an 
evenicg — ^besides he wants. a more nobby crib, as the one he hongs out in now is only fit 
for some pleb or cad. It really isn't the Stilton. 

Moreover, there is the *' Cadgers' (beggars') cant," as it is called — a style of language 
which is distinct from the slang of the thieves, being arranged on the principle of using 
words that are similar in sound to the ordinary expressions for the same idea. '' S'pose 
now, your honour," said a '^ shallow cove," who was gi^dng us a lesson in the St. Giles' 
classics^ ** I wanted to ask a codger^ to come and have a gJass^ of ruw^ with me, and smoke 
z,pip^ ofhaeeer* over a game of eards^ with some hhkes^ at homf — I should say, ' Sphdger^^ 
will you have a Jack-surjpoM^ of finger-and-^Attmi,' and blow your yard of tr^e^ of nosey-me- 
huiidser^^ while we have a touch of the hroads^ with some other heaps of cohe^ at my drunf'^ "* 

Again, we have the '' Coster-slang," or the language used by the costermongers, and 
which consists merely in pronouncing each word as if it were spelt backwards : — " I saj-. 
Curly, will you 60 21, tap of reeh (pot of beer) ?" one costermonger may say to the other. 
" It's am iaofy Whelkey, an doag (no good, no good)," the second may reply. " I've had a 
r^lar trasmo (bad sort) to-day. I've been doing b y d<A (bad) with my tal (lot, 

* It iriU bo readily observed, by means of the numbers, that the above cant words are mere nonsensical 
terms, rhyming with tiie vernacular ones to which the same figure is annexed* 


or stock) — ^haVt made a yennep (penny), s'elp mo." " Wlxy, I've cleared aflatek-enorc (half-a- 
ciown) a'ready/' Master Whelkey wOl answer, perhaps. '' Bat kool the esilop (look at the 
police) ; kool him (look at him) Curly ! Nbmmus / (be ofL) I'm going to do the tighbner 
(have my dinner)." 

Lastly, comes the veritable slang, or Englisk *' Argots ^ i.e., the secret langoage used by 
the London thieves. This is made up, in a great degree, of the medissval Latin, in which 
the Church service was formerly chanted, and which indeed gave rise to the term cant 
(from the Latin cantare), it having been the custom of the ancient beggars to *^ intone" their 
prayers when asking for alms.* ''Can you roker £omany(can you speak cant)?" one 
individual " on the cross" will say to another, who is not exactly '' on the square;" and if 
the reply be in the affirmative, he will probably add — " What is your monekeer (name) ? — 
Where do you stall to in the huey (where do you lodge in the town) ?" " Oh, I drop the 
main toper (get out of the high-road)," would doubtless be the answer, " and slink into the 
ken (lodging-house) in the back drum (street)." ** Will you have a shant o' gatter (pot of 
beer) after all this dowry of parny (lot of rain) ? I've got a teviss (shilling) left in my clye 
(pocket)." • 

To speak of the *' World of London," then, is hardly to adopt a metaphor, since the 
metropolitan people differ from one another — as much as if they belonged to different races — 
not only in their manners and customs, as well as religion, but in their forms of speech ; 
for, if we study the peculiar dialect of each class, we shall find that there is some species of 
cant or other appertaining to every distinct circle of society ; and that there is a slang of 
the Drawing-room, of Exeter Hall, of the Inns of Court, the Mess-table, the Editor's-room, 
the Artist's Studio, the Hospital, the Club-house, the Stable, the Workshop, the Kitchen, 
ay, and even the Houses of Parliament — as distinctly as there is the slang of Billingsgate and 
the '' padding ken." 

But London is not only a World : it is a Great World as well. 

We have been so long accustomed to think of worlds as immense masses, measuring some 
thousands of miles in diameter, that it seems almost like hyperbole to class a mere patch of 
the earth, like the British Metropolis, among the mundane bodies. The discoveries of the 
present century, however, have revealed to us an order of celestial worlds, many of which 
are hardly as big as German kingdoms. 

* The word *' patter," which is the slang for speech, is borrowed merely from the "paUr-nosters" that the 
old-established mendicants delighted to mumble. So, too, the term *' fake" (to do anything) is merely 
the lAtiufacere; and a "fakement" (anything done or written, as a beggar's petition), the classic /a»- 
tnenium. But a large number of foreign words have since been introduced into this species of cant, for as 
socresy is the main object of all cantoloquy, every outlandish term is incorporated with the " lingo," as soon 
as it can be picked up from any of the continental vagrants frequenting the *' padding kens" (low lodging- 
houses) throughout the country. Thus the term "carser," for a gentleman's house (Italian eaaa), has been 
borrowed from the organ hoys ; and " ogle" (Dutch, Oogelyny a little eye), from the Hollanders on board 
the Billingsgate eel-boats. "Pogle," for a handkerchief, a "bird's eye wipe" (German, vogel^ a bird), has 
been taken, on the other hand, from the German vagrants, such as the bird-cage men, &c. ; " showfuU," 
base money, which is likewise the Teutonic shofiU (bad stuff— trash), has had the same origin ; and "bone,'' 
which is the slang for good, and evidently the French hon^ has been got, probably, from the old dancing- 
dog men. The gipsy language has also lent a few words to the stock of slang, whilst the British, and 
even the Anglo- Saxon speech of our forefathers have many a phrase preserred in it (the vulgar being, as 
Latham says, the real consenrators of the Saxon tongue). Por instance, the slang term "gammy" (bad) 
comes from the Welsh gam^ crooked, queer ; and the cant expression, " it isn't the cheese" is pure old Engllih, 
signifying, literally, it is not what I should choose ; for Chaucer, in the Canterbury Taies^ has the line— 

" To cheeee whether she wold him marry or no." 

Moreover, fanciful metaphors contribute largely to the formation of slang. It is upon this principle that 
the mouth has come to be styled the " tater-trap ;" the tooth, "dominoes;" the nose, the "paste-horn;" 
the blood "claret;" shoes, "crab-shells;" umbrellas, "mushrooms" (or, briefly, "mush") | prisons, "stono 
Jugs," and so on. 


These *' asteroids/' or '^planetoids/' as they are sometimes called, are supposed by 
astronomers to be fragments of a great planet — mere star-chips^ or splinters of some shattered 
larger sphere — that formerly occupied the ethereal gap between Mars and Jupiter.* Even 
80, then, may London itself be considered as a kind of t&rroid — a distinct chip of the 
greater world, the Earth. 

The discs of the minor celestial spheres, Humboldt tells us in his Oo&mos, ''have a 
real surface, measuring not much more than half that of France, Madagascar, or Borneo." 
Indeed, Mr. Hind says, that *' the largest of the twenty-fiye small planets probably docs not 
exceed 450 miles in diameter ;"f so that such a planetary world is not so long — ^by upwards 
of a hundred miles — as even our own little inland. 

Now, as this is the measure of the largest of the minor planetary spheres, surely we can 
oanceire that some of those bodies may be barely bigger than ihe Metropolis itself, seeing 
that the English Capital corers an area of no less than 120 odd square mUes in extent. 

If then, by some volcanic eonrulsion — ^some subterranean quake and explosion — ^the earth 
were suddenly to burst, like a mundane bomb, and, being shattered into a score or two of ter- 
roid fragments, the great Metropolis were to be severed from the rest of the globe, London is 
quite large enough to do duty as a separate world, and to fall to revolving by itself about the 
sun — ^with Haa^pstead and Sydenham for its north and south poles, doomed alike to a six 
months' winter — ^with the whole Hne of Oxford Street, Holbom, and Cheapside, scorching 
under tlie everlasting summer of what would then be the metropolitan torrid zone, and 
whikt it was day at Kensington, night reigning at Mile End. 

What a wondrous World, too, would this same abstract London be ! A World with scarcely 
an acre of green fields in all its 120 square miles of area — a World unable to grow hardly a 
sack of com, or to graze a £ock of sheep for itself— a W<»rld choke-full of houses, and reticulated 
with streets, as thick as the veins on a vine-leaf — and a World with two millions and a half 
of people crowded within it almost as dose as negroes in the hold of a slave ship ! 

CuL Geres, or Pallas, or Juno, or Astrea, or Iris, or indeed any other of the twenty-five 
minor planets,, be in any way comparable to it ? 


Thxbi is an innate desire in all men to view the earth and its cities and plains from 
'' exceeding high places," since even the least imaginative can fed the pleasure of beholding 
some broad landscape spread out like a bright-coloured carpet at their feet, and of looking 
down upon the world, as though they scanned it with an eagle's eye. For it is an exquisite 
treat to all minds to find that they have the x>ower, by their mere vision, of extending their 
consciousness to scenes and objects that are miles away ; and as the intellect experiences a 
special delight in being able to comprehend all the minute particulars of a subject under one 
associate whole, and to perceive ihe previous confusion of the diverse details assume the form 
and order of a perspicuous unity ; so does the eye love to see the country, or the town, which 
it usually knows only as a series of disjointed parts — as abstract fields, hills, rivers, parks, 
streets, gardens, or churches — ^become all combined, like the coloured fragments of the 
kalddoscopc, into one harmonious and varied scene. 

With great cities', however, the desire to percdve the dense multitude of housed at one single 

* Mr. Daoiel Kirkwood, of FoUyille Academy, has ventured theoretically to restore the fractured primi« 
tire planet, by calculations of the remaining fragments; and he finds that it must have had a diameter of about 
half that of the earth, and a day of more than twice the length of our owD.^JHeporitofihe British Association 

t Iliwtrated Loneton Astronomy, page 60. 


glanoe, and instead of by some thousand different views, to observe the intricate net-work of 
the many thoroughfares brought into the compass of one large web as it were ; the various 
districts, too, with iheir fisustories, their markets, their docks, or their mansions, all dove- 
tailed, one into the other, as if they were the pieces of some puzzle-map — is a feeling strong 
upon every one — the wisest as well as the most Mvolous — ^upon all, indeed, from the philoso- 
pher down to the idler about town. 

We had seen the Qreat Metropolis under almost every aspect. We had dived into the 
holes and comers hidden from the honest and well-to-do portion of the London community. 
We had visited Jacob's Island (the plague-spot of the British Capital) in the height of 
the cholera, when to inhale the very air of the place was to imbibe the breath of death. 
We had sought out the haunts of beggars and thieves, and passed hours communing 
with them as to their histories, habits, thoughts, and impulses. We had examined the 
World of London below the moral surface, as it were ; and we had a craving, like the rest 
of mankind, to contemplate it from above ; so, being offered a seat in the car of the Royal 
Nassau BalLoon, we determined upon accompanying Mr. Green into the clouds on his five 
hundredth ascent. 

It was late in the evening (a fine autumn one) when the gun was fired that was the 
signal for the great gas-bag to be loosened from the ropes that held it dovm to the soil; and, 
immediately the buoyant machine bounded, like a big ball, into the air. Or, rather let 
us say, the earth seemed to etnk suddenly down, as if the spot of ground to which it had been 
previously fastened had been constructed upon the same principle as the Adelphi stage, 
and admitted of being lowered at a moment's notice^ Indeed, no sooner did the report of 
the gun clatter in the air, than the people, who had before been grouped about ihe car, 
appeared to Ml from a level with the eye ; and, instantaneously, there was seen a multitude 
of flat, upturned faces in the gardens below, with a dense ehevausp defrise of arms extended 
above them, and some hundreds of outstretched hands fluttering fSeurewell to us. 

The moment after this, the balloon vaulted over the trees, and we saw the roadway 
outside the gardens stuck all over with mobs of little black lillipntian people, while the 
hubbub of the voices below, and ihe cries of "Ah hal-loon !" frt)m the boys, rose to the ear 
Uke the sound of a distant school let loose to play. 

Now began that peculiar panoramic effect which is the distinguishing feature of the first 
portion of a view from a balloon, and which arises from the utter absence of all sense of 
motion in the machine itself, and the consequent transference of the movement to the ground 
beneath. The earth, as the aeronautic vessel glided over it, seemed positively to consist of 
a continuous series of scenes which were being drawn along underneath us, as if it were 
some diorama laid flat upon the ground, and almost gave one the notion that the world was 
an endless landscape stretched upon rollers, which some invisible sprites below were busy 
revolving for our especial amusement. 

Then, as we floated along, above the fields in a line with the Thames towards Richmond, 
and looked over the edge of the car in which we were standing (and which, by the bye, 
was like a big '' buck-basket," reaching to one's breast), the sight was the most exquisite 
visual delight ever experienced. The houses directly underneath us looked like the tiny 
wooden things out of a child's box of toys, and the streets as if they were ruts in the 
ground; and we could hear the hum of the voices rising from every spot we passed over, 
&int as the buzzing of so many bees. 

Far beneath, in the direction we were sailing, lay the suburban fields; and here the 
earth, with its tiny hills and plains and streams, assiuned the appearance of the little coloured 
plaster models of countries. The roadways striping the bmd were like narrow brown 
ribbons, and the river, which we could oee winding fSar away, resembled a long, gray, 
metallic-looking snake, creeping through the fields. The bridges over the Thames were 
positively like planks; and the tiny black bai^ges, as they floated along the stream, seemed 


no bigger tlian smnmer iiuecis on the water. The largest meadowB were about the size of 
green-beize table oovers ; and across these we could just trace the line of the South- Western 
Bailwayy with the little whiff of white steam issuing from some passing engine, and no 
greater in volume Ihan the jet of vapour from an ordinary tea-kettle. 

TheHy as tJie dusk of evening approached, and the gas-lights along the difTerent lines 
of road started into light, one after another, the ground seemed to be covered with 
little illumination lamps, such as are hung on Christmas-trees, and reminding one of 
those that are occasionally placed, at intervals, along the grass at the edge of the gravel- 
walks in suburban tea-gardens; whilst the clusters of little lights at the spots where the 
hamlets were scattered over the scene, appeared like a knot of fire-flies in the air ; and in 
the midst of these the eye could, here and there, distinguish the tiny crimson speck of 
some railway signal. 

In the opposite direction to that in which the wind was insensibly wafting the balloon, 
lay the leviathan l(etropolis, with a dense canopy of smoke hanging over it, and reminding 
one of the fog of vapour that is often seen steaming up from tiie fields at early morning. 
It was impossible to tell where the monster city began or ended, for ihe buildings stretched 
not only to the horizon on either side, but far away into the distance, where, owing to the 
coming shades of evening and the dense fumes from the million chimneys, ike town seemed 
to blend into the sky, so that there was no distinguishing earth from heaven. The 
multitude of roofs that extended back from the foreground was positively like a dingy red 
sea, heaving in bricken billows, and the seeming waves rising up one after the other till the 
^e grew wearied with following them. . Here and there we could distinguish little bare green 
patdies of parks, and occasionally make out the tiny circular enclosures of the principal 
squares, though, from the height, these appeared scarcely bigger than wafers. Further, the 
fog of smoke that over-shadowed the giant town was pierced with a thousand steeples and 
pin-like fiictory-chimneys. 

That little building, no bigger than one of the small china houses that are used for 
huming pastiUes in, is Buckingham Palace — ^with St. James's Park, dwindled to the size of 
a card-table, stretched out before it. Yonder is Bethlehem Hospital, with its dome, now of 
about tilie same dimensions as a beU. 

Then tiie little mites of men, crossing the bridges, seemed to have no more motion in 
them than the animalcules in cheese ; while the streets appeared more like cracks in the 
soil tiian highways, and the tiny steamers on the river were only to be distinguished by 
the tinn black thread of smoke trailing after them. 

Indeed, it was a most wonderful sight to behold that vast bricken mass of churches and 
hospitals, banks and prisons, palaces and workhouses, docks and refuges for the destitute, 
parks and squares, and courts and alleys, which make up London — all blent into one inmiensc 
hlack spot — to look, down upon the whole as the birds of the air look down upon it, and 
see it dwindled into a mere rubbish heap—- to contemplate from afeur that strange conglome- 
ration of vice, avarice, and low cunning, of noble aspirations and humble heroism, and to 
grasp it in the eye, in all its incongruous integrity, at one single glance — ^to take, as it 
were, an angel's view of that huge town where, perhaps, there is more virtue and moi*e 
iniquity, more wealth and more want, brought together into one dense focus than in 
any cOier part of the earth— to hear the hubbub of the restless sea of life and emotion 
below, and hear it, like the ocean in a shell, whispering of the incessant stmgglings 
ond chafings of the distant tide — ^to swing in the air high above all the petty jealousies 
and heart-burnings, small ambitions and vain parade of "polite" society, and feel, for 
once, tranquil as a babe in a cot, and that you are hardly of the earth earthy, as, Jacob- 
like, you mount the aerial ladder, and half lose sight of the " great commerciol world" 
beneath, where men are regarded as mere counters to play with, and where to do your 
nei^bour as your neighbour would do you constitutes the first principle in the religion 


of tarade — ^to feel yourself floating througli the endless realms of space, and drinking in 
the pure thin air of the skies, as you go sailing along almost among the stars, free as ^* the 
lark at heaven's gate/' and enjoying, for a brief half hour, at least, a foretaste of that 
Elysian destiny which is the ultimate hope of all. 

Such is the scene we behold, and such the thoughts that stir the brain on contem- 
plating London from the car of a balloon.* 

* There are some peculiar effects in connection with balloon trayelUog that are worthy of further mention. 
Tho first is the utter absence of all sense of motion in the yehicle. Motion, indeed, at all times is only made 
known to us by thoso abrupt changes in our direction which consist of what are termed joltings ; for tho 
body, from its *' vis inertuB" partaking of the movement of the conveyance in which it is travelling, is, of 
course, thrown forcibly forwards or sideways, directly the coui-se of the machine is violently arrested or 
altered. In a balloon, moreover, we are not even made con^ious of our motion by the ordinary feeling 
of the air blowing against the face as we rush through it, for as the vessel travels vfUh the wind, no such 
effect is produced ; and it is most striking to find the clouds, from the same cause, apparently as motionless as 
rocks ; for as they too are travelling vjith the balloon, and at precisely the same rate, they naturally cannot 
but appear to be absolutely still. Hence, under such circumstances, we have no means of teUing whether we 
are ascending or descending, except by pieces of paper thrown out from the car, and which are of course 
left below if the machine be rising, and above if it be flailing ; indeed, when the balloon in which Albert 
Smith ascended fi«m Vauzhall burst, and he and his aerial companions were being precipitated to the earth 
with the velocity of a stone, the only indication they got of the rate of their descent was by resorting to the 
little paper " logs," before mentioned. And Mr. Green assured me that though he has travelled in the air 
during a gale of wind at the rate of ninety-five miles in the hour, he was utterly unconscious not only of 
the velocity with which he had been projected, as it were, through the atmosphere, but also of the fury of tho 
hurricane itself — feeling as perfectly tranquil aU the while as if he had been seated in his easy chair by 
his own fireside; nor was it until he reached the earth, and the balloon became fixed to tho ground by 
means of tho grapnel, that he was sensible of the violence of the wind (and it was the same with us during 
our trip) ; for thm^ as the machine offered a considerable obstruction to the passage of the air, the power of 
the gale was rendered apparent — since, strange to say, without resistance there is no force. Hence there is but 
littie danger in aeronautic excursions while the balloon remains in the air — and so indeed there is with a ship, 
as long as it has plenty of sea room ; whereas, directly the aerial machine is fixed to the ground, it is like a 
stranded vessel, and becomes the sport of the wind, as the ship, similarly oircumstanced, is of tfaa wares. 
Another curious effect of the aerial ascent was, that the earth, when we were at our greatest altitude, positively 
appeared concave, looking like a huge dark bowl rather than the oonvex sphere, aodi as we naturally 
expect to see it. This, however, was a mere effect of perspective, for it is a law of vision that the horixon or 
boundary line of the sight always appears on a level with the eye— the fore-ground being, in all ordinary 
views, directly at the feet of the spectator, and the extreme baek-ground some five feet and a half above i^ 
while the rolative distances of the intermediate objects are represented pictorially to the eye by their relatiTe 
heights above the lowest, and therefore the nearest object in the scene — so that piotprial distance is really at 
right angles to tangible distance, the former being a line parallel with the body, and the latter on&perpen" 
dieular to it. Hence, as the horizon always appears to be on a level with our eye (which is literally the 
centre of a hollow sphere rather than of a flat cirele during vision), it naturally seems to rise as we rise, until 
at length the elevation of tha circular boundary line of the sight becomes so marked, owing to our own 
elevation, that the earth assumes the anomalous appearance, as we have said, of a concave rather than a 
convex body. This optical illusion has, according to the best of our recollection, never been noticed or 
explained before, so that it becomes worthy of record. Another curious effect, but upon another sense, was 
the extraordinary, and indeed painful, pressure upon the ears which occurred at our greatest altitude. This 
was precisely the same sensation as is produced during a descent in a diving-bell, and it at first seemed 
strange that such a result, which, in the case of the diving-bell, obviously arises from the extreme 
condensation of the air within the submerged vessel, and its consequent greater pressure on the tympanum — 
should be brought about in a balloon immediately it enters a stratum of air where the rare/aetion is greater 
than usual. Here were two direcUy opposite causes producing the same effect A moment's reflection, 
however, taught us that the sensation experienced in the diving-bcU arises from tho drum of tho oar being 
unduly strained by the pressure of the external air ; whereas tho sensation experienced in the balloon was 
produced by the air imidc the ear acting in tho same manner* 



§ 3. 


It is strange how baid it is for the mind to arrive at any definite notion as to .aggregate 
nmnbers or dimensions in space. The savage who can connt only np to ten, points to the 
hairs of his head, in order to convey the complex idea of some score or two of objects; and 
although educated people can generally form a concrete conception of hundreds, without 
losing aU sense of the individual units composing the sum, it is certain, nevertheless, that 
when the aggregate reaches thousands and millions, even the best disciplined intellects 
have a very hazy notion of the distinct numerical elements maVing up the gross idea — 
the same as they have of the particular stars that go to form some unresolved nebulae, or of 
the several atoms in the forty thousand millions of siliceous shells of insects that Ehrenberg 
assures us are contained in eveiy cubic inch of the polishing slate of Bilin. 

Is it noty then, the mere pedantry of statistics to inform the reader, while professing to 
describe the size and population of the Great Metropolis, that, according to the returns of the 
last census, it is 78,029 statute acres, or 122 square miles, in extent; that it contains 327,391 
houses ; and that it numbers 2,362,236 souls within its boundaries ! 

Surely the mind is no more enabled to realize the immensity of the largest city in the 
world by such information as this, than we are helped to comprehend the vastness of the 
sea by being told that the total area of aU the oceans amounts to 145 millions of square miles, 
and that it contains altogether 6,441 billions of tons of common salt.* 

"We will, however, endeavour to conjure up a more vivid picture of the giant <jity in the 
brain, not only of those who have never visited the spot, but of those who, though living 
in it all their lives, have hardly any clearer ideas of the town, in its vast integrity, than the 
fishes have of the Atlantic in which they swim. 

We must premise, then, that it is as dificult to tell where the HetropcGs hegins, and 
where it ends, as it is to point out the particidar line of demarcation betwSn the several 
colours of the rainbow ; for the suburban villages blend so insensiblv yito the city, that one 
mi^t as well attempt to define the precise point where the water .b^g;)gs to besalt at the 
month of some estuary. ^^♦•<t: 

Hence, it has been found necessary to pass special Acts of Parliament in order to let 
Londoners know how far London really extends into the country, and to define the size of 
the Great Metropolis according to law.f 

This is, however, very much of a piece with the renowned stroke of legislation performed 

• See AmaMt Q§oXogyy page 28. 

t The following ftre the terms of the Burial Act (15 and 16 Vict, cap. 85) : — '< For the parposes o£ this Act, 
the expression 'the Metropolis' shall be construed to mean and include the Cities and Liberties of London 
and Westminster, the Borough of Southwark, and the Parishes, Precincts, Townships, and Places mentioned 
in the Schedule (A.) to this Act" 


The City of London and the Liberties thereof, the 
Inner Temple, and Middle Temple, and all 
other Places and Parts of Places contained 
within the exterior Boundaries of the Liberties 
of the City of London. 

The Citj and Liberties of Westminster. 
The Parishee of Stt Margaret and St John the 

The Parish of St Martin in the Fields. 

The Parish of St. George, Hanover Squarei 

The Parish of St James. 

The Parish of St Mary-le-Strand, as well within 

the Liberty of Westminster as within the Duchy 

The Parish of St Clement Banes, as weU within 

the Liberty of Westminster as within the Duchy 




by the progresB^liating King Canute, since it is quite as absurd for rulers to say, '' Thus far 
shalt thou go, and no farther/' to the bricks and mortar of London, as to the waves of the ocean. 
In the year 1603, for instance, we find that the legal limits of London, '' within and 
without the walls,'' were but little better than fifteen hundred statute acres ; whereas in the 
next century the Metropolis, '' according to law," had swollen to upwards of ttoewty thousand 
acres. Then at the beginning of the present century the area was farther extended to thirtif 
thousand acres; and in 1837, it was again increased to forttf'Stx thousand; whilst now it is 
allowed by Act of Parliament to coTcr a surface of no less than seventy-eight thousand acres 
in extent. 

The Parish of St. Pau], Corent Garden. 

Tho Parish of St Anne, Soho. 

Whitehall Gardens (whether the same be parochial 

or eztra-parochial). 
Whitehall (whether the same be parochial or eztra- 

Eiehmond Terrace (whether the same be parochial 

or extra-parochial). 
The Close of the Collegiate Church of St. Peter. 

The Parishes of St. Giles in the Fields and St. 

George, Bloomsbury. 
The Parities of St. Andrew, Holboro, and St George 

the Martyr. 
The Liberty of Hatton Garden, 8affix>n Hill, and 

Ely Bents. 
The Liberty of the RoUa. 
The Parish of St Pancras. 
The Parish of St John, Hampstcad. 
The Parish of St Marylebone. 
The Parish of Paddington. 
The Precinct of the Sayoy. 
The Parish of St Luke. 
The Liberty of Glasshouse Yard. 
The Parish of St. Sepulchre. 
The Parish of St James, Clerkonwell, including 

both Districts of St James and St John. 
The Parish of St Mary, Islington. 
The Parish of St Mary, Stoke NewingtoH. 
The Charterhouse. 

The Parish of St Mary, Whitechapel. 
The Parish of Christchurch, Spitalfields. 
The Parish of St Leonard, Shoreditch. 
The Liberty of Norton Folgate. 
The Parish of St John, Hackney. 
The Parish of St Matthew, Bethnal Green. 
The Hamlet of Mile-end Old Town. 
The Hamlet of Mile-end New Town. 
The Parish of St Mary, Stratford, Bow. 
The Parish of Bromley, St Leonard. 
The Parish of All Saints, Poplar. 
The Parish of St Anne, Limehouse. 
The Hamlet of Batdiffe. 
The Parish of St Paul, Shadwell. 
The Parish of St George in the East 
Tho Parish of St John, Wapping. 
The Liberty of East Smithfield. 
The Precinot of St Catherine. 

The Liberty of Her Majesty's Tower of London | 
consisting of — 

The Liberty of the Old Artillery Ground. 

The Parish of Trinity, Minories. 

The Old Tower Precinct. 

The Precinct of the Tower Within. 

The Precinct of Wellclose. 
The Parish of Kensington. 
Tho Parish of St Luke, Chelsea. 
The Parish of Fulham. 
The Parish of Hammersmith. 
Lincoln's Inn. 
New Inn. 
Gray's Inn. 
Staple Inn. 

That Part of FumiyaVs Inn, in the County pf Mid- 
Ely Place. 
The Parish of Willesden. 

The Parish of St Paul, Deptford. 
The Parish of St Nicholas, Deptford. 
The Parish of Greenwich. 
The Parish of Woolwich. 
The Parish of Charlton. 
The Parish of Plumstead. 

In Surrey » 

The Borough of Southwark. 
The Parish of St George the Martyr. 
The Parish of St. Sariour. 
The Parish of St John, Horsleydown. 
The Parish of St. Olave. 
The Parish of St. Thomas. 
The Parish of Battersea (except the Hamlet of 

The Parish of Bermondsey. 
The Parish of Camberwell. 
The Parish of Clapham. 
The Parish of Lambeth. 
The Parish of Newington. 
The Parish of Putney. , 
The Parish of Botherhithe. 
The Parish of Streatham. 
The Parish of Tooting. 
The Pariah of Wandsworth 
The Parish of Christchurch. 
The Clink Liberty. 
The Hamlet of Hatoham in the Parish of Deptford. 


Lideed, the increase of the metropolitan population within the last ten years, tells ns that 
former house-room has to be provided in London every twelvemonth for upwards of forty 
thousand new comers. Of these about half are strangers ; fbr, as the annual excess of births 
over deaths in the Metropolis amounts to but little better than half the yearly increase in the 
number of the people, it is manifest that nearly twenty thousand individuals must come and 
settle in the town every year, from other parts — a rate of immigration as great as if the 
entire population of Guernsey had left their native island for the '* little village.''* 

No wonder, then, that the returns show that there are continually 4,000 new houses in 
the course of erection ; for it nmy be truly said our Metropolis increases annually by the 
addition of a town of considerable size. 

Hence, even though, as Maitland says, London had a century ago absorbed into its body 
one city, one borough, and forty-throe villages, it still continues daily devouring suburbs, 
and swaUowing up green field after green field, and the builders go on raising houses where 
the market-gardeners a short time ago raised cabbages instead — ^the Metropolis throwing out 
its many fibres of streets like the thousand roots of an old tree stretching flEir into the soil ; 
so that it is evident that though the late Burial Acts pretended to mark out the limits of the 
Capital in 1 852, still, in another decenniad another Act will have to be passed, incorporating other 
hamlets with the town ; even as the Old Bills of Mortality, which were issued by the Company 
of Parish Clerks in 1603, were forced in a few years after the date to add St. Giles in the 
Fields and Glerkenwell to the metropolitan circle, and at the end of the century to include also 
the villages of Hackney, and Islington, and Newington, and Botherhithe ; whilst the New Bills 
have since encompassed the hamlets of Kensington, and Paddington, and Hammersmith, and 
Fulham, and Camberwell, and Wandsworth, and Deptford, and Greenwich, and Plumstead, 
and Lewisham, and Hampstead ; until at length the Capital has been made to consist, not only 
of some score of Wicks, and Townships, and Precincts, and Liberties, but to comprise the two 
great boroughs of Southwark and Greenwich, as well as the Episcopal Cities of Westminster 
and London proper. Indeed, the monster Metropolis now comprehends, within its par- 
liamentary boundaries, what once constituted the territories of four Saxon Commonwealths-'^ 
the kingdom of the Middle Saxons, East Saxons, the South Kick, and the Kentwaras. 

Now as regards the actual size of this enormous city, it may be said that its area is 
considerably more than twice the dimensions of the island of St. Helena, and very nearly 
double that of Jersey — ^being not quite so large as Elba, but nearly one-half the superficial 
extent of Madeira. Not only does it stretch into the three counties of Middlesex, Surrey, 
and Kent, but the length of that portion of the Thames which traverses the Metropolis — and 
divides the river, as it winds along, into two great metrop6litan provinces as it were — measures 
no less than twenty miles from Hammersmith to Woolwich ; whilst in its course the river 
receives the waters of the navigable Boding and Lea on the one side, and the Bavensboume 
and Wandle on the other, together with many other minor streams that are now buried 
under tho houses, and made to do the duty of sewers, though they wore, at one time, of 
sufficient capacity to be the scones of naval battles.f 

* Tho above statement is proyed tbus : — 

2,362,236 ss Population of London in 1851. 
1,948,417 ss „ „ 1841. 

413,819 =s Increase of Population in 10 years. 

41,381*9 = Annual increase. 

84,944 = Births in London, in 1855. 
61,506 = Deaths „ „ 

23,438 ss Annual excess of Births over Deaths. 
17,943 =s Annual Immigration. 

41,385' =£ Annual Increase. 

t " Anciently," says Stowe, <' until tho Conqueror's time, and two hundred years afterwards, the dty of 
London was watered— besides the famous river of Thames, on the south— with the river of Wells, as it was 


From east to west, London stretches from Plumstead to Hammersmith on the Middlesex 
side of the liyer, and from Woolwich to Wandsworth on the Surrey side, and there is nearly 
one continuous street of houses joining these extreme points, and measuring about fourteen 
miles in length ; whilst the line of buildings running north and south, and reaching from 
Holloway to Camberwell, is said to be upwards of twelve miles long. 

If, however, we estimate only the solid mass of houses in the centre, where the tenements 
are packed almost back to back, and nearly as close as the bales of cotton in the hold of a 
merchant ship, the area so occupied is found to be larger, even, than the Island of Guernsey.* 

Again, an enumeration of the gross amount of buildings which make up the dense crowd 
of houses in London is qidte as useless, for all imaginative purposes, as is the specification of 
the number of statute acres comprised within its area, for helping us to conceive its size. 
A statement, on the contrary, of the mere length of the line that the buildings would form if 
joined all together in one continuous row, will give us a far better idea of the gross extent of 
the whole. This is easily arrived at by assuming each of the tenements to have an average 
frontage of fifteen feet in width ; and thus we find that the entire length of the buildings 
throughout London amounts to near upon one thousand miles, so that if they were all ranged 
in a line, they would form one continuous street, long enough to reach across the whole of 
England and France, from York to the Pyrenees ! 

If, then, such be the mere length of the aggregate houses in London, it may be readily 
conceived that the streets of the Metropolis — ^which, on looking at the map, seem to be a 
perfect maze of bricks and mortar — should be some thousands in number ; and, accordingly, it 
appears that there are upwards of 10,500 distinct streets, squares, circuses, crescents, 
terraces, villas, rows, buildings, places, lanes, courts, alleys, mews, yards, rents, &c., 
particularized in that huge civic encyclopaedia, the London Post-Office Directory. 

Many of these thoroughfares, too, are of no inconsiderable dimensions. Oxford Street alone 
is more than one mile and a third long, and Regent Street, from Langham Church to Carlton 
Terrace, measures nearly one mile in length ; whilst the two great lines of thoroughfare 
parallel to the river, the one extending along Oxford Street, Holbom, Cheapside, ComMll, and 
Whitechapel to Mile-end, and which is really but one street with different names, and the 
other stretching from Knightsbridge along Piccadilly, the Haymarket, Pall Mall East, the 
Strand, Fleet Street, Cannon Street, Tower Street, and so on by Ratcliffe Highway to the 
West India Docks — are each above six miles from one end to the other. 

then called (but Fleete' dike afterwards :— " because it runneth past the Fleete," he adds in another 
place) on the west ; with the water called Wallbrooke running through the midst of the city into the river 
of Thames, serving the heart thereof; and with a fourth water or bourne, which ran within the city through 
Langboume ward, watering that part in the east. In the west suburbs was also another great water called 
Oldbome, which had its fall into the river of Wells." • « « « Moreover, " in a fair book of Parliament 
records now lately restored to the Tower," he adds, " it appears that a Parliament being holden at Carlisle in 
the year 1307 (the 35th of Edward I.), Henry Lacy, Earl of Lincoln, complained that whereas in times 
past the course of water running at London under Oldbome bridge and Fleete bridge into the Thames, had 
been of such breadth andi depth.that ten or twelve ships navies at onee^ with mere/umdise, were wont to come to 
the aforesaid bridge of Fleete and some of them to Oldbome bridge ; now the same course, by filth of the 
tanners and such others, is sore decayed ; also by raising of wharfs ; but especially by a diversion of water 
made by them of the new Temple, in the first year of King John, for their mills, standing without Baynard's 
Castle, and divers other impediments, so that the said ships cannot enter as they were wont, and as they 
ought." • * * • Farther, we are told by the same historian, that " in the year 1502, the seventh of 
Henry VII., the whole course of the Fleete dike (then so called) was scowered down to the Thames, so that 
boats with fish and fuel were rowed to the Fleete bridge and to Oldbome bridge, as fhey of old time had 
been accustomed, which was a great commodity to all the inhabitants in that part of the city."~ST0WB'8 
Survey (Thoms* Edition), pp. 5, 6. 

* The comparative density of the buildings in the different parts of London may be indicated by the fact, 
that in the heart of the city there ore upwards of 30 houses to ^e acre ; whereas in the outlying localities of 



Bat ^' if you wish/' said Dr. Johneon, '' to have a just notion of the magnitude of this 
dty, you mufit not bo satisfied with seeing its streets and squares, but must survey the 
litOe lanes and courts. It is not/' he added, ''in the showy evolution of buildings, but 
in tiie multiplicity of human habitations, which are crowded together, that the wonderM 
immenaity of London consists." 

Indeed, the gross extent of the London streets, small as weU as great, is almost 
incredible ; for a return by the Police, in 1850, makes the aggregate length of the metro- 
politan thorough&res amount to no less that 1750 miles — so that, according to this, the 
highways and bycways of the Capital must be even longer than the lines of the five principal 
London railways — the North Western, Great Western, South Western, Oreat Northern, and 
Eastern Counties — all added on one to another ; or considerably more than three times the 
length of the railway from London, vtd Calais and Ghent, to Cologne. The cost of form- 
ing thiB astounding length of paved roadway, I have elsewhere shown to amount to no less 
than £14,000,000; and that not only have these same roadways to be entirely relaid every 
five years, but the mere repairs upon them cost upwards of £1,800,000 per annum. 

Kenrington and Camberwell, there are but little more than two houses ; and in Hampttead not quite one house 
to the same extent of ground— as may be seen by the following 


IN LONDON, 1851. 



Kensingtoti • • . 
Chelsea , , , , 
St. George, Hanover Squarv 
Westniipster . 
St. Hartin-in-the-Fields 
St. James, Westminster 

Total West Districts 


PSncras • 
Hadcney . 

Total North Districts 


St Giles 
Stnmd . 
, Clerkenwell 
East London 
West London 
LomdiHi City 

Total, Central Districts 


16 i 






^ o 
















Bethnal Green 
Whitechapel . 
St. George-in-the-£ast 
Stepney . 

• Poplar . 


! Total, East Districts 


St. SaTiour, Southwark. 

St Olave „ 

Bermondsey . 

St George, Southwark 








Total, South Districts 


Total for all London 
































































Of the enormous mass of human beings comprised in the London population, it is eyen mxae 
difficult to have an adequate conception, than to realize to our minds the gross number of its 
houses and length of its streets. One way, however, in which we may aniye at a vague idea 
of the dense human multitude is, by comparing the number of people resident in the Metropolis 
with those that lined the thoroughfares on the day of the Duke of Wellington's funeral; and 
j adging by the extent of the crowd collected on that occasion, as to the probable dimensions of the 
mob that would be formed were the people of London to be all gathered together into one body. 

It was calculated on that occasion that there were a million and a half of people in the 
streets to witness the procession, and that these covered the pathwayis all along the line of 
route for a distance of three miles. Hence it follows, that were the whole of the metro- 
politan population ever to be congregated in the streets at one and the same time, they 
would form a dense mass of human beings near upon five miles long. 

Or, to put the matter stUl more forcibly before the mind, we may say, that if the entire 
people of the capital were to be drawn up in marching order, two and two, the length of the 
great army of Londoners would be no less than 670 miles ; and, supposing them to move at 
the rate of three miles an hour, it would require more than nine days and nights for the 
aggregate population to pass by !* 

* The distribution and relative density of tho population throughout London is numerically as follows : — 









4 ^55 [ 


Area in 
Statute Aei 



of Pernor 

Number ( 

Persons 1 






Area in 
Statute Aei 



of Penon 


West Disticts. 

1 East Districts. 



49,949 70,055 



Shoreditch . 








25,475 31,063 



Bethnal Green . 






St George, Hanover 







Square . 






St. George-in-the- 







! East 






St. Martin-in-the- 







Fields . 












St James, Westmin- 
ster . . . . 

ToUl, West Districts 






Total, East DistricU 









South Districts. 


North DisTiiiers. 

St Saviour, South- 














St Clave, ditto . 























St George, South- 

Islington . 












Hackney . 















7a fWS 

1 10 V9n* 5i-T 1 

Total, North Districts 






1 09,020 


46 1 













CasTRAL Districts. 







St Giles . 






Lewisham . 












Total, Sonth Districts 






Ilolbom . 












St Luke . 

220! 26,178 




East London 

153; 28,536 


44,406 290*21 

West London . 

136! 14,604 




London City 
TotalfCentral Districts 



28,783,1 55,982 


Total, for all London 










But a better idea of the comparative density of the population in the several districts of London, will 
be obtained by reference to tho subjoined engraving. 

- a 


3 i 


a I 


M a 


0, EL 


Farther, to put the matter evea more lucidly before the mind, we may say that no less 
than 169 people die each day in the metropolis, and that a babe is bom within its boundaries 
nearly every five minutes throughout the year !* 


'' Considered in connection with the insular position of England in that great highway of 
nations, the Atlantic," says Sir John Hersohel, ** it is a fact not a little explanatory of the 
commercial eminence of our country, that London occupies very nearly the centre of the terres- 
trial hemisphere^ 

But whether the merchant fame of Great Britain be due to its geographical good luck, 
or to that curious commingling of races, which has filled an Englishman's veins with the blood 
of the noblest tribes belonging to the multiform family of mankind — the Celtic, the Roman, 
the Saxon, the Scandinavian, and Norman — so that an Englishman is, as it were, an ethno- 
logical compound of a "Welshman, an Italian, a German, Dane, and Frenchman — to whichever 
cause the result be due, it is certain that all people regard the British Capital as the largest 
and busiest human hive in the world. 

The mere name, indeed, of London caUs up in the mind — ^not only of Londoners, but of 
country folk and foreigners as well — a thousand varied trains of thought. Perhaps the first 
idea tiiat rises in association with it is, that it is at once the biggest bazaar and the richest 
bank throughout the globe. 

Some persons, turning to the west, regard London as a city of palatial thoroughfares, 
and princely club-houses and mansions, and adorned with parks, and bristling with countless 
steeples, and crowded with stately asylums for the indigent and afflicted. 

Others, mindful but of the City, see, principally, narrow lanes and musty counting- 
houses, and taU factory chimnies, darkening (till lately) the air with their black clouds of 
smoke ; and huge blocks of warehouses, with doors and cranes at every floor ; and docks 
crowded with shipping, and choked with goods ; and streets whose traffic is positively deaf- 
ening in the stranger's ear ; and bridges and broad thoroughfares blocked with the dense mass 
of passing vehicles. 

Others, again, looking to the east, and to the purlieus of the town, are struck with the 
appalling wretchedness of the people, taking special notice of the half-naked, shoeless 
children that are usually seen gambling up our courts, and the capless, shaggy-headed 
women that loll about the alleys or lanes, with their bruised, discoloured features, telling of 
some recent violence ; or else they are impressed with the sight of the drunken, half-starved 
mobs collected round the glittering bar of some palatial gin-shop, with the foul-mouthed 
mothers there drugging their infants with the drink. 

In fine, this same London is a strange, incongruous chaos of the most astoimding riches 
and prodigious poverty— of feverish ambition and apathetic despair— of the brightest charity 
and the darkest crime ; the great focus of human emotion — the scene, as we have said, of 
countless daily struggles, failures, and successes ; where the very best and the very worst 

* The returns of the Registrar-General as to the number of births and deaths occurring in London daring 
the year 1855, are as follows r-^ 

18M.-Birth., Mde. f'm>ioU&,U,Ui. 

Females 41,592) ' ' 

18o5.-De«(li., Male "'«««? Total. 61, m 

Females 80,303) * 


types of omlized Bociety are found to preyailr— Trhere there are more houfies and more honse- 
less — ^more feasting and more staryation — ^more philanthropy and more bitter stony-hearted* 
nesa, than on any other spot in the world — and aU grouped around the one giant centre, 
whose huge dork dome, with its glittering ball of gold, is seen in every direction, looming 
through the smokey and marking out the Ci^ital, no matter from what quarter the traveller 
may come. 

"I have often amused myself,'' says Dr. Johnson, " with thinking how different a place 
London is to differ^t people. They whose narrow minds are contracted to the considera- 
tion of some one particular pursuit, view it only through that medium. A politician 
thinks of it cmly as the seat of government in its different departments ; a grazier, as a vast 
market for cattle ; a mercantile man, as a place where a prodigious deal of business is done 
upon 'Change ; a dramatic entiiusiast, as the grand scene of theatrical entertainments ; a 
man of pleasure, as an assemblage of taverns. • * * * • Bnt the intellectual man is 
strode with it as comprehending the whole of human life in its variety, the contemplation of 
which is inexhaustible." 

Of the first impressions of London, those who drew their infant breath within its smoky 
atmosphere are, of course, utterly unconscious ; and, perhaps, there is no dass of people who 
have so dull a sense of the peculiarities of the great town in which they live, and none who 
have 80 little attachment to their native place as Londoners themselves. 

The Swiss, it is well known, have almost a woman's love for the mountains amid 
which they were reared; indeed so fervent is the affection of the Helvetian for his native 
hills, that it was found necessary to prohibit the playing of the ^^ Banz des Vaches" in tiie 
Swiss regiments of the French army, owing to the number of desertions it occasioned. The 
German, too, in other lands, soon becomes afflicted with, what in tho language of the country 
is termed, "Seimweh** — ^that peculiar settled melancholy and bodily as well as mental 
depression which results from a continual craving to return to his '' fEttherland." 

Indeed, though the people of almost every other place throughout the globe have, more 
or less, a strong attachment for the land of their birth, your old-established Londoner is so 
little remarkable for the quality, that it becomes positively absurd to think of one bom 
wiUnn the sound of Bow-bells displaying the least regard for his native paving-stones. For 
whilst the scion of other parts yearns to get back to the haunts of his childhood, the 
Londoner is beset with an incessant desire to be off from those of hi9. All the year through 
he looks forward to his week's or month's autumnal holiday abroad, or down at one of the 
fiishionable English watering-places ; and even when he has amassed sufficient means to 
render him independent of the Metropolis, he seldom or never can bring himself to end his 
days in some suburban "Paradise Place," or "Prospect Bow," that is "within half an 
hour's ride of the Bank/' and (as inviting landladies love to add) " with omnibuses passing 
the door every five minutes." But he retires, on the contrary, to one of the pleasant and 
sedaded nooks of England, or else to some economical little foreign town, where he can 
realize tho pleasures of cheap claret or hock, and avoid the income-tax. Hence it has come 
to be a saying among metropolitan genealogists, that London families seldom continue settied 
in the Capital for three generations together — ^there being but few persons bom and bred in 
the Metropolis whose great-grandfather was native to the place. 

Formerly, in the old coaching days, tlie entrance into London was a sight that no country 
in the world could parallel, and one of which the first impression was well calculated to 
astound the foreigner, who had been accustomed in his own country to travel along roads 
that were about as loose in the soil and as furrowed with ruts as ploughed fields, and in 
mailB, too, tiiat were a kind of cross between a fly-wagon and an omnibus, and not nearly so 
tapid as hearses wlien returning firom a frmcrali and with the horses harnessed to tho 


unsightly vehiclo with traoes of rope, and a huge-hooted driver continually shouting and 
Bwearing at the team. 

The entry into the Metropolis, on the contrary, was oyer a roadway that was positively 
as hard as steel and as level as water, and upon which the patter of the horses hoofs rang 
with an almost metallic sound. Then the coachman was often an English gentleman, and 
even in some cases a person of rank,* whilst the vehicle itself was a very model of lightness 
and elegance. The horses, too, were such thorough-bred animals as England alone oould 
produce, and their entire leathern trappings as brightly polished as a dandy's boots. 

In those days, even London people themselves were so delighted with the sight of the 
mails and fast coaches leaving the Metropolis at night, that there was a large crowd 
invariably congregated around the Angel at Islington, the White Horse Cellar, Piccadilly, 
and the Elephant and Castle across the water, at eight every evening, to see the royal stages 
start into the country by their different routes. On the King's birthday, too, the scene at 
those inns was assuredly as picturesque as it was entirely national. The exterior of the 
taverns was studded over with lights of many colours, arranged in tasty luminous lines, the 
sleek-coated blood horses were all newly harnessed, and the bright brass ornaments on their 
trappings glittered again in the glace of the iUumiifation. The coachmen and guards were 
in unsullied scarlet coats worn for the first time that day ; and there were gay rosettes of 
ribbon and bunches of flowers at each of the horse's heads as well as in eac^ coachman's 
button-hole ; while the freshly painted mails were packed so thickly in front of the tavern- 
door, that the teams were all of a heap there ; and the air kept on continually resounding 
with the tinny twang of the post horns of the newly arriving or departing vehicles. 

% i. The Entry into London hy '' BaUJ' 

We are not among those who regret the change in the mode of travelling, and we allude to 
the old mail-coaches here simply as having been especially characteristic of the country and 
the Capital. Kow that all the world, however, travels by rail, there is but little peculiar in 
the style by which the entry into London is made, to impress the mind of strangers. Never- 
theless, as the trains dart through the different suburbs, the eye must be dull indeed that 
is not struck with the strange sights seen by the way, even though the journey be performed 
among the house-tops of the metropolitan outskirts. 

What an odd notion the stranger must acquire of the Metropolis, as he enters it by the 
South- Western Eailway ! How curious is the flash of the passing Yauxhall Gbrdens^ 
dreary with their big black trees, and the huge theatrical-looking summer-house, built for 
the orchestra and half-tumbling to decay ; and the momentary glimpse of the Tartarus-like 
gas-works, with their tall minaret chimneys, and the red mouth of some open retort there 
glowing like the crater of a burning volcano ; and the sudden whisking by of the Lambeth 
potteries, with their show of sample chimney-pots, and earthen pans, and tubing, ranged 
along the walls ; and, the minute afterwards, the glance at the black rack-like sheds, spotted 
aU over with the snowy ends of lumps of whiting, thrust at intervals through the aper- 
tures ; and then the sickening stench of the bone-boilers, leaking in through every crevice 
of the carriage ; and the dreary-looking attics of the houses as the roofs fly past; and, lastly, 

* Arifltooracy patronized the ooach-box an driven of atagM. Sir Yincent Cotton drove the '* Age," 
Brighton ooach; Mr. Willon, the <* Magnet;" Sir Thomas TyrwhiU Jones, the "Pearl;" Mr. Bliss, the 
" Maseppa ;" and Captain Prohin, the *' Beading ;" all being renowned for their whips and £ut ooaohes, and 
doing their 10} and 11 miles per hour. There were also the " Hirondelle," which ran between Cheltenhapi 
and Liyerpool, 133 miles in 12| hours; the "Owen Glendower," between Birmingham and Aberystwith, a 
very hilly country, at the rate of lOi miles per honr ; two ooaohes, the " Phenomenon" and the " Blue," ran 
between London and Norwich at a rate of 12 miles per hour, doing 112 miles in 9} hours; the "Quicksilver" 
and the " Shrewsbury Wonder " were likewise famous fast ooaohes ; and the " Manchester Telegraph" ran 
13 miles per hour, including stoppages. ^Mie Cnrriagta of Or$at Britam, By J. E. Bradfield. 


irhile the tram stops for the collection of the tickets on the high yiaduct oyer the Westminster 
Bridge Soad, the protracted peep down into the broad street above which the carriages 
rest, and the odd bird's-eye view of the huge linendrapers' shop there, with the diminutive- 
looking people, and cabs, and carts, huirying along deep down in the roadway under the ' 

Or, if the visitor enter London by the 8outh-Eastem line, coming from Dover, or 
Brighton, the scene is equally distinctive. No sooner does the train near London than 
the huge g^iass temple of the Crystal Palace appears glittering in the light, like so much ice- 
work. Then stations rush rapidly by, tabletted all over with showy advertiBing boards and 
bills announcing cheap clothing, or cheap tea, or bedding, or stationery, or razors, and the 
huge letters seeming to be smudged one into the other by the speed. Then as the knot of 
neighbouring lines draw together like so many converging radii, distant trains are seen at all 
kinds of levels, fitting across the'marshes without the least apparent efifort, and with a doud 
of white steam puffing fitfolly from the chimney of the engine at the head, while the little 
wheels of the carnages are observed to twinkle again with their rapid twirling. In a minute 
or two the train turns the angle of the line, and then through what a bricken wilderness of 
roo& it seems to be ploughing its way, and how odd the people look, as they slide swiftly by, 
in their wretched garrets ! Next, a smell of tan pervades the air ; and there are glimpses 
of brown hides hanging in sheds below. Now, the church of St. John, Horsleydown, shoots 
by with the strange stone pillar stuck on the top of it, in Heu of a steeple ; and immediately 
afterwards the tangle of railway lines becomes more and more intricate, tbe closer the train 
draws to tiie terminus^ tiU at length the earth appears to be ribbed over witb the iron bars in 
every direction, and the lines to be in such confusion that it seems a miracle how the engine 
can -find its way among the many fibres of the iron web. 

Nor, if the visitor come by the London and North Western line from Liverpool or the 
great manufacturing districts, are the sights less striking ; for here the train plunges with a 
load shriek into the long, dark perforation under Primrose Hill, and when it shoots into the 
light again, the green banks are seen studded with Httle villas, ranged two and two beside 
the road. Then, as the carriages stop outside the engine-house for the collection of the 
tickets, what a huiry-skurry and riot* there appears to be among the passing locomotives ! 
Here one engine pants and gasps, as it begins to move, as if it were positively overcome with 
the exertion, and when the wheels revise to bite uppn the rail, it seems to chuckle again 
half-savagely at its own failure, as they slip round and round. Another goes tearing by, its 
shrill whistle screeching like a mad human thing the while, and men shoot out of little 
sentry-boxes, and shoulder, with a military air, furled-up flags. In a minute or two 
afterwards the train moves on once more, and the carriages go rattling along the bed, as it were, 
of some dried- up canal, with little cottage mansions perched on the top of the slanting railway 
wall, and great iron girders over-head, stretching across the bricken channel like the rafters 
of a loft 

But the most peculiar and distinctive of all the entries to the Great Metropolis is the 
one by the river ; for, assuredly, tbere is no scene that impresses the mind with so lively a 
rnnge of die wealth and commercial energy of tbe British Capital as the view of the far-famed 
Port of London. 

f ii. The Fort of London. 

Seen from the Custom House, this is indeed a characteristic sight ; and some time since 
we were permitted, by the courtesy of the authorities, to witness the view from the "long 
voom" there. 

The broad highway of the river — which at this part is near upon 300 yards in width — 
was almost blocked with the tiers of shipping ; for there was merely a narrow pathway of 
grey, glittering water left open in the middle ; and, on either «idc, the river was black with 


the dense mass of hulls oolleoted alongside the qnays ; while the masts of the orafi; were as 
thick as the pine stems in Iheir native forests. 

The son shone bright upon the water, and as its broken beams played up<»i the sur&oe 
it sparkled and twinkled in the light, like a crumpled plate of golden foil; and down the 
'' silent highway/' barges, tide-borne, floated sideways, with their long slim oars projecting 
fi:om their sides like the fins of a flying flah; whilst others went along, with their masts 
slanting down and their windlass clicking as men laboured to raise the '* warm-brown " sail 
that they had lowered to pass under the bridge. Then came a raft of timber, towed by a small 
boat, and the boatman leaning far back in it as he tugged at the sculls ; and presently a rapid 
river steamer flitted past, the deck crowded so densely with passengers that it reminded one 
of a cushion stuck all over with black pins; and as it hurried past we caught a whiff, as it 
were, of music from the little bend on board. 

The large square blocks of warehouses on the opposite shore were almost hidden in the 
shadow which came slanting down fiEir into the river, and covering, as with a thick veil of 
haze, the conned knot of sloops and schooners and *' bilanders" that lay there in the dusk, 
in front of the wharves. Over the tops of the warehouses we could see the trail of white 
steam, from the railway ^igines at the neighbouring terminus, darting £rom among the roofs 
as they hurried to and fro. 

A little way down the river, stood a dump of Irish vessels, with the light peeping 
through the thicket, as it were, of their masts — some with their sails hanging aU loose 
and limp, and others with them looped in rude festoons to the yards. Beside these lay 
barges stowed fuU of barrels of beer and sacks of flour ; and a few yards farther on, a huge 
foreign steamer appeared, with short thick black funnel and blue paddle-boxes. Then came 
hoys laden with straw and coasting goods, and sunk so deep in the water that, as the 
steamers dashed by, the white spray was seen to beat against the dark tarpauHns that 
covered their heaped-up cargoes. Next to these Ihe black, surly-looking colliers were noted, 
huddled in a dense mass together, with the bare backs of the coalwhippers flashing among 
the rigging as, in hoisting the '* Wallsend" from the hold, they leaped at intervals down 
upon the deck. 

Behind, and through the tangled skeins of the rigging, the eye rested upon the old 
Suf&ance wharves, witii their peaked roofli and unwieldy cranes ; and far at the back we 
caught sight of one solitary tree ; whilst in the fog of the extreme distance the steeple of St. 
Mary's, Eotherhithe, loomed over the mast-heads — grey, dim, and spectral-like. 

Then, as we turned round and looked towards the bridge, we caught glimpses of barges 
and boats moving in the broad arcs of light showing through the arches ; while above the 
bridge-parapet were seen just the tops of moving carts, and omnibuses, and high-loaded 
railway wagons, hurrying along in opposite directions. 

Glancing thence to Ihe bridge-wharves on the same side of the river as ourselves, we 
beheld bales of goods dangling in the air from the cranes that projected from this top of 
'' !Nichol8on.'s." Here alongside the quay lay Spanish schooners and brigs, laden with fruits ; 
and as we cast our eye below, we saw puppet-like figures of* men wilh cases of oranges 
on their backs, bending beneath the load, on their way across the dumb-lighter to the wharf. 

Kext came Billingsgate, and here we could see the white bellies of the fish showing in the 
market beneath, and streams of men passing backwards and forwards to the river side, where 
lay a small crowd of Butch eel boats, with their gutta-percha-like hulls, and unwieldy, 
green-tipped rudders. Immediately beneath us was the brown, gravelled walk of the 
Custom House quay, where trim children strolled with their nursemaids, and hatless and 
yellow-legged Blue-coat Boys, and there were youths fresh from school, who had come 
either to have a peep at the ^pping, or to skip and play among the barges. 

From the neighbouring stairs boats pushed off continually, while men standing in the 
stem wri^led themselves along by working a scuU behind, after the fashion of a fish's tail. 


Here, near tho front of the quay, lay a tier of huge steamers with gilt stems and 
mahogany wheels, and their bright brass binnacles shining as if on fire in the sun. At tho 
foremast head of one of these tho ''blue Peter" was flying as a summons to the hands on 
shore to come aboard, while the dense clouds of smoke that poured from the thick red funnel 
told that the boiler fires were ready lighted for starting. 

Further on, might be seen the old " Pei-seus," the receiving-ship of tho navy, with her 
topmasts down, her black sides towering high, like immense rampart- walls, out of the water, 
and her long white ventilatmg sacks hanging over the hatchways. Immediately beyond 
thisy the eye could trace the Tower wharves, with their graveUed walks, and the high- 
capped and red-coated sentry pacing up and down them, and the square old grey lump 
of the Tower, with a turret at each of its four corners, peering over the water, in 
front of this lay another dense crowd of foreign vessels, and with huge lighters beside the 
wharf, while bales of hemp and crates of hardware swung from the cranes as they were 
lowered into the craft; below. 

In the- distance, towered the huge massive warehouses of St. Katherine's Dock, with, 
their big signet letters on their sides, their many prison-like windows, and their cranes 
and doors to every floor. Beyond this, the view was barred out by the dense grove of 
masts that rose up from the water, thick as giant reeds beside the shore, and filmed 
over with the gray mist of vapour rising from the river so that their softened outlines 
melted gently into the dusk. 

As we stood looking down upon the river, the hundred clocks of ike hundred churches 
at our back, with the golden figures on their black dials shining in the sun, chimed the hour 
of noon, and in a hundred different tones ; while solemnly above all boomed forth the deep 
mctallio moan of St. Paul's ; and scarcely had tho great bell ceased humming in the air, 
before there rose the sharp tinkling of eight bells from the decks of the multitude of sailing 
vessels and steamers packed below. 

Indeed, there was an exquisite charm in the many different sounds that smote the ear 
fit)m tiie busy Port of London. Now we could hear the ringing of the "purlman's" bell, 
as, in his little boat, he flitted in and out among the several tiers of colliers to serve the 
grimy and half-naked coalwhippers with drink. Then would come the rattle of some heavy 
chain suddenly let go, and after this the chorus of many seamen heaving at the ropes ; whilst, 
high above all roared the hoarse voice of some one on the shore, bawling through his hands 
to a mate aboard the craft. Presently came the clicking of the capstan-palls, telling of 
the heaving of a neighbouring anchor; and mingling with cdl this might be heard the 
rumbling of the wagons and carts in the streets behind, and the panting and throbbing of 
the passing river steamers in front, together with tho shrill scream of the railway whistle 
from the terminus on the opposite shore. 

In fine, look or listen in whatever direction we might, the many sights and sounds that 
filled the eye and ear told each its different tale of busy trade, bold enterprise, and bound- 
less capital. In the many bright-coloured flags that fluttered from the mastheads of the 
vessels crowding the port, we*could read how all the comers of the earth had been ransacked 
each for its peculiar produce. The massive warehouses at the water-side looked retdfy like 
the storehouses of the world's infinite products, and the tall mast-like factory chimnies 
behind ns, with their black plumes of smoke streaming firom them, told us how all around 
that port were hard at work fashioning the products into cunning fabrics. 

Then, as we beheld the white clouds of steam from some passing railway engine puffed 
out once more from among the opposite roofs, and heard the clatter of the thousand vehicles 
in ihe streets hard by, and watched the dark tide of carts and wagons pouring over the 
bridge, and looked down the apparently endless vista of masts that crowded either side of 
the river — we could not hdp feeling how every power known to man was here used to bring 
and difiose the riches of all parts of the world over our own, and indeed every other country. 


% iii. London from the Top of 8t Paul's. 

There is, howeyer, one other grand point of riew from which the Metropolis may be 
contemplated, and which is not only extremely characteristic of the Capital, but so popular 
among strangers, that each new comer generally hastens, as soon as possible after his arriyal 
in London, to the Golden Gallery to see the giant city spread out at his feet. Hence, this 
introduction to the Great World of London would be imcomplete if we omitted from our 
general survey to describe the pecidiarities of the scene from that point. 

It was an exquisitely bright and clear winter's morning on the day we mounted the five 
hundred and odd steps that lead to the gallery below the ball and cross crowning the cathe- 
drfl — ^and yet the view was all smudgy and smeared with smoke. Still the haze, which hung 
like a thick curtain of shadow before and oyer everything, increased rather than diminished 
the monster sublimity of the city stretched out beneath us. It was utterly unlike London 
as seen below in its every-day bricken and hard-featured reality, seeming to be the spectral 
illusion of the Great Metropolis — such as one might imagine it in a dream — or the view of 
some fanciful cloud-land, rather than the most matter-of-fact and prosaic city in the world. 

In the extreme distance the faint colourless hills, " picked out" with little bright patches 
of sunshine, appeared like some far-off shore — or rather as a mirage seen in the sky — for they 
were cut off from the nearer objects by the thick ring of fog that bathed the more distant 
buildings in impenetrable dusk. Clumps of houses and snatches of parks loomed hero 
and there through the vapour, like distant islands rising out of a sea of smoke ; and isolated 
patches of palatial hospitals, or public buildings, shone in the accidental lights, as if they 
were miniature models sculptured out of white marble. 

And yet dim and imsatisfactory asatfirst the view appeared, one would hardly on reflec- 
tion have had it otherwise; since, to behold the Metropolis without its characteristic canopy 
of smoke, but with its thousand steeples standing out against the clear blue sky, sharp and 
definite in their outlines, as '' cut pieces " in some theatrical scene, is to see London unlike 
itself — ^London without its native element. Assuredly, as the vast Capital lay beneath us, 
half hidden in mist, and with only a glimpse of its greatness visible, it had a much more 
sublime effect from the very inability of the mind to grasp the whole in all its liteial 

Still, there was quite enough visible to teach one that there was no such other city in 
the world. Immediately at our feet were the busy streets, like deep fissures in the earth, 
or as if the great bricken mass had split and cracked in all directions ; and these were 
positively black at the bottom with, the tiny-looking living crowd of vehicles and people 
pouring along the thoroughfares. What a dense dark flood of restless enterprise and 
competition it seemed ! And there rose to the ear the same roar frt>m it, as rises from 
the sea at a distance. 

The pavements, directly underneath us, were darkened on either side of the roadway 
with dense streams of busy little men, that looked almost like ants, hurrying along in 
opposite directions; whilst what with the closely-packed throng of carts, cabs, and omnibuses, 
the earth seemed all alive with tiny creeping things, as when one looks into the grass on a 
warm summer's day. 

To peep down into the trough of Ludgate HiU was a sight that London alone could show ; 
for the tops of the vehicles looked so compact below that they reminded one of the illustra- 
tions .of the *' testudo,*' or tortoise-like floor, formed by the up-raised shields of the Eoman 
soldiers, and on which, we are told, people might walk. Here were long lines of omnibuses, 
no bigger than children's tin toys, and crowded with pigmies on the roof — and tiny Hansom 
cabs, with doll-like drivers perched at the back — ^and the flat black and shiny roofs of 
miniature-like Broughams and private carriages — ^and brewers' drays, with the round backs 
.of the stalwart team, looking like plump mice, and with their load of beej butts appearing 


no bigger ttum oyster-benelcH-and black looking ooal-wagons, thai, as yoa gazed down 
into them, seemed more like eotil'haxes — and top-heavy-like railway yans, with their little 
bales of cotton piled high in the air — and the wholesale linen-drapers' ngly attempts at 
phstons — and the butchers' carts, with little blue-smocked men in them — ^indeed every kind 
of London conveyance Vas there, all jammed into one dense throng, and so compactly, too, 
that one might easily have run along the tops of the various vehicles. 

Then how strange it was to watch the lino of conveyances move on, altogether, for 
a few paces, as if they were each part of one long railway train ; and then suddenly oome, 
every one, to a dead halt, as the counter stream of conveyances at the bottom of the hiU 
was seen to force its way across the road. 

As we turned now to note the other points of the surrounding scene, what a forest of 
chureh-steeples was seen to bristle around the huge dome on the top of which we were 
standing ! The sight reminded one of the fiust, that before the Great Fire there was a church 
to every three acres of ground within the City waUs ; for there were the spires still ranged 
close as nine-pins, and impressing one with a sense that every new street or public building 
must knock a number of them down, as if they reaUy were so many stone skittles ; for, as 
we peered into the fog of smoke, we could make out others in the misty back-ground, whose 
towers seemed suspended, like Mahomet's cofiSn, midway between heaven and earth, as if 
poised in the thick grey air ; whilst, amid the steeple crowd, we could distinguish the 
toll column of the Monument, with its golden crown of flames at the top, and surrounded by 
a host of fiictory-chimneys that reminded one of the remaining pillars of the ruined temple 
of Serapis ; so that it would have puzzled a simple foreigner to tell whether the City of 
London were more remarkable for its manufactures or its piety. 

Then what a charm the mind experienced in recognizing the different places and objects 
that it knew under a wholly different aspect ! 

Tender flows the Thames, circling half round the vast bricken mass that we call 
Lambeth and Bouthwark. It is a perfect arc of water ; and the many bridges spanning it, 
like girders, seem to link the opposite shores of London into one Metropolis, like the 
mysterious ligament that joined the two Siamese into one life. Then ihre stands the 
Exchange, hardly bigger than a twelfkh-cake ornament, and with the equestrian statue of 
Wellington, in firont of it, smaller than the bronze horse surmounting some library time* 
piece; and ihere Ihe Post-office, dwindled down to the dimensions of an architectural model. 
That low, square, flat-roofed building is the dumpy little Bank of England; and thai ring 
of houses is Finsbury Circus ; it looks ttom the elevation like the bricken mouth of a 

Thu, we mentally exclaim, as we continue our walk round the gallery, is the Old Bailey, 
with the big cowl to its roof; and close beside it are the high and spiked walls of Newgate 
prison ; we can see half down into the exercising wards of the felons from where we stand. 
And iMs open space is Smithfleld. How desolate it looks now, stript of its market, and with 
}j» empty sheep-pens, Ihat seem fit)m the height to cover the ground like a grating ! The 
dingy domed, solitary building beyond it, that appears, up here, like a '* round-house," is the 
Sessbns House, Clerkenwell ; and th^ef amidst the haze, we can just distinguish another 
dome, almost the feUow of the one we are standing upon ; it's the London University. 

Next, glancing towards the river once more, we see, where the mist has cleared a bit, the 
shadowy form of the Houses of Parliament, with their half-finished towers; from the distance 
it has the appearance of some tiny Parian toy. But the Nelson and the Tork Columns are 
lost to us in the haze; so, too, is the Palace ; and yet we can see the Hills of Highgate and 
Smey ; ay, and even the Crystal Palace, shimmering yonder like a bubble in the light. 

So dense, however, is the pall of smoke about the City, that beyond London Bridge 
nothing is to be traced — ^neither the Tower, nor the Docks, nor the India House— and the 
outlines even of the neighbouring streets and turrets are blurred with the thick haze of 


the fames, into half-Bpectral indistinctnfiss. Though, were it othenrise, it would not, we 
repeat, be a true picture of London. 


It will, doubtlessly, have been noticed that, in speaking of London generally, it has been 
our wont here to use certain antithetical phrases, such as ** wealth and want,'' *' charity and 
crime," " palaces and workhouses," &c. It must not, however, be supposed that we have 
done this as a mere rhetorical flourish, for none can object to such piebald painting more 
than we. The mind's eye must be dim, indeed, that requires things to be put in the strong 
contrast of black and white before it can distinguish their peculiarities ; and as the educated 
organ of the artist gets to prefer the sober browns and delicate neutral tints to the glare of 
positive colour, so long literary cidture teaches one to despise those mere verbal trickeries which 
are termed '' flowers of speech," and in which a showy arrangement of phrases is used as a 
doak for a beggarly array of ideas. 

But London is essentially a city of antithesis — ^a city where life itself is painted in pure 
black and white, and where the very extremes of society are seen in greater force than any- 
where else. This constitutes, as it were, the topographical essence of the Great Metropolis— 
the salient point of its character as a Capital — ^the distinctive mark which isolates it from all 
other towns and cities in the world ; for though the middle class and the meditun forms of 
civilized life prevail in the Metropolis to an unparalleled extent, this does not constitute its civic 
idiosyncracy ; but it is simply the immensity of the commerce which springs from this same 
unparalleled prevalence of merchant people in London, and the consequent vastness of its 
wealth, as well as the unprecedented multitude of individuals attracted by such wealth to 
the spot, that forms the most prominent feature in every one's ideal picture of the town. 

Then, again, it is owing partiy to the excessive riches of London that its poverty appears 
to be in excess also — ^not that there reaRjf is, perhaps, a greater proportion of misery to be 
found within the metropolitan boundaries than within other large cities; but as London is the 
larffsst of all cities, there is naturally the greatest amount of human wretchedness to be seen 
concentrated within it ; wretchedness, too, that is made to look still more wretched simply 
from the &ct of its being associated with the most abundant comfort in the world. 

Moreover, from the immense mass of houses, the mind is positively startied at the idea 
of there being any hatueless in the Capital ; and so, too, from the enormous consimiption of 
food by the a^^gate population, as well as the sumptuousness of the civic banquets, the 
anomaly of there being any famishing within it, becomes deeply impressed upon tiie mind ; 
while the exceeding charity of the Metropolis, where many of the asylums, for the humblest 
even rival in architectural grandeur the dwelling-places of the proudest in the land, naturally, 
gives a deeper dye, fr*om the mere contrast, to the criminality of the London people— whose 
pickpockets, it must be confessed, are among the most expert, and whose ''dangerous classes" 
are certainly the most brutally ignorant in all Christendom. 

For these reasons, therefore, we shall now proceed to set forth some of the principal 
social and moral contrasts to be noted in London town. 

^1. Of the Riches and Pweriy ofLofidon. 

Country people have a saying that the streets of London are paved with gold, and 
certainly, when we come to consider the aggregate wealth of the Metropoli.4, it amounts to so 
enormous a sum as to admit almost of the bidlion being spread over the entiie surface of the 
1,750 miles of paving that make up the London thoroughfares. 

In the first place, it has been already stated that the raring of the streets themsdves 


oosto no lees than £14,000,000 ; bo that when we come to learn that the expense of con- 
stmcting the Metropolitan roadways amounts, upon an average, to £8,000 a mile, the very 
stones of ihe streets seem almost to he nuggets of gold. 

Again, the treasures huried heneath the soil are equally inconoeivable ; for there are no 
less than 1,900 miles oi gas-pipes laid under these same London stones, and about the same 
length of water-pipes as well ; so that these, at only a shilling a foot each, would cost nearly 
half a million of money. Further, there are the subterranean tunnels of the sewers — the 
bricken bowels, as it were, of the Capital — of which there are also some hundreds of miles 
fltietching through London beneath the pavement. 

Hence we find that there is a vast amount of wealth sunk both «pi and under the London 
roadways, and that upon every square yard of earth, trodden under the feet of the people, 
there has been an enormous sum expended. 

The amount of money spent, and the vastness of apparatus employed, simply in lighting 
London and the suburbs with .gas, would seem to dispel all thoughts of poverty ; for, 
according to the account of Mr. Barlow, the capital employed in the pipes, tanks, gas-holders, 
and apparatus of the aggregate London gas-works, amounts to between £3,000,000 and 
£4,000,000 ; and the cost of lighting averages more than half a million of money per annum 
— ^there being no less than 360,000 gas-lights fringing the streets, and consuming as much 
as 13,000,000 cubic feet of gas every night. 

Those who have seen London only in the day-time, with its flood of life pouring through 
the arteries to its restless heart, know it not in a// its grandeur. They have still, in order to 
comprehend the multiform sublimity of the great city, to contemplate it by night, a&r off 
from an eminence. As noble a prospect as any in the world, it has been well said, is 
London viewed from the suburbs on a clear winter's evening. Though the stars be shining 
in the heavens, there is another firmament spread out below with its millions of bright lights 
^ttering at the feet. Liae after line sparkles like the trails left by meteors, and cutting 
and crossing one another till they are lost in the haze of distance. Over the whole, too, there 
hangs a lurid doud, bright as if the monster city were in flames, and looking frt>m afor like 
the sea at dusk, made phosphorescent by the million creatures dwelling within it. 

Again, at night it is, that the strange anomalies of London life are best seen. As 
the hum of life ceases, and the shops darken, and the gaudy gin palaces thrust out their 
ragged and squalid crowds to pace the streets, London puts on its most solemn look of all. 
On the benches of the parks, in the niches of the bridges, and in the litter of the markets, 
are huddled together the homeless and the destitute. The only living things that haunt the 
streets are the poor wretched Magdalens, who stand shivering in their finery, waiting to 
catch the drunkard as he goes shouting homewards. There, on a door-step, crouches some 
shoeless child, whose day's begging has not brought it enough to purchase even the pemiy 
njghf s lodging that his young companions in beggary have gone to. Where the stones are 
taken up and piled high in the road, while the mains are beiog mended, and the gas streams 
from a tall pipe, in a flag of flamis, a ragged crowd are grouped round the glowing coke Are 
— some smoking, and others dozing beside it. 

Then, as the streets grow blue with the coming light, and the church spires and roof-tops 
stand out against the dear sky with a sharpness of outline that is seen only in London 
before its million chimneys cover the town with their smoke — ^then come sauntering forth 
the unwashed poor ; some with greasy wallets on their backs to hunt over each dust-heap, 
and eke out life by seeking refdse bones, or stray rags and pieces of old iron ; others, whilst 
<m their way to their work, are gathered at the comer of some street round the early 
breakfost-stall, and blowing saucers of steaming cofEee, drawn frt>m tall tin cans that have 
tiie red-hot charcoal shining crimson through the holes in the fire-pan beneath them ; whilst 
illready the littie slattern girl, with her basket slung before her, screams, '* W&t^'Creaset P' 
ihnm^ the sleeping streets. 



But let us pass to a more cheering subject — let us, in the exceeding wealth of our city, 
forget for the moment its exceeding miseiy. "We hare already shown what a vast amount of 
treasure is buried, as we said before, not only tn^ but tmder the ground of London; and now 
we win proceed to portray the immense value of the buildings raised upon it. The gross 
rental, or yearly income from the houses in the metropolis, as assessed to the property and 
income tax, amounts to twshe and a hdlfmiUiam of pounds^ so that at ten years' purchase, the 
aggregate value of the buildings throughout London, will amount to no less than the prodi- 
gious sum of one hundred and tuoenty-five mUUona sterKng.* 

IXoT is this all: this sum, enormous as it is, expresses the value of the houses only ; and 
in order to understand the worth also of the fdmiture that they contain, we must consult 
the returns of the Assurance Companies, and thus we shaU find that the gross property 
insured is valued at more than one hundred and eixty-eix million pounds.\ 




West Distsicts. 

Kensington . 

Chelsea . 

St George, Hanover 

Wesiminiiter . 
St. Martin in the 

Fields . 
St. James, West 


Total . 

Nobth DisTBicrrs. 

Hacknej • 



St Giles . 
Strand . 
Holbom . 
St. Luke . 
East London 
West London 
London City 























































23 9 






East Distbictb. 

Bethnal Green 
Whitechapel . 
St George in the 

East . 
Stepney . 
Poplar . 

Total . 

South Diarnicrs. 

St Saviour, South 

wark • 
St Olave, ditto 
Bermondsey . 
St George, South 

vark . 
Lambeth . 
Wandsworth . 
Camberwell . 
Rotherhitbe . 
Lewisham . 

Total . 



93*6 ToUl for all London 305,933 





























































t The revenue derived fromtho duty paid on Insurances, amounts in round numbears to £250,000 for the 
London offices only ; and this, at 8s. per £100, gives upwards of £166,000,000 for the •ggregtte value of th« 
London Assurances, though only Uoo-fiftht of the houses are said to be insured, 

X The reason of their being so great a difference between the assessmenU for the income tax and poor's 
rates in this district, is because the Inns of Court are csUmatcd in the ono and not in the other. 


If, then, the value of the hotuse property tiuroughout the Metiopolis amoimts to so inoom- 
prehensible a Bum, it is almost impossible to believe that any man among us i^ould want a roof 
to shelter his head at night. 

The scenesy however, that are to be witnessed in the winter time at the Sefiige for the 
Destitute, in Playhouse Yard, tell a very different tele ; for those who pay a visit to the 
spot, as we did some few winters back, will find a large crowd of houseless poor gathered 
about the asylum at dusk, waiting for the first opening of the doors, and with their blue, 
shoeless feet, ulcerous with the cold, fhnn long exposure to the snow and ice in the street, 
and the bleak, stinging wind blowing through their rags. To hear the cries of the hungry, 
shivering children, and the wrangling of the greedy men assembled there to obtain shelter 
for the night, and a pound of dry bread, is a thing to haunt one for life. At the time of our 
visit there were four hundred and odd creatures, utterly destitute, collected outside the door. 
Mothers with in^Gmts at their breast — ^fathers with boys clinging to their side— the Mend- 
less — the penniless — ^the shirtless — the shoeless — ^breadless — homeless ; in a word, the very 
poorest of this the very richest city in the world. 

The i^ecords of this extraordinary institution, too, teU a fearful history. There is a 
world of wisdom and misery to be read in them. The poor who are compelled to avail 
themselves of its eleemosynary shelter, warmth, and food, come from aU nations. Here 
are destitute Frenchmen, Germans, Italians, Scotchmen, Irishmen, Africans, Americans, 
Spaniards, Portuguese, Poles — ^besides the destitute of our own country ; and there are 
artisans belonging to all trades as well— compositors, carpenters, tailors, shoemakers, 
smiths, seamen, sweeps, engineers, watchmakers, artists, clerks and shopmen, milHners 
and gentlemen's servants, and navvies, and surveyors — ^indeed the beggared man of every 
craft and calling whatsoever. 

The misery of many that are driven to seek the hospitality of such asylums is assuredly 
of their own making, and there are many there, too, who pursue mendicancy as a profession, 
preferring the precarious gains of begging to the regular income of industry. Many who 
trade upon the sympathy of those who desire to ease the sufferings of the deserving poor. 

But with these there also are mixed not a few whose caUings yield a subsistence only in 
Uie summer time — ^brickmakers, agricultural labourers, garden women, and the like — ^whose 
means of subsistence fails them at the very season when the elements conspire to render their 
necessities more uigent. 

The poverty indicated by the journals of the refuge for the houseless, is quite as startling 
to all generous natures as are the returns of the house property of London. For we found — 
making allowance, too, for those who had remained more than one night in the establish- 
ment — ^that, since the opening of the asylum in 1820, as many as 1,141,588 homeless indi- 
viduals had received shelter within the walls ; and that upwards of 2| millions of pounds, 
or nearly 10,025 tons, of bread hod been distributed among the poor wretches. 

I^ then, we are proud of our prodigious riches, surely we cannot but feel humbled at our 
prodigious poverty also. 

Again, we turn to the brighter side of the London picture, and once more we ourselves 
are startled with the army of figures, marshalling the wondrous wealth of this Great 

The late Mr. Bothschild called the English Metropolis, in 1832, the bank of the whole 
world: ''I mean," said he, "that all transactions in India and China, in Germany and 
BoBsia, are guided and settled here." And no wonder that the statement should be made ; 
for we learn that the amount of capital at the command of the entire London bankers 
may be estimated at ^ixty-fowr miUians of pounds;* and that the deposits or sums ready to be 

• See Uble of the bill curronoy of the United Kingdom in BonEeld'a " SUtialioal Companion" for 1854. 


invesied by the insurance companies may be taken at ten million pounds, whilst the amount 
employed in discounts, in the Metropolis alone, equals the inconceivable sum of swenty- 
mght miUian pounds. 

Indeed, it is asserted upon good authority, that the loans of one London house only, 
exceeded, in. the year 1841, thirty millions sterling, which is upon an average nearly three 
millions of money per month ; such loans occasionally amounting to as much as seven 
hundred thousand pounds in a single day. 

Rut this is not all. In London there exists an establishment called the *' clearing- 
house,'' whither are taken the checks and bills, on the authority of which a great part of 
the money paid and received by bankers is made, and where the checks and bills drawn on 
one banking-house are cancelled by those which it holds on others. In the appendix to the 
Second Report of the Parliamentary Committee on Ranks there is a return of the payments 
made through the clearing-house for the year 1839, and though all the sums under £100 
were omitted in the statement, the total was upwards of 954 million pounds ! whilst the 
annual payments, through three bankers only, exceeded 100 millions sterling. 

^ Such an extent of commerce is not only imparalelled, but requires as great faith as a 
miracle to enable us to credit it. Nevertheless, a walk to the several docks of London — 
those vast emporia of the riches of the entire world — will enable even the most sceptical to 
arrive at some sense of the magnitude of our metropolitan trade. 

These docks, indeed, are the very focus of the wealth of our merchant princes. The 
cranes creak again with the mass of riches. In the warehouses are stored heaps of indigo 
and dye stuffs, that are, as it were, so many ingots of untold gold. Above and below ground 
you see piles upon piles of treasure that the eye cannot compass. The wealth appears as 
boundless as the very sea it has traversed, and the brain aches in an attempt to comprehend 
the amount of riches before, above, and beneath it. There are acres upon acres of treasures 
— more than enough, one would fancy, to enrich the people of the whole globe. 

As you pass along this quay, the air is pungent with the vast stores of tobacco. At that 
it overpowers you with the fumes of rum. Then you are nearly sickened with the stench 
of hides and huge bins of horns ; and shortly afterwards, the atmosphere is fragrant with 
coffee and spice. Nearly everywhere you see stacks of cork, or else yellow bins of sulphur, 
or lead-coloured copper ore. As you enter one warehouse, the flooring is sticky, as if it 
had been newly tarred, with the sugar that has leaked through the tiers of casks ; and as you 
descend into the dark vaults, you see long lines of lights hanging from the black arches, and 
lamps flitting about midway in the air. Here you sniff the fumes of the wine — ^and there 
are acres of hogsheads of it — together with the peculiar fiingous smell of dry-rot. 

Along the quay you see, among the crowd, men with their faces blue with indigo, and 
gangers with their long brass tipped rules dripping with spirit fi^sh fi^m the casks they 
have been probing. Then will come a group of flaxen-haired sailors, chattering German ; 
and next a black seaman, with a red- cotton handkerchief twisted turban-like round his head. 
Presently, a blue-smocked butcher pushes through'the throng, with fresh meat and a bunch 
of cabbage in the tray on his shoulder ; and shortly afterwards comes a broad straw-hatted 
mate, carrying green parroquets in a wooden cage. Here, too, you ^nR see sitting on a bench 
a sorrowfcd-looking woman, with new bright cooking-tins at her feet, telling you she is 
some emigrant preparing for her voyage. 

• • Then the jumble of sounds, as you pass along the dock blends in anything but sweet 
concord. The sailors are singing boisterous nigger-songs from the Yankee ship just entering 
the dock ; the cooper is hammering at the casks on the quay ; the chains of the cranes, loosed 
of their weight, rattle as they fly up again ; the ropes splash in the water ; some captain shouts 
his orders through his hands ; a goat bleats from a ship in the basin ; and empty casks roll 
along the stones with a hollow drum-like sound. Here the heavy-laden ships have their 
gunwales down in the water, far below the quay, and you descend to them by ladders, 


(Fran a Pboto^niib bj ElutRrt WstUu, of Itcgaal StraM.) 


wbilst in anofiier basin the oraft stand high up ont of the dock, so that their gieen copper- 
shoeting is almost leyel with the eye of the passenger, and aboye his head a long line of 
bowsprits stretch far over the qnay, with spars and planks hanging from them as a tern* 
porary gangway to each vessel. 

** It is impossible/' says Mr. M'Ctdloch, '' to form any accurate estimate of the amoimt 
of the trade of the Port of London. But if we include the produce conveyed into and from 
the Porty as well as the home and foreign markets, it will not," ho tells us, '^be ovenated 
at the prodigious sum of strfy-Jhe miUiom iterUng per annum." 

Of this enormous extent of commerce the Bocks are the headquarters. 

But if the incomprehensibility of this wealth rises to sublimity, assuredly the want that 
oo-ezists with it is equally incomprehensible and equally sublime. 

Pass from the quay and warehouses to the courts and alleys that surround them, and the 
mind is as bewildered with the destitution of the one place as it is with the superabundance 
of the other. Many come to see the riches, but few the poverty abounding in absolute 
masses round the fkr-famed Port of London. 

He, therefore, who wishes to behold one of the most extraordinary and least known scenes 
of the Metropolis, should wend his way to the London Dock gates at half-past seven in the 
morning. There he will see congregated, within the principal entrance, masses of men of all 
ranks, looks, and natures. Decayed and bankrupt master butchers are there, and broken- 
down master bakers, publicans, and grocers, and old soldiers, sailors, Polish refugees, quondam 
gentlemen, discharged lawyers' clerks, "suspended" government officials, almsmen, pen- 
sioners, servants, thieves — indeed every one (for the work requires no training) who wants 
a loaf, and who is willing to work for it. The London Dock is one of the few places in the 
Metropolis where men can get employment without character or recommendation. 

As the hour approaches eight, you know by the stream pouring through the gates, and 
the rush towards particular spots, tiiat the " calling foremen" have made their appearance, 
and that the " casual men " are about to be taken on for the day. 

Then b^:ins the scuffling and scrambling, and stretching forth of countless hands high 
in the air, to catch the eye of hinn whose nod can give them work. As the foreman calls 
from a book the names, some men jump up on the back of others, so as to lift themselves 
high above the rest and attract his notice. All are shouting; some cry aloud his surname, 
and some his christian name ; and some call out their own names to remind him that 
they are there. Now the appeal is made in Lish blarney ; and now in broken English. 

Indeed, it is a sight to sadden the most callous to see thousands of men struggling there 
for only one day's hire, the scuffle being made the fiercer by the knowledge that hundreds 
out of the assembled throng must be left to idle the day out in want. To look in the faces 
of that hungry crowd is to see a sight that is to be ever remembered. Some are smiling to 
the foreman to coax him into remembrance of them ; others, with their protruding eyes, are 
tenibly eager to snatch at the hoped-for pass for work. Many, too, have gone there and 
gone through the same struggle, the same cries, and have left after all without the work 
they had screamed for. 

Until we saw with our own eyes this scene of greedy despair, we could not have 
believed that there was so mad an anxiety to work, and so bitter a want of it among so vast 
a body of men. Ko wonder that the calling foreman should be often carried many yards 
away by the struggle and rush of the multitude around him, seeking employment at his 
hands ! One of ^e officials assured us that he had more than once been taken off his feet, 
and hurried to a distance of a quarter of a mile by the eagerness of the impatient crowd 
elamonring for work. 

If, however, the men fail in getting taken on at the conmiencement of the day, they 
then retire to the waiting-yard, at the back of the Docks, there to remain hour after hour^ in 


hope that the irind may blow them some stray ship, so that other gangs may be wanted, 
and the calling foreman come to seek fresh hands there. 

It is a.sad sight, too, to see the poor fellows waiting in these yards to be hired at fonipenoe 
per hour — ^for such are the terms given in the after-part of the day. There, seated on 
long benches ranged against the wall, they remain, some telling their miseries, and some 
their crimes, to one another, while others dose away their time. Bain or sonfihine, there 
are always plenty of them ready to catch the stray Hhilling or eightpence for the two or three 
hours' labour. By the size of the shed you can judge how many men sometimes stay there, 
in the pouring rain,, rather than run the chance of losing the stray hour's job. Some loiter 
on the bridge close by, and directly that their practised eye or ear tells them the calling 
foreman is in want of another gang, they rush forward in a stream towards the gate — 
though only six or eight at most can be hired out of the hundred or more that are waiting. 
Then the same mad fight takes place again as in the morning ; the same jumping on benches ; 
the same raising of hands ; the same entreaties ; ay! and the same failure as before. 

It is strange to mark the change that takes place in the manner of the men when the 
foreman has left. Those that have been engaged go snuling to their labour, while those 
who are left behind give vent to their disappointment in abuse of him before whom they had 
been supplicating and smiling but a few minutes previously. 

There are not less than 20,000 souls living by Dock labour in the Metropolis. The 
London Docks are worked by between 1,000 to 8,000 hands, according as the business is 
brisk or slack — that is, according as the wind is, fair or foul, for the entry of the ships 
into the Port of London. 

Sence there are some thousands of stomachs deprived of food by the mere chopping of 
the breeze. '' It's an iU wind,'' sa3ns the proverb, '' that blows nobody any good;" and until 
we came to investigate the condition of the Dock labourer, we could not have believed it 
possible that near upon 2,000 souls in one place alone lived, chameleon-like, upon the very 
air ; or that an easterly wind could deprive so many of bread. It is, indeed, '' a nipping and 
an eager air." 

That the sustenance of thousands of families should be as fickle as the very breeze itself, 
that the weather-cock should be the index of daily want or daily ease to such a vast body of 
men, women, and children, is a climax of misery and wretchedness that could hardly have 
been imagined to exist in the very heart of our greatest wealth. 

Nor is it less wonderM, when we come to consider the immense amount of food consumed 
in London, that there should be such a thing as want known among us. 

The returns of the cattle-market, for instance, tell us that the population of London 
consume some 277,000 bullocks, 30,000 calves, 1,480,000 sheep, and 34,000 pigs; and these, 
it is estimated by Mr. Hicks, are worth between seven and eight millions sterling. 

In the way of bread, the Londoners are said to eat up no less than 1,600,000 quarters of 

Then the list of vegetables supplied by the aggregate London " green markets " — ^includ- 
ing Oovent-garden, Farringdon, Portman, the Borough, and Spitalfields — is as foUows : — 

310,464,000 potmds potatoes 

89,672,000 plants cabbages 

14,326,000 heads broccoli and cauliflowers 

32,648,000 roots turnips 

1,850,000 junks ditto, tops 

16,817,000 roots carrots 

438,000 bushels ... . peas 

133,400 „ beans 

221,100 „ French beans 


19,872 dozen . . . 

. . yegetable manows 

19,560 dozen bundles 

. . . asparagus 

34,800 y, „ 

. . celery 

91,200 „ „ . 

. . . rhubarb 

4,492,800 plants . . 

. . . lettuces 

182,912 dozen hands 

. . . radishes. 

1,489,600 bushels . . 

. . . onions 

94,000 dozen bundles 

. . ditto (spring) 

87,360 bushels . . . 

. . cucumbers 

32,900 dozen bundles 

. . . herbs* 


Again, the list of the gross quantity of fish 1 
suppen is equally enonnous : — 

Wet Fish. 

3,480,000 pounds of salmon and salmon trout 29,000 boxes, 14 fish per box 
4,000,000 „ live cod . . . . averaging 10 lbs. each 

soles averaging ^ lb. each 

whiting averaging 6 ounces 

haddock averaging 2 lbs. each 

plaice averaging 1 lb. each 

mackerel . . averaging 1 lb. each 

fresh herrings .... 250,000 barrels, 700 fish per barrel 
9, . „ in bulk 


eels firom Holland . . ,) ^ «, . , , 
y, England and Ireland j 


























1,200,000 . . 
600,000 . . 
192,295 gallons 

24,300^ bushels 







barrelled cod . 
dried salt cod 
smoked haddock 
bloaters . . 
red herrings . 
dried sprats 

15,000 barrels^ 50 fish per barrel 

5r lbs. each 

25,000 barrels, 300 fish per barrel 

265,000 baskets, 150 fish per basket 

100,000 barrels, 500 fish per barrel 
9,600 large bundles, 30 fish per bundle 

Shell Fish. 

oysters . 

lobsters . 







309,935 barrels, 1,600 fish per barrel 
averaging 1 lb. each fish 
averaging 1 lb. each fish 
324 to the pint 
224 to the ^ bushel 
1,000 to the ^ bushel 
2,000 to the ^ bushel 
4,000 to the i bushel 

* These retami, end those of the fiah, cattle, tnd poultry markets, were originally collected by the' 
rafihor, for the flnt time in London, from the MTeral salesmen at the mai^ets, and ooet both much time and 
money ; thoo^ the gentlemen who fiibricate hooka on London, from Mr. M*GullooE downwards, do not hesi- 
tate to dig their aciasors into the resnlta, taking care to do with them the aame as ia dono with the stolen 
handkenddeilii in Petticoat Lane— tis., pick out the name of the owner. 


Farther, in the matter of game poultry, the metropolitan consumption from one market 
alone (Leadenhall) amounts to the following : — 

Taicb Bibbs and Bombsho Fowls. 

1,266,000 fowls 

188,000 geese 

235,000 ducks 

60,000 turkeys 

284,500 pigeons 

Total, 2,033,500 

Weld Birds, os Animals, or Gahjb. 

45,000 grouse 

84,500 partridges 

43,500 pheasants 

10,000 teal 

30,000 widgeons 

60,000 snipes 

28,000 plovers 

213,000 Lirks 

89,500 wild birds 

48,000 hares 

680,000 labbite 

Total, 1,281,500 

By way of dessert to this enormous banquet^ the supply of fruit frimishcd by all the 
London markets is equally inconcdvable : — 

686,000 bushels of . apples 

353,000 ,1 . pears 

173,200 dozen lbs. of cherries 

176,500 bushels of . plums 

5,333 „ • 


16,450 „ 


4,900 „ 




171,000 sieves . . 

cuirants (red) 

108,000 yy . . 

cuxrants (black) 

'24,000 „ . . 

currants (white) 

1,527,500 pottles . . 


35,250 „ . . 


127,940 „ . . 


9,018 bushels of . 

hazel nuts 

518,400 lbs. of . . 


Then, as a fitting companion to this immense amount of BoHd food, the quantity of liquids 
consumed is aa follows : — 

65,000 pipes of wines 
2,000,000 gallons of spirits 
43,200,000 gallons of porter and ale 
19,215,000,000 gallons of water, supplied by the several companies to the houses. 


And luB&y, for £he ptuposes of heating and lighting, the Metropolis bums no less than 
3,000,000 tons of coal. 

But if the great meat and y^etable and poultry markets of the Metropolis are indications 
of the good liying indulged in by a large proportion of the people, there are at the same time 
other markets which may be cited as proo& of the privation nndergone by large numbers 
also. The wretched man who liyes by picking up bits of rag in the 8treet---and there is a 
considerable army of them — cannot be said to add much to the gross consumption of the 
Capital ; still he even attends hit market, and has his exohangey even though he deals in 
etmpons of linen, and traffics in old iron rather than the precious metals. 

Let US, then, by way of contrast to the luxury indicated by the preceding details, follow 
the bone-gprubber to his mart — ^the exchange for old dothes and rags. 

The traffic here consists not of ship -loads of valuables brought from the four qUBrters of 
the globe, bnt simply of wallets of refhse gathered from the areas, mews, and alleys of 
every part of London ; for that which is bought and sold in this locality is not made up of 
the choicest riches of the world, but simply of what others have cast aside as worthless. 
Indeed, the wealth in which the merchants of Bag Fair deal, so &r from being of any value 
to ordinary minds, is merely the o£bl of the well-to-do— the skins sloughed by gentility — ^the 
Mrity as it were, of the fashionable world. 

The merchandize of this quarter consists not of gold-dust and ivory, but literally of old 
metal and bones ; not of bales of cotton and pieces of rich silk, but of bits of dirty rag, 
swept from shop doors and picked np and washed by the needy finders ; not of dye-stu£&, nor 
indigo, nor hides, but of old soleless shoes, to be converted by the alchemy of science into 
Fnissian bine wherewith to tint, perhaps, some nobles' robes, and bits of old iron to be made 
into new. 

Some dozen years ago, one of the Hebrew merchant dealers in old clothes purchased the 
houses at the back of Phil's Buildings — a court leading out of Eoundsditch, immediatoly 
fiacing St. Mary Axe, and formed the present market, now styled the ''Old Clothes 
Exchange," and where Bag Fair maybe said to be at present centralized. Prior to this, the 
market was held in the streets. 

About three or four o'clock in winter, and four or five in summer, are the busiest periods at 
the "Old Clothes Exchange;" and then the passage leading to the Mart from Houndsditch 
will be seen to be literally black with the mob of old-dothes men congregated outside the 
gates. Almost all have bags on their backs, and not a few three or four old hats in their hands, 
while here and there faces with grizzly beards wiU be seen through the vista of hook noses. 

immediately outside the gateway, at the end of the crowded court, stands the celebrated 
Barney Aaron, the janitor, with out-stretched hand waiting to receive the halfpenny toll, 
demanded of each of the buyers and sellers who enter ; and with his son by his side, with a 
leathern pouch filled with half a hundred weight of coppers he has already received, and 
ready to give change for any silver that may be tendered. 

As the stranger passes through the gate, the odour of the collocated old clothes and old 
rags, and old shoes, together with, in the season, half-putrid hare skins, is almost overpower- 
ing. The atmosphere of the place has a peculiar sour smell blended with the mildewy or 
fungous odour of what is termed " mother ;" indeed the stench is a compound of mouldiness, 
mustiness, and fustiness — a kind of '* houquet de tntHe tewers^*^ that is &i from pleasant to 
christian nostrils. 

The hucksters of tatters as they pour in with their bundles at their backs, one after 
another, are surrounded by some half-dozen of the more eager Jews, some in greasy gaber- 
dines extending to the heels and clinging almost as tight to the frame as ladies' wet bathing- 
gowns. Two or three of them seize the hucksters by the arm, and feel the contents of the 
bundle at his back ; and a few tap them on the shoulder as they all damour for the first sight 
of the contents of their wallets. 


"Ha* you oot any preoking (broken pieces) ?" cries one who buys old coats, to cut into 
doth caps. 

'* Cot any fustian, old cordsh, or old poots ?" " Yer know me," says another, in a 
wheedHng tone. ''I'm little Ikey, the pest of puyers, and always gives a coot piishe.'* 

Such, indeed, is the anxiety and eagerness of the Israelitish buyers to get the first chance 
of the bargains, that it is as much as the visitor can do to force his way through the greedy 
and greasy mob. 

Once past the entrance, however, the stranger is able to obtain a tolerable view of the 

The '< Exchange'' consists of a large square plot of ground, about an acre in extent, and 
surrounded by a low hoarding, with a narrow sloping roof, hardly wider indeed than the old 
eaves to farm-houses, and projecting far enough forward to shelter one person fix>m the rain. 
Across this ground are placed four double rows of benches, ranged back to back, and here sit 
the sellers of old clothes, with their unsightly and unsavoury store of garments strewn or 
piled on the ground at their feet, whilst between the rows of petty dealers pass the merchant 
buyers on the look-out for ''bargains." 

The first thing that strikes the mind is, that a greater bustle and eagerness appear to 
rage among the buyers of the refuse of London, than among the traders in the more valuable 
commodities. Every lot exposed for sale seems to have fulfilled to the utmost the office for 
which it was designed, and now that its uses are ended, and it seems to be utterly worthless^ 
the novice to such scenes cannot refrain from marvelling what remaining quality can possibly 
give the least value to the rubbish. 

Here a " crockman" (a seller of crockery ware), in a bright-red plush waistcoat and 
knee-breeches, and with legs like balustrades, sits beside his half-emptied basket of china 
and earthen- ware, while at his feet is strewn the apparently worthless collection of paletots, 
and cracked 'Wellingtons, and greasy napless hats, for which he has exchanged his jugs, 
basins, and spar ornaments. A few yards from him is a woman, enveloped in a coachman's 
drab and many-capod box-coat, with a pair of men's cloth boots on her feet, and her Ump- 
looking straw bonnet flattened down on her head, from repeated loads ; the ground before 
her, too, is littered with old tea-coloured stays, and bundles of wooden busks, and little bits of 
whalebone, whilst beside her, on the seat, lies a small bundle of old parasols tied together, and 
looking like a quiver full of arrows. In the winter you may see the same woman surrounded 
with hare skins ; some so old and stiff that they seem frozen, and the fresher ones looking 
shiny and crimson as red tinsel. 

Now you come, as you push your way along the narrow passage between the seats, to a 
man with a small mound of old boots, some of which have the soles torn off, and the broken 
threads showing underneath like the stump of teeth ; others are so brown from long want 
of blacking, that they seem almost to be pieces of rusty metal, and others again are 
speckled all over with small white spots of mildew. Beside another huckster is piled a little 
hillock of washed-out light waistcoats, and old cotton drawers, and straw-bonnets half in 
shreds. Then you see a Jew boy holding up the remains of a theatrical dress, consisting of a 
black velvet body stuck all over with bed furniture ornaments, and evidently reminding the 
young Israelite of some " soul-stirring" melo-drama that he has seen on the Saturday evening 
at the Pavilion Theatre. 

A few steps farther on, you find one of the merchants blowing into the fur of some 
old imitation-sable muff, that has gone as foxy as a Scotchman's whiskers. Next, your 
attention is fixed upon a black-chinned and lanthom-jawed bone-grubber, clad in dirty 
greasy rags, with his wallet emptied on the stones, and the bones from it, as well as bits of 
old iron and horse-shoes, and pieces of rags, all sorted into different lots before him ; and as 
he sits there, anxiously waiting for a purchaser, he munches a hunk of mouldy pie crust that 
he has had given to him on his rounds. 


In one part of the Exchange you recognize the swarthy features of some well-known 
travelling tinker, with a complexion the colour of curry powder, and hands brown, as if 
recently tarred ; whUe in ftont of hm is reared a pyramid of old battered britannia-metal 
teapots and saucepans ; and next to him sits an umbrella mender, before whom is strewn 
a store of whalebone ribs, and ferniled sticks fitted with sharp pointed bone handles. 

Then the buyers, too, are almost as picturesque and motley a group as the sellers, for the 
purchasers are of all nations, and habited in every description of costume. Some are 
Greeks, others Swiss, others again Gennans ; some have come there to buy up the rough 
old charity cbthing and the army great coats for the Irish ** market." One man with a long 
flowing beard and tattered gaberdine, that shines like a tarpaulin with the grease, and who is 
said to be worth thousands, is there again, as indeed he is day after day, to see if he cannot 
add another sixpence to his hoard, by dabbling in the rags and refuse with which the ground 
is covered. Mark how he is wheedling, and whining, and shrugging up his shoulders to that 
poor wretch, in the hope of inducing him to part with the silver pendl-caae he has '' found" 
on his rounds, for a few pence less than its real value. 

As the purchasers go pacing up and down the narrow pathways, threading their way, 
now along tiie old bottles, bonnets, and rags, and now among the bones, the old metal and 
stays, the gowns, the hats, and coats, a thick-lipped Jew boy shouts from his high stage in 
the centre of the market, " Shiusher peer, an aypenny a glarsh ! — an aypenny a glarsh, 
shinsherpeer!" Between the seats women worm along carrying baskets of trotters, and 
screaming as they go, " Legs of mutton, two for a penny ! Who'll give me a hansel." And 
after them comes a man with a large tray of ^* Mty cakes." 

In the middle of the market, too, stands another dealer in street luxuries, with a display 
of pi<^ed whelks, like huge snails floating in saucers of brine ; and next t#him is a sweet- 
meat stall, with a crowd of young Israelites gathered round the keeper eagerly gambling 
with marbles for ''Albert rock'^ and '' Boneyparte's ribs." 

At one end of the Exchange stands a coffee and beer shop, inside of which you find Jews 
pla3ring at draughts, or wrangling aa they settle for the articles which they have bought or 
sold ; while, even as you leave by the gate that leads towards Petticoat Lane, there is a girl 
stationed outside with a horse-pail full of ice, and dispensing halfpenny egg-cupsM of 
what appears to be very much like frozen soap-suds, and shouting, as she shakes the bucket, 
and makes the ice in it rattle like broken glass, ** Now, boys ! here's your coolers, only 
an aypenny a glass ! ^an aypenny a glass ! " 

In fine, it may tmly be said that in no other part of the entire world is such a scene of 
riot, rags, filth, and feasting to be witnessed, aaatthe Old Clothes Exchange in Houndsditch. 

^ ii. Tha Charity and the Crime of London. 

The broad line of demarcation separating our own time frx)m that of all others, is to found 
in the friller and more general development of the human sympathies. 

Our princes and nobles are no longer the patrons of prize-fights, but the presidents 
of benevolent institutions. Instead of the bear-gardens and cock-pits that formerly 
flourished in every quarter of the town, our Capital bristles and gHtters with its thousand 
palaces for the indigent and suffering poor. If we are distinguished among nations for our 
exceeding wealth, assuredly we are equally illustrious for our abundant charity. Almost 
every want or ill that can distress human nature has some palatial institution for the 
mitigation of it. We have rich societies fbr every conceivable form of benevolence — ^for the 
visitation of the sick ; for the cure of the maimed, and the crippled ; for the alleviation of the 
panga of child-birth ; for grnng shelter to the houseless, support to the aged and the infirm, 
homes to the orphan end the foundling ; fbr the reformation of juvenile offenders and prosti- 
tutes, iJie reception of the children of convicts, the liberation of debtors, the suppression 


of vice; for eduoatmg the ragged, teaching the blind, the deaf and the dumb; for guarding 
and soothing the mad ; protecting the idiotic, clothing the naked, and feeding the hungry. 
Nor does our charity cease with our own countrymen ; for the very ship-of-war which we 
build to destroy the people of other lands, we ultimately convert into a floating hospital to 
save and comfort them in the hour of their affliction among us. 

Of the sums devoted to the maintenance of these various institutions, tiie excellent littie 
work of Mr. Sampson Low, jun., on the ''Charities of London in 1852-3," enables us to 
come to a ready and very accurate conclusion. 

Accordingly we find, upon reference to this work, that there are altogether in the 
Metropolis 530 charitable institutions, viz. : — 

Ninety-two Medical Charities, having an aggregate income during tiie year of £266,925. 
Twelve Societies for the Preservation of Life, Health, and Public Morals, whose yearly 
incomes equal altogether, £35,717. 

Seventeen for Beclaiming the Fallen, or Penitentiary and Beformatory Asylums = £39,486. 
Thirteen for the Belief of Street Destitution and Distress » £18,326. 
Fourteen for the !EleHef of Specific Distress ^ £27,387. 

One hundred and twenty-six Asylums for the Beception of the Aged == £87,630. 
Nine for the Benefit of the Blind, Deaf and Dumb » £25,050. 
Thirteen Asylums for the Maintenance of Orphans = £45,464. 

Fifteen for the Maintenance of other Children (exclusive of Parochial Schools) = £88,228. 
Twenty-one Societies for the Promotion of Schools and their efficiency = £72,247. 
Twenty-five Jewish Miscellaneous Charities = £10,000. 
Nineteen for the Benefit of the Lidnstrions » £9,124. 
Twelve Ben^lent Pension Societies = £23,667. 
Fifteen Clergy Aid Funds = £35,301. 

Thirty-two otber Professional and Trade Benevolent Funds = £53,467. 
Thirty Trade Provident = £25,000, 

Forty-three Home Mission Societies (several combining extensive operations abroad) = 

Fourteen Foreign Mission Societies =r £459,668.* 
To this list must be added five unclassed Societies = £3,252. 

Also an amount of £160,000, raised during the year for special ^mds, including the 
proposed Wellington College, the new Medical College, the Wellington Benevolent Fund, &c. 
— ^making altogether, as the subject of our " Beport," — 

Five hundred and thirty Charitable Societies in London, with an aggregate amount 
disbursed during the year of £1,805, 635. f 

But the above aggregate amount of the metropolitan ^charitable donations, large as the 
sum is, refers only to the moneys entrusted to public societies to distribute. Of the amount 
disbursed by private individuals in charity to their poorer neighbours, of course no accurate 
estimate can be formed. But if we assume that as much money is given in private as in 
public charity (and from our inquiries among the London beggars, and especially the 
'* screeving'' or begging-letter writing class, we have reason to believe that there is much 
mor6), we shall have, in round numbers, a gross total of three and a half millions of money 
annually distributed by the rich among the poor. 

Now, as a set-off against this noble indication of the benevolence of our people, we will 

* The Bales of Bibles and other religious publicationa, realising above £100,000, ii not indoded in 
either of the last-mentioned amonnta. 

t These flgores have been compiled from the varions statements of the year during 1852-8, for the 
Ukrhioh they axe respectiTely made up to— averaging March 31, 1853. Qrammar Schools and Educational 
Sstabliahments, as Merahaat Tajhaf and St Paul's, are not included— neither Parochial and other Local 
Behoolf— or Miscellaneous Endowments in the gift of City Companies and 


again luimble the Londoner'B pride by giving him a faint notion of the criminality of alai^ 
body of London folk. 

Li the Beports of the Poor-Law Commissioners we find that between the years 1848 and 
1849 ibere were no less than 143,064 vagrants, or tramps, admitted into the casual wards of 
the workhonfles thronghont the metropolitan districts.* 

There are^ then, no lees than 143,000 admissions of vagrants to the casual wards of the 
Metropolis in the course of the year; and granting that many of these temporary inmates 
appear more than once in the calculation (for it is the habit of the class to go from one 
eleenuwynary asylum to another), still we shall have a lai^ number distributed throughout 
the Melxopolis. The conclusion we have come to, after consulting with the best authorities 
on the subject, is, that there are just upon 4,000 habitual vagabonds distributed about 
London, and the cost of their support annually amotrnts to very nearly £50,000.t 

" One of the worst concomitants of vagrant mendicancy," says the Foor-Law Beport, '* is 
^he fever of a dangerous typhoid character which has universally marked the path of the 
mendicant. There is scarcely a workhouse in which this pestilence does not prevail in a 
greater or less degree ; and numerous Union officers have fisdlen victims to it." Those who 
are acquainted with the exceeding filth of the persons frequenting the casual wards, will not 
wonder at the fever which follows in the wake of the vagrants. " Many have the itch. I 
have seen," says Mr. Boase, '' a party of twenty all scratching themselves at once, before 
setting into their rest in the straw. Lice exist in great numbers upon them." 

That vagrancy is the nursery of crime, and that the habitual tramps are first beggars 
then thieves, and finally the convicts of the country, the evidence of all parties goes to prove. 

But we cannot give the reader a better general idea of the character and habits of this 
olass than by detailing the particulars of a meeting of that curious body of people which we 
once held, and when as many as 150 were present. Never was witnessed a more distressing 

* The items making up the above total — that is to aay, the number of vagrants admitted into the several 
Hetzopolitan Warkhonses— may be given as follows :— Pancras, 19,869 ; Chelsea, 15,199 ; Stepney, 12,869 ; 
West London, 9,777 ; Fnlham, 9,017 ; Holbom, 7,947 ; St Margaret, Westminster, 7,410 ; St. George, 
SonthwariE, 6,918 ; London City, 6,825 ; Newiogton, 9,575 ; Shoreditch, 5,921 ; Paddington, 5,378 ; East 
London, 4,912 ; Islington, 4,561 ; Kensbigton, 3,917 ; Wandsworth, 3,848 ; St Luke's, 3,409 ; Whitechspel, 
3,904 ; Botheihithe, 2,627 ; Lambeth, 2,516 ; Camberwell, 2,104 ; St Martin's in the Fields, 1,823 ; Poplar, 
1,737 ; Betfanal Oieen, 1,620 ; Greenwioh, 1,404 ; Hackney, 833 ; St Giles, 581 ; St James, Westminster, 
371 ; Cleikenwell, 88 ; Strand, 68 ; St George in the East, 81 ; St Saviour, 15 ; Lewisham, 12 ; St Clave, 
Southwmric, ; Bennondsey, ; St George, Hanover Square, ; Maiylebone, ; Hampstead, 0, 

t The above oonolnsion has been arrived at from the following data : — 

Ayerage number of Vagrants relieved each night in the Metropolitan Unions . 849 

Arerage number of Vagrants resident in the Mendicants' Lodging-houses of London . 2,481 
Ayerage number of indiyiduals relieved at the Metropolitan Asylums for the houseless 

poor 750 

Total .... 4,030 

Now, as five per cent of this amount is said to consist of characters really destitute and descrying, w« 
arriye at the conclusion that there are 3,829 vagrants in London, liying either by mendicancy or theft. 
The cost of the vagrants in London in the year 1848, may be estimated as follows : — 

310,058 yagrants relieved at the Metropolitan Unions, at the cost of 2<i per 

head ..... 

67,500 nig^ti^ lodgings afforded to the houseless poor at the Metropolitan 

Asylums, including the West End Asylum, Market Street, Edgeware Bead 
2,431 inmates of the Mendicants' Lodc^-houses in London, gaining by 

''cadging" upon an average. Is. per day, or altogether, per year • 

Deduct 6 per cent for the cost of relief for the truly deserying • 

The total wOl then be .... £47,580 411} 

. £2,584 13 


[ 3,184 1 


44,365 15 

£50,084 9 
2,504 4 



spectacle of squaLor, rags, and wretchedness. Some were young men, and some were children. 
One, who styled himself a ** cadger," was six years of age, and several who confessed them- 
selyes as 'Sprigs" were only ten. The countraiances of the hoys were of yaiions character. 
Many were not only good-looking, hut had a frank ingennous expression, that seemed in no 
way connected with innate roguery. Many, on the other hand, had the deep-sank and half- 
averted eye, which is so characteristic of natural dishonesty and cunning. Some had the 
regular features of lads horn of parents in easy circumstances. The hair of most of the lads 
was cut very close to the head, showing their recent liheration from prison ; indeed, one might 
tell, hy the comparative length of the crop, the time that each hoy had heen out of gaol. All 
hut a few of the elder lads were remarkahle, amidst the rags, filth, and wretchedness of 
their external appearance, for the mirth and carelessness impressed upon th& countenance. 

At first their hehaviour was very noisy and disorderly, coarse and rihald jokes were freely 
cracked, exciting general hursts of laughter ; while howls, cat-calls, and all manner of unearthly 
and indescrihahle yells threatened for a time to render aU attempts at order utterly abortive. 
At one moment, a lad would imitate the bray of the jackass, and immediately the whole 
hundred and fifty would fall to braying like him. Then some ragged urchin would crow 
like a cock ; whereupon the place would echo with a hundred and fifty cock-crows ! Next^ 
as a negro-boy entered the room, one of the young vagabonds would shout out swe-ee-p; 
this would be received with peals of laughter, and followed by a general repetition of the 
same cry. Presently a hundred and fifty cat-calls, of the shrillest possible description, would 
almost split the ears. These would be succeeded by cries of, '< Strike up, catgut scrapers!" 
''Go on with your bairow!" "Flare up, my never-sweats !" and a variety of other street 

Indeed, the uproar which went on before the commencement of the meeting will be best 
understood, if we compare it to the scene presented by a public menagerie at feeding time. 
The greatest difficulty, as might be expected, was experienced in collecting the subjoined 
statistics as to the character and condition of those present on the oocasioii. By a persevering 
mode of inquiry, however, the following tacts were elicited : — 

With respect to age, the youngest boy present was six years old; he styled himself 
a cadger, and said that his mother, who was a widow, and suffering frt}m ill health, sent 
him into the streets to beg. There were 7 of ten years of age, 3 <^ twelve, and 3 of thirteen, 
10 of fourteen, 26 of fifteen, 11 of sixteen, 20 of seventeen, 26 of eighteen, and 45 of 

Then 19 had fathers and mothers stLQ liviog, 39 had only one parent, and 80 were 
orphans, in the fullest sense of the word, having neither father nor mother alive. 

Of professed beggars, there were 60 ; whilst 66 acknowledged themselves to be habitual 
''prigs ; " the anouncement that the greater number present were thieves pleased them exceed- 
ingly, and was received with three rounds of applause. 

Next it was ascertained that 12 of them had been in prison once (2 of these were but ten 
years of age), 5 had been in prison twice, 3 thrice, 4 four times, 7 five times, 8 six times, 5 seven 
times, 4 eight times, 2 nine times (and 1 of these thirteen years of age), 5 ten times, 5 twelve 
times, 2 thirteen times, 3 fourteen times, 2 sixteen times, 3 seventeen times, 2 eighteen times, 
5 twenty times, 6 twenty-four times, 1 twenty-five times, 1 twenty-six times, and 1 twenty- 
nine times. 

The announcements in reply to the question as to the number of times that any 
of them had been in gaol, were received with great applause, which became more and 
more boisterous as the number of imprisonments increased. When it was announced that one, 
though only nineteen years of age, had been incarcerated as many as twenty-nine times, the 
clapping of hands, the cat-calls, and shouts of "bray-vo !" lasted for several minutes, whilst the 
whole of the boys rose to look ,at the distinguished individual. Some chalked on their hats 
the figures whidi designated the sum of the several times they had been in gaol. 


Ab to the oanfle of their yagabondism, it was found that 22 had ran away from their 
homes, owing to the ill-treatment of their parents; 18 confessed to having been ruined 
Enough their parents allowing them to run wild in the streets, and to be led astray by bad 
companions ; and 15 acknowledged that they had been first taught thieving in a lodging* 

Concerning the vagrant habits of the youths, the following foots were elicited: — 78 
regularly roam through the country every year ; 65 sleep regularly in the casual-wards of the 
unions ; and 52 occasionally slept in trampers' lodging-houses throughout the country. 

Be^ecting their education, according to the popular meaning of the term, 63 of the 150 
were able to read and write, and they were principally thieves. 50 of this number said they 
had read ** Jack Sheppard,'' and the lives of " Dick Turpin," and '' Claude du Yal," and all 
the other popular thieves' novels, as well as the Newgate Calendar, and lives of the robbers 
and pirates. Those who could not read themselves, said that "Jack Sheppard *' was read out to 
them at the lodging-houses. Numbers avowed that they had been induced to resort to an 
abandoned course of life from reading the lives of notorious thieves, and novels about highway 
robbers. When asked what they thought of Jack Sheppard, several bawled out — '< He's a 
regular brick !" — a sentiment which was almost umversally concurred in by the deafening shouts 
and plaudits which followed. When questioned as to whether they would Hke to have been 
Jack Sheppardy the answer was, " Yes, if the times were the same now as they were then!" 
13 confessed that they had taken to thieving in order to go to the low theatres ; and one lad 
said he had lost a good situation on the Birmingham railway through his love of the play. 
20 stated that they had been flogged in prison, many of them having been so punished two, 
three, and four different times. 

A policeman in plain clothes was present, but their acute eyes were not long before they 
detected lus real character, notwithstanding his disguise. Several demanded that he should 
be turned out. The officer was accordingly given to understand that the meeting was a 
private one, and requested to withdraw. Having apologized for intruding, he proceeded to 
leave the room ; and no sooner did the boys see the '* Peeler " move towards the door than 
they gave vent to several rotmds of very hearty applause, accompanied with hisses, groans, 
and cries of " Throw him over ! " 

NoWy we have paid some little attention to such strange members of the human family 
as these, and others at war with all social institutions. We have thought the peculiarities 
of their nature as worthy of study in an ethnological point of view, as those of the people of 
other countries, and we have learnt to look upon them as a distinct race of individuals, as 
distinct as the Malay is from the Caucasian tribe. We have sought, moreover, to reduce 
their several varieties into something like system, believing it quite as requisite that we 
should have an attempt at a scientific classification of the criminal classes, as of the Infusoria 
om the Cryptogamia. An enumeration of the several natural orders and species of criminals 
will let the reader see that the class is as multifarious, and surely, in a scientific point of view, 
as worthy of being studied as the varieties of animalcules. 

In the first place, then, the criminal classes are divisible into three distinct families, i,e., 
tiie beggars, the cheats, and the thieves. 

Of the beggars there are many distinct species. (1.) The naval and the military beggars ; 
as turnpike sailors and ''raw" veterans. (2.) Distressed operative beggars; as pretended 
stanred-out manufiicturers, or sham frozen-out gardeners, or tricky hand-loom weavers, &c. 
(3.) Bespectable be^^ars; as sham broken-down tradesmen, poor ushers or distressed 
Muthors, clean fiunily beggars, with children in very white pinafores and their faces cleanly 
washed, and the ashamed beggars, who pretend to hide their £aoes with a written petition. 
(4.) Disaster beggars; as shipwrecked mariners, or blown-up miners, or burnt-out trades- 
men, and lucifer droppers (5.) Bodily afflicted beggars; such as those having real or 
pretended sores, dr swollen legs, or being crippled or deformed, maimed, or paralyzed, or 


else being blind, or deaf, or dumb, or subject to fits, or in a decline and appearing with 
bandages round the head, or playing the ** shallow coTe>" «. «., appearing half-dad in the 
streets. (6.) ramiahed beggars; as those who chalk on the payement, ''I am starving," 
or else remain stationary, and hold up a piece of paper before their &ce similarly inscribed. 
(7.) Foreign beggars, who stop you in the street, and request to know if you can speak French; 
or destitute Poles, Indians, or Lascars, or Negroes. (8.) Petty trading beggars ; as tract 
sellers, lucifer match sellers, boot lace venders, &c. (9.) Husical b^gats ; or those who 
play on some musical instrument, as a doak for begging-— as scraping fiddlers, hurdy-gurdy 
and clarionet players. (10.) Dependents of beggars; as screerers or the writers of ''slums" 
(letters) and ''Miements" (petitions), and referees, or those who giro characters to profBS* 
sional beggars. 

The second criminal class consists of cheats, and these are subdiYisible into— (1.) Goyem- 
ment definuders ; as ''jiggers" (defirauding the excise by working illicit stills), and smugglers 
who defraud the customs. (2.) Those who cheat the public ; as swindlers, who cheat those 
of whom they buy; and duffers and horse-chanters, who cheat those to whom they sell; and 
" Charley pitchers," or low gamblers, cheating those with whom they play; and "bouncers 
and beaters," who cheat by laying wagers ; and " fiat catchers," or ring-droppers, who 
cheat by pretending to find valuables in the street; and bubble-men, who institute sham 
annuity ofiftces or assurance companies ; and douceur-men, who cheat by pretending to get 
government situations, or provide servants with places, or to tell persons of something to 
their advantage. (3.) The dependents of cheats; as "jollies" and "magsmen," or the 
confederates of other cheats ; and " bonnets," or those who attend gaming tables ; and referees, 
who give false characters to servants. 

The last of the criminal classes are the thieves, who admit of being classified as fol- 
lows: — (1.) Those who plunder ynih. violence ; as "cracksmen," who break into houses; 
"rampsmen," who stop people on the highway; "bludgers" or "stick slingers," who rob 
in company with low women. (2.) Those who hocus or plunder persons by sttipefying; as 
" drummers," who drug liquor ; and "bug-hunters," who plunder drunken men. (3.) Those 
who plunder by sUdUh, as (i.) "mobsmen," or those who plunder by manual dexterity, like 
" buzzers," who pick gentlemen's pockets ; "wires," who pick ladies' pockets ; "prop-nadlers," 
who steal pins or brooches; and "thumble screwers," who wrench off watches; and shoplifters, 
who purloin goods from shops; (ii.) "sneaksmen," or petty cowardly thieves, and of these 
there are two distinct varieties, according as they sneak off with either goods or animals. 
Belonging to the first variety, or those who sneak off with goods, are "drag-sneaks," who make 
off with goods from carts or coaches; " snoozers," who sleep at railway hotels, and make off 
with either apparel or luggage in the morning; " sawney-hunters," who purloin cheese or 
bacon from cheesemongers' doors ; " noisy racket men," who make off with china or crockery- 
ware from earthenware shops; "snow-gatherers," who make off with dean clothes from 
hedges; "cat and kitten hunters," who make off with quart or pint pots from area railings ; 
"area sneaks," who steal from the area; " dead-lurkers," who steal from the passages of 
houses ; " till friskers," who make off with the contents of tills ; " bluey-hunters," who 
take lead from the tops of houses ; " toshers," who purloin copper from ships and along 
shore ; " star-glazers," who cut the panes of glass from windows ; " skinners," or women 
and boys who strip children of their clothes ; and mudlarks, who steal pieces of rope, coal, 
and wood from the barges at the wharves. 

Those sneaks-men, on the other hand, who purloin animals, are either horse-stealers or 
"wooUy bird" (sheep) stealers, or deer-stealers, or dog-stealers, or poachers, or "lady and 
gentlemen racket-men," who steal cocks and hens, or cat-stealers or body snatchers. 

Then there is still another dass of plunderers, who are neither sneaks-men nor mobs- 
men, but simply breach-of-trust-men, taking those artides only which have been confided 
to them; iliese are either embezzlers, who rob their employers; or illegal pawners, who 



pledge the blankets, Ac., at their lod^^ngs, or the work of their employers ; dishonest ^eryaats, 
who go off with the plate, or let robbers into their master's houses, biU stealers, and letter 

Bedde these there are (4) the " %hofid-mmy^ or those who plunder by counterfeits ; as 
coiners and forgers of checks, and notes, and wills; and, lastly, we have (5) the dependents 
of thieves; as ''fences," or receiyers of stolen goods; and "smashers," or the utterers of 
base coin. 

Now, as regards the number of this extensiye family of criminals, the return published 
by the Constabulary Commissioners is still the best authority ; and, according to this, there 
were in the Metropolis at the time of making the report, 107 burglars; 110 house- 
breakers; 38 highway robbers; 773 pickpockets; 3,657 sueaks-men, or common thieyes; 11 
horse-stealers, and 141 dog-stealers ; 3 forgers; 28 coiners, and 317 utterers of base coin; 
141 swindlers or obtainers of goods under false pretences, and 182 cheats ; 343 receiyers of 
stolen goods; 2,768 habitual rioters ; 1,205 yagrants; 60 begging letter writers; 86 bearers 
of begging letters, and 6,871 prostitutes ; besides 470 not otherwise described: making alto- 
gether a total of 16,900 crimioals known to the police; so that it would appear that one 
in eyery hundred and forty of the London population belongs to the criminal class. 

Further, the police returns tell us the total yalue of the property which this large section 
of metropolitan society are known to make away with, amounts to yery nearly £42,000 per 

Thus, in the course of the year 1853, property to the amount of £2,854 was stolen by 
burglary ; £135 by breaking into dwelling-houses ; and £143 by breaking into shops, &c. ; 
£1,158 by embezzlement; £579 by forgery; £1,615 by £raud; £46 by robbery on the 
hi^way ; £250 by horse stealing ; and £104 by cattle stealing; £78 by dog stealing; £1,249 
by stealing goods exposed for sale; £413 stealing lead, &c., from, unfiimished houses; 
£1597 by stealing from carts and carriages ; £122 by stealing linen exposed to dry ; £421 
by stealing poultry from an outhouse ; £1,888 stolen from dwelling-houses by means of &]se 
keys ; £2,936 by lodgers ; £8,866 by senrants ; £4,500 by doors being left open ; £2,175 by 
fsiim messages ; £2,848 by lifting the window or breaking the glass ; £559 by entry through 
the attic windows from an empty house; £795 by means unknown; £3,018 by picking 
pockets ; £729 was taken from drunken persons ; £48 from children ; £2024 by prostitutes ; 
£418 by larceny on the riyer — amounting altogether to £41,988 ; and this only in those 
robberies which became known to the police. 

Now, as there is a market eyen for the rags gathered by the bone-grubber, so is there 
an '' exchange" for the artiGles collected by the thieyes. This is the celebrated Petticoat 
Lane, or IGddlesex Street, as it is now styled, where the Jew fences most do congregate, and 
where all manner of things are bought and no questions asked. Our picture of the contrasts 
of London — of the extreme forms of metropolitan life— would be incomplete without the 
following sketch of the place. 

The antipodes to the fashionable world is Petticoat Lane, which is, as it were, the capital 
of the MMfashionable empire — ^the metropolis of the has-ton. It is to the East End what 
B^;ent Street is to the West. 

Proceeding up the Lane ftom Aldgate, the localiiy seems to be hardly different from 
other byeways in the same district ; indeed it has much the character of the entry to Leather 
Lane out of Holbom, being narrow and dark, and flanked by shops which eyidently depend 
little upon display for their trade. The small strip of roadway as you turn into the Lane 
is generally blocked up by some costermonger's barrow, with its flat projecting tray on the 
top, littered with little hard knubbly-looking pears, scarcely bigger than tumip-radishesy 
and which is brought to a dead halt eyery dozen paces, while the corduroyed proprietor pauses 
to turn round, and roar, *' Sixteen a penny, lumping pears!" 

As you worm your way along, you pass little slits of blind alleys, with old sheets and 


patchwork oonnterpaneB, like large fancy ohoss-boards, stretched to dry aoiofls the oourt, and 
hanging so still and straight that you see at a glance how stagnant the air is in these 
dismal quarters. The gutters are all grey, and bubbling with soap-suds, and on the door- 
steps sit crouching flu%-haired women ; whilst at the entrance are clusters of sharp-featured 
boys, some in men's coats, with the cuSa turned half-way up the sleeves, and the tails 
trailing on the stones, and others with the end of their trousers rolled up, and the waist- 
bands braced with string high across their chests. 

As you move by them, you see the pennies spin firom the midst of them into the air, and 
the eager young group suddenly draw back and peer intently on the ground, as the coins are 
heard to jingle on the stones. 

Up another alley you catch sight of some women engaged in scrubbing an old French 
bedstead that stretches half across the court, while others are busy beating the coffee- 
coloured mattress that leans against the wall, previous to making its appearance at the 
Aimiture-stall above. In the opposite court may be seen a newly-opened barrel of pickled 
herrings, with the slimy, metallic-looking fish ranged like a cockade within; and here 
against the wall dangle the split bodies of drying fish — ^hard-looking '' finny-haddies" 
(Finnan haddocks), brown and tarry-like as a sailor's '^ sou' -wester," and seeming as if 
they were bats asleep, as they hang spread open in the dusky comers of the place. 

A little higher up, the Lane appears to be devoted chiefly to the preparation and sale of 
such eatables as the Israelites generally delight in. Almost every other shop is an ^' establish- 
ment" for the cooking and distribution of fried fish, the air around being redolent of die vapours 
of hot oil ; and, as you pass on your way, you hear the flounders and soles frizzing in the back 
parlours, whilst hot-looking hook-nosed women rush out with smoking frying-pans in their 
hands, their aprons stained with grease almost as if they were water-proofed with it, and 
their cheeks red and shiny as tinecl-foil with the fire. The sloping shop-boards here are 
covered with the dishes filled with the fresh-cooked fish, looking brown as the bottom of a 
newly-sanded bird-cage ; by the side of these are ranged oyster-tubs filled with pickled cucum- 
bers, the soft, swollen vegetables floating in the vinegar like huge fat caterpillars. 

Mingled with these arc strange-looking butchers' shops, with small pieces of pale, blood- 
less meat dangling from the hooks, and each having a curious tin ticket, like a metallic cap- 
sule, fastened to it. This is the seal of the Rabbi, certifying that the animal was slaughtered 
according to the Jewish rites ; and here are seen odd-looking Hebrew butchers and butcher- 
boys, with their black, curly hair, greasier even than the locks of the Whiteohapel IsraeliteB 
on a Saturday, and speckled with bits of suet. Their faces, too, appear, to eyes unused to the 
sight, so unnaturally grim above their blue smocks, that they have very much the appear- 
ance of a small family of 0. Smiths costumed for the part in a piece of Adelphi diablerie. 

'Not are the bakers' shops in this locality of a less peculiar or striking cast ; for here the 
heads and eyebrows of the Hebrew master bakers are unnaturally white with the flour, and 
give them the same grotesque look as would characterize a powdered Jew footman in the 
upper circles ; while among the loaves and bags of flour in the shop, you often catch sight of 
dusty, thin, passover biscuits, nearly as big as targets. 

As you proceed up the Lane, the trade of the place assumes a totally different character ; 
there the emporia of fried fish, and butcher's meat, and pickled cucumbers pass into petty 
marts for old furniture and repositories of second-hand tools. Now, in front of one shop, 
you see nothing but old foot-rules and long carpenters' planes, all ranged in straight lines 
and shiny and yellow with recent bees- wax. Behind the trellis of tools, too, you occasionally 
catch sight of the figure of a man engaged in poHshing-up the handle of an old centre-bit, or 
scouring away at the rusty blade of some second-hand saw. 

The pavement in front of the fiimiture-shops is littered with old deal chairs and tables ; 
and imitation chests of drawers with the fronts removed, and showing the coarse brown- 
paper-like sacking of the douhled-up bed within ; and huge unwieldy sofas are there witli a 
kind of canvas tank sunk under the scat, and reminding one of those odd-looking carta in 



which the load is placed below the axle of the wheels. Ab yon pass along the line of 
lumbered-up shops^ yoa discover vistas of corioxiB triangular cupboards ; bulky, square-looking 
ann-chairs in their canvas undress ; narrow brown tables, with semicircular flaps hanging et 
their sides, and quaint oval looking-glasses ; and yellow-painted bamboo chairs, with the 
Toahes showing nndemeath, as ragged as an old fish-basket ; while the floor is encumbered 
with feather beds, doubled np, and looking like lumps of dirty dough. 

Adjoining the old ^imiture-shops are second-hand clothes marts, with the entire fronts of 
the shops covered ontside with rows of old fristian trousers, washed as white as the inside of 
a fresh hide, and with tripey corduroys, and flu% carpenters' flannel jackets ; t^e door-posts, 
moreover, are decked with faded gaudy waistcoats, ornamented with fmcy buttons, that 
have much the appearance of small brandy-balls. 

. A few paces further on, you come to a hatter's, with the men at work in the shop, their 
irons, heavy as the sole of a dub-boot, standing on the counter by their side, and the place 
filled with varnished brown paper hat-shapes, that seem as if they had been modelled in 

Nor are the Jewesses of Petticoat Lane the least remarkable of the characters appertaining 
to the place. In front of almost every doorway is seated some fSat Hebrew woman, with 
gold ear-rings dangling by her neck, as big as a chandelier drop, and her fingers hooped with 
tMck gold rings. Some of the ladies are rubbing up old brass candlesticks, and some 
soouiing old tarnished tea-kettles, their hands and £aces, amidst all their finery, begrimed 
with dirt. In one part of the Lone, you behold one of the women with a bunch of bright 
blue artificial flowers in her cap, as big as the nosegays with which coachmen delight to 
decorate their horses' heads on the 1st of May, busy extracting the grease from the collar of 
a threadbare surtout; in another part you may perceive an Israelite maiden, almost as 
grubby and tawdry as My Lady on May Day, engaged in the act of blacking a pair of high- 
lows; while at the door of some rag and bottle warehouse, where, from the poverty-stricken 
aspect of the place, you would imagine that the people could hardly be one week's remove 
from the workhouse, you see some grand lady with a lace-edged parasol in her white- 
kidded hand, and a bright green and red cashmere shawl spread out over her back, taking 
leave of her greasy-looking daughters, previous to emerging into all the elegancies of 

Were it not for such curious sights as the above, it would be difUcult to accoimt for that 
strange medley of want and luxury — ^that incongruous association of the sale of jewellery and 
artificial flowers, with that of old clothes, rags, and old metal, which constitutes, perhaps, 
one of the most startling features of Petticoat Lane. 

** How is it," the mind naturally inquires, " that, in a place where the people who come 
to seU or buy are among the very poorest in the land, there can be the least demand for such 
trumpery as rii^, brooches, and artificial roses ? Does the bone-grubber who rummages 
the muck-heaps for some bit of rag, or metal, that wUl help to bring him a few pence at the 
day's end — does he feast on fried fish and pickled cucumbers ? Is he, poor wretch ! who 
cannot even get bread enough to stay his cravings, the piurchaser of the hal^enny ices ? Are 
the fatty cakes made for them who come here to sell the shirt off their backs for a meal?" 

Yeiily, the luxuries and the finery are not for such as these ; but for those who live, and 
trade, and fatten upon the misery of the poor and the vice of the criminal. 

If all the old rags and clothes, and tools and beds in Petticoat Lane, had tongues, what 
stories of unknown sufiSeiings or in&tuate vice would they not tell ! In those old tool shops 
alone what volumes of silent misery are there not contained ! They who know what a 
mechanic wiQ suffer before he parts with the implements of his trade — ^who know how ho 
will pawn or sell every valuable, however useful, make away with every relic, however much 
prized, before he is driven to dispose of those implements which are another pair of hands to 
him, and without which it is impossible for him to get either work or bread — those who 


know this, and know AirtliCT how a long illness, a ferer, laying prostxate a working man's 
whole family, and brought on, most probably, by living in some cheap, dose, pent-up court, will 
compel a poor fellow to part, bit by bit, with each little piece of property that he has accumu- 
lated out of his earnings when in health and strength — how his watch, as well as the 
humble trinkets of his wife, will go first to get the necessary food or physic for them all — 
how the extra suit of Sunday clothes, and the one silk gown, and the thick warm shawl are 
parted with next — how, affc^ this, the blankets and under-clothing of the wife and children, 
disappear, one by one, for though they shiver in the streets, at least no one tees how thinly 
they are clad, or hnow% how cold they lie at night — ^how then the bedding is sold from under 
them to keep them a few days longer from the dreaded poor-house — and how, last of all, 
when wife and children are stripped nearly naked, when the man has sold the shirt frx>m. 
his back to stay the cravings of his little ones, when they have nothing but the boards to lie 
upon — ^how thenf and not tiU then, the planes and saws and centre-bits are disposed of, and 
each with the same pang too, as if the right hand of the man was being cut from him — those, 
we say, who know the sufferings which have preceded the sale of many of these implements 
— ^who know, too, the despair which fills the mind of a working man as he sees his only 
means of independence wrested ftom him, will not pass the old tool shops in Petticoat Lane 
idly by, but rather read in each wretched article some sad tale of humble misery. 

StiU o/^ the tools are not there frx>m such a cause; no! nor half of them; perhaps the greater 
part would be found, if the matter were opened up, to have been disposed of for drink — ^by 
fatuous sots, who first swilled themselves out of work,and then guzzled away now a plane 
and now a saw, raising first a glass on this to stay the trembling of the hand in the morning, 
and then a drop on that to keep down the " horrors" — ^until at length nothing remained but 
'' the house,'' or street-cadging and lying, as the broken-down mechanic. 

But are we all so iounaculate that we have no sympathy but for the dewrmng poor. Is 
our pity limited merely to those only who suffer the least, because they suffer with an 
unaccusing conscience ; and must we entirely shut out from our commiseration the wretch 
who is tormented not only with hunger, but with the self-reproaches of his own bosom. 
Granting that this cast-iron philosophy is right and good for socieiy, shall not the thought 
of the suffering wife and children, even of the drunkard and the trickster, move us to the 
least tenderness ? 

" How long," Ihe thoughtful traveller will wonder to himself, as he continues his journey 
moumfdlly up the Lane, " did the family go without food before that bed was brought here for 
sale ? Those fustian and flannel jackets, what sad privations were experienced by their former 
owners, ere they were forced to take them off their backs to raise a meal ? What is the 
wretched history of those foot-rules and chisels ? How long did the littie ones starve before 
that pair of baby's boots were stripped from the tiny feet and sold for a bite and a sup — ay, or 
if you will, Mr. Puritan, for another glass of gin? Did the parting with those wedding 
rings cost more or less agony of body ? Where is the owner of the little boots now f In a 
workhouse, or walking the streets with gayer boots than ever ? 

'' That silk pocket handkerchief, too— the one in which we can just see where the mark 
has been picked from the comer — what is the story in connection with it ? Is the lad who 
stole it, and who sold it to the Jew there for not one-fourth the sum that it is now ticketed at 
— ^is he at the hulks yet ^ Was he one out of the many families that have been turned into 
the streets, on the breaking up of the hundred homes to which these piles of old furniture 
belonged ? Or was he wilfully bad—one of those that Mr. Carlyle would have shot, and 
swept into the dust bin." 

Yonder, at the comer of one of the courts higher up the Lane, is a group of eager lads 
peeping over the shoulders of one another, while one shows some silver spoons. 

The Jew who buys them is a regular attendant at synagogue, and wears the laws of 
Moses next his skm But he asks no questions, and has a cmcible always ready on the fire. 


IBs daoghiers are like Indian idola — all gold and dirt now, but next Satorday you ahall see 
them paiading Aldgate in the highest style of fashion. The old man has no end of money 
to leave Bath and Bachel, when he dies and is gathered — as he hopes to be — ^to the bosom 
of Abraham. 

Now, sapient reader, you can guess, perhaps, who it is that buys the artificial flowers, and 
12ie fried fish, and the jewellery that you see exposed among the old tools and dothes and 
fumitnre in Petticoat Lane. 


The thorough£ures of London constitute, assuredly, the finest and most remarkable of all 
the fflghts that London contains. Not that this is due to their architectural display, eyen 
though at the West End there are streets which are long lines of palaces — such as Pall Hall, 
with its stately array of club-houses — and Begent Street, where the fironts of each distinct 
block of buildings are united so as to form one imposing facade, and where every fagade is 
difiiorent, so thai^ as we walk along, a kind of architectural panorama glides before the eye — 
and Belgravia and Tybumia, where the squares and terraces are vast palatial colonies. Nor 
yet is it due to the magnificence of its shops — ^those crystal storehouses of which the sheets of 
glass are like sheets of the clearest lake ice, both in their dimensions and transparency, and 
gorgeous with the display of the richest products in the world. Nor yet, again, is it owing 
to the capacious Docks at the East End of the Metropolis, where the surrounding streets have 
all the nautical oddness of an amphibious Dutch town, from the mingling of the many mast- 
heads with the chimney-pots, and where the sense of the immensity of the aggregate 
merchant-wealth is positiYely oYeipoweiing to contemplate. Neither is it owing to the 
broad green parks, that are so many bright snatches of the country scattered round the 
smoke-dried city, and where the verdure of the fields is rendered doubly gratefdl, not only 
from their contrast with the dense rusty-red mass of bricks and mortar with which they are 
encompassed, but fix)m being vast aerial reservoirs — ^great sylvan tanks, as it were, of 
oxygen — ^for the supply of health and spirits to the waUed-in multitude. But these same 
London thoroughfares are, simply, the finest of all sights — in the world, we may say— on 
account of the never-ending and infinite variety of life to be seen in them. 

Beyond doubt, the enormous multitudes ever pouring through the principal metropolitan 
thorough^ires strike the first deep impression upon the stranger's mind ; and we ourselves 
never contemplate the tumultuous scene without feeling that here lies the true grandeur of 
the Capital — ^the one distinctive mark that gives a special sublimity to the spot. 

Travellers speak of the awfiil magnificence of the great torrent of Niagara, where 
thousands upon thousands of tons of liquid are ever pouring over the rocks in one iinmense, 
terrific flood. But what is this in grandeur to the vast human tide — the stupendous Hving 
torrent of thousands upon thousands of restless souls, each quickened with some different 
purpose, and for ever rushing along the great leading thoroughfares of the Metropolis i what 
the aggregate power of the greatest cataract in the world to the united might of the several 
emotions and wiUs stirring each of the homuncular atoms composing that dense human 
stream. And if the roar of the precipitated waters bewilders and affiights the mind, assuredly 
the riot and tumult of the traffic of London at once stun and terrify the brain of those who 
hear it for the first time. 

There is no scene in the wide world, indeed, equal in grandeur to the contemplation of 
the immensity of this same London traffic. Can the masses of the pyramids impress the mind 
with such an overwhelming sense of labour and everlastingness as is inspired by the appa* 


rently nerer-ending and never-tinng indusiiy of the masses of people in our streets? If 
the desert be the yery intensity of the sublime firom the feeling of tragic loneliness — of 
terrible isolation that it induces — ^from the awfol solemnity of the great ocean of desolation 
encompassing the trayeUer ; surely this monster Metropolis is equally sublime, though from 
the opposite cause — ^from the sense of the infinite multitude of people with which we are 
surrounded, and yet of our comparatiye, if not absolute, Mendlessness and isolation in thie 
yery midst of such an infinite multitude. 

Is there any other sight in the Metropolis, moreoyer, so thoroughly Zondonesque as this 
is in its character ? Will our Law Courts, though justice be dispensed there with a fairness 
and eyen mercy to the accused, that is utterly unknown in other lands, giye the foreigner 
as liyely an idea of the genius of our people ? Will our Houses of Parliament, where the 
poHcy of eyery new law is discussed by the national lepresentatiyes with an honesty and 
freedom impossible to be met with in the Chambers of other States, show him so much 
of our character? Will the stranger be so astounded eyen at the internal economy of 
our great newspaper printing-offices, where the intelligence of the entire world is focussed, 
as it were, into one enormous daily sheet, that is fiUed with finer essays than any to be found 
in '' the British Classics,'' and printed fBX more elegantly than library books on the Continent^ 
— eyen though the greater portion of the matter has been written, and the million bits of 
type composing it haye been picked up, in the course of the preceding night ? Or will our 
leyiathan breweries, or our races, or our cattle-shows, or cricket matches, or, indeed, any of 
the institutions, or customs, or enterprises pecuHar to the land, sink so deeply into the 
stranger's mind as the contemplation of the seyeral miles of crowd — ^the long and dense 
commercial train of men and yehides each day flooding the leading thorough£Eires of this 
giant city ! 

Let tiie yisitor from some quiet country or foreign town behold the city at fiye in the day, 
and see the people crowding the great lines of streets like a flock of sheep in a narrow lane ; 
and the conyeyances, too, packed full of human beings, and jammed as compactiy together 
as the stones on the paying beneath, and find, moreoyer — go which way he will — ^the same 
black multitude peryading tiie thoroughfiares almost as far as he can trayel before nightfall — 
behold eyery one of the ciyic arteries leading to the mighty heart of London, chaiged with 
its thousands of human globules, all busy, as they circulate through them, sustaining the life 
and energy and well-being of the land ; and assuredly he will allow that the world has no 
wonder — amongst the whole of its far-£uned seyen — ^in the least comparable to this. 

Let us now, howeyer, descend to particulars, and endeayour to set forth the actual 
amount of traffic going on through the leading London thoroughfares. 

By a return which was kindly fiimished to us by Mr. Haywood, the City Suryeyor, we 
are enabled to come at this point with greater accuracy than might be imagined. The 
return of which we speak was of a yery elaborate character, and specified not only the total 
number of yehides drawn by one horse, as well as two, three, or more horses, that passed oyer 
24 of the principal City thoroughfiares in the course of twdye hours, but also set forth the 
number of each kind of conyeyance trayersing the city for eyery hour throughout the day. 

By means of this table, then, we find there are two tides, as it were, in the daily stream 
of locomotion flowing through the city— -the one coming to its highest point at eleyen in 
the forenoon, up to which time the number of yehides gradually increases, and so rapidly, 
too, that there are yery nearly twice as many conyeyances in the streets at deyen, as there 
are at nine o'dock in the morning. After eleyen o'clock the tide of the traffic, howeyer, 
begins to ebb— the number of carriages gradually decreasing, till two in the afternoon, when 
there is one-sixth less yehides in the leading thoroughfiures than at deyen. After two, again, 
another change occurs, and the crowd of conyeyances continues to increase in number till flye 
o'clock, when there are a few hundreds more collected within the city boundaries than there 


were at elefven. After five, the locomotive current ebbs once more, and does not attain its 
next flood until eleven the next day. 

Now, by this return it is shown, that the gross number of vehicles passing along the City 
fiioroughfares, in the course of twelve hours, ordinarily amounts to one-eighth of a million, 
or upwards of 125,000.* But many of these, it should be added, are reckoned more than once 
in the statement ; if, however, we sum up only the number appearing in the distinct lines of 
thoroughfares — ^like Holbom, Fleet Street, Leadenhall Street, Blackfiriars Bridge, Bishopsgate 
Street, Finsbury I^avement, &c. — ^the amount of city traffic, wiU. even then reach nearly 
60,000 vehicles, passing and re-passing through the slreets every day. 

Now, that this estimate is not very wide of the truth, is proven by the fact, that there 
are no less than 3000 cabs plying in London streets ; nearly 1000 omnibuses ; and more than 
10,000 jnivate and job. carriages and carts, belonging to various individuals throughout the 
Metropolis (as is shown by the returns of the Stamp and Tax Office). Moreover, it is 
calculated, that some 3000 conveyances enter the Metropolis daily from the surrounding 
country ; whilst the amount of mileage duty paid by the Metropolitan Stage Carriages, in 
the year 1853, prove that the united London omnibuses' and short stages must have travelled 
orver not less than 21,800,000 miles of ground in the course of that year — a distance which is 
very nearly equal to one-fourth that of the earth from the sun ! 

Hence, it will appear that the above estimate, as to the number of vehicles passing and 
repassing through the City streets every day, does not exceed the bounds of reason. 

But the thoroughfjEires within the City boundaries are not Qne*thirtieth of the length of 
those without them ; and as there are two distinct lines of streets, traversing London from 
east to west, each six miles long, and at least four distinct highways, stretching north and 
■oath, each four miles in length at least ; whilst along each and all of these a dense stream 
of foot passengers and conveyances is maintained throughout the day ; it wiU therefore be 
finmd, by calculation, that at five o'clock, when almost every one of these thoroughfares may 
be said to be positively crowded with the traffic, that there is a dense stream of omnibuses, 
cabs, carta, and carriages, as well as foot passengers, fiowing through London at one and the 
same time, that is near upon 30 miles long altogether ! 

TV^e have before spoken of the prodigious length of the aggregate streets and lanes of tlie 
Metropolis, and a peep at the balloon map of Londonf will convince the stranger what a 
tangled knot of highways and byeways is the town. A plexus of nerves or capillary vessels is 

* The foBowing are the data for the abore statement : — 
Bxruay, SHowizfo thb totai. mncBBa of vbhiglbb passing in tkb oovbsb or twzlvb houbs (tbox 


Lower Thames Street, by Botolph Iione . 1,380 

Tbreadneedle Street 2,150 

Lombard Street, by Bircbin Lane . . 2,228 

Upper Thames Street (in rear of Queen Street) 2,331 

AMgragate Street, by Fann Street . 2,690 

Tower Street, by HazkLaiM • . 2,890 

SmithfieldBan 3,108 

Fencharch Street 3,642 

Eastcheap, by Philpot Lane . 4,102 
Biahopagate Street Without, by City boun- 
dary 4,110 

Finabmy Pavement, by South Place . 4,460 

Aldgate High Street, by City boundary . 4,764 
Bishopsgate Street Within, by Great St 

Helen's 4,842 

T An excellent map of the kind aboye specified is published by Appleyard and Hetling of Farringdon 
SCMeC, and it will be found to be more easily comprehensible to strangers than the ordinary ground-plans of 

tho IxmdOD StlMtik 

Gracechurch Street, by St Peter's Alley . 4,887 
Comhill, by the Royal Exchange . . 4,916 

Blackfnars Bridge 6,262 

Leadenhall Street, in rear of the East India 

House ... ... 5,930 

Newgate Street, by Old Bailey . . . 6,875 
Ludgate Hill, by Pilgrim Street . 6,829 

Holbom Hill, by St. Andrew's Church . 6,906 
Temple Bar Gate ..... 7,741 

Poultry, by the Mansion House . • 10,274 
Cheapside, by Foster Lane • 11,053 
London Bridge 18,099 

ToUl .... 125,859 


not more iniaicate than they. As well might we seek to find order and fiyBtematio azrange- 
ment among a ball of worms as in that conglomeration of thoronghfEures constitating the 
British Metropolis. 

'<I began to study the Map of London/' says Southey, in his Espriella's Letters, ''thongh 
dismayed at the sight of its prodigious extent. The riyer is of no assistance to a stranger in 
finding his way; there is no street along its banks; nor is there any eminence whence you can 
look around and take your bearings." 

But the nomenclature of the London streets is about as unsystematic as is the general plan 
of the thoroughfares, and cannot but be extremely puzzling to the stranger. Every one knows 
how the Frenchman was perplexed with the hundred significations given to the English term 
** box" — such as band-box, Christmaa-box, coach-box, box on the ears, shooting-box, box-tree, 
private box, the wrong box, boxing the compass, and a boxing match. And, assuredly, 
he must be equally bothered on finding the same name appHed to some score or two of 
different thoroughfares, that are often so far apart, that, if he happen to be the bearer of a 
letter of introduction with the address of '*£ing Street, London" the unhappy wight would 
probably be driven about from district to district— from King Street, Golden Square, maybe, 
to King street, Cheapside, and then back again to King Street, Covent Garden — and so on 
until he had tried the whole of the forty-two King Streets that are now set down in the 
Post-office Directory. 

% i. 0/the Nmenelature of the London Streets. 

A painstaking friend of ours has, at our request, been at the trouble of clasafying the 
various thorough&res of London, and he finds that of the streets, squares, terraces, &c., 
bearing a loyal title, there are no less than seveniy-three christened King, seventy-eight 
Queen, foriy-two called Prince's, and four Princess's; tweniy-six styled Duke, one Diichess, 
and twenty-eight having the title of Begent ; while there are thirty-one Grown Streets, or 
Courts, and one Eegina YiUa. 

Then many thoroughfares are named after the titles of nobles. Thus there are no less than 
eighty-nine localities called York, after the Duke of ditto ; fifty-eight entitled Gloucester; 
forty-four Brunswick, in honour of that ** house ;" thirty-nine Bedford, thirty-five Devon- 
shire, thirty-six Portland, thirty-four Cambridge, twenty-eight Lansdowne, twenty-seven 
Montague, twenty-six Cumberland, twenty-two Claremont and Clarence, twenty Clarendon, 
twenty-three Eussell, twenty-one Norfolk — ^besides many other highways or byewaya styled 
Cavendish, or Cecil, or Buckingham^ or Northumberland, or Stanhope. 

Next, in illustration of the principle of h&to-worship, there are fifty-two thorough&ies 
called after "Wellington, twenty-nine after Marlborough, and eleven after Nelson; there are, 
moreover, twenty styled "Waterloo, and fifteen Trafelgar, thirteen Blenheim, one Boyne, 
and three Navarino; whilst, in honour of Prime Ministers, there are six localities called after 
Pitt, two after Pox, and three after Canning; in celebration of Lord Chancellors, five ate named 
Eldon ; for Politicians, one Place is styled Cobden, and two streets Burdett ; and to commemo- 
rate the name of great poets and philosophers, there is one Shakespeare's Walk (at Shadwell), 
one Ben Jensen's Fields, eight Milton Streets, and seven thoroughfares bearing the name of 
Addison, and one that of Cato. 

Of the number of thoroughfiEures called by simple Christian names, the following are 
the principal examples :— There are fifty-eight localities known aa George, forty christened 
Victoria, forty-three Albert, and eight Adelaide. Then there are forty-seven Johns, forty- 
nine Charleses, thirty-five Jameses, thirty-three Edwards, thirty Alfreds, tweniy Charlottes, 
and flio same number of Elizabeths and Fredericks, together with a small number of 
Boberts, and Anns, and Peters, and Pauls, and Adams, and Amelias, and Marys, beside 
•eight King Edwards, two King Williams, one King John, and one Kitig Henry. 


Many streets, on flie other hand, bear the tumamss of thdr builders or landlords; and, 
accordingly, we haye seyeral thoronghfiares rejoicing in tho iUnstrions names of Smith or 
Baker, or Newman, or Perry, or Nicholas, or Milman, or Warren, or Leigh, or Beaofoy, and 
indeed one locality bearing the euphonious title of Bngsby's Beach. 

£M^un»8 titles, again, are not nnoommon. Not only have we the celebrated Paternoster 
Bow, and Aye-Mazia Lane, and Amen Comer, and Adam and Eve Court, but there are ALL 
HaBowB Chambers, and a number of Proyidence Bows and Streets. M oreoycr, there is a 
large &mily called either Church or Chapel, besides a Bishop's Walk, a Dean's Yard, and 
a Mitre Court, together with not a few christened College or Abbey ; whilst thero is a 
Tabernacle Bow, Square, and Walk, as well as a well-known Worship Street, and no less 
tiiaa twenty distinct places bearing the name of Trinity, as well as two large districts styled 
Whitefinars and Black&iars, and a bevy of streets called after the entire calendar of Saints, 
together with a posse of Angel Courts and Lanes. 

Other places, on the contrary, delight in Pagan tities; for in the suburbs we find two 
Neptune Streets, four Ifinerva Terraces, two Apollo Buildings, one Diana Place, a Hermes 
Street, and a Biercules Passage; besides seyeral streets dedicated to England's m3rthological 
patroness, Britannia, and some half-dozen roads, or cottages, or places, glorying in the tide 
of the imaginary Scotch goddess, Caledonia. The same patriotic spirit seems to make the 
name of Albion yery popular among the god&thers or godmothers of thoroughfeores, for 
there are no less than some fifty buLLdings, chambers, cottages, groyes, mews, squares, &c., 
rejoicing in the national cognomen. 

Further, there is a large number of MtranamieaUjf'named highways, such as those called 
Sun Street or Sols' Bow, or Half-Moon Street, or Star Alley, or Comer. And, again, we haye 
many of an aquatic torn, as witness the Thames Streets and Biyer Terraces, and Brook 
Streets, and Wells Streets, and Water Lanes — ay, and one Ocean Bow. 

Others delight in tochgieai tities, such as Pish Street, Elephant Gardens, or Stairs, Cow 
Lane, Lamb Alley, and Bear Street, as well as Duck Lane, and Drake Street, and Bayen Bow, 
and Doye Court, with many Swan Streets and Lanes and Alleys, and Eagle Streets, and 
Swallow Streets, and one Sparrow Comer. In the same category, too, we must class the 
thorough&res christened after fabulous monsters, such as the Bed Lion and White Lion 
Streets, the Mermaid Courts, and Phoeoiz Places and Wharyes. 

Li addition to these must be mentioned the gastronomical localities, such as Milk Street, 
Beer Street, Bread Street, Pine- Apple Place, Sugar-Loaf Court, and Yinegar Yard ; and the 
old Pie Lane, and Pudding Comer; besides Orange Street, and Lemon Street, and tho 
horticultoral Pear-Tree Court, Fig-Tree ditto, Cherry-Tree Lane, and Walnut-Tree Walk. 

Others, again, haye hotamoal names giyen to them : thus, there are ten Bose Yillas, 
Tenaoes, Lanes, or Courts ; nine Holly ditto ; seyen lyy Cottages or Places ; one Lily 
Terrace ; two Woodbine YiUas; the same number of Fir Groyes; a Layender Hill and Place; 
twelye Willow Walks and Cottages, besides three Acacia and Ayenue Beads or Gkurdens; one 
Coppice Bow ; and no less than fifty-four Cottages, or Crescents, or Parks styled Groye^ 
though mostiy all are as leafless as boot-trees. 

A large number of thoroughfinres, on the other hand, are called after their mm or Bhape; 
Thus there are twenty-three Streets, Courts, Payements, Walls, and Ways styled Broad ; 
but only three Streets called Narrow. There are, howeyer, six Acres, Alleys, or Lanes 
called Long; and an equal number of Buildings denominated Short. Then we haye as 
many as thirty-flye styled High, four called Back, and the same number bearing the oppo- 
site titie cf Foito ; whilst there are no less than ten Bows denominated Middle, and twenty 
Courts, Lanes, &c. christened Cross, as well as one dubbed Tumagain. In addition to these 
there are three Oyals, four Triangles, two Polygons, and one Quadrant; besides an innu- 
merable quantity of Squares, Circuses, and Crescents. 

Some places, on the other hand, appear to haye chnma^ie names, though this arises from 


the pignientary patron3rinic8 of their oiiginal laadlordB. Hence tSieie are sixteen thorongb- 
fEures called Green, two White, and one Grey. 

Further, yre have a considerable quantity named after the eardinal points of the compass, 
there being as many as forty-eight denominated North, not a few of which lie in a wholly 
different direction, and forty-fonr bearing the title of Sonth ; whilst there are twenty-nine 
nicknamed East, and an equal number West; but only one styled North-East . 

In the suburbs the topographical titles are offcen of a kfudahrtf character, and generally 
eulogistic of the view that was (originally, perhaps,) to be obtained from the Buildings, or 
Crescent, or Cottages, or Eow, to whieh the inyiting title has been applied. Accordingly we 
find that there are twenty-four Prospect Cottages and Places ; four Belle-Yues, and a like 
number of Belvideres; whilst there is one Fair-Yiew Plaoe; besides nearly a score of 
Pleasant Places, four Mount Pleasants, sixteen Paradise Terraces or Cottages, and six 
Paragon Villas or Bows. 

Others, stiU, are christened after particular trades. Thus, the Butchers have two Bows 
called after them ; the Fishmongers two Alleys; the Dyers, three Courts or Buildings ; the 
Barbers, one Yard; the Sadlers, three Buildings or Places ; the Stonecutters, one Street ; the 
Potters, a few Fields; the Weavers, two Streets; tiie Ironmongers, one Lane; and the 
Eopemakers, one Walk ; whilst there are no less than thirty-three thoroughikres having the 
general title of Commercial. Further, in. honour of the Bootmakers, there is one Place styled 
Crispin, one Lane called Shoe, and one Street bearing the name of Boot--4]e8ides a Petticoat 
Lane in honour of the ladies, and, for the poorer classes, a Bag Fair. 

Then, of thorough&res named after mat^Hab, there axe eight Wood Streets, one Stone 
Buildings, one Iron and one Golden Square, seven Silver Streets, and two Diamond Bows. 

Lastly, there is a large dass of streets called after some pMicpUtee near whidi fJiey are 
situate. For instance, there are just upon one hundred localities having the prefix Park, and 
thirty-seven entitled Bridge, nineteen are called ICarket, twelve styled Palace, fourteen 
Castle, nine Tower, two Parliament, two Asylum, three Spital (the short for Hospital), one 
Museum, four Custom House, and a like number Charter House ; but as yet there exist only 
two Bailway Places, and one Tunnel Square. 

Nor would the catalogue be complete if we omitted to enumerate the London JEfilSf, such 
as Snow, Com, Ludgate, Holbom, Primrose, Saffiron, and Mutton; or the streets named after 
the ancient Qatesy as Newgate, Ludgate, Aldgate, Aldersgate, Bishopegate, and Moorgate ; or 
those eosmopolitan thoroughfares dubbed Portugal Street, Spanish Place, America Square, 
Greek Street, Turk's Bow, Denmark Hill, and Copenhagen Fields, not forgetting the ancient 
Petty France and the modem Little Britun. 

^ ii. Character of the London Streets. 

The physiognomy of the metropolitan thoroughfares is well worthy of tiie study of some civic 
Lavater. The finely-chiselled features of an English aristocrat, are not more distinct from 
the common countenance of a Common Councilman, than is the stately Belgravian square from 
its vulgar brother in Barbican ; and as there exists in society a medium class of people, 
between the noble and the citizen, who may be regarded as the patterns of ostensible 
respectability among us, such as bankers, lawyers, and physicians ; so have we in London 
a dass of req)ectable localities, whose arcbitectoro is not only as piim as the silver hair, or 
as cold-looking as the bald head, which is so distinctive of tixe '^genteel*' types above specified ; 
but it is as different from the ornate and stately character of the buildrngs about the parks as 
they, on the other hand, differ from the heavy and ruddy look of tiie City squares; for 
what the Belgravian districts are in their ''build" to the Bedfordian, and the Bedfordian again 
to the Towerian, so is there the same ratio in social rank and character among nobles, pro- 
fiessional gentry, and dtizens. 


Again, ilieTeiryeaBi-eiidof the town, sadi as Beilmal green, is ae niaiked in the cut of its 
liriekB and mortar — ^in the ** long li^ts" of the weayers' houses about SpitaMelds, and the 
latticed pigeon-house, surmounting sdmost erery roof — as is May Fair from Bag Fair ; and so 
striking is this physiognomical expression — ^the diflbrent cast of countenance, as it were — ^in 
the houses of the several localities inhabited by the various grades of society, that to him 
who knows London well, a walk Itemgh its div^s districts is as peculiar as a geographical 
ezemnsion through the multiform regions of the globe. 

Stroll through tiie streets, fw instance, that constitute the environs of Fitzroy Square, and 
surely it needs not brass cards upon the doors to say that this is the artistic quarter of London. 
Ifa/^oe the high window in the middle of t^e first floor, the shutters closed in the day time at 
all but the upper part of the casement, so as to give a '* top light." See, too, the cobwebby 
window panes and &e flat sticks of the old-fashioned parlour blinds leaning different ways — 
all betokening the residenoe of one who hardly belongs to the well-to-do classes. Observe, 
as you continue your walk, the group of artists' colour-men's shops, with the boxes of 
moist ooloun in tiie windows, and some large brown photographs, or water-colour drawings 
exposed for sale; and maik, in anotiier street hard by, the warehouses of plaster casts, 
wtoe you see bits of anns, or isolated bands, modeUed in whiting ; and chalk figures of 
hoTBes, wiilL all the nmades showing. After this, the mind's eye that cannot, at a 
glanoe, detect that hereabouts dwell the gentry who indulge in odd beards and hats, and 
defif^t in a pLotioesque ^^make-up," must need some intellectual spectacles to aid its 

T^vel then across Begent Saiville Bow, and, if you be there about noon, it will 
not be necessary to read the small brass tablets graven with '<Nioht-bsix," to learn that 
here some renowned physician or surgeon dwells in every other house; for you will see a 
seedy carriage, with fagged-looking horses, waiting at nearly all the thresholds, and pale 
peo^, with black patches of respirators over their mouths, in the act of leaving or entering 
the premises ; so that you wUl readily discover that the gentry frequenting this locality are 
about to hurry round the Metropolis, and feel some score of pulses, and look at some score of 
tongues, at the rate of ten guineas per hour. 

Next wend yoor way to Chancery Lane, and give heed to the black*coated gentry, with 
bundles of papers tied with red-tape in their hands, the door-posts striped with a small 
catalogue of names, the street-doors set wide open, and individuals in black derical-looldng 
gowns and powdered coachmen-Hke wigs, tripping along the pavement towards the Courts ; and 
stationers' shops, in which hang legal almanacs, and skros of parchment, as greasy-looking as 
tzaeing-paper, with '< this indenture" flouiiflhed m the comer, and law lists bound in 
bnght red leather, and law books in sleek yellow calf. Note, too, the furniture shops, with 
leathern-topped writing-tables and pigeon-holes, and what-nots for papers, and square 
piles d drawers, and huge iron safes and japanned tin boxes, that seem as if they had had a 
CMtof raspberry jam by way of paint, against which the boys had been dabbing their fingers — 
all which, of course, will apprise you that you are in the legal quarter of the town. 

Then, how diflerant the squares in the different parts of London — ^the squares which are 
so purely national — so utteody unlike your foreiga ''place," or **plai»," that bare paved or 
gravelled space, with nothiog but a fiiuntain, a statue, or column, in the centre of it. True, 
the trees may grow as black in London as human beings at the tropics; but still there is the 
broad carpet of green sward in the centre, and ocoasionalLy the patches of bright-coloured 
flowen that speak of the English love of gardening-— the Londoner's craving for country Hfe. 

What a distinctive air, we repeat, have titie faahion&ble West End squares; how 
diffisrent from the ** genteel" affiEors in the northern districts of the Metropolis, as well as 
from the odd and desolate places in the City, or the obsolete and antiquated spots on the 
south side of Holbom and Oxford Street — ^like Leicester and Soho. 


How spacioad are tbe handsome old mansionB around Grosvenor Square, with their quoins, 
windows, and door-cases of stone, bordering the sombre ^' rubbed" brick i^nts. In France 
or Qermany such enormous buildings would have a different noble femoily lodging on eyery 
''flat." The inclosure, too, is a small park, or palace gard^, rather than the payed 
court-yard of foreign places. 

Then there is Grosvenor's twin brother, Portman Square, where the houses are all but 
as imposing in appearance — and St. James's Square — and Berkeley — and Cayendish — and 
Hanoyer — and Manchester — with the still more stately and gorgeous Belgraye and £aton 

Next to these rank the respectable and genteel squares, such as Montague, and Bryan- 
stone, and Gonnaught, and Oadogan, at the West End, and Eitzroy, and Eussell, and 
Bedford, and Bloomsbury, and Tavistock, and Torrington, and Gbrdon, and Eustan, and 
Mecklenburg, and Brunswick, and Queen's, and Pinsbury — all lying in that district east of 
Tottenham Court Bead which was the celebrated Urra inoognita of John Wilson Croker. 

After these come the City squares — those intensely quiet places immured in the yery 
centre of London, which seem as still and desolate as cloisters ; and where the desire for peace 
is so strong upon the inhabitants, that there is generally a Hyeried street-keeper or beadle 
maintained to cane off the boys, as well as dispel the flock of organ-giinders and Punch- 
and- Judy men, and acrobats, who would look upon the tranquillity of the place as a mine of 
wealth to them. To this class belong Deyonshire Square, Biahopsgate ; Bridgewater Square, 
Barbican ; America Square, Minories ; Wellclose Square, London Docks ; Triniiy Square, 
Tower; Nelson Square, Black&iars; Warwick Square, Newgate Street; and Qough and 
Salisbury Squares, Elect Street; though many of these are but the mere bald ''places" of 
the continent. 

Further, we haye the obsolete, or "used up" old squares, that lie south of Oxford 
Street and Holbom, and east of Begent Street, and which have mostly passed firom feishion- 
able residences into mere quadrangles, ftill of shops, or hotels, or exhibitions, or chambers; 
such are the squares of Soho, LeLcester, Golden, Lincoln's-Lm-Eields, and eyen Ooyent 

And, lastly, we haye the pretentious j^^irrmM-like suburban squares, such as Thurlow and 
Treyor, by Brompton; and Sloane, by Chelsea; and Edwardes, by Kensington; and Oakley, 
by Camden Town ; and Holford and Claremont Squares, by Pentonyille ; and Islington 
Square; and Green Arbour Square, by Stepney; and Surrey Square, by the Old Kent Bead ; 
and the Oyal, by Kennington. 

Li fine, there are now upwards of one himdred squares distributed throughout London, 
and these are generally in such extreme fayour among the surrounding inhabitants, that 
they are each regarded as the headquarters of the iUU of the district by all aspirants for 
£Gushionable distinction ; so that the pretentious traders of Gk)wer Street and the like, in^*^*"^ 
of writing down their address as Gower Street, Tottenham Court Bead, loye to exaggerate it 
into Gower Street, Bedford Square. 

Of streets, again, we find the same distinctiye classes as of the squares. There are, first, 
the fashionable streets, such as Arlington Street St. James's, and Park Lane, and Portland 
Place, and Bichmond and Carlton Terraces, and Priyy Gardens. 

Then come the respectable or "genteel" thoroughfares of Glarges Street, and Harl^ 
Street, and Gloucester Place, and Wobom Place, and Keppel Street, &c. 

After these we haye the lodging-house localities, comprised in the seyeral streets ronning 
out of the Strand. 

Moreoyer, mention must be made of the distinctiye streets, and nanx>w commercial lanes, 
crowding about the bank, where the houses are as ftdl of merchants and clerks as a low 
lodging-house is fdU of tramps. 


Fnriher, fheie are fhe streeiB and distriotB for particiilar trades, as Long Acre, where the 
caniage-makers abound ; and Lombard Street, where the bankers love to congregate ; and 
Cleikenwell, the district for the watch-makers ; and Hatton Garden for the Italian glass- 
blowers; and the Borongh for the hatters ; Bermondsey for the tanners ; Lambeth for the potters ; 
and Spitalfields for weavers ; and Catherine Street for the newsvendors ; and Paternoster Bow 
for the booksellers ; and the New Bead for the zinc-workers : and Lower Thames Street for 
the merchants in oranges and foreign frtdts ; and Mincing Lane for the wholesale grocers ; 
and Holywell Street and Bosemary Lane for old clothes ; and so on. 

Again, one of the most distinctive quartersabontLondonisin the neighbourhood of theDocks. 
The streets themselves in this locality have all, more or less, a maritime character; every 
other store is either stocked with gear for the ship or the sailor ; and the front of many a shop is 
filled with quadrants and bright brass sextants, chronometers, and ships' binnacles, with their 
compass cards trembling with the motion of the cabs and waggons passing in the street, whilst 
over the doorway is fixed a huge figure of a naval officer in a cocked hat, taking a perpetual sight 
at the people in the first-floor on the opposite side of the way. Then come the sailors' cheap 
shoe marts, rejoicing in the attractive sign of '* Jack and his Mother ;" every public house, 
too, is a '^ Jolly Jack Tar," or something equally taking, and there are ''Free Concerts" at the 
back of every bar. Here, also, the sailmakers' ^ops abound, with their windows stowed with 
ropes, and wmelliTig of tar as you pass them. All the neighbouring grocers are provision agents, 
and exhibit in their windows tin cases of meat and Inscuits, and every article is '' warranted 
to keep in any olimate." The comers of the streets, moreover, are mostly monopolized by 
slopseUers, their windows parti-coloured with the bright red and blue flannel shirts, and the 
doors nearly blocked up with hammocks and well-oUed nor^-westers ; whilst the front of the 
house itself is half covered with canvas trousers, rough pilot-coats, and shinny black dread- 
noughts. The foot-passengers alone would tell you that you were in the maritime district 
of London, for you pass now a satin waistcoated mate, and now a black sailor with a large fur 
cap on his head, and then a custom-house officer in bis brass-buttoned jacket. 

Nor would this account of the peculiarities of the London streets be complete if we 
omitted to mention the large body of people who derive their living from exercising some 
art or craft, or of caxrying on some trade in them. This portion of people are generally 
to be seen in the greatest numbers at the London Street Markets of a Saturday night, and a 
more peculiar sight is not to be witnessed in any other capital of the world. 

It is at these street markets that many of the working classes purchase their Sunday's 
dinner, and after pay-time on a Saturday night, the crowd in some parts is almost impassable. 
Indeed, the scene at such places has more the character of a fair than a market. There are 
hundreds of stalls, and every stall has its one or two lights ; either it is illuminated by the 
intense white light of the new self-generating gas lamp, or else it is brightened up by the 
red smoky flame of the old-fashioned grease lamp. One man shows off his yellow haddocks 
with a candle stuck in a bui^le of firewood ; his neighbours make a candlestick of a huge 
tnniip, and the tallow gutters over its sides ; whilst the boy shouting, '* Eight a penny, 
stunning pears!" has surroimded his ** dip" with a thick roll of brown paper that flares away 
in the wind. Some stalls are crimsom, with the Are shining through the holes beneath the 
baked chestnut stove ; others have handsome octohedral lamps ; while a few have a candle 
Aining through a sieve ; these, with the sparkling ground-glass globes of the tea-dealers' 
shops, and the butchers' gas-lights streaming and fluttering in the wind like flags of flame, 
pour forth such a flood of light, that at a distance the atmosphere immediately above the spot 
IB as lurid as if the street were on fire. 

The pavement and the road are crowded with purchasers and street sellers. The house- 
wife in a thick shawl, with the market-basket on her arm, walks slowly on, stopping now 
to look at the stall of caps, and now to cheapen a bunch of greens. Little boyB holding three 


or four onions in their hand, creep between Uie people, wrigpgrling their way through erery 
interstice in the crowd, and aaking for custom in whining tones as if seeking charity. 

Then the tumult of the thousand cries of the eager dealers, all shouting at the top 
•of their voices at one and the same time, is almost bewildering. '' So-old again!" roars 
onCi '^Chesnuts, all ott! — A penny a score!'' bawls another. ''An. aypenny a skin, 
blacking! " shrieks a boy. *'Buy, buy, buy, buy, buy,— bu-u-wy ! " jabbers the butcher. 
''Half-a- quire of paper for a penny !" bellows the street stationer. ''An aypenny a lot, 
inguns ! " " Tuppence a pound, grapes ! " . " Three-a-penny, Yarmouth bloaters ! " " Who'll 
buy a bonnet for fouipence ? " "Pick 'em out cheap, here ! three pair for an aypenny, boot- 
laces." "Now's your time! beautiful whelks, a penny a lot!" "Here's ha-p-<nrtha ! " 
shouts the perambulating confectioner. " Come and look at e'm ! — ^prime toasters !" bellows one 
with a Yarmouth bloater stuck on a toasting fork. " Penny a lot, fine rosaets — penny a lot!" 
calls the apple woman. And so the Babel goes on. 

One man stands with his red-edged mats hanging oyer his back and chest like a herald's 
coat ; and the girl, with her basket of walnuts, lifts her brown-stained fingers to her mouth, 
as she screams, " Fine wamuts ! sixteen a penny, fine war-r-nuts ! " At one of the neigh- 
bouring shops, a boot-maker, to attract custom, has illuminated his shop-fiont with a line of 
gas, and in its fall glare stands a blind beggar, his eyes tamed up so as to show only the 
whites, and mumbling some begging rhymes, that are drowned in the shrill notes of the 
player on the bamboo-flute, next to him. The boys' sharp shontingB ; the women's cracked 
voices ; the gruff hoarse roar of the men — are all mingled together. Sometimes an Lcishman 
is heard, with his cry of " Fine 'ating apples!" or else the jingling music of an unseen organ 
breaks out as the trio of street singers rest between the verses. 

Then the sights, as you elbow your way through the crowd, are equally multifiuioos. 
Here is a stall glittering with new tin saucepans ; there another, bright witii its bhie and 
yeUow crockery and sparkling white glass. Now you come to a row of old shoes, arranged 
along the pavement ; now to a stand of gaudy tea-brays ; then to a shop, with red hand- 
kerchief and blue checked shirts, fluttering backwards and forwards, and a temporary counter 
built up on the kerb, behind which shop-boys are beseeching custom. At ike door of a 
tea-shop, with its hundreds of white globes of Hght^ stands a man delivering bills, 
" thanking the public for past &vouib and defying competition." Here, alongside the road, 
are some half-dozen headless tailors' dummies, dressed in Chesterfldds and fiostian jackets, each 
labelled, " Look at thb Pbicss," or " Obsbstb tsr Qujjlitt." Nest, ire pass a butcher^s 
shop, crimson and white, with the meat piled up to the first-floor,* in front of which, the 
butcher himself, in his blue coat, walks up and down sharpening his knife on the steel that 
hangs to his waist, saying to each woman as she passes, "What can I do for you, my dear ? " 
A little further on, stands the clean family begging ; the fediher, with his head down, as if 
ashamed to be seen, and a box of lucifers held forth in his hand ; the boys, in newly-woiked 
pinafores, and the tidily got-up mother, with a child at her breastw 

One stall is green and white with bunches of turnips — ooother red with apples ; the 
next yellow with onions; and the one after that purple with pickling cabbages. One 
minute you pass a man with an umbrella tuned inside upwards, and fUl of prints. The 
next moment you hear a fellow with a peep-show of Mazeppa^ and Paul Jones the pirate, 
describing the pictures to the crowd of boys as some of them spy in at tiie Httle round 
windows. Then you are startled by the sharp snap of peroussion caps from the crowd of 
lads, firing at the target fbr nuts, at the comer of the street ; and the minute afterwards 
you see a black man clad in thin white garments, and cdiivering in tiie cold, with tracts in 
his hand, or else you hear the sounds of music from " Erazier's Circus," on the otiier sido 
of the road, and tiie man outside the door of the penny concert beseeching the passers-by to 
'' be in time ! be in time !" as Mr. Somebody is just about to sing bis fikvourite song of 
" Tho Knife-grinder." 


Such, indeed, is the riot, the struggle, and the scramble for a living, that the oonfosion 
and uproar of the London Street Market on Saturday night have a bewildering and half- 
saddening effect npon the thonghtM mind. 

Each salesman tries his utmost to sell his wares, tempting the passers-by with his bargains. 
The boy with his stock of herbs, offers a '' double 'andful of fine parsley for a pemiy/' The 
man with the donkey-cart filled with tumipcf, has three lads to shout for him to their 
utmost, with their '' Ho ! ho ! hi-i-i ! What do yon think of this here ? A penny a bunch ! 
— a pemiy a bunch ! Hurrah for free trade ! Here's your turnips !" 

Until the scene and tumult are witnessed and heard, it is impossible to have a sense of 
the scramble that is going on throughout London for a living — ^the shouting and the 
struggling of hundreds to get the penny profit out of the poor man's Sunday's dinner. 


^00fe % £xxsi 


We now pass from our general survey of tlio Hetropolis, to consider its several parts in 
detail. For as geographers usually prefix to their Atlases a map of the northern and 
southern hemispheres of the glohe, so have we, in this our literary Atlas of tho World of 
London, first laid down a chart of tho two opposite spheres of metropolitan society — ^the very 
rich and the very poor — a kind of Mercator's plan, as it were, wherein tho antipodes of 
London life are hronght imder one view. 

This done, however, we now proceed, in due geographical order, to deal tmatm with 
each of the quarters of the Metropolitan World. 

And first of Professional London. 

Professional London, we consider to include that portion of metropolitan society of which 
the memhers foUow some iatellectual calling — ^living hy mental, rather than manual dexterity; 
that is to say, deriving their iacome from the exerdBe of taierU rather than MR, For the 
memhers of every profession must be more or less talented, even as every handicraftsman 
must be more or less skilful ; and as the working engineer acquires, by practice, a certain 
expertness in the use of Ids filngers, so the member of a profession learns, by education, a 
certain quickness of perception and soundness of judgment in connection with the matters 
to which he attends; and thus people, lacking the £»culty which he possessesi are glad to 
avail themselves of his services m that respect. 

According to the above definition, the members of the professions are not limited merely 
to lawyers, doctors, and clergymen, but include also professors, teachers, scientific men, 
authors, artists, musicians,«actors — ^indeed all who live '' by their wits," as the opprobrious 
phrase runs, as if it were a dishonour for a person to gain a livelihood by the exercise of 
his intellect ; and the judge did not depend upon his mental fiiculties for his subsistence} as 
much as the chevalier cPindustrie whom he tries. 

The professional or iatellectual dasB is not a large one, even when thus extended beyond 
its usual limited signification; for in all Great Britain there are> in round numbers, only 
230,000 people gaining a subsistence by their talents, out of a population of very nearly 21 
millions ; and this is barely a ninetieth part of the whole. 

Altogether, there are throughout England, Wales, and Scotland, 30,047 clergymen and 
ministers, 18,422 lawyers, and 22,383 medical men. Lideed, the Commissioners of the Census 
tell us, that the three professions, even with their allied and subordinato members, amount 
to only 112,193, and ''though their importance cannot be overrated,'' they add, ''yet, in 
numbers, they would bo out-voted by the tailors of the United Kingdom.'' 

Of the ttur^^^^tis^ professions, the authors in Great Britain are 2,981 in number; the 
artists, 9,148 ; the professors of science (returned as such), only 491 ; while the teachers 
amount to 106,344 ; — ^making a total of 118,964 individuals 

Now, let us see what proportion of the body of professional people existing throughout 
Great Britain, is found located in the Metropolb. 



According to the letnnis of the last census, the gross number of persons living bj the 
exerdae of their talents in London (including the same classes as were before mentioned), 
amounts to 47,746; and this out of a population of 2,862,2d6-«^«o that the proportion is 
just upon one-fiftieth of the whole. Hence we find that whereas there are eleyen people in 
every thousand belonging to the intellectual classes throughout Great Britain, or rather more 
than one per cent, of tiie gross population,* the ratio in the Capital is a fraction beyond twenty 
to the thousand, or about two per cent, of the entire metropolitan people. 

« The difltribution of the Profefleioiuil Glaues throughout the oountiy, and the ratio they bear to the rest 
of the adult population is as follows ; — 





DiTisioK L — Loinx>N . . 


Eastsbm Couhties. 

Surrey («r-Metro.) . . . 
Kent (cfl^Metro.) .... 
Sussex ....... 



Total . . . 
DivKiov m.^— South Mii>« 


Middlesex («r-Hetro.) 
Hertfordshire . . 
Buckinghamshire . 
Oxfordshire . • • 
Huntingdonshire . 
Bedfordshire . . 

Total . . . 






Total . . . 

DinsioN V. — South- Wbst- 
vax CouimEs. 


Dorsetshire ...... 




Total . . . 

6 a . 















PM bfi 






























1 . 

thoiv. Editors 
and others. 






































































































as ^ 










Far conHnuation of Table tee next page. 



"When, therefore, we come to consider that the above estimate includes the whole of the 
*' learned professions " (as they are inyidiously styled), as well as all those whose lives are 


DiYiBioN VI.— Wbst Mid- 







DiYnioN VIL— North Mid- 


Leicestershire . 





Dinsiox VIIL— NoRTH- 
Wbsterk Countibs. 


Division IX.—Tosuhirb. 

West Biding 
East Riding 
North Biding 



Northumherland . 

Division XL — ^Monmouth- 


Monmouthshire .... 
South Wales 
North Wales 


Total for England and Wales 

By the ^ve table, it will be seeu that the professional or highly-educated classei nmgo from about 7*6 to 


deroted to the equally learned pnrsuitB of literatnTe, art, Bcience, and education ; that is to 
say, not only those versed in divinity, law, and physic, but the historian, the poet, the critic, 
&e painter, the sculptor, the architect, the natural philosopher, and the musician, together 
with the teachers of youth and professors of science — in fine, not only the modem Butlers 
and Paleys, the Blackstones and Bacons, the Harveys and Hunters, hut, in the words of 
the Census Commissioners, the living ** Shakespeares, Humes, fiandels, Eaphaels, Michael 
Angelos, Wrens, and Newtons" — ^when we consider this, we repeat, it must be confessed 
that the proportion of one, or even two, per cent, of such folk to the entire population, 
appears but little complimentary to the taste or culture of our race. Otherwise, surely 
every hundred persons in Great Britain would think it requisite to maintain more than one 
person for the joint cure of their bodies and souls, as well as the redress of their wrongs 
and the enlightenment or refinement of their minds. 

Still, another view must, in prudence, be taken of the matter. However much the 
intellectual classes may contribute to the honour and glory of a n9.tion, nevertheless, we 
must admit, they odd— directly — but little, if any, to its material wealth. Beligion, health, 
justice, literature, art, science, education — admirable as they all be — are mental and 
spiritual riches, instead of commodities having an exehangeahle value — ^being metaphysical 
luxuries, rather than physical necessities : for wisdom, taste, and piety do not tend to 
appease those grosser wants of our nature, which the grosser riches of a country go to 
satisfy; nor wiU the possession of them fill the stomach, or clothe the limbs, or shelter 
the head ; so that those who give up their lives to such pursuits cannot possibly be 
ranked as self-supporting individuals, since they must be provided for out of the stock of 
such as serve directly, by their capital or their labour, to increase the products of the 

Accordingly, the maintenance of even one such* unproductive person to every hundred 
individuals (especially when we bear in mind that three-fourths in every such hundred must, 
naturally, be incapacitated from the severer labours of life, by either sex or age, as 
women and the very old and very young) reflects no littie credit on our countrymen ; since, 
in order to uphold that ratio, every twenty-five producers (i.«., one-fourth of each century 
of people) throughout the kingdom, must, in addition to the support of their own families 
(which may be taken at three-fourths in every such century), voluntarily part with a consider- 
able portion of their creature comforts, in order to enjoy the benefit of the teachings, the 
advice, or the aspirations of their ^* professional '' brethren.* 

It is, however, hardly fair to rank professional men among the non-producers of a country; 
for though your doctors in divinity, law, and physic, as well as poets, philosophers, and 
pedagogues, till not, ** neither do they spin," it is certain that .they contribute, indireotfy, to 
the wealth of a nation, as much — rif not more, perhaps — ^than any other class. 

Newton, for instance, by the invaition of the sextant, as well as by that vast opening-up 
of our astronomical knowledge which served to render navigation simpler and safer, did 
more to extend our maritime commerce than any merchant enterprise could ever have 
effected. Again, all must allow that the steam-labourer created by Watt has tended to 

25-6 individitali to every 1000 of the adult population throughout EngVmd and Wales; and that whilst 
the highest ratio of profeBsional people it found in Middlesex, London, Surrey, and Sussex, the lowest 
proportion obtains in Northumberland, Durham, Stafford, the West Biding of York, Lancaster, Monmouth, 
and South and North Wales. This result coincides nearly with the returns of the relatiye amount of educa- 
tion prvrailing throughout the seyeral counties of £ngland and Wales, as indicated by the number of persons 
who sign the marriage register with marks ; and by which returns it appears that there is the least number 
of educated persons in Monmouth, South Wales, and North Wales, and the greatest number in Surrey and 
Middlesex. Thus we perceive that the proportion of professional classes is an indication of the educated state 
of the people in the various counties. 

• The average number of persons to a family in England and Wales is 4*827. — Otnstu Rtporifor 1851. 



increase onr mannfactures more than many mtllion paiw of hands ; whilst the steam-oarriage 
of Stephenson has helped to distribute the prodacts of particular districts over the entire 
country, fer beyond the powers of an infinite number of carriers. How many working men 
would it have taken to hare enriched the nation to the same amount as Arkwright, the 
penny barber, did by his single invention of the spinning-jenny ? "What number of weavers 
would be required to make as much cloth as he, who devised the power-loom, produced 
by the mere effort of his brain ? Surely, too, Lee, the university scholar, has given more 
stockings to the poor, by the invention of his " frame," than all the knitters that ever lived. 
Farther, have not the manures discovered by our chemists increased our crops to a greater 
extent than the whole of the agricultural labourers throughout the kingdom, and the 
reasonings of our geologists and metallurgists added to onr mineral wealth more than the 
entire body of our miners and smelters ? 

Still, ^ese are merely the ** economical " results springing fi?om science and education ; 
those results, on the other hand, which are due to the practice of the '^ learned " professions, 
though perhaps less brilliant, are equally indisputable. The medical skill which restores the 
disabled workman to health and strength surely cannot be regarded as valueless in the State ; 
nor can we justly consider the knowledge which has prolonged the term of life, and 
oonsequently of industry, in this country, as yielding nothing to the wealth-fhnd of the 
nation. Moreover, that honourable vocation which has for its object the prevention and 
redress of wrong, and the recovery of every man's due, serves not only to give a greater 
security to capital, and so to induce the wealthy to employ rather than hoard their gains, 
but also to protect the poor against the greed and power of the avaricious rich — ^this, too, cannot 
but be acknowledged to be intimately concerned in promoting the industry and increasing 
the riches of the community ; whilst that stiU higher calling, which seeks to make all men 
charitable and kind, rather than sternly just, to their less favoured brethren, which teaches 
that there are higher things in life than the '' rights of capital " and political economy, and 
which, by inculcating special respect and duties to the poor, has been mainly instrumental 
in emancipating the labourer from the thraldom of villanage, and consequentiy in giving a 
tenfold return to his industry as a free workman-^-such a calling may also be said to have 
a positive commercial value among us. 

Surely, then, professions which yield products like these cannot be regarded as altogether 
unproductive in the land. 

The professional classes constitute what, in the cant language of literature, is styled ''the 
aristocracy of intellect;" and it must be admitted, even by those who object to the intro- 
duction of the title aristos into the republic of letters, that the body of professional men 
form by themselves a great intellectual clan — the tribe which is specially distinguished from 
all others by the learning, wisdom, or taste of its members, and the one, moreover, which in 
all philosophic minds cannot but occupy the foremost position in society. For, without 
any disposition to disparage those classes who owe their social pre-eminence either to their 
birth or their wealth, we should be untrue to our own class and vocation if we did not, 
without arrogance, daim for it — despite the " order of precedence " prevalent at Court— la 
position second to none in the community ; and, surely, even those who feel an honourable 
pride in the deeds and glory of their ancestors, and they too, who, on the other hand, find 
a special virtue in the possession of inordinate riches or estates, must themselves allow 
that high intellectual endowments have an Mrinsic nobUity belonging to them, compared 
with which the extrimie nobility of ''blood" or "lands" is a mere assumption and 

Now it must not be inferred, from the tenor of the above remarks, that we are adverse to 
the aristocratic institutions of this country. Far from it ; we believe in no equality on this 
side of the grave : for as Nature has made one man wiser, or better, or braver, or more 


prndent th«Q another, it is our creed that society must always own a '' superior class '' of some 
sort — superior in inteUect, goodness, heroism, or worldly possessions, accoiding as the 
nation chooses to measure by one or more of those standards. The Stanleys, the Howards, 
the Russells, &c., are, to all unprejudiced minds, unquestionably more worthy of social respect, 
as nature's own gentlemen, than the descendants of Greenacre, Burke, and Bush — ^nature's 
own ruffians ; and so, again, we cannot but regard the Barings and the Jones-Lloyds as 
more dignified and usefbl members of the community than your able-bodied pauper or 
atnrdy vagrant. 

But, while making these admissions, we must at the same time acknowledge that we hold 
the Shakespeares, the Newtons, the Watts, the Blackstones, the Hanreys, the Fullers, the 
Beynolds, the PurceUs, and indeed all who have distinguished themselves either in law 
divinity, medicine, literature, art, science, or education, not only as being among the very 
worthiest of England's worthies, but as constituting the class which lends the chief dignity to 
a nation in the eyes of all foreign countries — ^the untitied nobility of the world, rather than 
of any mere isolated empire. 

IJTor would it be just to ourselves, and our own order, if we did not here assert that the 
literary vocation — ^truthiully, righteously, and perfectly^ carried out — claims kindred, not only 
with all philosophy as the ground- work of each particular science, and ethics as the basis of aU. 
law, and humanism which enters so largely into medical knowledge, and sesthetics as the 
foundation of all arts connected with the beautiftd, but also with religion itself, in its 
inculcation of the Christian principles — ^its use of the parabular* form of instruction — as 
well as its denunciation of wrong, and its encouragement of good- will and charity among all 

Moreover, it is our pride to add, that, of all pursuits and ranks in the world, there is 
none which depends so thoroughly on public acclaim, and so little on sovereign caprice, for 
the honour and glory of its members ; and none, therefore, in which honours and glories 
cast so high and sterling a dignity upon its chiefs. 

Well, it is with the professional, or rather let us say the intellectual, portion of metro- 
politan society that we purpose first dealing here. 

The professionals resident in London number, as we have said, 47,000 and odd individuals 
in the aggregate ; and, therefore, constitute nearly one-fifth of the entire intellectual class 
distributed throughout Great Britain. 

Included in the gross number of metropolitan professionals are, 5,863 lawyers, 5,631 
doctors, 2,393 clergymen and ministers, and 11,210 ''subordinates" — ^making altogether 
25,097 persons belongrug to the so-caUod '' learned " professions ; whilst to these must be 
added the sum of 22,649 persons connected with the '' imrecognized " professions; and 
induding 1,195 literary men, 17y241 teachers, 156 professors of science, and 4,057 artists 
and architects.f 

Of each and all of these varieties of Professional London it is our intention to treaty 
gerudim, under the several divisions of Legal London — ^Medical London — ^Religious L<mdon — 
Literary London — ^Artistic Londipi — Scholastic London, and so on, dealing vrith each of 
those phases of Metropolitan life as if it were a distinct Metropolis-— estimating its popula- 
tion — marking out its boundaries and districts — and treating of the manners and customs of 
the people belonging to it, firom the highest to the lowest ; indeed, attempting for the first 
tiflia to write and photograph the history of our multifarious Capital, in the nineteenth oen- 

* This word is liardly formed mpon correct etymological prindplee, the Latin adjectival affix, '* tdat'* 
in tabular, from *' taW' — cannoit strictly be applied to a Greek Bubstantive. The use, however, of the 
gnBoo-adjeetlve ^parabolie " in a wholly different sense is, perhaps, sufficient apology for the formation 
of ti!i0 mongrel term. 

t The distribntion of the professional classes throughout the several districts of London is as follows :— 



tury ; and we shall now beg:iii to set forth the several details in connection with the first 
of those divisions. 




Wb8T DlSTaiCTS. 



8t George (Hanover Sq.) . 


St. Martin in the Fields . 
St James, Westminster 

Total West Districts . < 

No&TH Disnuora. 

Marylebone ..... 
Hampstead .... 


Islington . . . . , 

Total North Diatricta . * 


St. Giles 



Clerkenwell . ... 


East London 

West London ..... 
London City 

Total Central Districts . . 

East Distkiots. 


Bethnal Green .... 


St George in the East . . 


Poplar ....... 

Total East Districts . . . 



St Saviour (Southwar :) . 
St Olaye (Southwark) . . 


St George (Southwark) . 








Total South Districts . . 

Total for all London . . . 

2 o o 




<i 9 • 



p •* ^ 

























341 1,490 














79 J 
































































































I m 































I" I 










































Thk&x is a legal district of London as luumatakably as there is a Jews' quarter in Frankfort ; 
for the Juden-gasM of the Qerman free town is hardly more distinct from the Znl, than 
Chancery Lane and ita environs from the City or West End of our Metropolis. 

And as there are several foreign colonies scattered throughout the British Capital — as 
Eatton Garden and its purlieus, swarming with glass-blowers and organ-grinders, is the 
Ketropolitan Itaua ; the neighbourhood of Leicester Square, with its congregation of beards 
and soft hate, the Cockney Gaixu Ultehiob ; and the pari^ of St. Giles, where the courts 
and cellars teem with hod-men and market-women, the London TTihk huia ; so is there a peculiar 
race of people grouped around the Courts of Law and Inns of Court — Westminster and 
Ijncolii's Inn being the two great legal provinces of London, even as York and Canterbury 
are the two great ecclesiastical provinces of England. 

A reference to the annexed maps will show that Legal London is composed not only of 
lawyers' residences and chambers, but of Inne of Court and Law Courta — Civil as well as 
Criminal, " Superior " as well as Petty — and County Courts, and Police Courts, and Prisons ; 
and that whilst the Criminal, the County, and Police Courts, as well as the Prisons, are 
dotted, at intervals, all over the Metropolis, the Superior Law Courts are focossed at "West- 
minster and Guildhall; the Tnna of Court being grouped round Chancery Lane, and the 
1^^ residences, or rather "chambers" (for lawyers, like merchants, now-a-days live mostly 
away &om their place of business), concentrated into a dense mass about the same classic 
spot, but thinning gradually off towards Guildhall and Westminster, as if they were the 
OKHiectuig links between the legal courts and the legal inns. 




The Circles represent Inns of Court and Law Courts ; the Diamond^ County Courts; the Squares, Police 

Courts ; and the Ovals, Prisons. 


1. Lincoln's Ian. 
S. Temple. 

5. Oniy's Inn. 

4. Farniral'i Ina. 

6. Staple Inn 

6. Scnrcant's Inn. 

7. Clifford's Inn. 

8. Clement's Inn. 

9. New Inn. 

10. Ljun't Inn. 

11. Sjrmond'i Inn. 

12. Barnard's Inn. 
IS. TluTlM' Inn. 

U. Westminster UalL 

15. Linoolnli Inn. 
le. llolls Cuun. 

17. OaUdhtU 

18. BankmptcT. 

19. InsolTent Debtors'. 

W. Ecclesiastical andAdml- 

11. Centml Criminal Court. 
-Jl. MlddlesezSesslons House 
33. Surrej Sessions House. 
a. WustmlnsterSesslons Ho. 
2S. Tower Llbeitjr Sesslous 

M. Southwark Sesblons Ho. 

27* Marylebooe. 

2B. Bloomsbnry. 

29. Wc*>tmlnster. 

30. Clerkenwell. 
81. Whitechapel. 

32. Sboredltch. 

33. South wark. 

34. Lambeth. 
86. Bromptoa* 
36. Bow. 


37 Mansion House. 

?8. QuUUluill. 

89. Bow Street. 

411. Marlborouffh Stn«t. 

41. Manrlebone. 

4'i. CleikenweU. 

43. Westminster. 

44. Worship street. 
4ft. LUBbeth. 

43. TliMBes. 
47 Souchwaik. 
4«. Hummersmita. 
49. Waaditwrih. 
00. Greenwich 

61. Woolwich. 


62. PentonrUIUi 
ii. Miilbank. 

64 Female Conrlct, Brixton. 
M. 1 1 ulkfe, Woolwich. 
.'•3. House of Co^ection. 
67. Middlesex House of Oor- 

58. CitT House of Oorreetlon 

69. Surrej Hoase of Correc- 

60. Bridewell Hoepiul. 

61. Bridewell House of Omi- 

Ktion, baint George* 

62. Middlesex House of De- 


63. NewffHte. 

64. Kurrej County GuoL 
64. Queen's B« BCh. 

66. Whltecroes Siieet. 

67. Tower. 

68. StrouK Room, Houee o 


The Inns of Court are themselves sufficiently peculiar to give a strong distinctive mark 
to the locality in which they exist ; for here are seen broad open squares like huge court-yards, 
paved and treeless, and flanked with grubby mansions — ^as big and cheerless-looking as 
barracks— every one of them being destitute of doors, and having a string of names painted 
in stripes upon the door-posts^ that reminds one of the lists displayed at an estate-agent's office 
and there is generally a chapel-like ediflce called the ''hall/' that is devoted to feeding rather 
than praying, and where the lawyerlings *' qualify'' for the bar by eating so many dinners,; 
and become at length — ^gastronomically — " learned in the law." Then how peculiar are the 
tidy legal gardens attached to the principal Inns, with their close-shaven grass-plots looking 
as sleek and bright as so much green pluah, and the clean-swept gravel walks thronged with 
children, and nursemaids, and law-students. How odd, too, are the desolate-looking legal 
alleys or courts adjoining these Inns, witli nothing but a pump or a cane-bearing street-keeper 
to be seen in the midst of them, and occasionally at one comer, beside a crypt-like passage, 
stray dark and dingy barber's shop, with its seedy display of powdered horsehair wigs of 


ihe same dirtv-wbite hue as London snow. Who, moreoyer, has not noted the windows of the 
legal frnitercffB and law stationers hereabouts, stuck over with small announcements of 
clerkships wanted, each penned in the well-known formidable straight-up-and-down three- 
and-fourpennj hand, and beginning — ^with a <'C|tii(-ffnllentttre"-like flourish of German 
text — ''C%f SBnttr i^ereaft" &c. Who, too, while threading his way through the monastio- 
likft byways of such {daces, has not been startled to And himself suddenly light upon a small 
enclosure, comprising a tree or two, and a little circular pool, hardly bigger than a lawyer^s 
inViKfaiTi^i^ irith a so-caUed fountain in Ihe centre, squirting up the water in one long thick 
thread, as if it were the nozzle of a flre-engine. 

But such are the features only of the more important Inns of Court, as Lincoln's and 
Gray's^ and the Temple; but, inaddition to these, there exists a hige series of legal blind alleys, 
or yards, which are entitled ** Inns of Chancery," and among which may be daased the lugu- 
brious localities of Lyon's Inn and Barnard's ditto, and Clement's, and Clifford's, and Sergeants', 
and Staple, and the like. In some of these, one solitary, lanky-looking lamp-post is the only 
ornament in the centre of the backyard-like square, and the grass is seen struggling up between 
the interstices of the pavement, as if each paying-stone were trimmed with green ehmttte. 
In another you find the statue of a kneeling negro, holding a platter-like sun-dial oyer his 
head, and seeming, while doomed to tell the time, to be continually inquiring of the sur- 
rounding gentlemen in black, whether he is not '' a man and a brother ?" In another you 
obaerye crowds of lawyers' derks, with their hands fiill of red-tape-tied papers, assembled 
outside the doors of new clubhouse-like buildings. Moreoyer, to nearly every one of these 
legal nooks and comers the entrance is through some archway or iron gate that has a high 
bar left standing in the middle, so as to obstruct the passage of any porter's load into the 
ehanoery sanctuary; and there is generally a little porter's lodge, not unlike a French 
^aneiergm^j adjoining the gate, about which loiter liveried street-keepers to awe off littie 
boys, who would otherwise be sure to dedicate the tranquil spots to the more innocent pursuit 
of marbles or leap-frog. 

The various classes of Law Courts too have, one and all, some picturesque characteristics 
about them. For example, is not the atmosphere of Westminster Hall essentially distinct from 
that of the Old Bailey ? During term time the Hall at Westminster (which is not unlike an 
empty railway terminus, with the exception that the rib-like rafters are of carved oak rather 
than iron) is thronged with suitors and witnesses waiting for their cases to be heard, and pacing 
the Hall pavement the while, in rows of three or four, and with barristers hero and there 
walking up and down in dose communion with attorneys ; and there are sprucely-dressed 
strangers from the country, either bobbing in and out of tiie various courts, or else standing 
stilly with their necks bent back and their mouths open, as they stare at the wooden angels 
at the comers of the oaken timbers overhead. 

The Courts here are, as it were, a series of ante-chambers ranged along one side of the 
spacious Hall; and as you enter some of them, you have to bob your head beneath a heavy 
nd doth curtain. The judge, or judges, are seated on a long, soft-looking, crimson-covered 
bench, and costumed in wigs that fall on either side their face, like enormous spaniel's earis, 
and with periwigged banisters piled up in rows before them, as if they were so many 
medieval medical students attending the lectures at some antiquated hospital. Then there 
is the legal fruit-stall, in one of the neighbouring passages, for the distribution of '^ apples, 
oranges, biscuits, ginger-beer" — and sandwiches — ^to the famished attendants at Court ; and 
the quiet, old-fashioned hotels, for the accommodation of witnesses from the country, ranged 
along the opposite side of Palace Yard. 

How different is all this from the Central Criminal Court at the Old Bailey ! There we 
find a laige boiled-beef establishment, with red, steaming rounds in the window, side by 
aide with the temple of justice, and a mob of greasy, petty larceny-like friends of the 
*' prisoner at the bar," and prim-looking policemen, gathered round the Court doors and 


beside the gateway leading •to the BherifiSs' entrance at the back, waiting the issae of that 
day's trials. Then, within the Court, upon the bench, there are the aldermen, reading the 
daily papers or writing letters, attired in their purple silk gowns trimmed with ^, and with. 
heaTy gold S collars about their neck ; and the under-sherifis in their court suits, with their 
lace fiills and ruffles — the latter encircling the hand like the cut paper round bouquets— 
with their black rapiers at their side, and all on the same seat with the full-wigged judges ; 
and the barristers below crowded round a huge loo-table, that is littered with bags and briefe; 
' and the jury packed in their box at one side of the little court — ^which, by the by, seems 
hardly bigger than a back parlour — ^with a long " day-reflector" suspended over their heads, 
and throwing an unnatural light upon their faces ; whilst in the capacious square dock, &cin^ 
the bench, stands the prisoner at the bar awaiting his doom, with the Governor of Newgate 
seated at one comer of the compartment, and a turnkey at the other. 

This, again, is all very different from the shabby-genteel crowd, with its melange of *' tip- 
staffs" and sham-attorneys, gathered about the Insolvent Court, and the neighbouring public- 
houses, in Portugal Street ; that, too, utterly unlike the quaint, old-fashioned tribunals in 
Doctor's Commons ; these, moreover, the very opposite to the petty County Courts, that have 
little to distinguish them from private houses, except the crowd of excited debtors, and 
creditors, and pettifoggers grouped outside the doors ; and those, on the other hand, entirely 
distinct from the still more insignificant Police' Courts, with their group of policemen on 
the door-step, and where, at certain hours, may be seen the sombre-looking prison-van, 
that is like a cross between a hearse and an omnibus, with the turnkey conductor seated in a 
kind of japan-leather basket beside the door at the end of the vehicle. 

Farther, there arc the several prisons scattered throughout the Metropolis, and forming 
an essential part of the Legal Capital : the gloomy, and yet handsome prison pile of Newgate, 
with its bunch of fetters over each doorway — the odd polygon-shaped and rampart-like Peni- 
tentiary, perched on the river bank by Vauxhall — ^the new prison at Pentonville, with its 
noble, portcullis-like gateway — ^the City Prison at Holloway, half castle half madhouse, 
with its tall central tower, reminding one of some ancient stronghold — ^besides the less pic- 
turesque and bare-waUed Coldbath Pields, and TothiU Fields, and Horsemonger Lane, and 
the House of Detention, and Whitecross Street, and the Queen's Bench — ^not forgetting the 
mastless Hulks, with their grim-looking barred port-holes. 

These, however, constitute rather the legal institutions of London than the legal locali- 
ties ; and that there are certain districts that are chiefly occupied by lawyers, and which 
have a peculiarly lugubrious legal air about them, a half-hour's stroU along the purlieus of 
the Ttitih of Court is sufficient to convince us. 

Of this Legal London, Chancery Lane may be considered the capital ; and here, as we 
have before said, everything smacks of the law. The brokers deal only in legal fumiture — 
the publishers only in ''Feabne on Remaindess " and ** Ihfey's Pbactice," and such like 
dry legal books — and the stationers in skins of parchment and forms of wills, and law-lists 
and almanacs, and other legal appliances. Then the dining-rooms and '< larders," so plentiful 
in this quarter, are adapted to the taste and pockets of lawyers' clerks ; and there are 
fruiterers, and oyster-rooms, and **eafi-re8taurant^* bakers, and *< Cocks," and "Raistbow?," 
for barristers and attorneys to lunch at ; and " sponging-houses," barred like small lunatic 
asylums, and with an exercising yard at the back like a bird-cage ; and patent-offices; and 
public-houses, frequented by bailiffs' followers and managing clerks; and quiet-looking 
taverns, which serve occasionally as courts for commissions ^* de lunatico.*' 

Then stretching in all directions from the legal capital, with its adjacent attorney byways 
of Cook's Court, and Quality Court, and Boswell Court, and Southampton Buildings, we have 
what may be termed the legal suburbs, such as Bedford Row, with its annexed James and 
John Streets, and the doleful Red Lion and Bloomsbuiy Squares, and Southampton Street, 
Holbom. In the opposite direction, we find the equally legal Essex Street, and Lancaster 



Place, and Somerset Place, and Adam Street (Adelphi), and Buddngham Street, and White- 
hall Place, and Parliament Street, and Great George Street, all connecting, by a series ci 
legal links. Chancery Lane to Westminster. Again, along Holbom we have the ont-of-the- 
way legal nooks of Bartlett's Buildings and Ely Place. Whilst, in the neighbourhood of tbe 
Cily Gouits of Guildhall, there are the like legal localities of King Street, Cheapside, and 
Bucklersbury, and Basinghall Street, and Old Jewry Chambers, and Coleman Street, and 
Tokenhouse Yard, and CopthaU Buildings, and Crosby Chambers, and New Broad Street 
with even a portion of the legal Metropolis stretching across the water to Wellington Street 
in the Borough.* 

♦ The subjoined is a list of the legal localities throughout London, as indicated by the Post-office 
Directory — a legal locality being considered to be one in which the number of resident lawyers is equal to at 
least one-fourth of the number of residences : — 

No. or 

Bfltldeqt v^ of 


Unoofai'B Inn New Square 266 14 

„ Old Square 217 HI 

Fields . 198 60 

. 150 135 


Chancrry Lane 

Kind's Bench Walk, Tem. 

pie .... 129 13 
Stone Bai]diag8,Linooln*8 

Inn .... 128 7 
Paper Bnndlngi, TempU 82 .« 
Pomp Coart „ . 78 6 
Bedford Bow • . . 99 51 
?nmiTal*Blnn . . 64 16 
Inner Temple Lane, Tem- 
ple . • • . 57 9 
BrifCik Coort, „ . 58 i5 
ElmOoart ... 58 5 
fiootliSqnare, Gray's Inn 55 14 
Eawx Ooart, Temple . 43 5 
Flowden Bnjldingfl . 40 5 
fl^trce Court „ .89 8 
fiare Court „ .87 5 
Sergeant!^ Inn, Fleet 

Street .... 37 16 
ffoQthamptoa Buildings, 

Ghaneery Lane . . 87 47 

Eaecx Street, Strand . 85 49 

<rtd Jewry Street, aty . 85 87 
lf«w Inn, Wyeh Street, 

Strand .... 84 18 
Barooart Bidldingt . 84 4 
Bawinghall Street, City . 84 84 
Great Jamee Street, Bed- 
ford Bow ... 82 42 
Tanfleld Court, Temple .81 8 
Carey Street, LinooLn's 

Iim .... SO 68 

.Cbleman Street, dtj . 29 81 

.Buddenlmry, Cheapside 28 38 
Serle Street, Lincoln's 

IBA .... 28 16 
JiitreCoart, Temple . 27 12 
Middle Temple Lane . 27 6 
ataple Inn, Hoibom . 27 12 
Crown Office £ow. Tem- 
ple .... 27 11 
Baymond's Baildings, 

Gray's Inn ... 35 6 
Ifew BoswelLComt, Carey 

Street .... 25 17 
^Parliament Strret, West- 

minster ... 25 55 

Kly Place, Hoibom . . 23 42 

Cliflbrd*s Ian, Fleet St. . 21 17 

The foUowing, on the other 

No. «f 


Yernlam Buildings, 

Gray's Inn ... 19 
ChnrehyardCt, Temple 19 
Sergeants' Inn, Chancery 

Lane ... ig 

King's Street, Cheapside 17 
Tokenhonse Yard, l/>th- 

hury . . . .15 
Mitre Court Buildings, 

Temple ... 15 
Bloomsbnry Square . 15 
Derereux Court, Strand 15 
Lancaster Place, Strand . 15 
Austin Friars, CSty . . 15 
Whitehall Flace, Westmr. It 
Barnard's Inn ... 14 
Walbrook, City , . 14 
New Bridge St., Black- 
friars . . . .13 
John Street, Bedford Row 18 
Great George Street, 

Westminster . .13 
Greeham Street, City . 12 
Southampton St., Hoibom 12 
New Conrt, Temple . 12 
Temple Garden Court . 12 
New Broad Street, City . 11 
Quality Court, Chancery 

Lane .... 11 
Sise Lane, Bucklersbury 11 
Farrar's Buildings, Tem- 
ple . . .11 
John Street, Adelphl . 11 
King's Arms Tard, Cole- 

man street, City . . ll 
B:ing*s Boad, Bedford 

Row . ' . . ,11 
Gray's Inn Place . 10 

Clement's lim,. Strand- 
New Inn ' . , ,10 
Clement's Lane, Lombard 

Street .... 10 
Temple Cloisters, Inner 

Temple Lane . . lo 
Inner Temple Hall Stair. 

case .... 9 
Lamb Buildings . . 9 
Red Lion Sq., Hoibom . 8 
Nicholas Lane, Lombard 

Street, City ... 8 
Great Knight Rider Street 8 
Bell Tard, Doctor's Com- 
mons • . • 8 

No of 



















Resident ^^^ . 

Symond's Inn, Chancery 
Lane . 






























hand, is the distrihution of the lawyers 

B^rllett's Buildings, Hoi- 
bom . . • , 

Ironmonger Lane, City . 

Fenchurch Buildings 

Field Court, Gray's Inn . 

Buckingham St., Strand 

Angel Court, Throgmor- 
ton Street, City . 

Lyon's Inn, Fleet Street. 

Adam Street, Adelphl . 

Barge Yard, bucklers- 
bury . . . , 

Copthall Bttildinga, City , 
Church Court, Clement's 

Lane, City . 
Tanfleld Chambers . 
Wellington St., Borough 
Temple Chambers, Falcon 
Court, Fleet Street . 
Trafalgar Square, Char- 
ing Cross . 
Somerset Place, Somerset 
House .... 
Cook's Ct.,Iincoln's Inn 
Old Palace Yard, West- 
Arthur Street, City . 
Temple Church Porch 

Chambers . 
Walbrook Buildings 
Whitehall Chambers 
Twisden Buildings, Tem- 
ple ... . 

2417 2069 
Jkehr^s Commons, 

No. of 
Adrecates No. of 
and Hootoa- 

Great Knight Rider St. 31 22 

College, Doctor's Com- 
mons ... 18 17 

Great Carter Lane . .15 34 

Godllman Street . . 23 15 

Dean's Court ... 8 

Bell Yard . . 4 10 

Paul' s Bakehouse Court . 4 

Pope's Head Alley, Com- 

hill .... 8 7 

106 115 
and the lawyers' clerks and la« - 
















Now, the people inhabitiiig the legal localitieB of the Metropolis are a distinct tribe, 
impressed with views of life and theories of human nature widely different from the more 
simple portion of humanity. With the legal gentry all is doubt and suspicion. No man is 
worthy of being trusted by word of mouth, and none fit to be believed but on his oath. Tour 
true lawyer opines, with the arch-diplomatiBt Talleyrand, that speech was given to man not 
to express but to conceal his thoughts ; and, we may add, it is the legal creed that the faculty 
of reason was conferred on us merely to enable human beings to ** special plead," i.e., to 
split logical hairs, and to demonstrate to dunderhead jurymen that black is white. 

What beauty is to a quaker, and philanthropy to a political economist, honour is to your 
gentleman of the long robe — a moral will-o'-the-wisp, that is almost sure to mislead ^ose 
who trust to it. The only safe social guide, cries the legal philosopher, is to consider every 
one a rogue till you find him honest, and to take the blackest view of all men's natures in 
your dealings with your friends and associates; believing that there is no bright side, as has 
been well said, even to the new moon, until experience shows that it is not entirely dark. In 
legal eyes, the idea of any one's word being as good as his bond is stark folly ; and though, 
say the lawyers, our chief aim in life should be to get others to reduce their thoughts to 
writing towards us, yet toe should abstain frx)m pen, ink, and paper as long as possible, so 
as to avoid " committing ourselves " towards them. Or if, in the frank communion of 
friendship, we are ever incautious enough to be betrayed into professions that might hereafter 
interfere with our pecuniary interests, we should never fail, before concluding our letter, 
to have sufficient worldly prudence to change the subscription of ** Yours, sincerely," into 
"Yours, without prefudiee" 

That lawyers see many examples in life to afford grounds for such social opinions, all must 
admit ; but as well might surgeons believe, because generally dealing with sores and ulcers, 
that none are healthy ; and physicians advise us to abstain from all close communion with 
our fellows, so as to avoid the chance of contagion, because some are diseased. Nor would it 
be fair to assert that every lawyer adopts so unchristian and Hobbesian a creed. There are 
many gentlemen on the roUs, at the bar, and on the bench, who lean rather to the chivalrous 
and trusting than the cynic and sceptical view of life; and many who, though naturally 

court officers, above twenty years of age, throughout the several districts of London, according to the returns 
of the Census Commissioners, by which it will be seen that the greatest number of lawyers are resident in 
the western districts by Kensington, whereas the greatest numS^ of clerks are found located in the northern 
districts by St. Pancras and Islington ; whilst at the east end of the town, such as Whitechapel and Poplar, 
on the Hiddesez side, and Rotherhithe, and St. Olave, Southwark, on the Surrey side of the water, but few 
lawyers or clerks are to be found :— 

tawT»^ Clerta, »,^-_| No. to 
"'^"* Ac ^***"' MOO. 

Lawyers. ^. » Total, jqoo. 




1060 606 2066 20-2 

Kensington . 723 118 840 

ChelMa . . 180 9ft 22ft 
St. Oeorg«, Ha- 

norerSq. .829 99 428 

Wefltmintter . 180 180 260 

St. Martinis . 90 89 129 

St. James .169 2ft 184 



St. Pancras 
N. Diatriots 


1620 1712 8882 18'7 
















St. GUM . 881 129 610 81*7 
Strand . .267 801 668 48-4 

Clerkenwell . 
St. Luke's 
East London . 
West London . 
London City . 

Central Dists. 


Shoreditch . 
Bethnal Oteen 
Whitechapel . 
St. Oeoni^ in 
the East . 
Poplar . 
E. Districts 

St. SaTiour . 
St. OlaTO 





















1498 1891 2810 26*4 



686 702 5*4 


Lairyen. ^S^ Total. '{ftLj* 


Bermondsey . 





St. George, 






Ifewington . 















Camber well . 





Rotherhithe . 





Greenwich . 











S. Distrieta 





West Districts 1660 




North „ 





Central „ 





East „ 





Sonfh „ 






— _ 

all London 






indining towards the Bratas philosophy, and preferring stoical justice to Christian generosity, 
are still snifficiently poetic to see a glimpse of ** good in all things.'' 

MoreoYer, it is our duty and our pride to add, that if among the hody of legal gentry 
tiiere are to be found such enormities as ** sharp practitioners" and "pettifoggers" — 
scoundrels who seek to render law a matter of wjustice, and who use that which was 
intended to prevent injury and robbery as the means of plunder and oppression — ^who 
regard it as their interest to retard, rather than advance justice, and who love equity and its 
long delays simply on account of the iniquity of its costs — ^if there be such miscreants as 
these included among the legal profession, there are, on the other hand, the most noble judges of 
ihe land comprised among its members ; and granting we should estimate the true dignity 
of a vocation by those who are at once the most honourable and honoured types of it, we 
must candidly admit that there is no office which sheds so pure and brOliant a glory upon 
our nation, as that filled by the righteous and reproachless band of English gentlemen who 
occupy the judgment-seats of this country. For whilst in every other kingdom the judge 
in but little better than a quibbling and one-sided advocate — a government hireling, trying his 
hardest to convict the prisoner — the British arbiter weighs, with an exquisitely even hand, the 
canflicting testimony in favour of and against those who are arraigned at his tribunal, and with 
a gracious mercy casts into the trembling scale — in cases of indecision — the lingering doubt, 
so as to make the evidence on behalf of the accused outweigh that of his accusers. Nor can 
even the most sceptical believe that it is possible for governments or private individuals to 
tempt our judges to swerve from the strictest justice between man and man, by any bribe, 
however precious, or by any worldly honours, however dazzling. Lideed, if there be one 
class in whose iron integrity every Englishman has the most steadfast faith — of whose Pilate - 
like righteousness he has th^ profoimdest respect, and in the immaculateness of whose honour 
he feels a national pride — ^it is the class to whom the high privilege of dispensing justice among 
us has been intrusted, and who constitute at once the chiefs and the ornaments of the 
ptTofesflion of which we are about to treat. 

Concerning the popidation of this same "Legal London, it may be said to comprise the 
following numbers and classes of persons above 20 years of age : — 

Barristers ...... 1,513 

Solicitors ...... 3,418 

Other lawyers (as advocates, proctors, &c.) .772 

Law clerks ...... 4,340 

Law court officers (including 8 females) and law stationers 1,069 



Hence, if we include the families of the above individuals (and, according to the returns of 
the Census Commissioners, there are, upon an average, 4-827 persons to each family through- 
oat T^.Tig 1«^ni1 and Wales), we arrive at the conclusion that Legal London comprises an aggre- 
gate population of 53,638 souls, which is exactly one forty-fourth part of the entire 
metropolitan population. 

Now, the next question that presents itself to our consideration concerns the order and 
method to be adopted in our treatment of each of the several classes of people and institutions 
connected with the administration of the laws in the Metropolis. 

In our previous specification of the various details comprised under the term Legal 

* According to the census returns, there are — in addition to tbe above — 160 lawyers and 1,530 clerks 
Ac— or, altogether, 1,690 persons — connected with the law in London who are under twenty years of age; 
to thaty adding these to the total above giyen, the aggregate of lawyers and their ** subordinates" resident in 



London, we liave spoken of it as comprehending the Inns of Court and the people in 
connection therewith — ^the Superior Courts of Law, Civil, as well as Criminal, and their 
various legal functionaries, as judges, solicitors, law clerks, and law-court officers — the 
County Courts, and Police Courts, together with their attendant judges, magistrates, clerks, 
and practitioners — and, lastly, the Prisons, with the governors, turnkeys, and teachers 
attached to them. 

Such a list, however, has but little logical distinctness among the parts or congruous 
unity in the whole ; hence, we must seek for some more systematic arrangement and classi- 
fication, under which to generalize the various particulars. 

The most simple and natural mode of dividing the subject appears to be into two prin- 
cipal heads, namely : — 

The Metbopolitan Ltstitutions akd People conitbctei) with the AnMiNiSTEATioir 

OP THE Civil Law. 

Ain) THE Meteopolttait iKSTiTUTioirs, AND Peofle coitnected with the Adudostea- 
TioN OP THE Criminal Law. 

Under the first of these general heads is comprised the following particulars : — 
The Courts of Equity ^ and the persons connected therewith. 
Ths Courts of Common Law, Superior as well as Petty and Local, and the several 

functionaries and practitioners appertaining to them. 
The Courts of Bankruptcy and Insokenoy, with the professional gentry attached to 

the same. 
The Debtors' Prisons, and their associate officers. 

the Metropolis would amount to 12,802. 'i he diatribution of the lawyen ai^d their Bubordinates throughout 
the fleveral counties of England and Wales, is as follows : — 




T ••«*«» Clerks, ip^*-, No. to 
Lawyort. ^^ » Total ^^^ 

London . . 5703 £401 11,104 17*5 

Dxviszoii II.— South Eabtbrn 
Surrey (ex-Me- 
tro.) . . 860 
Kent (e«.Metro.) 883 











1476 686 3113 4*8 

DiTisioif III. — South Midlahd 


Middlesex (ex- 
Metro.) . 270 80 850 
Hertfordshire .115 51 166 
Buckinghamshire 70 60 139 
Oxfordnhiro . 104 64 158 
Northampton- • 

shire . . 105 59 164 

Huntingdonshire 83 81 68 

Bedfordshire . 45 24 69 

Cambridgeshire 113 94 207 




868 453 1816 41 

DxTXSXOir v.— Eastrrk Couxtiks. 
Essex. . . 194 131 325 3 5 
Suffolk • . 172 115 287 3-4 
Norfolk .. 293 194 486 4-3 


658 440 1098 3-7 

DirmoN y. — South Wbstxrn 

T «wv.M Clerks, rr«».i No. to 
Lawyen, *. Total. ,^0. 

Wiltshire . 143 

Dorsetiihire . 131 

DeTonshire . 497 

Oornwall . 163 

Somersetshire 403 










Total . 1325 806 3131 4-7 

DxviBioK VI.— Wkst Midlami) 

Glo'stershire. 478 343 731 6*6 

Herefordshire 100 
Shropshire . 187 
Staffordshire . 378 
Worcestershire 357 
Warwickshire 284 

58 158 6-6 


837 5-0 

512 80 

404 6-9 

467 3-6 

Total . 1584 1065 2599 66 

DiTisxoif VII.— North MiDLAin) 


Leicestershire 100 84 184 8*0 
Rutlandshire 8 6 18 1*9 
Unoolnshire . 307 188 390 8-6 
shire . .118 106 234 3-9 
Derbyshire . 126 64 190 2-7 


559 443- 1001 83 

DxvisioM VIU.— North Wsbtrhst 

Lawyc. Cl«*s. Total. JJS;^? 
Cheshire . 807 344 651 34 
Lancashire . 1025 777 1802 8'8 

Total 1882 1031 2868 8-8 

Division IX.— ToRXsaiax. 

West Riding. 611 467 1078 8-1 
East Riding .233 186 418 6-1 
North Riding 121 64 195 8-5 


964 717 1681 85 

Division X. — Nortbxkn Countibs. 

Durham . 175 
land . . 169 
Cumberland . 103 
Westmoreland 81 

188 318 30 


280 8-6 

175 8-4 

62 8*8 



848 820 83 

Division XI.— MoNHouTHSuxax anv 

shire . . 83 6^ 187 2-6 
South Wales. 246 228 460 2-0 
North Wales .158 137 295 8-8 

Total .4)6 415 901 &-7 

Totnl for all 

England aiid 

Wales . 15,377 11,789 27,116 6*7 


The JSceknastteal and Admn'd^ Courts, with their attendant judges, advocates, 
proctors, &c. 
Whereas, tinder the second head of the Metropolitan Institutions and people in connec- 
tiaa with the Orimmal Law, we have the following suh-heads : — 

Tke Orimmai Courts and Sessions Houses, with their several officers and practitioners. 
The Poliee (hurts and the magistrates, their clerks and others attached thereto. 
I%e Coroneri Courts, and the several people connected with them. 
2%e Crmtnal Fnsons, and their associate governors, turnkeys, &c. 
Such an arrangement appears to exhaust the subject, especially when certain minor 
points come to be filled in — as, for example, the Patent Offices and Lunacy Commissions 
in connection with the jurisdiction of the Lord Chancellor, and the granting of licenses at 
the Yorions Sessions Houses by the justices of the peace — ^which latter function, though 
hardly connected with the Ciiminal Law, must still (for the sake of avoiding an over- 
complicity of details) be treated of under that head. 

There are, of course, two ways of dealing with the above particulars — either we may 
commence with the beginning, and so work doum to the end ; or we may reverse the process, 
and beginning at the bottom, proceed gradually up to the top. The first method is the 
one generally adopted by systematic writers. On the present occasion, however, we purpose 
taking the opposite course ; and we do so, not from mere caprice, but because there happen 
to be such things as '* terms and returns " in Law, which give a periodical rather than 
a oontinnouB character to legal proceedings, and so prevent attention to such matters 
at aU times. Accordingly, as neither perspicuity nor interest is lost by pursuing the latter 
plan, we shall here begin our exposition of the character, scenes, and doings of Legal 
London, by dealing first with the Criminal Prisons of the Metropolis. 



Sub-diyiiioii A.— The Metropolitan InstitiLtioiMy and People oonnected with the 

Adminifltration of the Criminal Law. 



There is a long and multifaiions list of priBons distributed throaghout London, if we include 
all the places of confinement, from the state or political stronghold down to the common jail 
for the county — ^firom the debtor's prison to the sponging-house — firom the penitentiary to 
the district " lock-up." Thus we have the Tower and the Hulks ; and Whitecross Street 
prison, and the Houses of Correction and Detention; and the Queen's Bench, and the 
Penitentiary at Millbank ; as well as the Female Convict Prison at Brixton, and the oonunon 
jail, Horsemonger Lane; besides the ''Model" at Pentonville, the New City Prison at 
Holloway, and the well-known quarters at Newgate ; together with the cells at the several 
station-houses of the Metropolitan and City Police, and the sponging-houses in the neigh- 
bourhood of Chancery Lane — all of which come imder the denomination of places of safe 
custody, if not of punishment and reform. 

We shall find, however, amid the apparent confusion of details, that there are in London 
only three distinct kinds of places of safe custody, viz. : — 

Political or State P&isoks — such as the Tower and the Strong-room of the House of 
Commons ; 

Civil op Debtobs' Pbisons — as the Queen's Bench and the one in Whitecross Street, 
together with a portion of Horsemonger Lane Jail ; and 

Cbdcinal PmsoNS ; of which we are about to treat. 

Of these same Criminal Prisons there are just upon a dozen scattered through London ; 
and it is essential to a proper understanding of the subject that we should first discriminate 
accurately between the several members of the family. As yet no one has attempted to 
group the places of confinement for criminals into distinct classes ; and we have, therefore, 
only so many vague terms— ^as ** Convict" Prisons (though, strictly, every offender — the 
misdemeanant as well as the transport — ^is afltr conviction a convict) and ''Houses of Correc- 
tion," '' Houses of Detention," " Bridewells," &c., to prevent us confounding one species of 
Criminal Prison with another. 

Formerly every class of criminals and graduate in vice — from, the simple novice to the 
artful adept — ^the debtor, the pickpocket, the burglar, the coiner, the poacher, the high- 
wayman, the vagrant, the murderer, the prostitute—were all of them huddled together in 
one and the same place of durance, called the '' Common Jail" (for even " Houses of Cor- 
rection" — for vagrants and thieves onfy — ^are comparatively modem inventions) ; and it was 
not until the year 1823 that any systematic legal steps were taken to enforce a separation of 
the great body of prisoners Into dosses, much more into individuals — ^the latter being a 
regulation of very recent date. 

Of late yean, however, we have made rapid advances towards the establishment of a 
kind of criminal quarantine, in order to stay the spread of that vicious infection which is 
found to accompany the association of the morally disordered with the comparatively imcon- 
taminated ; for assuredly there is a criminal epidemic — a very plague, as it were, of profli- 
gacy — ^that diffuses itself among the people with as much fatality to society as even the putrid 
fever or black vomit. 

Consequently it becomes necessary, whilst seeking here to arrange our present prisons 
into something like system, to classify them according to the grades of offenders they are 
designed to keep in safe custody ; for it is one of the marked features of our times that 


the old Conunon Jail is beoomiog as obsolete among us as biill-baiting, and that the one indis- 
criminate stronghold has been divided and parcelled out into many distinct places of 
durance, where the reformation of the offender obtains more considerationy perhaps, than even 
bia punishment. 

Now the first main diyision of the criminal prisons of London is into-» 
Prisons for offenders hefore conviction ; and 
Prisons for offenders afUr conviction. 

This is not only the natural hxiijtut division of the subject, since it is now admitted that 
society has no right to treat a man as a criminal until he has been proven to be one by the 
laws of his country; and hence we have prisons for the untried — distinct from those for the 
<»nvicty or rather convicted. 

The prisons for offenders ajUr conviction are again divisible into places of confinement 
for such as are condemned to longer or shorter terms of imprisonment. To the latter class of 
institutions belong the Houses of Correction, to which a person may be sentenced for not 
more than two years \ and Bridewells, to which a person may be condemned for not more 
than three months.* 

The prisons, on the other hand, for the reception of those condemned to longer terms, such 

* *< There is a speeies of jail," aays the new edition of Blackstone, " which does not fall under the sheriff'a 
ehftrge, but is governed by a keeper wholly independent of that officer. It is termed, by way of distinction from 
the common jail, a House of Correction, or (in the City of London) a Bridewell. These houses of correction 
(which were first established, as it would seem, in the reign of Elizabeth) were originally designed for the 
penal confinement, after conviction, of paupers refusing to work, and other persons falling under the legal 
description of vaiyranL And this was at first their only application, for in other oases the common jail of the 
county, city, or town in which the offender was triable waa (generally speaking) the only legal place of 
commitment. The practice, however, in this respect was, to a certain extent, altered in the reign of George 
L, when ' vagrants and other persons charged with small offences ' were, for the first time, allowed to be 
conunitted to the house of correction for safe custody, before conviction ; and at a subsequent period it waa 
provided that, as to vagrants, the house of correction should be the only legal place of commitment The 
uses, however, of a jail of this description have been lately carried much farther ; for by 5 and 6 William lY., 
«. S8, 8. 34, reciting that great inconvenience and expense had been found to result f^om the committing to 
the common jail, where it happens to be remote from the place of trial. It is enacted that a justice of the 
peace or coroner may commit, for safe custody, to any house of correction situate near the place where the 
assizes or sessions are to be held, and that ofienders sentenced in those courts to death, transportation, or 
imprisonment, may be committed in execution of such sentence to any house of correction for the county." — 
Supken^ BlacknUme, 3rd ed., vol. iii, p. 209. 

The City Bridewell (Bridge Street, Blaekfnara) has been closed for the last two years. The prison here 
was originally a place of penal confinement for unruly apprentices, sturdy beggars, and disorderly persons 
committed to jail for three months and less. Where the City Bridewell now stands there is said to have 
keen anciently a holy well of medicinal water, called St. Bride's Well, upon which was founded an hospital 
for the poor. (Stowc, however, says nothing of this, speaking only ot&palaee standing there.) After the 
Beformation, Edward YI. chartered this to the City, and whilst Christchureh was dedicated to the education 
of the young, and St. Thomas's Hospital, in the Borough, for the cure of the sick. Bridewell Hospital 
was converted into a place of confinement and ** penitentiary amendment " for unruly London apprentices 
and disorderly persons, as well as sturdy beggars and vagrants. ** Here," says Mr. Timbs, in his curious and 
learned work on the Curiosities of London, *' was a portrait of Edward Yl. with these lines — 

* This Edward of fair memory the Sixt, 
In whom with Great Goodness was commixt, 
Gave this BrideweU^ a palace in olden times. 
For a Chastening House of vagrant crimes.' " 

After this, the houses of correction in various parts of the country ^ot to be called "bridewells ** ^the 

particular name coming, in course of time, to be used as a general term for a place of penitentiary amend- 
Bcnt. A *^ house of correction" is now understood to be a place of safe custody, punishment, and 
reformation, to which criminals are committed when sentenced to imprisonment for terms varying £rom 
•sren days up to two years. 


as transportation and ''penal serrice/' are those at Fentonyille, Millbanlc, and Brixton^ 
as well as the HuUts at Woolwich. 

The prisons, moreover, which are for the reception of criminals hefore conyiction, are 
either — 

Prisons in which offenders are confined while awaiting their trial after having been com- 
mitted by a magistrate — snch as the prisons of Newgate and Horsemonger Lane, as well as 
the House of Detention ; or " Lock-ups/' in which offenders are confined previom to being 
brought up before, and committed by, the sitting magistrate— -such as the cells at the yarious 

According, then, to the above classification, the Criminal Prisons admit of being arranged 
into the following groups : — 

I. Prisons for Opfendebs After ComncTioK. 

A. " Convict ^^ Prisons* — ^for transports and "penal service" men. 

1 . Pentonville Prison. 

2. Millbank Prison. 

3. Female Convict Prison, Brixton. 

4. Hulks, "Woolwich. 

B. " Correctional^^ Prisons — ^for persons sentenced to short terms of punishment. 

1. City House of Correction (Holloway). 

2. Middlesex Houses of Correction. 

a. Coldbath Fields Prison, for adult males. 

b. TothiU Fields Prison, for boys and adult females. 

3. Surrey House of Correction (Wandsworth Common). 

n. Pbi8oi7s fob Ofkekdsbs Before Cokvionoir. 

A. Det&ntional Prisons — ^for persons after committal by a magistrate. 

1. Middlesex House of Detention (Clerkenwell). 

2. Newgate. 

3. Horsemonger Lane Jail.f 

B. Lo^-ups — for persons i^motM to committal by a magistrate. 

1. Metropolitan Police Cells. 

2. City do do.J 

%* Of the Prison Population of London. — ^The number of offenders said to pass annually 
through the metropolitan prisons is stated at about 36,000. These statistics, however, are 
of rather ancient date, and proceed from no very reliable source. We will therefore 
endeavour to sum up, with as much precision as possible, the great army of criminals that 
pass through the several jails of London in ih.e course of the year : — 

* ThU is the Oovemment term;— the lav diatinguiflhiDg between a " oonyict" (or, llterallj, a 
felon) and a " convicted misdemeanant." 

t This is the only existing Common Jail in London, i. «., the only place where debtors are still confined 
under the same roof as felons. 

t The cant or thieves' names for the several London prisons or " storbons " (Ger. ge-^torhen^ dead, and 
hence a place of execution), is as follows : — 

Pentonville Prison The Model, 

Millbank Prison „ 'TVncA (abbieTiated from Penitentiary). 

The Hulks, or any Public Works . . . „ Boat, 
£[ouse of Correction, Coldbath Fields . . . „ SteeL 
House of Correction, Tothill Fields . . • „ Downs, 
City Bridewell, Bridge Street, Blackfriars . , yy (Hd Soree. 

Newgate „ Start, 

Horsemonger Lane Jail „ Zam. \ 










PentonviUe Prison (a.d. 1854-5) 




Total Populatioii of the London Convict Prisons 
City House of Correction (a.d. 1854-5) 
TothiU Fields 

Total Population of the Correctional Prisons 
House of Detention ...... 


Horsemonger Lane Jail ..... 

Total Population of the Detentional Prisons 

Grand Total of the Population of the London Prisons 
Metropolitan Police Stations (1854) 
City Police Stations >> • 

Total Population of the London Police Stations . 

Total Population of all London Prisons an<i Lock-ups 















But a considerable proportion of this large number of prisoners appear more than once in 
the returns, as they pass from the police-stations, after eommittal by the magistrates, to the 
detentional prisons, there to await their trial, and are thence transferred, after canviotion, 
either to correctional or ''conyicf prisons, according as they are condemned to longer or 
shorter terms of imprisonment. Moreover, even of those condemned to three, or indeed to 
six, months' imprisonment, many appear repeatedly in the a^^regate of the correctional 
prisons for the entire year; so that it becomes extremely difficult to state, with any exactitude, 
-what may be the number of different offenders who enter the London prisons in the course 
of twelve months. The sum-total may, however, be roughly estimated at about 20,000 
individuals ; for this is a little less than the aggregate of the convict and correctional prisons 
of the Metropolis, and of course includes those passing first through the detentional prisons 
and lock-ups, the difference between that aggregate and the sum of the convict and correc- 
tional prisons being a set-off against those who appear more than once in the year at the 
houses of correction. 

This, however, is the eueeeame prison population for the whole year; the simuUaneoue prison 
population, on the other hand, for taij particular ^p&ciod of the year, maybe cited at somewhere 
about 6,000 individuals ; for, according to the Government returns, there were at the time 
of taking the last Census rather more than that number of criminals confined within 

* Th« tetmns aboTe given rest upon the following authority : — The number of oriminalfl in the oonviot 
prisons is quoted from the Beports of those prisons. The numbers of the correctional and detentional prisons 
have been kindly and expressly furnished by the Gtovemors of those institutions respeotiyely; whilst 
those of the Metropolitan Police are copied from the last report on the subject, and those of the City Police 
•applied by the Commissioner. 

Hie number of debtors confined in the Metropolitan prisons in the summer of 1855 was as follows :-« 
Whitecroes Street Prison (on the 18th August, 1855) .... 233 
Queen's Bench „ .... 134 

Honemon^ Lane Jail (on the 2(Kh August, 1855) .... 46 



the metropolitan jails — end this is very nearly the population of the entire town of Folke- 

Further, the gross annual expense of these same criminal prisons of London is about 
£1 70,000, or very nearly one-third of all the prisons in England and Wales, which, according 
to the Goyemment returns, cost, in round numbers, £385,000 per annum.f 

%* Of the Character of the London CHminaU. — ^Li the Eeport of the Constabulary Com- 
missioners, published in 1837, and which remains the most trustworthy and practical treatise 
on the criminal classes that has yet been published — ^the information having been derived 
from the most eminent and experienced prison and police authorities — ^there is a definition 
of predatory crime, which expresses no theoretical view of the subject, but the bare fact — 
referring habitual dishonesty neither to ignorance nor to drunkenness, nor to poverty, nor to 
over-crowding in towns, nor to temptation from surrounding wealth, nor, indeed, to any one 
of the many indirect causes to which it is sometimes referred, but simply declariug it to 
''proceed from a disposition to acquire property with a less degree of labour than ordinary 
industry/' Hence the predatory class are the non-working class — that is to say, those who 

* The gross number of prisoners passing through the prisons of England and Wales, in the coune of the 
year 1849, was as under :— 

Criminals of both sexes 157,273 

Debtors 9,669 

Total 166,942 

Hence it follows that the criminals passing annually through the London prisons (43,834) form more than 
one- third of the entire number passing, in the same period, through all the prisons of England and Wales; for 
out of every 1000 offenders entering the jails throughout the whole country during the twelvemonth, 284 
appear in Uie jails of London alone. 

Such is the guceessive ratio between the prisoners confined in the London prisons, and those of all England 
and Wales. The timultaneom ratio on the other hand is as follows : — 
The number of prisoners (debtors inclusive) confined in the prisons of England and Wales on the day 

of taking the last Census was 23,768 

The number of prisoners confined in the London prisons on the same day 6,188 

Thus it appears that in every 1000 prisoners confined in the prisons of England and Wales at one and tlie 
same time, 280 belong to London. 

t The total yearly expense of the scYeral London prisons (exdusiTO of repairs, alterations, and additions), 
a^d the average cost per head, is as follows : — 

Total Exp««.. ,^^„ 

rtwrirf iVwoiM— £ s, d. £ «, A 

Pentonville (a.d. 1854-55) 14,912 18 9 26 11 8 

Millbank „ 83,175 6 25 10 4 

Brixton „ 12,218 17 9 1 

Hulks at Woolwich „ 26,297 9 10 27 13 

Correetumal Prisons — 

Coldbath Fields „ 30,067 18 1 21 18 8 

Tothill Fields (a.d. 1849) 14,798 16 19 9 10} 

City House of Correc ion, Holloway (a.d. 1854-56) . . 4,599 8 3) 25 7 lOJ 

Surrey House of Correction, Wandsworth „ , . 12,158 4 4 18 8 7i 

Deieniional Prisons — 

House of Detention (a.d. 1854-55) 7,141 9 1 55 4 2 

Newgate „ 6,800 6 2 87 8 2 

HorsemongerLane Jail (inclusive of debtors),, . 4,693 19 30 8j 

Now, by the above list, the items of which have been mostly supplied expressly for this work by the 
officials, it will be found that the total expense of all the London prisons for one year amounts to 
£158,733 Is. Id.; whilst, according to the Fifteenth Report of the Prison Inspectors, the total expense of 
all the prisons in England and Wales is £385,704 IBs. Aid,, so that the cost of the London priaona ia 
nearly one-half o( those throughout the whole of the country. 


[From PhtitsgTipliibjiEcitertWatUni, ITS, RegfatSUvet.) 


lore to *' shake a firee leg/' and lead a roving life, as they term it, rather than settle down 
to any continnoxiB employment. 

To inquire, therefore, into the mode and means of living peculiar to the criminal classes, 
involves an investigation into the character and causes of crime. Grime, vice, and sin are 
three terms used for the infraction of three different kinds of laws — social, moral, and 
religions. Crime, for instance, is the tran^ression of some social law, even as vice is the 
breach of some moral law, and sin the violation of some religious one. These laws often 
difGer only in emanating from different authorities, the infraction of theiti being simply an 
offence against a different power. To thieve, however, is to offend, at once socially, morally, 
and religiously ; for not only does the social, but the moral and religious law, one and all, 
enjoin that we should respect the property of others. 

But there are offences against the social powers other than those committed by 
snch as object to labour for their livelihood ; for the crimes perpetrated by the professional 
criminals are, so to speak, habitual ones, whereas those perpetrated occasionally by the 
other classes of society are aecidental crimes, arising from the pressure or concomitance of 
a variety of circumstances. 

Here, then, we have a most important and fundamental distinction. All crimes, and 
consequently all criminals, are divisible into two different classes, the habitwd and the eaeual 
— ^that is to say, there are two distinct orders of people continually offending against the 
laws of society, viz. (1) those who indulge in dishonest practices as a regular means of 
living ; (2) those who are dishonest from some accidental cause. 

Now, it is impossible to arrive at any accurate knowledge of the subject of crime and 
criminals generally, without first making this analysis of the several species of offences 
according to their causes ; or, in other words, without arranging them into distinct groups 
or classes, accordmg as they arise, either from an habitual indisposition to labour on the part 
of some of the offenders, or from the temporary pressure of circumstances upon others. 

The official returns on this subject are as unphilosophic as the generality of such 
documents, and consist of a crude mass of incongruous facts, being a statisticsd illustration of 
the ^'ruiie fndi^estaque moles " in connection with a criminal chaos, and where a murderer is 
classed in the same category with the bigamist, a sheep-stealer with the embezzler, and the 
Irish rebel or traitor grouped vrith the keeper of a disorderly house, and he, again, with the 
poacher and perjurer. 

Thus the several crimes committed throughout the country are officially arranged under 
four heads : — 

1. Offmeee againtt the person — including murder, rape, bigamy, attempts to procure 

miscarriage, and common assaults. 

2. Offences against property, (a) With violence — as burglary, robbery, piracy, and 

sending menacing letters, (b) Without violence— including cattle-stealing, 
larceny by servants, embezzling, and cheating, (c) Malicious offences against 
property — as arson, incendiarism, maiming cattle, &c. 
8. Forgenfy and offences against the ewrrency — ^under which head are comprised tiie 

forging of wills, bank notes, and coining. 
4. Other offences — ^including high treason, poaching, working illicit stills, perjury, 
brothel-keeping, &c. 
M. Guerry, the eminent French statist, adopts a far more philosophic arrangement, and 
divides the several crimes into — 

1. Grimes against the State — as high treason, &c. 

2. Crimes against personal safety — as murder, assault, &c. 

3. Crimes against morals (with or without violence) — as rape, bigamy, &c. 

4. Qrimes against property (proceeding from cupidity, or malice) — as larceny, embezzle- 
ment, incenduurism, and the like. • 


The same fdndamental error, however, which renders the legal and official classification 
comparatiyely worthless, deprives that of the French philosopher of all practical value. It 
gives us no knowledge of the people conunitting the crimes, since the offences are classified 
according to the objects against which they are committed, rather than the causes and 
passions giving rise to them ; and such an arrangement consequently sinks into a mere system 
of criminal mnemonics, or easy method of remembering the several crimes. The classes in 
both systems are but so many mental pigeon-holes for the arbitrary separation of the various 
infractions of the law, and farther than this they cannot serve us. 

Whatever other information the inquirer may desire, he must obtain for himself. If he 
wish to learn something as to the causes of the crimes, and consequently as to the character 
and passions of the criminals themselves, he must begin d$ novo ; and using the official facts, 
but rejecting the official system of classification, proceed to arrange all the several offences 
into two classes, according as they are of a professional or casual character, committed by 
habitual or occasional offenders. 

Adopting this principle, it will be found that the crimes committed by the casual 
offenders consist mainly of murder, assaults, incendiarism, ravishment, bigamy, em- 
bezzlement, high treason, and the like; for it is evident that none can make a trade 
or profeusion of the commission of these crimes, or resort to them as a regular means of 

The habitual crimes, on the other hand, will be generally found to include bui^lary, 
robbery, poaching, coining, smuggling, working of illicit stills, larceny from the person, 
simple larceny, &c., because each and all of these are regular crafts, requiring almost the 
same apprenticeships as any other mode of life— house-breaking, and picking pockets, and 
working illicit stills, being crafts to which no man without some previous training can adapt 

Hence, to ascertain whether the number of these dishonest handicrafts — ^for such they 
really are — ^be annually on the increase or not, is to solve the most important portion of the 
criminal problem. It is to learn whether crime pursued as a special profession or business 
is being augmented among us — ^to discover whether the criminal class, as a distinct body of 
people, is or is not on the advance. 

The casual or accidental crimes, on the other hand, will furnish us with equally curious 
results, showing a yearly impress of the character of the times ; for these, being only occasional 
offences, the number of such offenders in different years will of course give us a knowledge 
of the intensity of the several occasions inducing the crimes of such years. 

The accidental crimes, classified according to their causes, may be said to consiBt of 

1. Crimes of BnttaUty and Malice^ exercised either against the person or property of 

the object — as murder, intents to maim or do bodily harm, manslaughter, 
assaults, kiUing and maiming cattle, ill-treating animals, malicious destruction 
of property, setting fire to crops, arson, &c. 

2. Crimes of Lusty Perverted Appetites, and Indecency — as rape, carnally abusing girls, 

unnatural crimes, indecently exposing the person, bigamy, abduction, &c. 

3. Crimes of Shame — as concealing the birth of infants, attempts to procure mis- 

carriage, &c. 

4. Crimes of Temptation, or Cttpidity, with or without broach of trust — as embezzle- 

ment, larceny by servants, illegal pawning, forgery, &o. 

5. Crimes of Evil Speaking — as perjury, slander, libel, sending menacing letters, &c. 

6. Crimes of Political Prejudicu — as high treason, sedition, &c. 

Those who resort to crime as a means of subsistence when in extreme want, cannot be 
said to belong to those who prefer idleness to labouring for their living, since many such 
would willingly work to increase their sustenance, if that end were attainable by these means ; 
but the poor shirt-makey, slop-tailors, and the like, have not the power of earning more 


f^ian. the barest sabsistence by their labour, so that the pawning of the work intrusted to 
them by their employers becomes an act to which they are immediately impelled for " dear 
life," on the occurrence of the least iUness or mishap among them. Sudi offenders, therefore, 
belong more properly to those who cannot work for their lining, or rather, cannot live by 
their working ; and though they offend against the laws in the same maimer as those who 
object to work, they certainly cannot be said to belong to the same class. 

The AoM^im/ criminals, on the other hand, are a distinct body of people. Such classes ap- 
pertain to even the rudest nations, they being, as it were, the human parasites of every ciTilized 
and barbarous community. The Hottentots have their " Sonqms" and the Kaffirs their 
**Fmgoes,^* as we have our " prigs" and '' cadgers." Those who object to labour for the 
food they consume appear to be part and parcel of every State — an essential element of the 
social £a,bric. Gh) where you will — ^to whar comer of the ear& you please — search out or 
propound what new-fangled or obsolete form of society you may — ^you will be sure to find some 
members of it more apathetic than the rest, who will object to work ; even as there will be 
some more infirm than others, who are unable, though willing, to earn their own living ; and 
some, again, more thrifty, who, from their prudence and their savings, will have no need to 
labour for their subsistence. 

These several forms are but the necessary consequences of specific differences in the 
constitution of different beings. Circumstances may tend to give an unnatural development 
to either one or the other of the classes. The criminal class, the pauper class, or the wealthy 
class may be in excess in one form of society as compared with another, or they may be 
repressed by certain social arrangements — nevertheless, to a greater or less degree, there they 
wiUy and, we believe, mmt ever be. 

Since, then, there is an essentialLy distinct class of persons who have an innate aversion to 
any settled industry, and since work is a necessary condition of the human organization, the 
qnestion becomes, '' How do such people live ?" There is but one answer — ^If they will not 
labooT to procure their own food, of coprse they must live on the food procured by the labour 
of others. 

The means by which the criminal classes obtain their living constitute the essential points 
of difference among them, and form, indeed, the methods of distinction among themselves. 
The ^'Rampsmen," the " Drunmiers," the ''Mobsmen," the *' Sneaksmen," and the *'Sho- 
fiilmen," which are the terms by which the thieves themselves designate the several branches 
of the ** profession," are but so many expressions indicating the several modes of obtaining 
the property of which they become possessed. 

The ** Bamptmany* or " Craehmnan,*^ plunders by force — as the burglar, footpad, &c. 

The "2^»w»^' plunders by stupe&ction — as the '* hocusser." 

The "JH^^ffmm" plunders by manual dexterity — as the pickpocket. 

The " SneaJtsnum*' plunders by stealth — as the petty-larceny boy. And 

The *' Shqfuknan*^ plunders by counterfeits — as the coiner. 

Now, each and all of these are a distinct species of the criminal genus, having little or no 
connection with the others. The " cracksman," or housebreaker, would no more think of 
associating with the *' sneaksman," than a banister would dream of sitting down to dinner 
with an attorney. The perils braved by the housebreaker or the footpad, make the cowardice 
of the sneaksman contemptible to him ; and the one is distinguished by a kind of bull-dog 
insensibflity to danger, while the other is marked by a low, cat-like cunning. 

The ** Mobsman," on the other hand, is more of a handicraftsman than either, and is 
comparatively refined, by the society he is obliged to keep. He usually dresses in the same 
elaborate style of fiuhion as a Jew on a Saturday (in which case he is more particularly described 
by the prefix ''sweU"), and "mixes" generally in the "best of company," frequenting, 
for the purposes of business, all the places of public entertainment, and often being a regular 
attendant at churoh, and the more elegant chapels— especially during charity sermons. The 


mobsman takes his name &om the gregarions habits of the class to which he belongs, it being 
necessary for the successful picking of pockets that the work be done in small gangs or mobs, 
80 as to " cover" the operator. 

Among the sneaksmen, again, the purloiners of animals (such as the horse-stealere, the 
sheep-stealers, &c.) aU— with the exception of the dog-stealers — ^belong to a particular tribe f 
these are agiicultural thieves ; whereas the mobsmen are generally of a more civic character. 

The shoftdmen, or coiners, moreover, constitute another species ; and upon them, like 
the others, is impressed the stamp of the peculiar line of roguery they may chance to follow 
as a means of subsistence. 

Such are the more salient features of that portion of the habitually dishonest classes, who 
live by taking what they want from others. The other moiety of the same class, who live 
by getting what they want given to them, is equally peculiar. These consist of the " Flat- 
catchers," the "Hunters," and " Charley* Pitchers," the ''Bouncers," and ''Besters," the 
" Cadgers," and the "Vagrants." 

The ^* Flat-catchers^* obtain their means by false pretences — ^as swindlers, duffers, ring- 
droppers, and cheats of all kinds. 

The ** Sunters" and " Charley Fitcheri* live by low gaming — as thimblerig-men. 

The ^^Bwmceri* and "Beeters** by betting, intimidating, or talking people out of their 

The " Cadgersj* by begging and exciting false sympathy. 

The '* VagrawU^'' by declaring on the casual ward of the parish workhouse. 

Each of these, again, are unmistakably distinguished from the rest. The " Flat'Catchers" 
are generally remarkable for great shrewdness, especially in the knowledge of human charac- 
ter, and ingenuity in deogning and carrying out their several schemes. The " Charley 
Pitchers" appertain more to the conjuring or sleight-of-hand and black-leg class. The 
" Cadgers," on the other hand, are to the class of cheats what the " Sneaksman" is to the 
thieves — ^the lowest of all — ^being the least distinguished for those characteristics which mark 
the other members of the same body. As the " Sneaksman" is the least daring and expert 
of all the "prigs," so is the " Cadger'' the least intellectual and cunning of all the cheats. A 
" Shallow cove" — ^that is to say, one who exhibits himself half-naked in the streets, as a 
means of obtaining his living — ^is looked upon as the most despicable of all creatures, 
since the act requires neither courage, intellect, nor dexterity for the execution of it. 
Lastly, the " Vagrants" are the wanderers — ^the English Bedouins — ^those who, in their own 
words, "love to shake a fr«e leg" — ^the thoughtless and the careless vagabonds of our race. 

Such, then, are the characters of the habitual criminals, or professionally dishonest 
classes — ^the vagrants, beggars, cheats, and thieves — each order expressing some different 
mode of existence adopted by those who hate working for their living. The vagrants, who 
love a roving life, exist principally by declaring on the parish frmds for the time being; the 
be^ars, as deficient in courage and intellect as in pride, prefer to live by soliciting alms 
from the public ; the cheats, possessed of considerable cunning and ingenuity, choose rather 
to subsist by fraud and deception ; the thieves, distinguished generally by a hardihood and 
comparative disregard of danger, find greater delight in risking their liberty and taking 
what they want, instead of waiting to have it given to them. 

In prisons, the criminals are usually divided into first, second, and third class prisoners, 
according ^ the amount of education they have received. Among the first, or well-educated 
class, are generally to be found the casual criminals, as forgers, embezzlers, &c.; the second, or 
imperfectly educated class, contains a large proportion of the town criminals — ^as pickpockets, 
smashers, thimblerig-men, &c. ; whilst the third, or comparatively uneducated class, is mostly 

* A *' Charley Pitcher" seema to be one who pitches to the Ceorla (A. S. for countryman), and hence is 
oqiuyalent to the term Tokd-hunUir. 



made np of tiho lower kind of city thieves, as well as the agricultnral labourers who have turned 
sheep-stealers, and the like. Of these three classes, the first and the last furnish the greater 
number of cases of reformation, whilst the middle class is exceedingly difficult of real 
improyementy though the most ready of all io feign conyersion. 

As regards the criminal period of life, we shall find, upon calculating the ratio between 
the criminals of different ages, that by far the largest proportion of such people is to be found 
between the ages of 15 and 25. This period of life is known to physiologists to be that at 
which the character or ruling principle is deyeloped. Up to fifteen, the will or yoHtion of an 
individual is almost in abeyance, and the youth consequently remains, in the greater number of 
cases, under the control of his parents, acting according to their directions. After fifteen, how- 
ever, the parental dominion begins to be shaken ofi^, and the being to act for himself, having 
acquired, as the phrase runs, '' a wiU of his own." This is the most dangerous time of 
life to all characters ; whilst to those who fall among bad companions, or whose natures 
are marked by vicious impulses, it is a term of great trouble and degradation. The 
ratio between the population of 1 5 and 25 years of age and that of all ages, throughout Eng- 
land and Wales, is but 19-0 per cent. ; whereas the ratio between prisoners from 15 to 25 years 
old and those of all ages is, for England and Wales, as high as 48*7 ; and for the Metropolis, 
49'6 per cent.; so that whilst the young men and women form hardly one-fifth of dU olassesy 
they constitute very nearly one-htdf of the eriminal dass. The boys in prison are found to 
be the most difficult to deal with, for among these occur the greater number of refractory 

§ 1— a. 


The Convict Prisons of the Metropolis, as we have ehown, consist of four distinct establish- 
ments—distinct, not only in their localities, but also in the character of their construction, 
as well as in the discipline to which the inmates are submitted. At PentonviUe Prison, 
for instance, the convicts are treated under a modified form of the " separate system" — at 
MiUbank the ''mixed system'' is in force ; and, at the Hulks, on the other hand, the prisoners, 
though arranged in wards, have but little restraint imposed upon their intercommunication ; 

* The folluwing tables, copied from the Census of 1851, fumiBh the data for the above statements :~ 


From 5 to 10 


old 20 

From 40 to 46 




From 76 to 80 yean 

old 23 

„ 10 „ 15 



„ 46 „ 60 



„ 80 „ 86 „ 


„ 16 „ 20 



„ 60 „ 65 



„ 85 „ 90 „ 


n 20 „ 25 



„ 65 „ 60 



„ 90 „ 06 „ 


26 . 30 


60 .. 66 


» 30 „ 36 


„ 65 „ 70 




Total of ages 


» 85 „ 40 



„ 70 „ 76 



Per oentage of pnaonen between 16 and 26 to those of all ages, 48*7 

Total population of all ages in England and Wales 

Ditto between 15 and 25 years in ditto . . • . . . 


Per otntago of persons between 16 and 26 years to persons of all ages, 19*0 


From 6 to 10 years old 



10 „ 15 
16 „ 20 
20 „ 15 
26 „ 30 
30 „ 36 









From 35 to 40 years old 


40 „ 45 
45 „ 60 
60 „ 65 
66 „ 60 
60 „ 66 



From 66 to 70 years old 
70 „ 76 
75 „ 80 
80 ,. 85 







Total of all ages 6,188 

Percentage of London prisoners between 15 and 25 to those of all ages, 49*6. 


whilst at Brixton, which is an establishment for fbmale conyicts only, a different course of 
treatment, again, is adopted. 

The convict prisons, with the exception of the Hulks, were formerly merely the receiving- 
houses for those who had been sentenced by law to be banished, or rather transported, 
from the kingdom. 

The system of transportation is generally dated as far back as the statute for the banish- 
ment of dangerous rogues and vagabonds, which was passed in the 39th year of Elizabeth's 
reign ; and James I. was the first to have felons transported to America, for in a letter he 
conmianded the authorities '' to send a hundred dissolute persons to Yirginia, that the Knight- 
Marshal was to deliver for that purpose.'' 

Transportation, however, is not spoken of in any Act of Parliament until the 18th Charles 
n., c. 3, which empowers the judges either to sentence the moss-troopers of Cumberland and 
Northumberland to be executed or transported to America for Hfe. ^Nevertheless, this mode 
of punishment was not commonly resorted to prior to the year 1718 (4th Gborge I., c. 2) ; 
for, by an Act passed in that year, a discretionary power was given to judges to order felonsy 
who were entitled to the benefit of clergy, to be transported to the American plantations ; and, 
under this and other Acts, transportation to America continued from the year 1718 till the 
oommenoement of the War of Independence, 1775. During that period, England was 
repeatedly reproached by foreign nations for banishing, as felons, persons whose ofiences 
were comparatively venial — one John Eyre, Esq., a gentleman of fortune, having, among 
others, been sentenced to transportation for stealing a few quires of paper (November 1st, 
1771) ; and, even as recently as the year 1818, the Rev. Dr. Halloran having been trans- 
ported for forging a frank to cover a tenpenny postage. 

After the outbreak of the American War, a plan for the establishment of penitentiaries 
was taken into consideration by Parliament, but not carried out with any vigour ; for in the 
year 1 784, transportation was resumed, and an Act passed, empowering the King in council 
to transport offenders to any place beyond the seas, either within or without the British 
dominions, as his Majesty might appoint ; and two years afterwards an order in council was 
published, fixing upon the eastern coast of Australia, and the adjacent islands, as the friture 
penal colonies. In the month of May, 1787, the first band of transports left this country for 
Botany Bay, and in the succeeding year, founded the colony of New South Wales. 

This system of transporting felons to Australia continued in such force that, in fifty years 
from the date of its introduction (1787 — 1836), 100,000 convicts (including 13,000 women) 
had been shipped off fr^m this country to the Australian penal colonies. This is at the rate 
of 2,000 per annum ; and according to the returns published up to the time that the practice 
was modified by Parliament, such would appear to have been the average number of felons 
annually sent out of the country : thus — 

In 1851. 1852. 
The number of prisoners remaining in the Convict Prisons throughout 

the Kingdom at the beginning of the year was . . .6,130 6,572 

The number received during the year 2,903 2,953 

The total convict population during the year . . . 9,033 9,525 
The number embarked for penal settlements, and otherwise disposed . 

of 2,548 2,658* 

The number remaining in convict prisons at the end of the year . 6,485 6,867 

* The nomben embarked in these yean for the penal colonies were 2,224 in 1851, and 2,345 in 1862. 
There vera, moreoTer, 87 oonricta in 1851, and 43 in 1852 remoyed to other inatitutiona ; and 147 pardoned 
in the first year, and 125 in the aeoood. Beaidea theae, 9 eacaped, and 111 died in the one year, and 14 and 
187 in the other year. 



In the month of Angxut, 1853^ an Act (16 and 17 Yict., c. 99) was passed, " to snbsti- 
tate, in certain oases, other punishment in lieu of transportation ;" and by this it was ordained, 
that " whereas, by reason of the dificnlty of transporting offenders beyond the seas, it has 
become expedient to substitate some other ptiniahment ;" therefore, ''no person shall be sen- 
tenced to transportation for any term less than fourteen years, and* only those conyeyed be- 
yond the seas who have been sentenced to transportation for life, or for fourteen years and 
upwards;" so that transportation for the term of seven or ten years was then and there 
abolished, a term of four years' penal servitude being substituted in lieu of the former, 
and six years' penal servitude instead of the latter. 

This Act was passed, we repeat, in August 1853, and accordingly we find a great 
difference in the number of convicts embarked in that and the following years, die Qovem- 
ment returns beiDg as follows : — 

In 1853. 1854. 1855. 
The number of convicts remaining in the convict prisons through- 
out the kingdom, at the beginning of the year, was . 6,873 7,718 7,744 
The number received during the year .... 2,854 2,378 2,799 

The total convict population . . . 9,227 10,096 10^543 

Disposed of during the year — 

Embarked for Western Australia, In 1853. 

and Gibraltar 
Bemoved to other institutions 

Expiration of sentence 
Died . 

Total disposed of 






















2,322 4,006 

The number remaining in the convict prisons at the end of the year 7, 760 7,774 6,537 

Hence we perceive that, though the Act for abolishing the shorter terms of transportation 
was passed only at the end of the summer of 1853, the number of transports embarked in 
the course of the year, had decreased from 2,224 in 1851, and 2,345 in 1852, to 700 in 1853, 
280 in 1854, and 1,312 in 1855; whilst the number of pardons, which was only 147 in 
1851, and 125 in 1852, had risen as high as 560 in 1853, and 1,826 in 1854, and 2,491 in 
1855 — ^no less than 276 convicts having been liberated in the course of 1853, and 1,801 in 
1854, and 2,459 in 1855, under '< an order of license," or ticket-of-leave, as it is sometimes 
called, an item which, till lately, had not made its appearance in the home convict returns. 

Now, it forms no part of our present object to weigh the advantages and disadvantages 
of the altered mode of dealing with our convicts. We have only to set forth the history 
and statistics of the matter, for we purpose, in this section, merely estimating the convict 
population of the Metropolis, and comparing it with that of the country in general. 

Well, by the preceding returns we have shown that the convict population of Great 
Britain averages rather more than 9,000 individuals, whilst the convict population of 
the ICetropolis may be stated at upwards of 3,000, so that London would appear to contain 
about one-third of the whole, or as many convicts as there are people in the town of 

We have shown, moreover, that this same convict population is annually increased by 
an influx of between 2,000 and 3,000 fresh prisoners, so that in a few years the band of 
oozLvicted felons would amount to a considerable army among us if retained at home. 'Nor 



do we say this with any view to alarm society as to the dangers of abolishing transpor- 
tation, for, in our opinion, it is unworthy of a great and wise nation to make a moral dnst-bin 
of its colonies, and, by thrusting the revise of its population from under its nose, to believe 
that it is best consulting the social health of its people at home. Our present purpose is 
simply to draw attentioit to the fact that—despite our array of schools, and prison-chaplains, 
and refined systems of penal discipline, and large army of police, besides the vast increase of 
churches and chapels — our felon population increases among us as fast as fungi in a rank 
and foBtid atmosphere. 

KoW'the gross cost of maintaining our immense body of couTicted felons is not yery far 
short of a quarter of a million of money, the returns of 1854-5 showing that the maintexiance 
and guardianship of 8,359 convicts cost, within a fraction, £219,000, which is at the rate of 
about £26 per head. 

The cost of the four London establishments would appear to be altogether £86,600 
a-year, which is, upon an average, £24 13«. 2d. for the food and care of each man.* 

* The following table is abridged from the retoma of the Stmreyor-General of Pnaona :— 



SaUtries of Principal 
Officers and Clerks, 
and Wages of Infe- 
rior Officers andSer- 
TantB, and of Mann- 
footnring or Labour 
Department ... 

Cost of Rations and 

Uniforms for Offl. 

oers and Serranta • 

Vlotoalling Prisoners 

Clothing Prisoners 

Bedding Prisoners . 

Clothing andTraTd- 
Ung Expenses of Pri- 
soners on Liberation 

Fnd and Light flor 
General Pnipoees . 

Other Expenses . . 

Gross Total . . , . 


561 Prisoners. 


£ «. d. 

5,971 6 6 


5,105 2 

1,262 5 

147 5 S 




14,912 18 9 


1,800 Prisoners. 


Gross Cost. 

£ ». dA £ *. d. 

10 12 ID 

1 6 
9 2 

2 5 
5 8 


1 4 10 
1 18 1 

26 11 8 

18,871 6 








38,175 6 25 10 4 

Oost per 

£ «. d. 

10 5 8 

1 14 6 
7 10 



2 6 2 

18 6 

700 Prisoners. 

Gross Cost 

£ «. d. 

8,878 10 







964 10 

Cost per 

£ $, d. 

4 16 2 

15 2 

1 15 

7 1 

1 2 10 
1 7 10 

12,218 0,17 9 1 

Woolwich Hulks. 
951 Prisoners. 

Gross Ooet 

£ «. d. 

Oost per 

£ s. d. 



8,809 Prisonen. 

Gross Cost. 


8,214 6 7 

1,782 11 10 

9,034 10 


475 10 

1,066 2 10 

676 4 6 
2,196 5 2 

28,297 9 10 

8 12 9 

1 17 5 

9 10 


1 2 5 

14 2 

2 6 8 

72,014 8 6 


74,816 2 

24,841 6 

2,778 6 3 




27 18 Ol218,961 15 9 

Cost per 

£ «. tf. 

8.13 4 

1 IS 
8 19 

2 19 


16 S 


1 IS II 

26 8 10 

The following is an estimate of the oost of tnnsportang and taking care of 100,000 convicts in the penal 
cobnies, from the year 1786 to March 1837— about fifty years :— 

Cost of Transport £2,729,790 

Diflborsement for Oeneral ConTiot and Colonial Sendees . 4,001,681 

Military Expenditure 1,632,302 

Ordnance . . . . ' 29,846 


Deduct for Fremiam on Bills 


The ayerage oost of transport for each conviot was £28 per head, and the yaiious expenses of naideiioo and 


^55MlM?*— § 1— a. 


We haTB add {hat at each of the different priaons of the Metropolia a different mode of treatment, or 
diaeipline, is adopted towarda the priaonera. Henoe it hecomee expedient, in order that the general reader 
nay be in a poeition to Judge aa to the oharaoter of the London priaona, that we ahould giro a brief account 
of the 86Teral kxnda of priaon diaeipline at present in foroe. 

*«* QmdUioH of the Priaona «• the Oldan Tima, — The hiatory of priion improyements in this country 
begina with the laboura of Howard. In the year 1775 he published hia work entitled, '* The State of the 
Prisona in Sngland and Walea; " and in the first section of this he gave a summary of the abuses which then 
•ziatad in the management of criminals. These abuaea were principally of a physical and moral kind. 
Under the one head were compriaed — bad food, bad yentilation, and bad drainage ; and under the other- 
want of dasaification, or separation among the inmates, so that each prison waa not only a scene of riot and 
lawleaa revelry, and filth and ferer, but it waa also a college for young criminals, where the juyenile offender 
ooold be duly educated in yice by the more experienced professors of iniquity.* 

Pormerly, we are told, the prisons were fiEunned out to indiyiduals, willing to take charge of the inmates 

pimiahment £54; or, altogether, £82 per head. The ayerage annual expense entailed upon this country by 
the penal colonies, since the commencement of transportation to 1837, amounted to £160,000. 

Since Uie latter period, howeyer, the cost of transportation and maintenance of oonyicts abroad has 
oonaiderably increased, the Goyemment estimate for the Gonyict Service for 1852-8 haying been aa follows : — 

Transport to Australian Coloniea £95,000 

Tranaport to Bermuda and Gibraltar 6,041 

Gonyict Service at Australian Coloniea . 188,744 

Convict Service at Bermuda and Gibraltar .... 48,842 

In 1858 there were 6,212 convicts in Australia, and 2,650 in Bermuda and Gibraltar. 
The groas annual expense for tiie convict service in 1852-3, inclusive of the convict prisons at home, 
waa estimated by the Surveyor-General at £587,294; whereaa the estimatea for the modification of the 
system, in substituting imprisonment at home for a proportion of the sentences of transportation abroad, are 


Tears. Kvmberof Tears. Number of Teaxi. Number of Tears. Number of 

Arrirala. ArriTals. Anivals. Arrivals. 

1831 2,241 1836 2,565 1841 3,488 1846 2,444 

1832 1,401 1837 1,547 1842 5,520 1847..: ..1,186 

1833 2,672 1838 2,224 1843 8,727 1848 1,158 

1834 1,531 1889 1,441 1844 4,966 1849 1,729 

1845 2,493 1840 1,865 1845 3,357 1850 2,894 

Total in each _— . ■ ' 

5yesia 10,338 9,142 21,058 9,411 

Total in each 10 yean.. 19,480 30,469 

Total in 20 years 49,949 

Average per annum 2,497 

* It appears, by parliamentary returoB, aays the Fifth Beport of the Prison Discipline Society, that, in the year 1818, out 
of 518 pitems in the United Kingdom (to wMch upwarda of 107,000 penone were omnmitted in the ooune of that year) 
iniSof aoeh priaona only the Inmates were aeparated or divided aooordlng to law ; in 69 of the number, there waa no diTisicm 
whatever— not even aeparation of males ftom females ; in 186 there was only one division of the inmates into separate cltimiee, 
thoof h the Sith George III., eap. 84, had enjoined that eleven snoh divisions should be made ; in 68 there were but two 
HMdaoB, and ao on ; whilst in only S3 were the prisoners separated according to the statute. Again, in 445 of the 618 prisons 
no work of any description had been introduced. And in the remaining 78, the onployment carried on waa of the slightest 
irotiiMff description. Farther, in 100 jails, wUdi had been built to contain only 8,545 prisoners, there were at one time aa 
naay as 18,057 peracna confined. The olasaUlcation ei^oined by the Act above mentioned waa aa follows :— (1) Prisonora 
oanvietcd of felony ; (2) Prisoners committed on charge or suspicion of UUxmj ; (8) Prisoners committed fbr, or adjudged to 
be guilty of, misdemeanours imly ; (4) Debtors ; (S) The males of each claas to be separated from the females ; (6) A separate 
plaee of confinement to be proTided for such priaonera aa are intended to be examined aa wltneseea on behalf of any proseou- 
tianofanyiadietawntfiirfiBlony; (7) Separate Infirmaries, or atek warda, for the men and the women. 


at the allowanoe of iihreepenoe or fompenoe per day for each ; the profit from which, together with fees made 
compolaory on the prisoners when discharged, oonstitated the keeper's salary. The debtor — ^the prisoner dis- 
chai^^ by the expiration of his term of sentence, by acquittal, or pardon from the Grown — had alike to pay 
those fees, or to languish in confinement. A committal to prison, mereoyer, was equivalent, in many cases^ 
to a sentence of death by some frightful disease ; and in all, to suffering by the utmost extremes of hunger 
and cold. One disease, generated by the want of proper ventilation, warmth, cleanliness, and food, beoame 
known as the jail fever. It swept away hundreds every year, and sent out others on their liberation 
miserably enfeebled. So rife was this disorder, that prisoners arraigned in the dock brought with them on 
one occasion such a pestilential halo, as caused many in the court-house to sicken and die. In some jsils men 
and women were together in the day-room ; in all, idleness, obscenity, and blasphemy reigned undisturbed. 
The keeper cared for none of these things. His highest duty was to keep his prisoner safe, and his highest 
aspiration the fees squeezed out of their miserable relatives.— (v. Chaptert en Firisona and Primmen), 

This system of prison libertinism continued down to so recent a period, that even in the year 1829 
Captain Cheeterton found, on entering upon the office of Oovemor of Coldbath Fields Prison, the intomal 
economy of that institution to be as follows : — 

" The best acquainted with the prison," says the Captain, in his Autobiography (vol. ii., p. 247), '' were 

utterly ignorant of the frightful extent of its demoralization The procurement of dishonest 

gains was the only rule — ^from the late governor downwards — end with the exception of one or two offioersi 
too recently appointed to have learned the villainous arcana of the place, all were engaged in a race of fright- 
ful enormity It is impossible for the mind to conceive a spectacle more gross and revolting 

than the internal economy of this polluted spot The great majority of the officers were a 

cunning and e^rttonate crew, practising every species of duplicity and chicanery From one 

end of the prison to the other a vast illicit commerce prevailed, at a rate of profit so exorbitant as none but 
the most elastic consciences could have devised and sustained. The law forbade every species of indulgence, 
and yet there was not one that was not easily purchasable. The first question asked of a prisoner was — 
' Had he any money, or anything that could be turned into money? or would any friend, if written to, advance 
him some P ' and if the answer were affirmative, then the game of spoliation commenced. In some 
instances, as much as seven or eight shillings in the pound went to the turnkey, with a couple of shillings to 
the * yards-man,' who was himself a prisoner, and had purchased his appointment fh>m the turnkey, at a 
cost of never less than five pounds, and frequently more. Then a fellow called the ' passage-man ' would 
put in a claim also, and thus the prison novice would soon discover that he was in a place where fees were 

exorbitant and chvges multiplied If a sense of injustice led him to complain, he was called ' a 

nose,' and had to run the gauntlet of the whole yard, by passing through a double tile of scoundrels, whoy 
facing inwards, assailed him with short ropes or well-knotted handkerchiefr. .... The poor and 
friendless prisoner was a wretchedly oppressed man ; he was kicked and buffeted, made to do any revolting 

work, and dared not complain If a magistrate casually visited the prison, rapid signals 

communicated the fact, and he would walk through something like outward order. . • . • Litde^ how- 
ever, was the unsuspecting justice aware that almost every cell was hollowed out to constitute a hidden 
store, where tobacco and pipes, tea and co£fee, butter and cheese, reposed safe from inquisitive observation ; 
and frequently, besides, bottles of wine and spirits, fish-sauce, and various strange luxuries. In the evening^ 
when farther intrusion was unlooked-for, smoking, and drinking, and singing, tbe recital of thievish exploits, 
and every species of demoralizing conversation prevailed. The prisoners slept three in a cell, or in crowded 
rooms ; and no one, whose mmd was previously imdefiled, oould sustain one pure and honest sentiment 
under a system so frightfully corrupting. • • . • Upon one occasion, during my nightly rounds," con- 
tinues the late goven^or, '*I overheard a young man of really honost principles arguing with two hardened 
scoundrels. He was in prison for theft, but declared that, had it not been for a severe illness, which had 
utterly reduced him, he would never have stolen. His companions laughed at his scruples, and advocated 
general spoliation. In a tone of indignant remonstrance, the young man said, * Surely you would not rob a 
poor countryman, who had arrived in town with only a few shillings in his pocket ! ' Whereupon, one of his 
companions, turning lazily in his crib, and yawning as he did so, exclaimed in answer, * By God Almighty, I 
would rob my own &ther, if I could get a shilling out of him.' " t 

Further, Mr. Hepworth Dixon, writing on the London prisons — even so lately as the year 1850 — says, 
" The mind must be lost to all sense of shame which can witness the abominations of Borsemonger Lane or 
Giltspur Street Compter" (the latter has since been removed), " without feelings of scorn and indignation. In 
OUtspur Street Compter, the prisoners sleep in small cells, little more than half the size of those at Penton* 
ville, though the latter are calculated to be only just large enough for on* inmate, even when ventilated upon 
the best plan that science can suggest But Ihe cell in Giltspur Street Compter is either not ventilated at 
all, or ventilated very imperfectly ; and though little more than half the dimensions of the ' model ceUs ' 
constructed for one prisoner, I have seen^Sps persons locked up at four o'dock in the day, to be there confined 

* PtoM, Watt and Adveniun, tm AuMhgraphjf, by Ghsrles Laval ChestertOiV 


tin the next morning in dBrknees and idleness, to do all the offices of natare, not merely in each other's 
presence, Vut crashed by the narrowness of their den, into a state of filthy contact, which brute beasts would 
hare resisted to the last gasp of life. .... Could five of the purest men in the world liye together in 
SDcfa a manner, without losing eyery attribute of good which had once belonged to them }** 

At Kewgate, on the other hand, continues the same authority, ^* in any of the female wards may be seen 
a we^ before the sessions, a collection of persons of erery shade of guilt and some who are innocent. I 
remember one ease particularly. A servant girl of about sixteen, a fresh-looking healthy creature, recently up 
firom the country, was charged by her mistress with stealing a brooch. She was in the same room— liyed all 
day, slept all night, with the most abandoned of her sex. They were left alone ; they had no work to do, no 
books — except a few tracts, for which they had no taste — ^to read. The whole day was spent, as is usual in 
fliiefa prisons, in telling stories — the gross and guilty stories of their own liyes. There is no form of wickedness, 
no aspect of vice, with which the poor creature's mind would not be compelled to grow funiliar in the few 
weeks which she passed in Newgate awaiting triaL When the day came the eyidenoe against her was found 
to be ntterly lame and weak, and she was at once acquitted. That she entered Newgate innocent, I haye no 
doabt ; but who shall answer for the state in which she left it ? "* 

*0* O/iks Several Kindt ofPrieon DiteipUne, — The aboye statements will giye the reader a faint notion 
of the condition of some of the metropolitan prisons, eyen in our own time. As a remedy for such defective 
prison-economy, no less than fiye different systems haye been proposed and tried. These are as follows :-« 
(1.) The classification of prisoners ; (2.) The silent associated system ; (3.) The separate system ; (4.) The 
mixed system ; (6.) The mark system ; to which must be added that original system which allows the indis« 
criminate association and communion of prisoners as aboye described, and which is generally styled the ''city 
system," or no system at aU-— '' the chief negative features" of which, according to Mr. Dixon, are ** no work, 
no iustniction, no superintendence ; " while its "poeitivs features" are *' idleness, illicit gambling, filthiness, 
unnatural crowding, unlimited licenoe (broken at times by seyerities at which tha sense of justice revolts), and 
nniyeraal corruption of each prisoner by his fellow8."t 

^«* l%e Claeei/leatim of Prieonere.^^AB regards tl^at system of prison discipline which seeks to prevent 
the further demoralisation of tbe criminal, by the separation of prisoners into classes, according to the 
ofienoee with which they are charged or convicted, it has been said, by the Inspectors of Prisons for the 
Home District :{ — ''A prison would soon lose its a place of punishment, if its depraved occu- 
pants were suffered to indulge in the kind of society within the jail which they had always preferred when 
at large ; and, instead of a place of reformation, the jail would become the best institution that could be 
devised for instructing its inmates in all the mysteries of vice and crime, if the professors of guilt confined 
tiiere were suffered to make disciples of such as might be comparatively ini^opent. To remedy this evil, 
therefbare," the Prison Inspectors add, " we must resort to elaeeijkation. The young," they say, " must 
be separated from the old ; then we must make a division between the novice and practised offenders. 
Again, subdivisions will be indispensable, in proportion as in each of the classes there are found individuals 
of different degrees of depravity, and among whom must be numbered, not only the oorrupters, but those 
who are ready to receive their lessons." 

But though it would seem to be a consequence of this mode of discipline, as Colonel Jebb well observes, 
in his work on '* Modern Prisons," that *' if each jail class respectively be composed of burglars, or assault 
and battery men, or sturdy beggars, they will acquire under it increased proficiency only in picking locks, 
fighting, or imposing on the tender mercies of mankind ;" nevertheless, it was found, immediately the 
elaasifieation of prisoners was brought into operation, that '* a very difficult and unforeseen condition had to 
be dealt with. The burglar was occasionally sent to prison for trying his hand at begging— a professed 
aheep-stealer for doing a little business as a thimblerig man — and a London thief for showing flight at a 
country fiur." Hence, by the classification of prisoners according to the offences of which they were con- 
Tieted, such people were brought into fellowship, during their imprisonment, with a class wholly different 
from fhoT own, and ** often came to be associated for some months in jail with the simple clown who had 
been detected, perhaps, in his first petty offence." 

** Classification of prisoners," says Mr. Kingsnull, too, " allows no approach, seemingly, towards sepa- 
rating the very bad from the better sort They are continually changing places ; those in for felony at one 
sffiftM being in for laroeny or assault the next, and vice vend,*' 

** Parther," observe the Home Inspectors, '* grades in moral guilt are not the immediate subject of 
human observation, nor, if discovered, are they capable of being so nicely discriminated as to enable us to 
assign to each individual criminal his precise place in the comparative scale of vice, whilst, if they eould be 
accurately perceived by us, it would appear that no two individuals were oontaminated in exactly the same 

• LamUm Prieom, by Hepworth Dixon, pp. 7—10. t Ibid. % Vide 8rd Beport, pp. 69, 60. 


degroo. MoraoYer, even if these difficulties could be simnonnted, and a dass formed of orimiiialB who had 
adTanoed just to the same point, not only of offence, but of moral deprayitj, still their association in prison 
would be sure to produce a farther progress in both." 

When, therefore, pubHo attention was called to the defectiye construction, as well as to the demoralizing 
and neglected discipline of the prisons of this country, some twenty or thirty years ago, ** it was most 
unfortunate for all the interests concerned," writes the Sunreyor-General of Prisons, *' that a step waa 
made in the wrong direction ; for it was considered that if prisoners could be clsssifted, eyerything would be 
effected that could be desired in the way of punishment and reformation.* .... Accordingly, Tast 
sums of money were expended in the erection of prisons calculated to £eudlitate the dassifioation of piisooierB. 
Now prisons for carrying out this discipline were constructed on a radiating principle — a central tower waa 
supposed to contain an Argus (or point of uniyersal inspection), and from four to six or eight detached 
blocks of ceUs radiated (spoke-fiishion) from it — ^the intervals between the buildings forming the exerciaing 
yards for the different classes. Each of the detached blocks contained a certain number of small cella 
(generally about 8 feet X fi) ; and there were day-rooms in them, where the prisoners of the dass would sit 
over the fire, and while away time by instructing each other in Uie mysteries of their respectiYe avocations ; 
for it was not intended by this mode of discipline to check the recognized right of each class to amuse them- 
selves as they pleased. In feu^t," adds the Colond, ** had it been an object to make provision for compulsory 
education in crime, no better plan could have been devised." 

*0* The Silent Aisoeiaied Bystem. — ^Next as to the **8ilmt," or, as it is sometimes called, the '< silent 
associated,*' system, the following is a brief review of its characteristios and results. Whilst the dassifioation 
of offenders continues to this day to be the discipline carried out in many prisons, the prevention of contami- 
nation is sought to be attained in others, where hardly any such classification exists, by the prohibition of all 
intercourse by word of mouth among the prisoners. ** If the members of each class of prisoners," says an 
eminent authority, " instead of being left, as they are in most prisons, to imrestricted social intercourse, were 
eompdled to work, under the immediate superintendence of an officer whose duty it would be to punish any 
man who, by word of mouth, look, or sign, attempted to communicate with his fellow-prisoner, we should 
have the silent system in operation." But as minute classification is not, under the silent system, so abeolutely 
necessary aa when intercourse is permitted, the usual practice is to associate such classes as can be properly 
brought together, in order to economise superintendence ; and hence its name of the Silent Associated System, 
in contradistinction to the Classified System, under whidi intercommunication is permitted. 

* The Aot of Parliament enjoining the elasriftoatlon of primiers was the 4th of George IT. (a.]>. 1823), eap. 64^ and bad 
the following preamble :— '* Whereas the laws now existing relatiTe to the building, repairingi and regulating of Jails and 
honses of oorrection in England and Wales are oomplicated, and have in many oases been found ine£RBotual : And whereas it 
is expedient that such measures should be adopted and such arrangements mnde as shall not only provide for the safe enstody, 
but shall also tend more effectually to preeerre the health and improve the morals of the prisoners confined therein, as w^ 
as ensure the proper measure of punishment to oouTicted offenders : And whereas due olassification, inspeotkm, regular 
labour, and employment, and religious and moral instruetian, are easential to the discipline of a prison, and to the reformatio 
of ofltoden^" Ac, Ac. ; therefore the following rules and regulations (among others are ordained to be observed in all 

** The male and fbmale prisoners shall be confined," says this statute, ** in separate buildings or parts of the prison, so as 
to prevent them from seeing, conversing, or holding any intercourse with each other. 

** The prisoners of each sex shall be divided into distinct classes, care being taken that prisoners of the following nlsmare 
do not intermix with each other :— 

In Jails, 

let Debtors and persons confined for eontempt of court 

•r civil process. 
Snd, Priwners convicted of felony. 
Srd. Prisoners convicted of misdemeanors. 
4th. PriBoners eonvicted on charge or suspicion of felony. 
Ath. Prisoners convicted on charge or suspicion of mis- 

In ffovtet of GfrrectuM, 

1st. Prisoners convicted of felony. 

2nd. Prisoners convioted of misdemeanors. 

Srd. Prisoners committed on oharge or suspielan of 

4th Prisoners committed on oharge or suspicion of mis* 
demeanors, or for want of sureties. : 6th. Vagrants. 

« Bneh prisoneis," adds the Aot, " as are intended to be examined as witnesses in behalf of the Grown in any prosecution 
Shall alM> be kept separate in all Jails and houses of correction." 

Again, by the 2nd and Srd of Victoria (▲.o. 1839), cap. 56, it is enacted, ** that the prisoners of each sex in every Jail, housn 
of oorrectfon, bridewell, or penitentiary, in England and Wales, which, before the passing of this Act, did not come within 
the provisions of the 4th of George IV., and in which a more minute clsssiflcation or Individual separation shall not be in 
isree, Shall be at least divided into the following classes (that is to say) :— 

Ist, Debtors in those prisons in which debtors can be lawfUly eonfined.' 

2nd. Prisoners committed for trial. 

Srd. Prisoners convicted and sentenced to hard labour, 

4tb. Prisoners convicted and sentenced to hard labour. 

5th. Prisoners not included in the foregoing classes. 

** And that in every prison in England and Wales separate rules and regnlations shall be made te eaeh distlast dass o* 
prisoners in that prieoo." 


The fflent system on^ntted in a deep oonyiotion of the great and manifold eyila of jail atsoeiatum^ the 
adTooates of that STstem naturally aappoBing that the demoraHzation of criminalfl would be checked if all 
oo mm i m ication among them were out off; and the greater number of priaona, in which any Amdamental 
change of diacipline has been efibcted during the last twenty yean, are now conducted on tiie ailent plan. 
At Coldbath Fields Prison this system haa been carried to its utmost. It was introduced there on the 29th 
December, 1834. " On which day," says Captain Chesterton, in his Autobiography, **' the number of 914 
priaonen were suddenly apprised that all intercommunication by word, gesture, or sign was prohibited ; and 
without any approach to overt opposition, the silent system thenceforth became the rule of the prison. . • 
. . Thoae who had watched and deplored the former system,'* adds the late Goyemor, *' could not but 
regard the change with heartfelt satisfkction. There was now a real protection to morals, and it no longer 
became the reproach of authority, that the comparatiyely innocent were consigned to certain demoralization 
and ruin. For eighteen years haa thia system been maintained in this prison with unswerving strictness. 
. . . I unhesitatingly avow my conviction, that the silent system, properly administered, is calculated to 
effect aa much good as, by any penal process, we can hope to realiae." 

The objectians to the system, however, appear to be manifold and cogent. First, the silent system seems 
to require an inordinate number of officers to prevent that intercommunication among priaoners " by word, 
sign, or gesture," which constitutes its essence. At Coldbath Fields Prison, for instance, no less than 272 
peiaona (54 warders -|- 218 prisoners, appointed to act as monitors over their fellow-criminalB) were employed 
to superintend 682 inmates, which is in the ratio of 10 officers to every 25 prisoners. Nevertheless, even 
this large body of overseers waa found insufficient to prevent all communication among the criminals — ^the 
rule of silence being repeatedly infracted, and the prison punishments increasing considerably after the silent 
system had been introduced. " Punishments," says the late (Governor, ** are more frequent now than when 
we began the system." Indeed, " in one year," we are told, <* no less than 6,794 punishments were inflicted 
for talking, &c."« 

But if it be difficult to prevent prisoners from audibly talking with each other, it is next to impossible, 
even by the most extensive ntrveiUemeey to check the interchange of significant tigm among them. " Although 
there ia a turnkey stationed in each tread-wheel yard," says the Second Beport of Inspectors of Prisons for 
the Home District, " and two monitors, or wardsmen, selected fi^m the prisoners, stand constantly by, the 
men on the wheel can, and do, speak to each other. They ask one another how long they are sentenced for, 
and when they are going out ; and answers are given by laying two or three fingers on the wheel to signify 
so many months, or by pointing to some of the many inscriptions carved on the tread- wheel as to the terms 
of imprisonment su£fered by former prisoners, or else they turn their hands to express unlockings or days." 

Again : "The posture of stooping, in which the prisoners work at picking oskum or cotton (we are told 
in the Bev. Mr. Kingsmill's " Chapters on Prisons and Prisoners"), gives ample opportunity of carzying on a 
lengthened conversation without much chance of discovery ; so that the rule of silence is a dead letter to 
many. At meals, also, in spite of the strictness with which the prisoners are watched, the order is constantly 
infringed. The time of exercise again affords an almost unlimited power of communicating with each other ; 
fiyr the closeness of the prisoners' position, and the noise of their feet render intercommunication at such times 
a very easy matter. .... Farther, the prisoners, attend chapel daily, and thia may be termed the 
golden period of the day to most of them ; for it is here, by holding their books to their faces and pretending 
to read with Uie chaplain, that they can carry on the most uninterrupted conversation." 

Kot only, however, is the silent system open to grave objections, because it fails in its attempt to prevent 
intercourse among prisoners promiscuously associated, but it has even more serious evils connected with it. 
** The mind of the prisoner," it has been well said, " is kept perpetually on the firet by the prohibition of 
Bpeecfa, and it ia drawn frt>m the contemplation of his own conduct and degraded position, to the invention 
of devioes for defiBating hia overseers, or for carrying on a clandestine communication with his fellow- 
prisoners, deriving no benefit meanwhile firom the offices of religion, but rather oonverting such offices into 
an opportunity for eluding the vigilance of the warders, and being still fiurther depraved by frequent punish- 
ment for offences of a purely arbitrary character ; for surely to place a nmnber of social beings in association, 
and then not only interdiot all intercourse between them, but to punish such aa yield to that most powerful 

* Ibe number of poaidunentB whkh were IniUeted mder Che silent syitem, la three London priscmB, in the ooone of 
ens jmer, wm as ftrflows :— 

Number of Priaaners (Male and Number of Punlahments finr 
Female) in the ooune of Offenoes within the Priwm ia 

one year. the ooune of one year. 

Brixton Honee of Conreetioa . • • . • S,285 1,171 

WertminaterBrideireU(Tothni Field*). . . . 6,534 4,84B 

Coldbath Fields Honae of Oorreotlon .... 9,750 18,812 

{jBeoimd JUport tff Inapteton <tf RHaomfnr Some DitlHeL) 

Thm averace es]iense of eaeh eonvlet kept in a hoose of oorrootion, under the ailent ayatem, ia about iSli per annum, or 
. Wtweea 4W and £66 far four years. 


of human impnlflea— the desire of commtming with those with whom we are thrown into connection — ^ia an 
aot of refined tyranny, that ia at once nnjuat and impoBdhle of being thoroughly carried out. 

^«* TheSeparaU Syttem.— -It is almost self-evident that every system of prison discipline must be 
associative, separative, or mixed. 1. The prisoners may be either allowed to associate indiscriminately, and 
to indulge in unrestrained intercourse ; or else, in order to prevent the evils of unrestricted communion, 
among the older and younger criminals, as well as the more expert and the less artful, when associated 
together, the prisoners may be made to labour as well as take their exercise and meals in perfect silence. 
2. We may put a stop to such association, either partially or eniirtlffy by separating the prisoners into dasMfty 
according to their crimes, ages, or characters, or else by separating tiiem mdmduaUy, each from the other, and 
thus endeavour to check the injurious effect of indiscriminate intercourse among the depraved, by positive 
isolation rather than classification. 8. We may permit them to associate in silence during the day, and 
isolate them at night-^the latter method oonstitutiDg what is termed the mixed system of prison discipline. 

The separate system is defined by the Surveyor-General of Prisons as that mode of penal discipline *' in 
which each individual prisoner is confined in a cell, which becomes his workshop by day and his bed-room 
by night, so as to be effectually prevented from holding communication with, or even being seen sufficiently 
to be recognized by a fellow-prisoner." 

The object of this discipline is stated to be twofold. It is enforced, not only to prevent the prisoner 
having intercourse with his fellow-prisoners, but to compel him to hold communion with himseUl He is 
excluded from the society of the other criminal inmates of the prison, because experience has shown that 
such society is injurious, and he is urged to make his conduct the subject of his own reflections, because it is 
almost universally found that such self-communion is the precursor of moral amendment 

No other system of prison discipline, say the advocates of the separate system — neither the classified nor 
the silent system — ^has any tendency to indiue the prisoner to turn his thoughts back upon himself — to cause 
him to reconsider his life and prospects, or to estimate the wickedness and unprofitableness of crime. The 
silent system, we are told, can call forth no new resolves, nor any settled determinations of amendment, 
whilst it fails in whoUy securing the prisoner from contamination, and sets the mind upon the rack to devise 
means for evading the irritating restrictions imposed upon it. 

The advantages of individual separation, therefore, say those who believe this system to be superior to all 
others, are not merely of a preventive character— -preventive of the inevitable evils of association — preventive 
of the contamination which the comparatively innocent cannot escape from, when brought into contact with 
the polluted ; but separation at once renders corrupt intercourse impracticable, and affords to the prisoner 
direct facilities for reflection and self-improvement. 

"Under this discipline," says the Rev. Mr. Kingsmill, chaplain of Pentonville Prison, ** the propagation 
of crime is impossible —the continuity of vicious habits is broken off— the mind is driven to reflection, and 
conscience resumes her sway." 

The convicted criminal, under this system, is confined day and night in a cell that is fitted with every 
convenience essential to ensure ventilation, warmth, cleanliness, and personal exercise. Whatever is neces- 
sary to the preservation of the prisoner's well-being, moi'al as well as physical, is strictly attended to. So 
far from being consigned to the gloomy terrors of solitary confinement, he is visited by the governor as well 
as by the chaplain, and other prison officers daily ; he is provided with work which furnishes employment 
for his mind — has access to profitable books-^is allowed to take exercise once in every twenty-four hours in 
the open aiiv-is required to attend every day in the chapel, and, if xmeducated, at the school ; and, in case of 
illness or sudden emergency, he has the means of making his wants known to the officers of the prison. 

" On reviewing our opinions" (with respect to the moral effect of the discipline of separate oonfinement), 
says the Fifth Beport of the Board of Commissioners appointed to superintend the working of Pentonville 
Prison, '* and taking advantage of the experience of another year, we feel warranted in expressing our firm 
conviction, that tlie moral results of the system have been most encouraging, and attended with a success 
which we believe is unthowt parallel in the history of prison discipline** Farther, the Commissionen add 
" the result of our entire experience is the conclusion, that the separation of one prisoner from another is <A# 
only sound basis on which a reformatory can be established with any reasonable hope of success." 

Again, the Governor of Pentonville Prison (who has watched the operation of the system from its intro- 
daction in 1842) says, in his Sixth Beport, " If I may express an abstract opinion on the subject, not supported 
by facts and reasons, it shall be to this effects—that having at the first felt confidence in the powers and 
capabilities of the system for the accomplishment of its objects, and that no valid objection could be raised 
against it, if rightly administered, on the ground of its being injurious to physical or mental health ; a period 
of more than five years of dose personal experience of its working has left that sentiment not only unim-> 
paired, but confirmed and strengthened." 

Such are the eminent eulogiums uttered by the advocates of the separate system of penal discipline ; and 
let us now in fairness give a sununaiy of the objections raised against it It is alleged, in the first place. 


Cbat file diseipline Is imwarantably serere. It is r o p rmo nted aa abandoning its yictim to despair, by con- 
ngniDg a TBicant or grulty mind to ail tiie tanible depreasion of unbroken solitude. Indeed, it is often con- 
AtmnyjfA SB being another form of eolitaiy confinement, the idea of which is so closely connected in the public 
mind iri& tiio dask dnngeona and oppreaaiye omelty of the Middle Agea, aa to be sufficient to excite the 
a ti mge al emotiona of abhorrence in ereiy English bosom. 

Colonel Jebb telle na, that there is a wide difference between separate and toliiary confinement He says, 
that in the Act (2nd and 3rd Yictoria, cap. 66) which rendered sepaiate confinement legal, it was specially 
enjoined that " no oell should be used for that purpose which is not of such a siae, and lighted, and warm, 
Yvntilated and fitted up in sneh a manner aa may be required by a due regard to health, and furnished with 
the meana of enabling the prisoner to communicate at any time with an officer of the prison.'* It was 
furthsr prorided, too, by the same Act, that each priaoner diould hare the meana of taking exerdae when 
required; tiwt he ahould be aupplied with the meana of moral and religioua inatruction — with books, and also 
wtth labour and employment. ^Whereas, a priaoner under doUtary confinement," aaya the Surveyor- 
General of Priaona, ^ may be not only placed in any kind of cell, but ia generally locked up and fed on bread 
and water only, no further trouble being taken about him. A mode of discipline so severe," he adds, '* that it 
cannot be l^aUy enforced for more than a month at a time, nor for more than three months in any one year." 

**' Under aoUta/ry eonfinement," another prison authority observes, ^ the prisoner is deprived of intercourse 
with all other human beinga. Under aepa/rote confinement, he is kept rigidly apart only from other enmifuUt^ 
but is allowed aa much intercourse with inatmctora and offioera, aa ia compatible with judicioua economy." — 
Bort'a RemiU of Separate Cof^fbmnmt, 

A aeoond objection to the separate or cellular system i% that it breaka down the mental and bodily health 
of the priaonera— that it foroea the mind to be continually brooding over ita own guilt — constantly urging the 
priaoner to contemplate the degradation of his position, and seeking to impress upon him that his crimes have 
caused him to be excluded from all society; and that with the better dass of criminals, especially those with 
whom the ties of kindred are strong, it produces not only auoh a continued sorrow at being cut off from all 
relativea, and indeed every one but prison offioera, but such a long insatiate yearning to get back to all that ia 
held dear, that the punishment becomes more than naturea which are not utterly callous are able to withstand; so 
that, iuatcad of reforming, it utterly overwhelma and destroya With more vacant intellects and hardened 
hearta, however, it aervea to make the prisoners even more unfeeHng and unthinking ; for sympathy alone 
develope sympathy, and thought in others ia required to call forth thought in us. In a word, it is urged that 
this mode of penal discipline cagea a man up aa if he were aome dangerous beast, allowing his den to be 
entered only by his "keeper," and that it enda in hia becoming aa irrational and fiirioua as a beast ; in fine, 
aay the opptmenta of the system, "it violates the great social law instituted by the Almighty, and ao working 
cuntrary to nature, it ia idle to expect any good of it" 

Now, let us see whether there be truth in such strictures, or whether they be mere empty rhodomontade. 
Fortunately, we posseaa ample meana, and thoae of a most truatworthy character, for teating the validity of 
theae objectiona. Let ua see, then, what ia the proportionate number of criminal lunatica to the total prison 
population in England and Walea ; and in order to guard against the errors of generalizing upon a small 
number of partieulara, let ua draw our concluaiona from aa large a aeriea of phenomena aa posaible. 

The tablea given in the Fifteenth Beport of the Inapectors of Prisons for the Home District, extend over 
eight years (1842-1849, both inclusive}, and show that in the course of that period there were altogether 680 
eaaea of lunacy (or an average of 86 caaea per annum) occurring in all the prisons of England and Wales, 
among an aggregate of 1,166,166 prisoners (or an average yearly prison population of 144,620 individuals). 
This ia at the rate of 6*8 criminal lunatica in every 10,000 prisoners, and such may, therefore, be taken as 
the flOTMaf proportion of lunatic caaea in a given number of criminal offenders.* If, therefore, any mode of 
pfiaon diadpline be found to yield a greater ratio of lunatica to the number of offendera brought under that 
discipline, we may aafely conclude thai it ia unduly aevere ; and vies versA (assuming crime itself to be 

• Tba foUewiag are the retmns tnm whleh the abore eondniions are drawn :~ 



No. of 

Total Prison Population 


No. of Criminal Lmiatios 

In Bngland and Wales. 


to 10,000 Ctiminala. 

























• . 1,156,166 



Mean 144,530 



F^iemth Beport ofPnsofn Jnepeetore^ p. xxxir. 



oloflely connected ▼!& mental abeiration), if it yield a leaa proportion than the aboTe^ then it ia exerting a 
beneficial agency on the criminal temperament. 

The returns of Pentonyille priaon are for a period of eight years also (from the 22nd of December, 1842, 
to the 3l8t of December, 1850), and these show that in an aggregate of 8,546 prisoners (or an annual mean of 
443 indiyiduals), there were no less than 22 attacked with insanity, which is at the rate of 62*0, instead 
of 6*8, eases of lunacy in every 10,000 prisoners ; so that the discipline pursued at this prison yields ifHcardSi 
of tm timet more Umaiiee than should be the case according to the normal rate.* 

According to these returns, therefore, we find that had the prisoners confined at Pentonyille prison beea 
treated in the same manner as at the other jails throughout the country, there would, in all probability, 
have been only 2 instead of 22 cases of lunacy in the eight years, among the 3,546 prisoners (for 
1,156,166 : 680 : : 8,546 : 2) ; and, on the other hand, had the million and odd criminals confined in the 
whole of the prisons of England and Wales been submitted to the same stringent discipline as those at 
PentouTille, the gross number of lunatics among them would, as far as we can judge, have been increased 
from 680 to 7,173 (for 3,546 : 22 : : 1,156,166 : 7,173). 

These figives, it must be confesaed, tell awftil tales of long suffering and deep mental affliction ; for the 
breaking down of the weaker minds is merely eyidence of the intense moral agony that must be suffered 
by all except the absolutely insensible. Nor can we ourselyes, after such overwhelming proofis, see one 
Christian reason to justify the discipline-— especially when we add, that in addition to there being upwards 
of tenfold more madmen turned out of Pentonyille prison than any other jail in England and Wales, 
no leas than 26 cases of ^^eUght mental affections" or delusions, and 8 suicides also haying occurred there 
within the eight years above alluded to I Nor is this an iaolated case : Dr. Baly, the Visiting Physician of 
Millbank, in his Beport on Separate Confinement, published in the year 1852, gives a table which shows 
that in a period of 8 years (1844-51, both inclusive) there were 65 cases of insanity there, among an aggre- 
gate of 7,893 prisoners; this is at the rate of 87*5 cases (instead of the normal proportion of 5*8) to every 
10,000 individuals. Moreover, in America, in pursuance of a law passed in 1821, 80 convicts were selected, 
and, as a matter of experiment, placed in toUtary cells, which had been prepared for the purpose, under the 
direction of the Inspectors of the State Prison, at Auburn. In 1823, however, about eighteen months after 
the commencement of the experiment, it was found that the most disastrous results had followed, etpedalfy 
ae reffarded MMfitty— the greater number of the convicts being attacked with mental disease. 

Now, to show that separate confinement— *< the seclusion of the separate cell" — ^is allowed, even by the 
advocates of the system, to ** have tome tendency to produce insanity, by withdrawing those vicious allevia- 
tions to the mind which are supplied by the intercourse of prisoners in association" (these are the words of 
the late assistant chaplain), we may add that the Bev. Mr. Burt says, in his ^ Results of Separate Con- 
finement" (page 136), that "It is one of the few known laws of mental disease, that periods of transition from 

• The sabjoined Is the Table given by the Ber. Mr. Bart, in hit " Besnlti of Separate Gonfinement at Pentonville :"— 
Tabue, aho¥fmff the OrimmaX Oharaeter and Senteneet <^ Twenty-tnoo Friaonen attacked yrith Jneanity, Aom the Opmiang ttf ike 
Priaon to the iltt December, 1850 ; aleo the Froportume bettceen the Jfumber admitted and the Nwnber attacked m aaeh 
CUue ; dUo the Numbers of Single and Married Men admitted and attacked. 

Clasfles of Friflonere. 

Sentenoed to leren jeare andonder ten 
„ ten years. ..... 

„ above ten years . • . 

SteaUnff, laroeny, and felony, undefined 
Hoaae-breaking and robbery . • . 
Horse, sheep, and cattle stealing • . 

Forgery and uttering • 

Rape, and asaault with intent, Ac. 
(inolading unnatural crimes) , . 
Stabbing and shooting with intent, Ac. 
(cases of manslaughter and cutting 
and wounding being included) • . 

















Classes of Prisoners. 

Notinclttded in the above olasaes . • 

Not known to have been previous! v con- 

Previously convicted 


Single axid widowers 

Totals of all classes . 
















The above returns are very useftil, in another point of view, as showing in what classes of eriminala there is the gnatest 
tendency to madness. Thus we perceive that those who have a tendency to commit bodily iz^uries are the nearest to insanity— 
those whose oifisnoes are of a libidinous ohsraeter are the next in the scale of proximate aberration— the forgers and ** smaaheas* 
the next—the cattle-stealers the next— the burglars the next— whereas, of all criminals, the common thieves have the least dis- 
position to madness. It shows, moreover, that the longest sentences produce the greatest number of cases of mental derange, 
ment; those who have been convicted more than onee being more fluently diseased in mind than those undergoing their 
first eooviotloQ. 


one extreme feeling to its opposite, are marked as critical to reason. Men inured to suffering will bear misery 
without much danger. It is the tuddm inroad of misfortune which either oyerwhelms the mind, or calls 
forth too yiolent an effort of resistance. That excessive effort will be followed by a prostration of mental 
energies, and dertm^MMni taitt^ m 9om$ ca9$9y emuSf or the mind will be left in the power of slight disturbing 
eansea until it is rallied under new and inyigorating influences." *' Upon the mind of the criminal in separa- 
tion, etpecialLy upon the oonyict under sentence of transportation," Mr. Burt tells us, "there are three dassea 
of adTerse influences in operation~(l.) The heavy blow of punishment (2.) Excessive demoralisation of 
ehaiacter. (8.) The yriihtirtncal of ihoi$ a$aoeuiiumt tchiek m ordinary life divert and etutain tke mind. But," 
he adds, ''the disturbing influence of each one of these causes is greatest during the early period of imprison- 
ment" — ^in plain language, if the poor wretch do not go mad under the treatment in the first twelvemonths, 
then ho will bear being caged up as long as we please.* 

The prison authorities, however, speak far more cautiously, and, we must add, considerately, as to the 
working of the separate system, than the late Assistant-Chaplain at Ihe Model Prison ; indeed, the very fact 
of the period of oonflnement there having been changed from eighteen to nine months is a tacit acknowledg- 
ment tibat the original term of separation was more than ordinary natures could bear without derange- 

** Beyond twelve months," says Colonel Jebb, the thoughtful and kind-hearted Surveyor-General of Prisons, 
in his ILeport for 1853, ^ I think the system of separate confinement requires greater care and watohfulneas 
than would perhaps be ensured under ordinary circumstances. And there are grounds for believing that it is 
neither necessary nor desirable so to extend it" 

Again, Mr. Kingsmill, the Chaplain of PentonviQeySayB, "There seems to be no sufficient reason for wish- 
mg for any extension of separation beyond eighteen months, hU the reveree/' for the experiment appears to 
him, he teUs us, fio< to have succeeded, as regards the advantages of separate confinement for longer periods 
than fifteen or eighteen months. ** Where the ties of kindred are strong," he adds, "the galling feeling at 
the loss of liberty and society is increased, and though the mass are still patient and cheerfU to the last, it 
may well be questioned whether it be safe to keep them longer separated, when the mind has ceased to be 
active in acquiring knowledge." To this Colonel Jebb subjoins, " it is not the uee but the abuee of eeparate 
confinement that is to be guarded againstr-that is, pressing it beyond the limits under which advantage is 
derived from placing a prisoner, under favourable eircumstanoes, for reflection and receiving instruction." 
Further, the Surveyor-General assures us, that the statistics of the medical officer " afford convincing proof 
that diminishing the extent of the imprisonment from what it had originally been — increasing the daily 
exercise — substituting rapid exercise for that which was taken in the separate yards— improving the ventila- 
tion by admitting the outer air direct to the ceUs, and at once relaxing the discipline when any injury to 
health was apprehended — have been found to have a favourable influence. 

• «* Cfthe ^* Mixed** SyHm ofFrieon DieeipUne^—Tins is the system pursued at Millbank Prison. It 
eonaists of a combination of the silent and separate modes of criminal treatment — that is to say, the men work 
together in eilenee by day, and sleep in eeparate cells by night It has all the foults of the silent system, 
and but little^ if any, of the good derivable from the self-communion and worldly retirement of the separate 

*• * Cfth^" Mark" SyeUm of Prieon DtMijpltfM.— As this system, so fkr as our knowledge goes, forms part 
of the discipline at no penal establishment in this country at present, it requires but little explanation here. 
The great feature of the mark system, according to Mr. Hepworth Dixon, who styles it "the moot compre- 
hensive and philosophical of all schemes of criminal treatment in this ooimtzy," is, that " it substitutes labour 
aentenoes fbr time sentences." Instead of condemning a man to fourteen years' imprisonment, Captain 
Maooooehie, the author of this peculiar mode of discipline, would have him sentenced to perform a certain 

• Mr. Burt, who Is a staoneb idvoeate for the npuate sjttem, and that oarrled oat to Iti foil extreme, eitea the following 
table, in order to show that the majority of the caaea of inaanltj oocor within the flrat twelvemonths of the term of impriaon- 
ment. How atrange it la a gentleman of bia genenma natnre should never have asked bimaelf the qaestion whether, aa 
there leerw aoeh a large number of oaaea of inaanity oooorrlng within the earlier period of the disoipllne, the separate ajatem 

r— ny JnafiWaMe in the eyee of God or man. 

Tabm e A e mimf Uie Periode at fohieh dU Oaeee of Mental Agketitm haw occmrred at FetOoneiUe during Eight Teore^ from the 

epenmgtfthePrieen, on the 82fuf qflheember, 1843, to the Slst ^Deeetnber, 1600. 

^ From Twelve From Eighteen 

Descrip^of SixMontha, ^omSixto to Eighteen Months to TotaU 

Mental AflbcHon. aadimder. Twelve Months, Montba. TwoTeara. 

Inaanity ... 14 ft 8 SS 

Deluaiona. . . 18 9 S S 86 

BukldBa ... 8 1 8 

Total .29 18 1 ^ M 



quantity of labour — ^the labour being xepreaented by << marks" instead of money— whenoe the name of the 
system. The whole of this labour, we are told, the oonyict would be bound to perform before he oould regain 
hia freedom, whether he chose to occupy one year or twenty years about it. 

The adyantages of this mode of prison discipline, its advocates ayer, axe, that it places the criminal's fata» 
to some extent, in his own power. Labour punishment, they say, giyea a oonviot the feeling of personal 
responsibiLity, which the present mode of punishment robs him oL The man serving a fixed period has 
no object but to kill the time. An absolute disregard of the value of time is thus begotten in the mind of the 
convict— time becoming associated with the idea of suffering and restraint. The time sentence puts the 
offender under restraint for a tdhn, but does not force him to do anything to make any active reparation to 
society for the crime, and it takes away^all stimulus to exertion on the part of the criminal, who knows that, 
" idle or industrious, dissolute or orderly, he must still serve out an inexorable number of weeks and years. 
The labour sentence, on the other hand, induces a habit of hard work, and the habit which is thus made to 
earn for the man his liberty will afterwards become the means of preserving it." 

As yet this system has been tried only in Norfolk Island— where, it is alleged, no oonodvable system 
would or could work well— amongst transported transports, the most self-abandoned human beings, perhaps^ 
on the earth's surface. But <* even there," adds Mr. Dixon, ** it did not faiL" 

*»* Conekuion. — Such, then, are the leveral modes of discipline that at present make iq^ the scienoe 
of what is termed *^pwoloffy" 

Now the objects of all penal inflictions and treatment are, of course, twofoldr-punishment and reforms- 
tion ; the one instituted not only as a penance for a particular oifence, but as the means of deterring future 
offenders ; and the other sought after with the view of correcting the habits of the present offenders. 

Hence we are enabled to put the several forma of criminal treatment pursued in this country to s prae- 
tioal test ; for if our methods of penal discipline are realfy deterring future offenders and reforming present 
ones, we ought to be able to show the result in figures, and to point to the criminal statistics aa a proof that 
we are reducing crime among us by the regimen of our jails. The subjoined tahls will enaUs us to see 
if such be the case : — 






























Increase in crime between first and last year 

Increase between the first and last ten years . . 

Increase in population of Tingland and Wales firom 1841—51 



20-5 per cent. 

Absolutely considered, then, we find that, despite the spread of education among us, and increase of 
churches and chapels, together with the greater activity of the ministry of all denominations, and the rapid 
development of benevolent and religious societies, including **Home Missions" and ''Reformatories" — despite 
all these appliances, we say, the crime of the country has increased no less than ttcmty per cent within the 
last twenty years ; whilst considered relatively to the increase of the population, we find that it has decreased 
only to the extent of four per cent in ten yean. Hence, if we take into consideration the vast txUmal 
machinery for improving the morals and instructing the minds of the people in the present day, we shall see 
good reason to conclude that the iiUemal economy of our prisons has made but small impression upon the 
great body of criminals. 

Nevertheless this is hardly a precise mode of testing the value of the several forms of penal discipline at 
present in vog^ue, as the greater proportion of the offenders included in the totals above specified may be 
regarded as being, so to speak, young in crime, and as never having been in prison before, so that the treat- 
ment pursued within the jails could not directly have affwted thenu 



The number of tlie fvoommittalB, howeyer, may be cited as podtiye proof upon the matter ; and hence the 
fianofwing table, copied firom the Fifth Beport of the Inspectors of Prisons for the Home District, becomes the 
most oondenmatory eridence as regards the inefficacy of our treatment of criminal offenders :— - 

Per Gentofre of Beoommittato 
to Committals. 









0*8 per cent. 



Total of Orimioal Total of 

Oommittala. Beoommittab. 

112,927 . . 63,862 















Increase of recommittals between first and last year • 

Thna we discoTer how utterly abortiye are all our modes of penal discipline, since the old <* jail-birds,*' so 
fior from being either reformed or deterred from future offences, are here shown continually to return to the 
priflooa throughout the country. Moreoyer, of the number of criminals who are recommitted in the course 
of the year, many haye appeared more than once before in the jails ; and the Beport from which the aboye 
taUe has been extracted has another table whereby we find tiiat — ^though in 1842 there was no less than 
per cent, of criminal offenders who had been recommitted four times and more— neyerthelesB the per centage 
of ikat daas of inyeterate criminals had risen as high as 7*7 in 1849. 

There must, then, be some gprayo and serious errors in our present penal system, since it is plain from the 
mboTe &etB that our treatment of criminals neither deters nor reforms. 

Let us endeayour, therefore, to detect where the errors Ue. 

Now, it appears to us — and we speak with all humility upon the subject — ^that the first substantial 
objection against the prison discipU^ of the present day is, that our silent systems and separate systems are 
as much in exir&mu as was the old plan of allowing indiscriminate intercourse to take place among all nlasses 
of prisoners. Society, some years ago, opened its eyes and discoyered that to permit the young offender to 
avociBte and oonunune with the old, and the comparatiyely innocent with the inyeterately deprayed, was to 
oonyert the jail into an academy for inexperienced criminals, where they might receiye the best possible 
tuition in yioe. Therefore, in the suddenness of our indignation at the short-comings of such a method of 
dealing with the inmates of our jails, we rushed to the opposite extreme, and declared that because the 
liberty of speech among such people was found to be fraught with eyil, they should henceforth not speak at 
aU ; and because it was dangerous to allow them to associate, they should for the future be cut off from all 
society, and caged, like animals in a menagerie, each in separate dens. 

A loye of extremes^ howeyer, belongs to the fanatical rather than the rational mind, and perhaps the 
wont form of all bigotry is that of disciplinarians who inyariably sacrifice conunon sense to some loye of 

Burely all that is necessary, in order to check the eyils of unrestricted intercourse among criminals, 
u to preyent them talking upon vieiout subjects one to the other. To go fivther than this, and stop all com- 
mnnioin among them, is not only absurd as oyerreaching the end in yiew, but positiyely wicked as ignoring 
the highest gift of the Almighty to man— that wondrous Acuity of speech, which some philosophers haye 
held to be more distinctiye of human nature than eyen reason itself. 

Koreoyer, by oyentepping what Shakspeare beautifully terms ''the nurtUtty of nature,* we force the poor 
wntehes, whose tongues we figuratiyely cut out, into all Idnds of cheats and low cunning, in order to gratify 
what, if rightly used, is not only a hannless but a noble impulse. It seems, therefore, that the entire object 
which the silent system has in yiew would be attained by placing an intelligent officer to watch oyer a 
certain number of prisoners, and whose duty it should be not only to restrain them from conyersing upon 
yidons subjects, but to reed to them, while they were at work, from interesting and high-minded books, as 
wen as to lead the discourse at other times into innocent and eleyated channels. Nor shoiild this officer be one 
who would be likely to *^hor&" the people with prosy yiews and explanations upon matters of philosophy or 
religion. We haye sufficient frith in goodness to belieye that he is but a poor disciple of the Great Teacher, 
who cannot make that which possesses the highest beauty a matter of the highest attraction, eyen to the 
lofvost minds— who cannot speak of the wonders of creation or of the loying-kindness of Ohrist without being 
as don as a religious tract, or as dry as a lecturer at a mechanic's institution. We would haye it roceiyed as 
a rule, that inattention on the part of the prisoners was a sign of inability on the part of the officer, or the 
authors selected by him, to discourse pleasantly — ^to clothe interesting subjects in an interesting form ; and, 
indeed, that it arose from a fault in the teacher (or the books) rather than the scholars, so that instead of 


blaming the latter, tlie former should be dismissed from his office — even as the dramatist is hissed as an inca- 
pable from the stage, when he is found to lack the power to rivet the attention of his audience. 

By such an arrangement, it is obvious that all necessity for imprisoning the criminals in separate cells 
would be at end. Hence all dangers of insanity would cease, and the mind and conscience rather be brought 
to their proper masteiy over the passions and desires, than deprived of all power by long-continued de- 

But one of the main evils of the present systems of penal discipline is, that they one and all make labour a 
puniahmmt to the criminal. This, in fact, is the great stumbling-block to reformation among the class. 
The only true definition of crime, so far as regards the predatory phase of it, that we have seen, is that laid 
down in the Eeport of the Constabulary Oommissioners, and which involves neither an educational nor a 
teetotal view, but simply a matter-of-fact consideration of the subject, asserting that such crime is '* mniN^ 
ihs deiire to acquire property with a leu degrs$ of labour than by crdmary-mduMtry;** in a word, that it arises 
from an indisposition to work for a livelihood. 

Now that this expresses the bare truth, and is the only plain practical explanation to be given of the 
subject, none can doubt who have paid the least attention to the criminal character ; for not only is the 
greater proportion of those who aro of predatory habits likewise of a vagabond disposition (out of 16,000 
Buoh characters known to the police, upwards of 10,000 were retomed in the same Eeport as being of 
migratory habits), but this same wandering naturo appertains to their minds as well as their bodies ; for so 
erratic aro criminals both in thought and action, that it is eztromely difficult to fix their attention for any 
length of time to one subject, or to get them to pursue any settled occupation in life. Henoe labour 
becomes extremely irksome to them, and (as the mind mmi busy itself about somethid|:) amusement grows 
as attractive as regular work is repulsive to their natures. Legislators seem to have taken this view of 
the question, and to have sentenced such people to imprisonment with hard labour, simply because they 
believed that work was the severest punishment they could inflict upon them. Bat pit nishments, especially 
those which aro begotten in the fuiy of our indignation for certain offences, aro not always romaricable finr 
iheir wisdom; since to sentence a criminal to a term of hard labour because he has an aversion to work, is 
about as rational as it would be to punish a child who objected to jalap, by condemning it to a six months' 
course of it. ^ 

So fir, indeed, from such a sentence serving to eradicate the antipathy of the criminal to industrious 
pursuits, it tends rather to confirm him in his prejudice against regular labour. *< Well," says the pick- 
pocket to himself, on leaving prison, <* I always thought working for one's living was by no means pleasant ; 
and after the dose I have just had, I'm blest if I a'n't eonvineed of it." 

The defect of such penal discipline becomes obvious to all minds when thus plainly set beforo them ; 
for is it not manifest that, if we wish to inculcate habits of industry in criminals, we should strive to make 
labour a delight rather than use it as a scourge to them } 

Now the groat Author of our natiros has ordained, that, though labour be a curse, there should be 
certain modes by which it may be rondered agreeable to us, and these are — (1) by variety or change of 
occupation ; (2) by the inculcation of industrial habits ; (3) by association with some purpose or object 

The first of these modes by which work is made pleasant is the natural or primitive one. Every person 
is awaro how the mere transition from one employment to another seems to inspiro him with fr^eah energy, 
for monotony of all kinds fajigues and distresses tiie mind ; and as active attention to any matter requires a 
continuous mental effort in order to sustain it, therefore those natiires which aro moro erratic and volatile 
than others become the sooner tired, and consequently less able to support the sameness of a etUkd 

The second mode of rendering labour agreeable consists in the wonderful educational power of that 
mysterious principle of habit by which any mental or muscular operation, however irksome at first, comes, 
by rogular and frequent ropetition, to be not only pleasant to perform, but after a time positively unpleasant 
for us to abstain from. 

The third and last method of making industry delightfal to us is, however, by fkr the most efficaciouf, 
for we have but to inspiro a person with some specisl purpose, to make his muscles move nimbly, and agree- 
ably too. It is the presence of some such purpose that sets the moro honest portion of the world working 
fbr the food of themselves and their fSeunilies ; and it is precisely because your true predatory and migratory 
criminal is purpoeeleee and obfeetleee, that he wanders through the country without any settled aim or end, 
now turning this way, now that, according to the mero impulse of the moment. Nor is it possible that he 
should be other than a criminal, the slave of his brute passions and propensities^ loving liberty and hating 
control, and pursuing a roving rather than a settled life, until some honourable motive can be excited in 
his bosom. 

If therefore, we conclude, society seeks, by any system of penal discipline, to change criminals into 
honest men, it can do so only and eeeurely by worldng in conformity, rather than in opposition, to those 
laws which the Almighty has impressed upon all men's being ; and consequently it must abandon all systems 
of silence and isolation as utterly incompatible with the very foundation of social eoonomy. It must 



also giTe up every notion of making labour a punishment, and seek to render it a pleasure to one vliu is 
merelj & criminal because he has an inordinate ayersion to work. The <* mark" system attains the latter object, 
by making labour the means of liberation to the prisoner ; but this motive lasts only so long as the term of 
impriaonment, for there is no reason to belieye that vhen the liberty is attained the prisoner will continue 
labouring btffond that period. What is wanted is to excite in the mind of the prisoner some object to work 
for, which irill endure through life. No man laboun for nothing, nor can we expect criminals to do so. 
Industry is pursued by all, either for the lore of what it bringa— money, honour, or powev^-or else fur the 
lore of the woik itself; and if we desire to make criminal offimders exert themselres like the rest of the 
worid, we must conyinoe them that they can obtain as good a living, and a fyx more honourable and pleasant 
one, by honest than dishonest pursuits. 

Still, some good people will doubtlessly urge against the above strictnrss on penal discipline, that no 
mention is made of that religious element from which all true changes of nature must spring. The Rev. 
If r. KingsmiU has put this part of the subject so simply and forcibly before the mind, that it would be 
onfiur to SBfih as profess the same opinions not to cite the remarks here. 

** Ko human punishment," says tiie Chaplain of Pentonville Prison, '* has wfpr refdrmed a man from habits 
of theft to a life of honesty— of vice to virtue ; nor can any mode of treating prisoners, as yet thought of, 
however specious, accomplish anything of the kind. Good principle and good qtotives are the sad wants of 
criminals. God alone can giye these by his Spirit ; and the appointed moMM for this, primarily, is the 
tfchiiig of his word. * Wherewithal shsdl a young man cleanse his way, even by taking heed thereto accord- 
ing to thy word.' " di'ow in answer to this, we say that it is admitted by every one that these same conver- 
sions are mwtKlm wrought by the grace of God ; and we do not hesitate to declare our opinion that it is not 
wise, nor is it even religious (betraying as it does an utter inftdulity in thoso natUFil Uws which are as much 
instilntions of Uie Almighty as even the scriptural commandments themselves), to frame schemes for the refor- 
niatioiB of criminals which depend upon miraculous interferences for their success. Almost as rational, indeed, 
would it be to return to the superstition of the dark ages ; and, because divine goodness has oeeationatty healed 
the aick in a marveUons and supernatural manner, therefore to go forth with the priest, in case of any bodily 
afliction, and pray at some holy shrine, rather than seek the aid of the physician who, by continual study of 
God's sanitary laws, is enabled to restore to us the health we have lost through some blind breach of His 
WiU in that respect To put faith in the enpematural, and to trust to that for our guide in natttral things, is 
simply what is termed ** superstition/* and surely the enlightened philosophy of the present day should teach 
us that, in acting conformably with natural laws, we are following out God's decrees far more reverently 
than by reasoning upon supernatural phenomena ; since what is beyond nature is beyond reason also, and 
hes no more right to enter into the social matter of prison discipline, than the feeding of people with manna 
in the wilderness should form (instead of the ordinary laws of ploughing, manuring, and sowing) a part of 
agricultural economy. 

If oreover, we deny that the majority of individuals who abstain from, thieving are led to prefer honest to 
dishonest practices from purely religious motives. Can it be said that the merchant in the city honours his 
bOls for the love of God ? Is it not rather to uphold his worldly credit ? Bo you, gentle reader, when you 
pay yaur accounts, hand the money over to your tradesman because the Almighty has cleansed your heart 
from original sin i and would eyen the jail A^aplain himself continue to labour in his yocation, if there were 
no salary in connection with the office ? 

I( then, nine hundred and ninety-nine in every thousand of ordinaiy men abstain from picking pockets, 
not becanse the Holy Ghost has entered their bosoms, but from prudential, or, if you will, honourable motives 
—if it be tme tiiat tiie great mass of people are induced to work for their living mainly, if not solely, to got 
moB«y rathar than serve God— then it is worse than foolish to strive to give any such canting motives to 
criminals, and certainly not true, when it is asserted that people cannot be made honest by any other means 
than by special interpositionB of Providence. If the man who lives by *' twisting," as it is called— that is to 
say, by passing pewter half-crowns in lieu of silver ones — can make hii Ave pounds a week, and be quit of 
bodily labour, when he could not earn, perhaps, a pound a week by honest industry — ^if the Iiondon '< buaman ** 
(swell mobsman) can keep his pony by abstracting " skins " (purses) from gentlemen's pockets, when, per- 
haps^ he could hardly get a pair of decent shoes to his feet as a lawyer's clerk— do you believe that any 
pceaching from the pulpit will be likely to induce such as these to adopt a form of life which has far more 
labour and far less gains connected wiUi it ? 

We do not intend to deny that supernatural conversions of men finom wickedness to righteousness 
sowiSMWflffy take place ; but, say we, these are the exceptions rather than the rule of life, and the great 
mass of mankind is led to pursue an upright course, simply because they find that there is associated with it a 
greater amount of happinoas and comfort, both to theuMelvcs and those who are near and dear to them, than 
with the opposite praetioe. To torn the criminal, therefore, to the righteous path, we must be prepared to 
show him that aa honest life is calculated to yield to himself and his relatiyes more real pleasure than a 
didieoeat cue; and so long as we seek by our present mode of prison discipline to make saints of thieves, 
joat so long shaU we continue to produce a thousand canting hypocrites to one real convert. 



U i. 

Half-way along that extreme nortbem thoroogh&re which mns almost panllel with the 
Thames, and which, nnder the name of the New Boad, atretehee from tie " Yohxseikk 
Smiao," by Fuddington, t« that great metropolitan anomaly the city taxnpike, there atands 
an obeliakine lamp-poat in the centre of the roadway. This spot is now biown as " Einc'a 
Crosa," in commemoration of a rude stucco atatue of George the Fourth, that was oaoe 
erected here by an artistic bricklayer, and had a email police atation in its pedestal, hot 
which has long since been broken up and used to mend the highway that it fonnerly 

Here is seen the tennimis of the Great Northern Railway, with ila brace of huge glaM 
archways, looking like a crystal imitation of the Thames Tunnel ; here, too, are found giant 
pnblio-honeee, with "double frontage," or doors before and behind; and would-be grand 
architectural depots for quack medicines; and enormous " cryatal-palace" slop-shops, with 
the front walls converted into one broad and high window, where the "Oxonian ooats," 
and "Talma capes," and " Sydenham trousers," and " Fancy Teste," ara piled up sereral 
storeys high, while the doorway is set round with spntcdy-dreseed " dummies" of young 
gentlemen that have their glorwl fingers spread out like bnnches of radishea, and images of 
grinning eountrymen in " widc-awakea," and red plush waistcoats. 

This same King's Cross is the Seven Dials of the New Koad, wh^ce a series of streets 


direrge like spokes i^m the nave of a wheel ; and there is almost always the same crowd of 
''cads" and "do-nothings" loitering about the public-houses in this quarter, and waiting 
either for a job or a share of a gratuitous ** quartern and three outs." 

Proceeding hence by the roadway that radiates in a north-easterly direction^ we cross the 
Tault-like bridge that spans the Eegent's Ganaly whose banks here bristle with a crowd of 
tall factory chimneys; and then, after passing a series of newly-built "genteel" suburban 
'' terraces," the houses of which haye each a little strip of garden, or rather grass-plot, in 
front of them, we see the viaduct of the railway stretching across the road, high above the 
pavement, and the tall signal posts, with their telegraphic arms, piercing the air. Imme- 
diately beyond this we behold a large new building walled all round, with a long series of 
mad-honse-like windows, showing above the taU bricken boundary. In fix>nt of this, upon 
the raised bank beside the roadway, stands a remarkable portx^uUis-like gateway, jutting, 
Hke a huge square porch or palatial archway, from the main entrance of the building, and 
with a little square dock-tower just peeping up behind it. 

This is Pentonville Prison, vulgarly known as "the Model," and situate in the Caledonian 
Beady that stretches from Bagnigge Wells to HoUoway, 

f i- 
I%e History and Arohitectwdl DetaiU of the Prison. 

Before entering the prison, let us gather all we can concerning the history and character 
of the building. 

It is a somewhat curious coincidence, that the system of separate confinement which 
the Model Prison at Pentonville was built to carry out, was originally commenced at the 
House of Correction, at Gloucester, under the auspices of (among others) Sir George 
OnesiphoroB Paul, the relative of one who is at present suffering imprisonment within 
ita walls. 

This system of penal discipline was originally advocated by Sir William Blackstone 
and the great prison reformer, Howard ; and though it was made the subject of an Act of 
Parliament in 1778, it was not put in practice till some few years afterwards, and even then 
the experiment at Gloucester " was not prosecuted," says the Government Beports, " so as to 
lead to any definite result." 

The subject of separate confinement, however, was afterwards warmly taken up at 
Plniadelphia ; "and the late Mr. Crawford," we are told, " was sent to America, in 1834, 
to examine into and report his opinion upon the mode of penal discipline as there esta- 

On the presentation to Parliament of the very able papers drawn up by Mr. Crawford 
and Mr. Whitworth Bussell, the Inspectors of the Prisons for the Home District, the 
sobject came to be much discussed; and, in 1837, Lord John Bussell, then Secretary of State 
for Uie Home Department, issued a circular to the magistracy, recommending the separate 
system of penal discipline to their consideration. 

Shortly after this it was determined to erect Pentonville Prison, as a preliminary step, for 
the purpose of practically testing this " separate" method of penal treatment, and the name 
originally applied to it was " the Model Prison, on the separate system," it being proposed 
to apply the plan, if successM, to the several jails throughout the kingdom. 

The building was commenced on the 10th of April, 1840, and completed in 1842, at a 
ooflt of about £85,000, after plans furnished by Lieut.-Col. Jebb, B.E. It was first occupied 
in December of the latter year, and was appropriated, by direction of Sir James Graham, the 
Home Secretary at that period, to the reception of a sdseted body of convicts^ who were 


thero to xmdergo a term of probationary discipline pi^viooB to their transportation to the 
colonies. Indeed, the letter which Sir James Graham addressed to the Commissioners who 
had been appointed to superintend the penal experiment, is so admirably illnstratiye of the 
objects aimed at in the institution of the prison atPentonville, that we cannot do better than 
repeat it here. 

''Considering the excessive supply of labour in this country/' says Sir James, ''its 
consequent depreciation, and the fastidious rejection of all those whose character is tainted, 
I wish to admit no prisoner into Pentonville who is not sentenced to transportation, and 
who is not doomed to be transported ; for the convict on whom such discipline might produce 
the most salutary effect wotdd, when liberated and thrown back on society in this country, 
be still branded as a criminal, and hare but an indifferent chance of a Hreliliood from the 

profitable exercise of honest industry I propose, therefore, that no prisoner shall 

be admitted into Pentonville without the knowledge that it is the portal to the penal colony, 
and without the certainty that he bids adieu to his connections in England, and that he 
must henceforth look forward to a life of labour in another hemisphere. 

'' But fix>m the day of his entrance into prison, while I extinguish the hope of return to 
his family and friends, I would open to him, fuUy and distinctiy, the fate which awaits him, 
and the degree of influence which his own conduct will infallibly have over lus ftiture 

'' He should be made to feel that from that day ho enters on a new career. He should 
be told that his imprisonment is a period of probation ; that it will not be prolonged above 
eighteen months ; that an opportunity of learning those arts which will enable him to earn 
his bread will be afforded under the best instructors ; that moral and religious knowledge 
wiU be imparted to him as a guide to his future life ; that at the end of eighteen montha» 
when a just estimate can be formed of the effect produced by the discipline on his character, 
he will be sent to Van Biemcn's Land ; there, if he behave well, at once to receive a ticket- 
of-leave, which is equivalent to fr'eedom, with a certainty of abundant maintenance — the 
fruit of industry. 

" If, however, he behave indifferentiy, he will, on being transported to Van Diemen's 
Land, receive a probationary pass, which will secure to him only a limited portion of his 
earnings, and impose certaiu galling restraints on his personal liberty. 

''If, on the other hand, he behave ill, and the discipline of the prison be ineffectual, he 
will be transported to Tasman's Peninsula, there to work in a probationary gang, without 
wages, and deprived of liberty — an abject convict." 

Now, for the due carrying out of tiiese objects, a Board of Commissioners was appointed, 
among whom were two medical gentiemen of the highest reputation in their profession, and 
whose duty it was to watch narrowly ihe effect of the system upon the health oi the 

" Eighteen months of the discipline,'' said Sir James Graham, in hia letter to these 
gentiemen, " appear to me to be ample for its fiill application. In that time the real 
character will be developed, instruction will be imparted, new habits will be formed^ a better 
frame of mind will have been moulded, or else the heart will have been hardened, and the 
case be desperate. Tho period of imprisonment at Pentonville, therefore," he adds, " wiU 
be strictiy limited to eightocn months." 

Thus wo perceive that the Model Prison was intended to be a place of instniotion and 
probation, rather than one of oppressive discipline, and was originally limited to adults 
only, between tho ages of eighteen and thirty-five. 

From the year 1843 to 1848, with a slight exception on the opening of the establishment, 
tho prisoners admitted into Pentonville were most carefiilly selected from the whole body ui 
convicts. A change, however, in the class of prisoners was the cause of some adverse 
results in the year 1848, and in their Boport for that year the Commissionen say — " Wo 


are sony that, as to the health and mental condition of the prisoners, we have to make a 
mnch less satisfactory report than in any of the former years since the prison was esta- 
blished It may be difficult," they add, " to offer a certain explanation of the great 

number of cases of death and of insanity that have occurred within the last year. We haye, 
boweyer, reason to belieye that in the earlier years of this institution, the conyicts sent here 
were selected from a large number, and the selection was made with a more exolusiyo 
regard to tbeir physical capacity for undergoing this species of punishment/' 

Experience, then, appearing to indicate the necessity of some modification of the disci- 
pline at Pentonyille, which, without any sacrifice of its efficiency, would render it more safe 
and more generally ayailable to all classes of conyicts, '' 8ir George Grey," we are told, 
'* concurred in the opinion of Sir Benjamin Brodie and Br. Ferguson, that the utmost watch- 
fulness and discretion on the part of the goyemor, chaplain, and medical attendants would 
be requisite, in order to administer, with safety, the system established there." 

It being no longer necessary to continue the experiment upon prison discipline, which 
bad been in fall operation from 1843 to 1849, it was brought to a close, and the accom- 
modation in Pentonyille prison was thus rendered ayailable for the general purposes of the 
conyict seryice. 

Accordingly, the period of confinement in Pentonyille Prison was first reduced from 
eighteen to twelye months, and subsequently to nine months. Keyertheless, at the com- 
mencement of 1852, says an official document, '* there occurred an unusualhf large number of 
cases of mental affection among the prisoners, and it was therefore deemed necessary to 
increase the amount of exercise in the open air, and to introduce the plan of brisk walking, 
as pursued at Wakefield." The change, we are told, produced a most marked and beneficial 
effect upon the general health of the inmates. Indeed, so much so, that '' in the course of 
the year following, there was," say the reports, ''not one remoyal to Bedlam."* 

• The numbpT of remoTalB firom Pentonville to Bedlam, on the ground of insanity, aa compared with the 
preceding yean, waa, in the year 1851, found to be— 

27 in 10,000 from 1842-40 
32 „ „ „ 1850 
16 „ „ „ 1861 
16 „ „ „ 1862 
,t „ „ 1868 
10 „ „ „ 1864 
20 „ „ „ 1864 

The ahome ratio, howeyer, expreasee only the proportion per 10,000 pnaonen removed to Bedlam aa insane ; 
but the following table, which has been kindly furnished us by Mr. Bradley, the eminent medical officer of 
Pe&toayiOe prison, giyea the proportion of caaea of mental disease occurring annually, after first 10 yeara : — 

In 10 years, firom 1843 to 1862 120 per 10,000 prisoners. 

n »» 1868 60 „ „ 

» >; 1864 38 „ „ 

«> »» 1866 69 „ „ 

Hence it wonld appear that the improyed treatment of shortened term of separation, rapid exercise, and 
mperior yentilatlon, haa decreased the rate of insane esses to less than one-half what it was in the first 10 
Tr«rs. StiU, much has to be done to bring the propordon down to the normal standard of all other pritonM, 
vbieh 18 only 6*8 per 10,000 prisoners. Vide p. 103 of Gssat Wobld op London. 

It IS but Just to state here that the Beports of the Commissioners, one and all, evince a marked consideration 
and anxiety for the health of the conyicts placed under their care ; and we are happy to haye it in our power to 
add, that our own personal experience teachee us that none could possibly show a greater interest, sympathy, 
and kindness, for all ^^ prisoners and captiyes," than the Suryeyor-General of Prisons. It is a high satisfac- 
tion to find, when one oomea to deal with prisons and prisoners, that almost eyery gentleman placed in autho- 
rity oyer the conyicta appears to be actuated by the most humane and kindly motiyea towards them. Nor do 
we, in aaying thus much, judge merely from manner and external appearances. Our peculiar inyestigations 
throw na into oommunieadon with many a liberated conyict, who has served his probationary tem at the 
Model, and we can conscientiously aver, that we have never heard any speak but in the very highest terms, 
both of the CKyyemor of Pentonyille. the Chaplain, and the Suryeyor-General himsell 


The Tendlatioii waa bIbo improved hj admittiiig the outer air direct to the cells, and the 
discipline 'was at onoe relaxed -when any injmy to health vas apprehended. Farther, when- 
erer there iraa reason to believe that a prisoner was likoly to be injnrionsly affected by the 
disaiplin^ he vas, in conformity with the instmctionB of the directors, removed fiom strict 
separate confinement, and put to woi^ in association with other prisoners.* 

Snch, then, is Hie history of the institution, and the reasons for the changes connected 
with the discipline, of Fentonville Priscoi. 

As regards the details of the building itself, the following are the technical paiticnlais : — 
The prison oocupiea an area of 6f acres. It has " a curtain wall with massive posterns in 
front," where, as we have said, stands a lai^ entrance gateway, the latter demgned by Barry, 
vhose arches are filled with portoullis work^ whilst from the main buildii^ rises an 
"Itelian" clock-tower. From the central corridor within radiate four wings, constructed after 
ttie &shion of spokes to a half-wheel, and one long entrance hall, leading to the central 
point. Theinterior ofeachof thefonr wings or "conidoTB" b fitted with 130 cells, arranged 
in three " galleries" or storeys, one above the other, and each floOT contains some forty-odd 
qtarlmenta for separate oonfinement. 


(FroBi ■ SnmiDg in 

Every cell is 13) feet long bj' 7J! feet broad, and 9 feet high, and contains an earthenware 
water-closet, and copper wash-basin, supplied with water; a three-legged stool, table, and 
shaded gas-bumer — bendes a hammook for slinging at night, fiumished with mattress and 

• The total nomber witbdrsini from lapsntion ia the yeu 1854 wm 6S, uid S3 of th«M wen pot to 
work in uaocUtion on mmtal gnunda, eonaistiiig of oun in wtuoh men of low intellect begsn under Bcpuate 
confinoment to cxhlUt tnmlnl excitement, deprcMiOD, oi irritability, vhilit IS mora wen nmored to pnblio 
VDtki betbre the expiration of their tarm of aeponte eonflnement, beeiuie thej veie, in the word* of the 
modioli offloer, "likelj to he injurionilj ifCeGted bj the diaoipline of the prinon." Bj a mmmaiy of a list 
of the e*M* raqniring medioal treitment— u given in the Hedieal Offloet'i Report for 18S5— to find, that 
of the ttiieiiei. iS-9 per cent, ooniiit of conitipatiDD, *nd 16'6 per cent, of dyipepaii— the other aflectioiM 
beinK " cstantu," of which tlie proportion ii S0*7peroanL,and dien'h{e& 100 per oenLiwhiletthe remuning 
16'9pereNit. wtiBttdeupof avarietfirfbitial and anonuloua owee. 



blanketB. In the door of erezy cell In an eyelet-hole, through which the officer on daty 
may obeerye what is going on within from without. Each of the cellfl is said to have 
oo0t, on an average, upwards of £150. 

The building is heated by hot water on the basement, and the ventilation is maintained 
by an immense shaft in the roof of each wing. The prison has also a chapel on the separate 
system, fitted with some four hundred distinct stalls or sittings, for the prisoners, and so 
arranged that the officers on duty, during divine service, may have each man under their sur- 
9eilkmce. There are also exercisiog yards for single prisoners, between each of the radiating 
wings, and two larger yards—one on either side of the entrance-haU — ^for exerciBing large 
bodies of the prisoners collectively. 

Moreover, there are artesian wells for supplpng the prison with water, and a gas-factory 
for lighting (be building. Indeed, the prison is constructed and fitted according to all the 
refinements of modem science, and complete in all its appliances.* 

Th$ Interior o/FerUormUe Frtson, 

Artists and Poets clamour loudly about "ideals," but these same artistic and poetic 
idealities are, in most cases, utterly unlike the realities of life, being usually images begotten 
by narrow sentiments rather than the abstract results of large observation ; for idealization 

* On March the 13th, 1866, there vere 368 prisonen confined here ; and these were thus diatributed 
over the building : — 

Corridor A 

Goiridor B 

'Ko. I Ward 24 priaonerB\ 

2 „ 27 „ \ 

3 „ 42a „ j 

No. I Ward 26a prisoners) 
2 „ 22 


i " 









No. 1 Ward 26 prisoners 

>» 2 „ 21 „ 
. „ 3 „ 38 „ ' 

/No. 1 Ward 206 prisoners \ 

Ckinidor B 

„ £ „ 40a „ f 
„ 3 „ 21aa „ 
i V ^ n 29 „ J 


■ 110 


The letter a affixed to some of the nmnbers above giren, signifles that one man, and aaj two men, out of 

that ward were confined in the refractory cells ; and b that there was one from that part of the building sick 

in the infirmary-ward. D 4 is the associated ward, and at the basement of the southern part of the building. 

The HaUowing table giyes a statement of the number of prisoners received aud sent away in the course 

of a year:— 

NuMBBE Aim Ddfosal ov Pkisonbbs at Psmtonvtllb Pbison hvbxso thb Tbab 1854. 

Bomaining 31st December, 1863 
during the year 1864 



Thew 925 prisoners were disposed of as 
fidlowt: — 

TnntAmd to Portland Prison 

Portsmonth • • 

Dartmoor ... 
''Stirling Castle" Hulk . 







„ Bethlehem Hospital (insane) 1 

Of the 436 prisoners admitted during 1864, the following is a statement of the ages :— 

Pardoned fr«e 

conditional . 

on medical grounds 
„ on licence 


Suicide . . . . 

Remaining 31st December, 1864 





3 were under the age of 17 years. 
243 were between „ 17 and 26 years. 
79 „ „ 26 „ 30 

51 „ „ 30 „ 36 

28 „ „ ' 36 „ 40 

11 » ., 40 ., 46 



13 were between the age of 46 and 60 years. 
6 „ „ 60 „ 66 

2 .. ,, 66 tt 60 




Proportion of prisoners between 17 and 26 years, 66-7 


is — or at least should be — ^in matters of art what generaHzatios ie in science, since a pictorial 
**type" is but the sssthetic cqniTalent of a natural "order;'* and as the ''genus" in philosophy 
should express merely the point of agreement among a number of diverse phenomena, even 
80 that graphic essence which is termed " character" should represent the peculiar form 
common to a variety of visible things. 

We remember once seeing an engraving that was intended for an ideal portrait of the 
common hangman, in which the hair was of the approved convict cut, with a small villainous 
valance left dangling in front — the forehead as low as an ape's — ^the brow repulsively beetled and 
overhanging as eaves, whilst the sunken eyes were like miniature embrasures pregnant with 
their black artillery. And yet, when we made the acquaintance of Calcraft, we found him 
bearing the impress of no such monster, but rather so " respectable" in his appearance, that 
on first beholding a gentleman in a broad brimmed hat and bushy iron gray hair, seated at the 
little table in the lobby of Newgate, with his hands, too, resting on the knob of his Malacca 
cane, we mistook him for some dissenting minister, who had come to offer consolation to one 
of the wretched inmates. Nor could we help mentally contrasting the loathsome artistic 
ideality with the almost humane-looking reality before us. 

The same violence, too, is done to our preconceived notions by the first sight of the jailer 
of the present day. The ideal leads us to picture such a functionary in our minds as a kind 
of human Cerberus — ^a creature that looks as surly and sullen as an officer of the Inquisition^ 
and with a bunch of huge keys fastened to his waist, whose jangle, as he moves, reminds 
one of the clink of fetters. The reality, however, proves on acquaintance to be generally a 
gentleman with a half military air, who, so far firam being characterized by any of the vulgar 
notions of the stem and cruel-minded prison-keeper, is usually marked by an almost tendur 
consideration for those placed under his charge, and who is certainly prompted by the same 
desire that distinguishes all better-class people now-a-days, to ameliorate the condition of 
their unfortunate fellows. 

At Pentonville, the same mental conflict between vulgar preconceptions and strange matter 
. of fact ensues ; for the prison there is utterly unlike all our imaginary pictures of prisons — ^the 
governor a kind-hearted gentleman, rather thaa approaching to the fenciM type of the unfeeling 
jaUer— and the turnkeys a kind of mixture between policemen and ndlitary officers in un- 
dress, instead of the ferocious-looking prison-officials ordinarily represented on the stage. 

No sooner is the prison door opened in answer to our summons at the bell, than wo 
might believe we were inside some little park lodge, so tidy and cozy and imjail-like is tke 
place ; and here is the same capacious hooded chair, Hke the head of a gigantic cradle, that 
is usually found in the hall of large mansions. 

The officer, as he holds back the portal, and listens to our inquiry as to whether the 
Oovemor be visible, raises his hand to his glazed military cap, and salutes us soldier^fashion, 
as ho replies briskly, " Yessir." 

Having produced our Government order, to allow us to inspect the prison, we are 
ushered across a small paved court-yard, and then up a broad flight of stone steps to the 
large glass door that admits us to the passage leading to the prison itself. The officer who 
accompanies us is habited in a single-breasted, policeman-like, frock coat, with a bright 
brass crown bulging from its stiff, stand-up collar, and round his waist he wears a broad 
leatherir strap, with a shiny cartouche-box behind, in which he carries his keys. These 
keys are now withdrawn, and the semi-glass door — that is so utterly unlike the gloomy and 
ponderous prison portal of olden times — ^is thrown back for us to pass through. 

We are then at the end of a long and broad passage, which is more like the lengthy hall 
to some Government office, than the entrance to an old-fashioned jail, and at the opposite 
extremity we can just see, through the windows of the other door there, figures flitting 
backwards and forwards in the bright light of what we afterwards learn is the " centre 
corridor" of the building. 


The fint thing &at strikn tlie mind on entering the priBon paMOg«, is the wondrous and 
parfiwtly Dntoh-like oleanlineM pervading the place. The floor, which ia of asphalte, has 
been polished, bj oontinaal sweeping, bo bright that we can hardly beliere it haa not been 
UMk-feaded, and ao ntterlf free from duat are all the monldinga of the trim stucco walls, 
that we would defy the ahtop- 
est housewife to get m much 
off upon her flngera u she 
ecpuld brush ev«n from a but- 
terfly's wing. 

In no private house la it 
poMble to Ke the like of this 
dainty cleanliness, and aa we 
wallc along the paaasge we 
cannot help wondering why it 
Is that we should find the per- 
fection of the domeetio virtue 
in such an abiding-plaoe. 

We are shown into a small 
waiting-Toom on one tdde of 
the passage, While tLe officer 
goes to apprise the governor 
of our presence ; and here we 
have to enter our name in a 
book, and specify the date, as 
ireQ as by whose permission 
we have oome. Here, too, we 
find the same acrupolong tidi- 
nes, and utt«r freedom from 
£rt — ^the stove being aa lus- 
trous, from its frequent coats 
of "black-lead," aa if it had 
been newly carved out of solid 

A tew minutes afterwords, 
ve are handed over to a war- 
der, who receives instructiona 
to accompany ua round the pri- 
son ; and then, being con- 
ducted through the glaaa door 
at the Other end of the poa- 
■age.weatand, for thefirst time, 
in the "ceutre corridor" of 
the " Kodel Prison." 

To conceive the peculiar 
chapter of this buildS, the ""^■~'' " ••'='^^^"-'-« "i^"-''- 

reader mmrt imagine four long Ift<«.»«win.tatb.B.pwiofib.».r™j«-o««.i«fPri»™.j 

"wings," or "corridoTB," as they are officially afyled, radiating from a centre, like the 
spokes in a half-wheel ; or, what ia better, a series of light and lofty tnnnelB, all diverging 
from one point, after the manner of the prongs in an open fan. Indeed, when we first 
entered the inner part of the prison, the lengthy and high corridors, with their aky-Ijght 


roofsy seemed to ns like a bunch of Burlington Arcades, that had been fitted up in the style 
of the opera-box lobbies, with an infinity of little doors — these same doors being ranged, not 
only one after another, but one abw^ another, three storeys high, till the walls of the arcades 
were pierced as thick with them as the tall and lengthy sides of a man-of-war with its hun* 
dred port-holes. 

Then there are narrow iron galleries stretching along in firont of each of the upper floors, 
after the manner of lengthy balconies, and reaching from one end of the arcades to the 
other, whilBt these are so light in their construction, that in the extreme length of the 
several wings they look almost like ledges jutting firam the walls. 

Half-way down each corridor, too, there is seen, high in the air, a light bridge, similar 
to the one joining the paddle-boxes on board a steamer, connecting the galleries on either 
side of every floor. 

Nevertheless, it is not the long, arcade-like corridors, nor the opera-lobby-like series of 
doors, nor the lengthy balconies stretching along each gallery, nor the paddle-box-like bridges 
connecting the opposite sides of the arcade, that constitute the peculiar character of Penton- 
ville prison. Its distinctive feature, on the contrary — ^the one that renders it utterly dissimi- 
lar from all other jails— is the extremely bright, and cheerfdl, and airy quality of the 
building ; so that, with its long, light corridors, it strikes the mind, on first entering it, as a 
bit of the Crystal Palace, stripped of all its contents. There is none of the gloom, nor dungeon- 
like character of a jail appertaining to it; nor are there bolts and heavy locks to grate upon 
the ear at every turn ; whilst even the windows are destitute of the proverbial prison-bars — 
the frames of these being made of iron, and the panes so small that they serve at once as 
safeguards and sashes. 

Moreover, so admirably is the ventilation of the building contrived and kept up, that 
there is not the least sense of closeness pervading it, for we feel, immediately we set foot in 
the place, how &esh and pure is the atmosphere there ; and that, at least, in that prison, no 
wretched captive can sigh to breathe the ''free air of Heaven, '^ since in the open country 
itself it could not be less stagnant than in the '' model'* jail — even though there be, as at the 
time of our visit, upwards of 400 men confined day and night — sleeping, breathing, and per- 
forming all the functions of nature in their 400 separate cells throughout the place. • 

The cells distributed throughout this magnificent building are about the size of the interior 
of a large and roomy omnibus, but some feet higher, and they seem to those who are not doomed 
to dwell in them — apart from all the world without — really comfortable apartments. In such, 
however, as contain a loom (and a large number of the cells on the ground-floor are fitted with, 
those instruments), there is not a superabundance of spare room. Nevertheless, there is 
sufilcient capacity, as well as light, in each, to make the place seem to a free man a light, 
airy, and cheerM abode. Against the wall, on one side, is set the bright, copper hand-basiii 
— ^not unlike a big funnel — ^with a tap of water immediately above it ; at the extreme end 
of the cell is the small closet, well supplied with water-pipes ; and in another part you see 
the shaded gas-jet, whilst in one of the comers by the door are some two or three triangular 
shelves, where the prisoner's spoon, platter, mug, and soap-box, &c., are stowed. On 
the upper of these shelves, the rolled-up hammock, with its bedding, stands on end, like a 
huge mufi*, and let into the wall on either side, some three feet firom the ground, are two 
large bright eyelet holes, to which the hammock is slung at night, as shown in the engraving. 
Then there is a little table and stool, and occasionally on the former may be found some brown 
paper-covered book or periodical, with which the prisoner has been supplied fbom the prison 
library. In one cell which we entered, while the men were at exercise in the yard, we found 
a copy of " Old Htthfkrey's Thoughts," and in another, a recent number of '' Chambsbs'b 
EniKBTTBOH Joitbkal" left open on the table. Moreover, hanging against the wall is a 
pasteboard bill, headed, " Notice to Convicts,*' and the " Ettles and ££gttla.tions" of the 
prison, as well as the little card inscribed with the prisoner's '' registered number" (for in 
PeatonviUc prison all names cease), and citing not only his previous occupation, but tcmx 



of senteiLce, date of oonyictioii, &c. Further, there is, in the comer near the cupboard, a 
button, which, on being turned, .causes a small gong to be struck in the corridor without, 
and at the same moment makes a metal plate or '' index*' outside the door start out at 
right angles to the wall, so that the warder, when summoned by the bell, may know which 
prisoner has rung. 

On this index is painted the nnmber of the cell, and as you walk along the corridors you 
observ-e, not only a large black letter painted at the entrance of each arcade, but a series of 
these same indices, each inscribed with a dijQferent number, and (except where the gong 
has been recently sounded) flat against the wall beside the door. Now these letters on the 
corridors, as well as the indices beside the doors, are nsed not only to express the position 
of the cell, but, strange to say, the name of the prisoner confined within it ; for here, as we 
said, men have no longer Christian and surnames to distinguish them one from the other, but 
are called merely after the position of cell^they occupy. Hence, no matter what the appella- 
tion of a man may have been— or even whether he bore a noble title before entering the 
prison — ^immediately he comes as a convict within its precincts, he is from that time known as 
D 3, 4, or B 2, 10, as the case may be, and wears at his breast a charity-boy-like brass badge so 
inscribed, to mark him from the rest. Thus he is no longer James This, or Mr. That, or 
even Sir John So-and-so, but simply the prisoner confined in corridor D, gallery 3, and cell 4, 
or else the one in corridor B, gallery 2, and ceU 10 ; so that instead of addressing prisoners 
here as Brown, Jones, and Bobinson, the warder in whose gallery and corridor those con- 
victs may happen to be calls them, for brevity sake, simply and individually by the number 
of the cells they occupy in his part of the building. Accordingly the officer on duty may 
occasionally be heard to cry to some one of the prisoners under his charge, " Now step 
out tiiiere 4, wiU you ? " or, " Turn out here. Number 6."* 

* The following ib a list of the several oificen of Pentonyille Prison in the year 1856 : — 

Bobert Ilosking - - 
BeT. Joseph S^ingsniill 

Ajubroee Sherwin - - 

Charles L. Bradley - 

WiUiam H. Fo»ter - 

Alft«d P. Nantes - - 

Angus Macpherson - 

Edvard Tottenham - 

Bobert Tellsly - - 

Thomas Carr . - - 

James Maya - - - 

John Wilson - - - 

Charles Gregg - - - 

Cdward J. Hoare - • 

Terence Nulty - - 

John Jenkins - - - 

David Adamson • - 

John Smart • . . 

irilliam Wood - - 

Adam Corrie - - . 

WiUiam Keating - - 

Senthil Lindsay - - 

David Darling - • 

Michael Lafian - - 

Bobert Green - • - 

John Snellgrove - - 

Edward Edwards - - 

James Snowball - - 
Bichazd Wiloooks 

Peter Cameron - - 

John Whitehnrst - • 

Assistant do. 
Medical Officer 

Steward & Manufacturer 
Governor's Clerk 
Accountant Clerk 
Steward's Clerk 
Assistant do. 

Manufacturer's Clerk 
Assistant do. 

Assistant do. 
Do. and Organist 
Chief Warder • 
Principal Warder 





Assistant Warder 



John Donegan 
James Hampton 

Assistant Warder 


Joseph Matthews - - - Warder Instructor 

John Baptie . . - - 

Thomas Hirst - - - • 

John Armstrong ... 

John Fitzgerald - - - 

Martin Burke - . . - 

Amos Driver .... 


WUliam Callway - - 

John White - - - 

Edward Bevan . - 
Thomas Charleswurth 

Samuel Whitley - - 

Arthur Keenan - > 

William Matthis - - 

George Larkin - - 
Thomas B. Testes 

Thomas Bogeis - > 

Stephen Oatley . > 

Robert Lyon - • . 
Charles Poole ... 

John Pride . - - 

Edward (Gannon - . 

Matthew Yates . - 

William Butler - - 

Griffin Crannis - - 

John Beckley . . - 

John Cladinghowl - 

. Assist Warder Instructor 


Infirmary Warder 
Gate Porter 
Inner Gate Porter 

Foreman of Works 



Assistant ditto 



Steward's Porter 
Manufacturers' Porter 




A Work-Bay at JPentofwUle. 

To understand the ^' routine'' of Pentonville Prison, it is neoessory to spend one entire long 
day in the establishment, from the very opening to the closing of the prison ; and if tiiere be 
any convicts leaving for the public works, as on the day we chose for our visit, the stranger 
must be prepared to stay at least eighte^i hours within the walls. Nor, to our mind, 
can time be more interestingly passed. 

The stars were still shining coldly in the sHver gray sky on the morning when we left 
our home to witness the departure of some thirty-odd prisoners from Pentonyille for Ports- 
mouth. We were anxious to discover with what /eelings the poor wretches, who had spent 
their nine months at the Hodel, excluded from all intercourse but that of prison offioers, 
would look forward to their liberation from separate confinement ; and though we had been 
informed over-night that the ''batch" was to leave as early as a quarter past 6 a.m., 
we did not regret having to turn out into the streets, with the cold March morning winds 
blowing so sharp in the £eu}6 as to fill the eyes with tears. 

As we slammed our door after us, the deserted street seemed to tremble as it echoed 
again with the noise. On the opposite side of the way, the policeman, in his long great 
coat, was busy, throwing the light of his bull's-eye upon the doors and parlour windows, and 
down into the areas, as he passed on his rounds, making the dark walls flicker with the glare 
as if a Jack-a-Dandy had been cast upon them, and, startled by tiie sound, he turned sud- 
denly round to direct his lantern towards us as if he really took us for one of the burglarious 
characters we were about to visit. 

The cabmen at the nearest stand were asleep inside their rickety old broughams, and as 
we turned into Tottenham Court Bead we encountered the early street coffee-stall keeper 
with his large coffee-cans dangling from either end of a yoke across his shoulders, and the 
red fire shiniTig through the holes of the fire-pan beneath like spots of crimson foil. 

Then, as we hurried on, we passed here and there a butdier's light '' chay-cart" with the 
name painted on the side, hurrying off to the early meat-markets, and the men huddled in 
the bottom of the vehicle, behind the driver with their coat-collars turned up, and dozing as 
they went. Next came some tall and stalwart brewer's drayman (they are always the 
first in the streets), in his dirty drab flushing jacket, and leathern leggings, hastening towards 
the brewery ; and, at some long distance after him, we met an old ragged crone, tottering on 
her way to the Earringdon water-cress market with her ** shallow " under her arm, and her 
old rusty frayed shawl drawn tight round her ; whilst here and there we should see a stray 
bone-grubber, or '* pure " finder, in his shiny grimy tatters, '* routing " among the precious 
muck-heaps for rich rags and valuable refuse. 

Strange and almost fearfdl was the silence of the streets, at that hour ! So still, indeed, 
were they that we could hear the heavy single knock, followed by the shrill cry of the 
chimney-sweep, echoing through the desolate thoroughfares, as he waited at some door hard by 
and shrieked, " Sw o o ocp !" to rouse the sleeping cook-maid. Then every foot-fiall seemed 
to tell upon the pavement like the tramp of the night-police, and we could hear the early 
workmen trudging away, long before we saw them coming towards us, some with thdr basin 
of food for the day done up in a handkerchief, and dangling from their hand — and others 
Hke the smoky and unwashed smiths with an old nut-basket full 6£ tools slung over t^eir 
shoulder upon the head of a hammer — ^the bricklayer with his large wooden level and coarse 
nailbag frill of trowels hanging at his back — and the carpenter on his way to some new 
suburban building in his flannel jacket and rolled-up apron, and with the end of his saw and 
jack-plane peeping from his tool-basket behind ; while here and there, as we got into the 


neaghboorhood of King's Gross, we should pass some railway guard or poiter on his way to the 
terminus for the early trains. 

IKThile jo^;ing along in the darkness — for still there was not a gleam of daybreak visible — 
we could not help thinkings what would the wretched creatures we were about to visit not 
give to be allowed one half-hour's walk through those cold and gloomy streets, and how beauti- 
ful one such stroll in the London thorouglifEu:^ would appear to them — beautiful pa quitting 
the house, after a long sickness, is to us. 

Kor could we help, at the same time, speculating as to the perversity of the nature3 that, 
despite all the long privations of jail, and the severe trial of separate confinement, would, 
nevertheless, many of them, as we knew, return to their former practices immediately they 
were liberated. Granted, said we to ourselves (forgetting, in our reveries, to continue our 
observations of the passing objects)) that some would be honest if society would but cease to 
persecute them for their former crimes. Still many, we were aware, were utterly incapable of 
reformation, for figures prove to us that there is a certain per centage among the criminal 
class who are absolutely incorrigible. Nevertheless, the very fact of there heinff such a per 
centage, and this same perversity of nature being reducible to a law, seemed to us to rank it 
like lunacy, among the inscrutable decrees of the All- Wise, and thus to temper our indigna- 
tion with pity. Then we could not help thinking of the tearM homes that these wretched 
people had left outside their prison walls, for, hardened as we may fancy them, they and theirs 
are marked by the same love of kindred as ourselves — such love, indeed, being often thQ 
only fthannftl left open to their heart ; and, moreover, how sorely, in punishing the guilty, WQ 
are compelled to punish the innocent also.* 

We were suddenly aroused from our reverie by the scream of the early goods' train, and 
preeently the long line of railway wagons came rattling and rumbling across the viaduct over 
the street, the clouds of steam from the engine seeming almost an iron gray colour in the 

The next minute we were at the Model Prison, Pentonville ; but as the warders were 
not yet assembled outside the gate, and we saw bright lines of Ught shining through the 
cracks over and under the door of one of the neighbouring shopS| we made bold to knock and 
claim a short shelter there. 

* As a proof that no *< morbid sentimentality" gave riie to the above remarki, ve wiU quote the ibtUowing 
letter ae one among many that it ie our lot to receive :^ 

« March 24th, 1856. 

" So, — ^An anxious mother, vho has an unfortunate son now about to be liberated from the convict 

prison, Portsmouth, is veiy desirous of obtaining an interview with jou on his behalf, and would feel truly 

cratefiil for such a favour. — From your must obedient and humble senrant, 

««A. 8." 

Hcfe is another illustration of the fact, that one guilty man's misery involves thsAof many innocent people : — 

<* March 19th, 1846. 
«8iB,— I am a poor, unibrtunate, characterless man, who have returned from jail, with a desire to earn 
an honest living for the future, and X make bold to write to you, begging your kind assistanoe in my present 

** I left ^e House of Correction on Wednesday last, 12th inst., after an incarceration of six calendar 
"M^**»«^ to which I was sentenced for obtaining money by means of representing myself as a solicitor, and to 
which oflenee I pleaded guilty. My prosecutors, finding that I was induced to conmiit myself through 
poverty, would gladly have withdrawn from the case, but could not, being bound over. 

«* Omning home, I found a wife and five children depending upon me for support^the pariah having at 
once stopped the relief^ and the army work (at which they earned a few shillings} having ffdlen off alto* 
gether ; tiierefore I am in a most distressed position, not having clothes out of pledge to go after employ- 
ment in, or I doubt not but that I could get employment, as I have a friend who would beoome surety for me 
in a situation. 

** U, therefore, yon can render me any assistance, you will indeed confer a favour on. Sir, your very 
oMieDt servant, 

" J. B." 


It happened to be a cofEee-shop. We found the little room in a thick fog of smoke horn 
the newly-lighted fire, and the proprietor busy making the morning's supply of the " best 
Mocha " — ^possible; at a penny a cup. 

We had not long to wait, for presently the shopkeeper apprised us that the warders were 
beginning to assemble ; and truly, on reaching the gateway once more, we found a group of 
some two dozen officers waiting to be admitted to the prison. 

Presently the outer door was opened, when the warders passed into the court-yard and 
stood upon the broad flight of steps, in a group round the glass door leading to the entrance- 
hall. Here they reckoned among themselves as to whether they were all assembled, and 
finding that one or two were wanting, the rest looked up at the dock and said, ** Oh, it 
wants five minutes to the quarter yet." 

*' They are safe to be here," said one to us, privately ; '' for there's a heavy fine if a man 
isn't true to his time." Sure enough, the next moment the two missing warders entered the 
yard, and the glass door being opened, we all proceeded, in company with one of the principal 
warders — ^marked by the gold lace band round his cap— into a small room on the left-hand 
side of the passage. 

'< The chief warder sleeps here, sir," said the officer whom the governor had kindly 
directed to attend us through the day, and to instruct us upon all the details of the prison. 

Tbere was no sign of bed in the room, and the only indication we had that the chief 
officer had passed the ni^t in the building was, that he was^^ in the act of slipping on his 
coat as we entered the apartment. 

A large iron safe, let into the wall of this room, was now unlocked, and a covered tray, or 
drawer, that was not unlike an immense wooden portable desk, was withdrawn and carried 
into the lobby, while the contents jangled so loudly with the motion, that it was not difficult 
to surmise that in it the officers' keys were kept. Here it was placed upon a chair, and, 
when opened, revealed some twenty-eight bunches of large keys hanging upon as many 
different hooks. 

These were distributed by one of the principal warders to the several officers throughout 
the building, and this done, we were once more conducted into the interior of the prison, 
where we found the gas still burning in the corridors and the lights shining on the polished 
asphalte floors, in long luminous lines, like the lamps in the streets reflected upon the pave- 
ment on a wet night. 

The blue light of early dawn was now just beginning to show through the skylights 
of the long arcades, but hardly had we noticed the cold azure look of the coming day, 
contrasting, as it did, with the warm yellow light of the gas within, than the corridois 
began to hum again with the booming of the clock-tower bell, ringing, as usual, at half-past 
five, to call the officials.^ 

We walked with the warder down the several corridors, and, as we did so, the officers on 
duty proceeded to carry the bread and cocoa round to the prisoners who were about to leave 
that morning for the public works at Portsmouth. And then the halls rang, now with the 
rattling of the trucks on which the breakfast was being wheeled from cell to cell, and now 
with the opening and shutting of the little trap in each cell -door, through which the food 
was given to the prisoner within ; the rapid succession of the noises telling you how briskly 
and dexterously the work was done. 

<< You see those clothes, and tables, and chairs outside the cell-doors, there ? " said the 
warder, as he led us along the corridors ; ** they belong to men who have attempted to break 
out of other prisons, so we leave them nothing but their bed and bare walls for the night. 
Kow there, at that door, you perceive, are merely the clothes, and shoes, and tools of the 
prisoner within ; he's one of the bricklayers who has worked out in the grounds, so we trust 
such as him with nothing but the flannel drawers they sleep in from nine at night tiU 
six in the morning. Oh, yes, sir ! we are obliged to be very particular here, for the men have 


toolfl giTeii them to work with, and therefore we make them put all sach articles outside their 
cell-doon just before they go to bed ; but when a man is a notoriously desperate prison- 
breaker, we don't eren allow him so much as a tin can for his soup, for we know that, if we 
did 00, he would probably convert the wire round the rim into a pick-lock, to open his door 
YeSy sir, conTicts are mostly very ingenious at such things." 

By l^iis time we had reached the end of the ward, where stood a small counting-house- 
like deek, partitioned off from the other part of the corridor. 

** This IB the warders' office," our informant continued, ** and the clock you see there, in 
fixmt of it, is the 'tell-tale.' There is one such in each ward. It has, you observe, a number 
of i>egB, one at every quarter of an hour, projeoting like cogs from round the edge of the dial- 
plate, which is here made to revolve iostead of the hands. At the side, you perceive, there's 
a string for pulling down the small metal tongue that stands just over the top peg, and 
the oonsequenoe is, that unless the officer who is on duty in the night comes here on his 
Toxmds preciitiif at the moment when that top peg should be pushed down, it will have passed 
from under .the tongue, and stand up as a register of neglect of duty against him. There are 
a number of these clocks throughout the prison, and the warders have to pull some of the 
p^8 at the quarters, some at the half-hours, and others at the hours. They are all set by 
the large time-piece in the centre, and so as just to allow the officer to go from one ward to 
the other." 

'' If a man's bell rings in the night ? " asked we. 

" Why," was the ready answer, ''the trap of his cell^door is let down, and the officer on 
duty thrusts in a bull's-eye lantern so as to see what is the matter ; the prisoner makes his 
complaint, and, if sick, liie chief warder is called, who orders, if he thinks it necessary, the 
infirmary warder to come to him. There are four warders on duty every night, from ten till 
ax the next morning, and each of the four has to keep two hours' watch." 

*«* Ikparture of (htwiets. — Scarcely had our attendant finished his account of ,the night 
dudee, when a large town-crier^s bell clattered through the building. This was the quarter- 
to-siz Bommons to wake the prisoners; and, five minutes afterwards, the bell was rung again 
to call the officers a second time. 

!llie chief warder now took up his station in the centre corridor, and saying to the officer 
near him, "Turn down ! " the big brass beU once more rattled in the ears, whereupon a 
stream of brown-clad convicts came pouring from out their cells, and marched at a rapid pace 
along the northern corridor (A) towards the eentre of the building. These were some of the 
prisoners who were about to leave for the public works at Portsmouth. The smiles upon 
their tacee said as much. 

" Pall in ! " cried the chief warder, and in a moment the whole of the men drew them- 
selves up, like soldiers, in a line across the centre corridor, each holding his registry-card 
dose iq) at his breast ; but now the deep cloth peaks to their prison caps were bent up, and 
no longer served as a mask to the face. 

Hardly was this over before another brown gang of prisoners hastened from the southern 
corridor (D), and drew themselves briskly up in the rear of the others. 

Then the chief warder proceeded to call over the registered number and name of each 
convict, whilst one of the principals stood by to check the card as the name was cried out 
and directly this was finished, the gang was made to ** face " and march, through the glass 
doors, into the entrance hall. 

Here they were drawn up on one side of the passage ; then an officer cried, in a military 

tone, *' Tonx up your right-hand cuffs, all of you !" and thereupon the warders proceeded 

to fiutoi round each of their wrists one of the bright steel handcuffs that were ranged upon a 

litde table in the lobby. This done, a stout steel chain was reaved through each of the eyelet 



holes attached to iho cuEb, and some ten or a dozen of the prisoners thus strong together. 
When the first detachment was chained to each other, another half-score went through the 
same operation, whilst the previous string of prisoners moved down towards the end of the 
passage, each pulling a different way, like coupled hounds, and the chain grating as they 
dragged one another along. 

"We followed the wretched fellows to the door, to watch the expression of their faces when 
they heheld the three omnihuses waiting in the court-yard to cany them to the Terminus of 
the South-TVestem Eailway. As the men stood ranged along the passage heside the doorway, 
many of them craned their necks forward to get a peep at the vehicles without, smiling again 
as they beheld them. 

'' Yes, sir, they like it well enough," said our attendant, who was still at our elbow ; 
''it's a great change for them — a great change — rafter being nine months in one place." 

''Are you pleased to go away, my man ?" said we, to the one nearest the door. 

" Oh> yes ! " replied he, in a country accent. He had been convicted of sheep-stealing, 
and the agricultural class of convicts, the prison authorities all agree, is the best disposed of 
the men who come under their charge. As the prisoner spake the words, we could see 
his very eyes twinkle again at the prospect of another peep at the fields. 

" What have you got there ?" cried an officer, in a commanding tone, to one of the 
gang, who had a bundle of something tied in a handkerchief. 

** They're books, sir; hymn-books and tracts that the chaplain has allowed mc to have," 
replied the prisoner in a meek tone. 

" That man yonder," whispered a warder to us, " two off from the one with tho books, 
has passed thirty-eight years of his life in prison, and he's only forty-seven years old." 

" Eemember, men," said the chief warder, addressing the prisoners before Ihey passed 
into the court-yard, " the officer who goes with you has power to speak well of you ; 
and the first thing that will be asked of him at Portsmouth will be, ' How have the men 
behaved on tho way down ?* So do you fill take care and have a good character from him, 
for it will serve you where you 're going." 

" Now, warder Corrie !" the chief officer adds to the warder on duty ; and instantly the 
doors are unlocked, and the three strings of prisoners are let out into the court-yard, one 
after the other — the foremost man of each dragging at the chain to poll the others after him, 
and those in the rear holding back so as to prevent their wrists being suddenly jerked for- 
wards, while the iron links almost crackle again as they reave to and fro. 

The omnibuses waiting in the court-yard were the ordinary public vehicles, such as one 
sees, every day, streaming through the streets to the Bank ; and perched high on the little 
coach-box sat the usual seedy and would-be *' fast"-looking driver, whilst beside the door, 
instead of the customary placard of " 6d. all the way," was pasted on each carriage a large 
sheet of paper, inscribed either 1, 2, or 3, for the occasion. 

The prisoners went scrambling up the steps of the vehicles, drag^g at the chain as 
before, while the officers in attendance cried to those who himg back to keep off the strain — 
" Come, move en there behind — ^will you?" 

"When the omnibuses were filled with their ten or twelve prisoners, an officer entered each, 
and seated himself near the doorway, whereupon the chief warder proceeded to tho steps of 
the vehicles one after another, and asked — " Now, warder, how many men have you got ?" 
" Ten !" was shouted, in reply, from the interior of one carriage, and " Twelve !" from another. 
After which one of the principal warders— distinguished by the gold-lace band round his 
cap — ^mounted the box of the first, and sat down beside the driver. 

" He goes with them, sir, to clear the bridges," whispered our attendant ; and scarcely had 
he spoken the words before there was a cry of " All right ! — go on !" and instantly the 
huge, massive gates that open out upon the stately porch in front of the prison were thrown 
back, and wc could see the light of early morning glittering through the squares of the port- 


cuUui witiiout. Then the stones clattered with the patter of the iron hoofs and rumble of 
the wheels ; and one could observe the heads of the prisoners all in motian within the Yehide 
— some looking through the doorway back upon the prison, and others peeping through the 
windows at the comparatiycly new scene outside the walls. 

And| it must be ccmfessed, there was not one tearful eye to be noted among that unfortunate 
convict troop ^ on the contrary, every check was puckered with smiles at the sense that they 
were bidding adieu to the place of their long isolation from the world. 

We would cheerfully, had it be^ possible, have travelled with the prisoners to their 
destbaation at Portsmouth ; for, to the student of human nature, it would have been a high 
lesson to have seen the sudden delight beam in every face as the omnibus passed by some 
familiar scene, or, may-be, the dwellings oi their friends ot ldndred> by the way; and, as the 
railway train darted vvith than through the country, to have watched the various emotions 
play in their countenances as they beheld once more the green fields, and river, and the hiUd 
and woods, and envied, perhaps, the very sheep and cattle grazing at liberty upon the plains. 

" Still," said we to ourselves, as we mused mournfully after the departure of the convict 
vehicles, ** the reality doubtlessly would be wholly unlike our preconceptions of the scene ;" 
for vrith such men as those we had watched away there is often a mere vacuity of mind — a kind 
of waking droaminess-^a mental and moral anaesthesia, as it were, that renders them insen- 
sible to the more delicate imprc^ons of hnman nature, so that the beauties of the outer, and 
indeed inner, worid are almost wasted upon them, and it becomes half sentimentalism to 
imagine tiiat their duller brains would be moved in the same maimer as our own. Neverthe- 
less, we must not, on the other hand, believe this class of people to be utterly callous to 
every tender tie, or indeed the ruder physical pleasures of external life. We ourselves have 
seen a body of such beings melted to tears as the chaplain touched feelingly upon their separa- 
tion from their families ; and they would be little removed from polypes — ^mere living 
stomachs — ^if after nine long months' entombment, fts it were, in separate cells, they did not 
feel, upon going back into the world of light and colour, almost the same strange thrill 
tingling through their veins as moved lazarus himself when summoned by the trumpet- 
tongue of Christ from out his very grave. 

Some there are, however, who think and speak of these wretched men as very dogs — ' 
creatures fit only, as one of our modem philosophers has preached, to be shot down and swept 
into the dust-bin. But sm-ely even ho who has seen a dog, after it has been chained night and 
day close to its kennel, and rendered dangerously furious by the continual chafing of its collar, 
burst off with a spasmodic energy in every limb directly it was let loose, and go bounding 
along and springing into the air, as it wheeled round and roimd, gasping and panting the 
while, as if it could not sufficiently feel and taste the exqtiisite delight of its freedom — ^he 
who, we say, has watched such a scene, must have possessed a nature as callous even as 
the wretched convicts themselves, could he have witnessed them pass out of those prison gates 
into the outward world without feeling the hot tears stinging his eyes, and without uttering 
in his heart a faint '* God speed you." 

How is it possible for you, or ourselves, reader, to make out to our imaginations the 
terrors of separate confinement ? Sow can we, whose lives are blessed with continual liberty, 
and upon whose will there is scarcely any restraint — ^we, who can live among those we love, 
and move where we list — ^we, to whom the wide world, with its infinite beauties of sunshine 
and tint, and form, and air, and odour, and even sound, are a perpetual foimtain of health 
and joy ; how, we say, can ice possibly comprehend what intense misery it is to be cut off 
from all such enjoyments— to have our lives hemmed in by four white blank walls — to see no 
faces but those of task-masters— to hear no voice but that of commanding officers — ^to bo 
denied all exercise of will whatever — and to bo ponverted into mere living nutomatn, 
forced to do the bidding of others ? 


If you hare ever lain on a sick-hed, day after day and week after week, till yon knew 
every speck and tiny crack of the walls that surrounded you — ^if you have seen the golden 
lustre of the spring sun shining without, and heard the voices of the birds telling their love 
of liberty in a very spasm, as it were, of melody, and then felt the unquenchable thirst that 
comes upon the soul to be out in the open air ; and if you remember the grateful joy you have 
experienced at such times to have Mends and relations near you to comfort and relieve your 
sufferings, not only by their love and care, but by reading to you the thoughts or fancies of the 
wisest and kindest minds, then you may perhaps be able to appreciate the subtle agony that 
must be endured by men in separate confinement — ^men, too, who are perhaps the most self- 
willed of all God's creatures, and consequently likely to feel any restraint tenfold more irksome 
than we ; and men whose untutored minds are incapable of knowing the charms of intellectaal 
culture or occupation; and who, therefore, can only fret and chafe under their terrible imprison- 
ment, even as the tameless hysena may be seen at the beast-garden for ever fretting and 
chafing in its cage. 

%* Cleaning the Prison, — ^It was now only six o'clock, and as we returned from the 
court-yard to the corridors, we heard the chief warder cry, " Unlock !" and instantly the 
officers attached to the different wards proceeded to pass rapidly from, cell-door to cell-door, 
with their keys in their hands, turning the locks as they went, and the noise resounding 
throughout the long and echoing corridors like the dick of so many musket-triggers. Then 
the doors began to bang, and the metal pail-handles to jangle, till the very prison seemed 
suddenly roused out of its silent sleep into busy life. 

As we passed up and down the wards, we saw the prisoners in their flannel drawers oome 
to the door to take in their clothes, and the tub to wash their cell ; and, on glancing in at 
the doorway, we caught sight of the long, narrow hammock slung across the cell, just above 
the ground, and the dark frame of the loom showing at the back. 

The next moment a stream of some dozen or two prisoners poured frx)m the cells, carrying 
their coats on their arms, and drew themselves up in two flies across the centre corridor. 
Then we heard the warder cry, ** Cleaners, face ! — Cooks, face ! — ^Bakers, face ! " whereupon the 
men wheeled round with almost military precision, and retired, some to wash the entrance 
passages and offices, others to help in the kitchen, and others in the bakehouse. 

By this time (ten minutes past six), the prison was all alive, and humming like a hive 
with the activity of its inmates. Some of the convicts, clad in their suits of mud-brown 
cloth, were out in the long corridors sweeping the black asphalte pavement till it glistened 
again as if polished with black-lead. Others, in the narrow galleries above, were on their 
knees washing the flags of slate that now grew blue-black around them with the water ; 
others, again, in the centre corridor, were hearthstoning the steps, and making them as white 
as slabB of biscuit-china ; and others, too, in their cells, cleaning the floors and fdmiture 
there. A warder stood watching the work on each of the little mid-air bridges t^t 
connect the opposite storeys of every corridor, whilst other officers were distributed through* 
out the building, so as to command the best points for observing the movements of the 

Our attendant led us to an elevated part of the building, so that we might have a bird's- 
eye view of the scene ; and assuredly it was a strange sight to look down upon the long arcade- 
like corridors, that were now half-fogged with the cloud of dust rising from the sweepers* 
brooms, and witness the bustle and life of that place, which on our entrance seemed as still as 
so many cloisters ; while the commingling of the many different sounds — ^the rattling of pails, 
the banging of doors, the scouring of the stones, the rumbling of trucks, the tramping of feet 
up the metal stairs, all echoing through the long tunnels — added greatly to the peculiarity of 
the scene. 

"Ah, sir," said our attendant warder, ''everything is done with great precision here; 


tliere'8 just so manj minutes allowed for each part of the work. You will notice, sir, that 
it will take from twelve minutes to a quarter of an hour to wash either side of the huildiug ; 
and directly t^e clock comes to twenty-five minutes past six, we shall hegin to unlock the 
opposite side of the corridors to that where the men are now at work — when a new set of 
deaners will come out, and the present ones retire into their cells. This is done to prevent 
communication, which would he almost sure, to take place if the men worked on opposite 
sides of the galleries at the same time. For the cleaning," continued our communicative 
friend, " each gallery contrihutes five men to each side, or ten in all, and each ward gives one 
man to the centre corridor, and each corridor four men for sweeping helow." 

The officer now drew our attention to the fact that the hands of the clock were pointing 
to the time he had mentioned, and that the men who had heen at work along one side of 
the galleries had all finished, and withdrawn. Then hegan the same succession of noises — 
like the clicking, as we have said, of so many musket-triggers — indicating the unlocking 
of the opposite cells ; and we could see, whence we stood, the officers hastening along 
the corridors, unfastening each door, as they went, with greater rapidity than even 
lamplighters travel from lamp to lamp along a street; and immediately afterwards we 
beheld a fresh batch of cleaners come out into each gallery, and the sweepers below cross 
over and begin working under them, whilst the same noises resounded through the building 
as before. 

A few moments after this the big brass hand-bell clattered once more through the building. 
This was the half-past six o'clock summons for the prisoners to commence work in their 
cells, and soon afterwards we saw the " trade instructors" going round the several wards, 
to see that the men had sufficient materials for their labour ; whilst, in a few minutes, the 
lower wards echoed with the rattling of the looms, and we^could hear the prolonged tapping of 
the shoemakers up above, hammering away at the leather, so that now the building assumed 
the busy aspect of a large factory, giving forth the same half-bewildering noise of work 
and machinery. 

The next part of the cleansing operations was the gathering the dust from the cells, and 
this was performed as rapidly and dexterously as the other processes. A convict, carrying a 
large wicker basket lined with tin (such as is ordinarily used for dinner plates), went before 
one of the officers, who held a dust-pan in his hand, and as the warder imlocked each cell- 
door on his round, and thrust his pan within, the prisoner in the cell emptied the dust, which he 
had ready collected, into the officer's pan, closing the door unmediately afterwards, whilst the 
convict bearing the basket stood a few paces in advance of the warder, so as to receive the 
contents of his pan when filled. This process was performed more rapidly than it can be 
told, and so quickly, indeed, that though we walked by the side of the officer, we had 
hardly to halt by the way, and as we went the corridor rang again with the twanging of the 
prisoners' dust-pans, thrown, as they were emptied, one after another, out of their cells. 

On our return from watching the last-mentioned operation, we found the corridors almost 
empty again — ^the cleaners having finished their work, and retired to their cells, and the 
building being comparatively quiet. It was, however, but a temporary lull; for a few 
moments after, the seven o'clock bell rang, and this was the signal for ** double-locking," 
whereupon the same trigger-like noise pervaded every part of the building. 

"Each cell-door, you see, sir, is always on the single lock," said our guide; ''but 
before the warders go to breakfast (aud the last beU was the signal for their doing so), the 
prisoners' doors and every outlet to the building is 'double-shotted' for the sake of security." 

Scarcely had our attendant communicated the intelligence to us before the work was 
done^ and the warders came thronging to the spiral staircase, and went twisting round and 
round, one after another, as they descended to their breakfast in the mess-room below. 

%♦ 2^ PrUm Breakfast— Yrom seven to half-past the corridors of Pentonville Prison 


are aa deserted as Burlington Arcade on a Sunday, and nothing is heard the while but the 
clacking of the prisoners' looms, and the tapping of the oonyict-shoemakerB' hammers, and 
occasionally the ahaip ''ting-ng-ng!" of the gong in connection with the oellsy for sam- 
moning the solitary warder left in attendance. 

"If you like, sir, we will now go below to the kitchen and bakehouse," said the officer, 
who still remained at our side, " and see them preparing the breakfast for the prisoners." 

Accordingly, we descended the spiral staircase into the basement; and after traversing 
sundry passages, we knew, by the peculiar smell of bread pervading the place, that we had 
entered the bakery. There was but little distinctive about this part of the prison; for we 
found the same heap of dusty white-looking sacks, and the same lot of men, with the flour, 
like hair-powder, cHnging to their eyebrows and whiskers (four of these were prisoners, and 
the other a free man — " the master baker " placed over them), as usually characterises such 
a place. It was, however, infinitely cleaner than all ordinary bakehouses ; neither were the 
men slip-shod and without stockings, nor had they the appearance of walking plaster-easts, 
like the generality of journeymen bakers when at work. Here we learnt that the bread of the 
prison was unfermcnted, owing to the impossibility of working '' the sponge " there during 
the night; and of course we were invited to taste a bit. It was really what would have 
been considered '' o&ke " in some continental states ; indeed, a German servant, to whom 
we gave a piece of the prison loaf, was absolutely amazed at the EngUsh prodigality, and 
crying, " Wunder-scJUin!" assured us that the "Edntff von Preussm^* himself hardly ate better 

From the bakery we passed to the kitchen, where the floor was like a newly-cleaned 
bird-cage, with its layer of fresh sand that crunched, as garden walks arc wont to do, beneath 
the feet. Here was a strong odour of the steaming cocoa that one of the assistant cooks (a 
prisoner) was busy serving, out of huge bright coppers, into large tin pails, like milk-cans. 
The master cook was in the ordinary white jacket and cap, and the assistants had white 
aprons over their brown convict trowsers, so that it would have been hard to have told that 
any were prisoners there. 

The allowance for break&st '^ is ten ounces of bread," said the master cook to us, " and 
three-quarters of a pint of cocoa, made with three-quarters of an ounce of the solid flake, and 
flavoured with two oimces of pure milk and six drachms of molasses. Please to taste a little 
of the cocoa, sir. It 's such as you'd find it difficult to get outside, I can assure you ; for 
the berries are ground on the premises by the steam-engine, and so we can vouch for its 
being perfectly pure." 

It struck us as strange evidence of the " civilization " of our time, that a person must — 
in these days of "lie-tea," and chicory-mocha, and alumed bread, and brain-thickened milk, 
and watered butter — ^really go to prison to live upon unadulterated food. The best porter 
we ever drank was at a parish union — ^for the British pauper alone can enjoy the decoction of 
veritable malt and hops ; and certainly the most genuine cocoa we ever sipped was at this 
same Model Prison, for not only was it made of the unsophisticated berries, but with the 
very purest water, too— water, not of the slushy Thames, but which had been raised firom an 
artesian weU several hundred feet below the surface, expressly for the use of these same 

'* For dinner," continued the cook, " the rations are — ^half a pint of good soup, four 
oimces of meat every day — ^beef and mutton alternately — ^without bone, and which is equal 
to about half a pound of uncooked meat with an ordinary quantity of bone ; besides this 
there are five ounces of bread and one pound of potatoes for each man, except those working 
in association, who have two pounds. For supper every prisoner gets a pint of gruel, made 
with an ounce and a half of meal, and sweetened with six drachms of molasses, together 
with five more ounces of bread, so that each convict has twenty ounces of bread throughout 
the day. 



Yonder arc some of the ten-ounoe loaves, that are just going to be aerved out for break- 
faat" added the cook ; and, as he said the words, he pointed to a slab of miniatore half- 
qoartemsy that looked not nnlike a block of small paving-stones cemented together. "Any- 
thing additional," oontinned the cook, " is ordered by the medical officer. There you see, 
sir, that free man yonder has just brought in some extras ; they're for a prisoner in the 
infirmary. It's two ounces of butter, you observe, and an egg. 

'* Yes, sir, that's my slate," added the man, as he saw us looking up at a long black 
board that was nailed against the wall in the serving-room, and inscribed with the letters 
and figures of the several wards of the prison, together with various hieroglyphics that 
needed the cook himself to interpret. '^ On that board I chalk up," he proceeded, ** the 
number of prisaners in each ward, so as to know what rations I have to serve. The letter 
K there, underneath the figures, signifies that one man out of that particular ward is at 
work in the kitchen, and B, that one prisoner is employed in the bakehouse. That mark' 
up there stands for an extra loaf to be sent up to the ward it's placed under, and these dots 
here for two extra meats ; whilst yonder sign is to teU me that there is one man out of that 
part of the building gone into the infirmary. Yes, sir, we let the infirmary prisoners have 
just whatever the medical officer pleases to order — jelly, or fish, or indeed chicken if 

We thai inquired what was the diet for men under punishment. 

" Why, sir," answered the cook, " the punishment allowance is sixteen ounces of bread 
per diem, and nothing else except water. You see I am just going to cut up the rations for 
the three prisoners in the refractory wards to-day ; and so I take one of these twenty-ounce 
loaves, and cut it into three, and let the prisoner have the benefit of the trifling excess, for 
six ounces for breakfast, five for dinner, and five for supper, is all he's entitled to." 

'* How much," said we, *' will a prisoner lose in weight upon such diet P' 

" Why, I have known men to come out as much as four or five pounds lighter after three 
dayBof it," replied the cook; ''but there's a register book upstairs that will tell you exactly, sir.* 
When a man is under long punishment," continued the cook, *' for instance, when he has 
got twenty-eight days, he has full rations every fourth day, and is then found to gain flesh 
upon the food." 

'* I have known some prisoners come out as much as three pounds lighter than when they 
were first locked up," chimed in the warder; '' though it depends mainly upon the temper 

* We were afterwardi &Tonrod with a eight of the above-named regieter, from which we made the 
foOowiog eztraols aa to the weights of the men before being placed upon puniahment diet, and at the expira- 
tion of the sentence : — 

JLtffiitttttA If miber of 

Pnaoocn placed in Weight of FriBoner. Weight of Priioner. Number of Daye A^wege Loae of 

darkeeUoA ongDlngiii. on coming out under Punishment. Weight per Diem. 
PoBJchmest Diet. 

6,216 9 St. 21ba. 8 at 18 Ibi. 3 days. 1 lb. 

6,257 9st21ba. 8Bt.llIbe. 2 „ 2ilbe. 

6,419 1 2 Bt 11 ft. 1 libs. 1 „ 8 lbs. 

6,257 9 St. Not Tet oat of dark MIL 6 „ 

The abore table indicates tbat Ihe main loes of weigbt occurs upon the first day^the sererity of the 
ponialiaient donbtlesaly affecting the body through the mind leas intensely after the first twenty-four hours. 
We, at the same time, were allowed to inspect the sick report for the day of our visit, appended to which 
were the following recommendations of the medical officer : — 

** 6,144, A 1, 15, to have one pint of arrowroot and five ounces of bread for dinner per diem, and to keep 

^ 6,277, D I, 23, to haye cocoa for supper instead of grueL 

** 6,076, A III, 27, to go to the infirmary*** 

Othen were to be off trade, others to keep their ooU. ''If the doctor suspects a man to be scheming,*' 
wUi^erad the warder to ua, aa we glanced orer the aick report, ** ho puts him on low diet ; and that soon brings 
him to^ especially when he's kept off his meat and potatoes." 


of the men, for if thej fret much over their punishment they lose the more in weight; and 
we know by that whether the pimishment has worked upon them or not." 

''Yes, sir/' said the cook, "there are few persons that can hold -out against short 
commons ; the belly can tame every man. Now there's that man in A 3, he declared that 
no mortal thing should pass his Hps, and that he meant to starye himself to death ; that 
was the day before yesterday, but last night he was forced to give in, and take his grael. 
Ah, sir, it takes stronger-minded men than they are to hold out against the cravings of the 
stomach. Just dock a prisoner's food, and it hurts him more than any ' cat' that could be 
laid across his back." 

It was nearly half-past seven, and the warders were beginning to ascend the spiral stair- 
case from below, and the corridors to rumble with the rolling of the trucks along the 
pavement, and that of the '^ food-carriages" along the tops of the gallery railings^ in prepa- 
* ration for the serving of the prisoners' breakfast. 

At the time of our visit there were nearly three hundred and seventy convicts in the 
prison, and the warder had told us that the rations were distributed to the whole of these 
men in about eight minutes. We had seen sufficient of the admirable regulations of this 
prison to satisfy us that if the enormous building could be cleansed from end to end, and that 
in a manner surpassing all private establishments, in little more than half an hour, it was 
quite possible to accomplish the distribution of nearly four hundred breakfEists in less than 
ten minutes. Still we could not help wondering by what division of labour the task was 
to be achieved, especially when it is remembered that each of the four corridors is as long 
as an arcade, and as high as the nave of a large church, having double galleries one above 
the other. 

While we were speculating as to the process, the brass hand-bell was rung once more, 
to announce that the prisoners' break£Sast hour (half-past seven) had arrived ; and the bell 
had scarcely ceased pealing before the two oaken flaps let into the black asphalte pavement at 
the comers of the central hall, so that each stood between two of the four corridors, raised 
themselves as if by magic, and there ascended from below, through either flap, a tray laden 
with four large cans of cocoa, and two baskets of bread. These trays were raised by means 
of a '' lifting machine," the bright iron rods of which stretched from the bottom to the top of 
the building, and served as guides for the friction-roUers of the trays. No sooner were the 
cans and bread-baskets brought up from below, than a couple of warders and trade inatructoniy 
two to either of the adjoining corridors, seized each half the quantity, and placing it on the 
trucks that stood ready by the flaps, away the warder and instructor went, the one wheeling 
the barrow of cocoa along the side of the corridor, and the other hastening to open the small 
trap in each cell-door as he served the men with the bread. 

This is done almost as rapidly as walking, for no sooner does the trade-instructor apply 
his key to the cell-door than the little trap falls down and forms a kind of ledge, on 
which the officer may place the loaf, and the prisoner at the same time deposit his mug for 
the cocoa. This mug the warder who wheels the cocoa truck Alls with the beverage, ladling 
it out as milkmen do the contents of their paOs, and, when full, he thrusts the mug back 
through the aperture in the cell-door, and closes the trap with a slam. 

The process goes on in each ground-floor of the four corridors at one and the same time, 
and scarcely has it commenced before the beU of the lifting apparatus tinkles, and the 
emptied tray descends and brings up another load of steaming cans and bread. But these are 
now carried up to the galleries of the flrst floor, and there being received by the warders as 
before, the contents are placed upon the food-carriages, which are not unKke the small 
vehicles on tram-roads, and reach from side to side of each arcade, the top of the iron 
balcony to the galleries serving as rails for the carriage wheels to travel along. 

The distribution here goes on in the same rapid manner as below, and while this is taking 
place the lifting bell tinkles again, and the trays having descended once more, up they 

PEirroinnLLE peisok 135 

oome a third time laden with a fresh supply of food^ which now monnts to the upper floor, 
and bdng there receiTed in the same manner as preyionalyy is immediately distributed by 
means of the same kind of food-carriages throughout the upper ward. 

The sound of the rumbling of the trucks and food-carriages as the wheels trayel along 
the p&Tement and the rails, the tinkliug of the beU of the lifting apparatus, and the rapid 
Buocessicm of reports made by the slamming of the traps of the 360 cell-doors, are all neces- 
sary in order to giye the reader a vivid sense of the rapidity of the distribution — ^which is 
assoredly about as curious and busy a prooess as one can well witness, every portion of the 
duty being conducted with such ease, and yet wit^ such marvellous de^atch, that there is 
hardly a finer instance of the feats that can be accomplished by the division of labour than 
fhis same serTing of nearly 400 breakfasts in less than ten minutes. 

%* The Befract&ry JFkrda and Priam Punishments, — ^A few moments after the above busy 
scene has oome to an end, the prison is as still and quiet as the City on the Sabbath. The 
w a rd e rs have nearly all gone below to " clean themselves," the looms have ceased clacking, and 
the shoemakers tapping, and even the gong in connection with the cells is no longer heard 
to sound in the corridors. For a time one would fancy the whole prison was asleep again. 

Presently, however, the glass doors at the end of the passage are thrown open, and the 
governor enters with his keys in his hand. Then one of the warders who remains on duty 
hurries on before him, crying, ** Govemor-r-r ! Ck>vemor-r-r ! Governor-r-r !" as he opens 
each of the ceU-doors. The chief prison authority walks past the several cells, saying, 
as he goes, " All right ! — all right !" to each prisoner, who stands ready drawn up at the 
door, as stiff as a soldier in his sentry-box, with his hand raised, by way of salute, to the 
flide of his cap ; whilst no sooner have the words been spoken than the door is closed again, 
and the building echoes with the concussion. 

This done, the governor proceeds to visit the refractory cells ; but before accompanying 
him thither, let us prepare the reader with an idea of the nature of such places. 

The refi^wjtory, or, as they are sometimes called, " dark cells," are situate in the basement 
of corridor C. It was mid-day when we first visited these apartments at Pentonville. 

" light a lantern, Wood," said the chief warder to one of the subordinate officers, '* so 
that this gentleman may look at the dark cells." 

The Ifflnp lighted at noon gave us a notion of what we were to expect, and yet it was a 
poor conception of what we saw. 

Descending a small flight of stairs, we came to a narrow passage, hardly as wide as the 
area before second-rate houses ; and here was a line of black doors, not unlike the entrances 
to the front cellars of such houses. These were the refractory cells. 

The officer who accompanied us threw back one of the doors, which turned as heavily on 
its hinges, and gave forth the same hollow sound, as the massive door of an iron safe. The 
interior which it revealed was absolutely and literally ** pitch dark." Not a thing was visible 
in Hie cell ; and so utterly black did it look within, that we could not believe but that there 
was another door between us and the interior. The officer, however, introduced his lantern, 
and then we could see the rays diverging from the bull's-eye, and streaking the darkness 
with a bright, luminous mist, as we have all seen a sunbeam stripe the dusky atmosphere of 
some cathedral. The light from the lantern fell in a bright, Jack-a-dandy-Hke patch upon the 
white walls, and we then discovered, as the warder flickered the rays into the several comers of 
the chamber, that the refractory cell was about the size of the other cells in which the men 
lived, but that it was utterly bare of all furniture, excepting, in one comer, a smaU raised 
bench, with a sloping head-piece, that was like a wooden mattress, placed upon the ground. 
This, we were told, was, with a rug for covering, the only bed allowed. 

" Would you like to step inside," asked the warder, " and see how dark it is when the 
door is closed?" 


We entered the teirible place with a shudder, for there is something intenselj homble 
in absolute darkness to all minds, confess it or not as they may ; and as the warder shut the 
door upon us — ^and we felt the cell walls shake and moan again, like a tomb, as he did so 
— ^the utter darkness was, as Milton sublimely says — " vmble.*^ The eyes not only saw, but 
felt the absolute negation of their sense in such a place. Let them strain their utmost, not 
one luminous chink or crack could the sight detect. Indeed, the very air seemed as imper- 
vious to vision as so much black marble, and the body seemed to be positivdy encompassed 
with the blackness, as if it were buried alive, deep down in the earth itself. Though we 
remained several minutes in the hope that we should shortly gain the use of our eyes, and 
begin to make out, in the thick dusk, bit after bit of the apartment, the darkness was at the 
end of the time quite as impenetrable as at first, so that the continual straining of the eye- 
balls, and taxing of the brains, in order to get them to do their wonted duty, soon produced 
a sense of mental fatigue, that we could readily understand would end in conjuring up aU 
kinds of terrible apparitions to the mind. 

*' Have you had enough, sir ?" inquired the warder to us, as he re-opened the door, and 
whisked the light of his lantern in our eyes. 

An owl, suddenly roused from its sleep in the daylight, could not have been more dazzled 
and bewildered with the glitter of the rays than we. The light was now as blinding to us 
as had been the darkness itself, and such was the dilatation of the pupils that we had to rub 
our eyes, like one newly waked from sleep, before we could distinguish anything on leaving 
the place ; and when we mounted the steps and entered the corridor once more, the air had 
the same blue tint to us as that of early morning. 

''Well, sir, I think," said the warder, in answer to our question as to how many intract- 
ables the prison contained, ** we have altogether about three or four per cent, of refractory 
people here, and they are mostly the boys and second probation men, as we call them. 
Separate confinement in Pentonville Prison for nine months now constitutes the first or 
probationary stage to the convict ; and then he is transferred to the pubHc works, either at 
Woolwich, or Portsmouth, or Portland, as the case may bci, which forms the second stage. 
But if the man won't conform to discipline at the public works, why then he is sent back 
to us again, and such people constitute what we call 'second probation men.' Some of 
them are very difficult to deal with, I can assure you, sir. The Glasgow boys in the prison 
are perhaps the worst class of all. I can hardly say what is the reason of their being so bad. 
I don't think it is the lax discipline of the Glasgow prison ; but the race, you see, is half 
Scotch and half Irish, and that is a very bad mixture, to my mind. On the other hand, the 
sheep-stealers and the convicts who have been farm-labourers are about the easiest managed 
of all the prisoners here. Then, what we call the first-class men, such as those who have 
been well educated, like the clerks, and forgers, and embezzlers, and so forth, give us little or 
no trouble ; and, generally speaking, the old jail-birds fall into the discipline very well, for 
they know it is no use knocking their head against the wall. The boys, however, who come 
here for the first time, are sad, troublesome feUows, and will stand an awful deal of punish- 
ment surely before their temper is broke." 

We had visited the dark cells at six o'clock in the morning of the day which we spent 
within the prison. At that time there were four prisoners confined in the refractory ward, 
and we found a boy, with an officer in attendance, turned out into the passage to wash 
himself at the sink, and to fold up the rug he had to cover himself with during the night. He 
had been sentenced to one day's confinement in the dark cell, we were told, for communicating 
in chapel. 

" Any complaint?" said the warder. "None," was the brief reply. Then the bull's- 
eye was thrust into the cell, and the Hght flirted through every part of the chamber so as to 
show whether or not any depredations had been committed. The boy gave us a sullen look 


as we passed by him, and the warder told us, while we mounted the steps, that when the lad 
had finished washing, another prisoner would be let out to perform the same operation. 

Some hour and a half after this, during the governor's morning visit, we went once 
more to the same place. The officer, who preceded the governor, threw open the doors one 
by one, crying, '^Govemor-r-r!" asbefoie, and the prisoners stood drawn up at the cell- 
doors as the others had done. • 

''Please to release me, sir," said the first under punishment, *' and I'll promise you I 
won't do so again." 

''We never remit any punishment here," was the governor's brief answer; and imme* 
diately the door of the dark cell was closed upon the prisoner once more. 

The second man had a less dogged and surly expression, and the governor exclaimed, as 
his quick eye detected the signs of yielding temper in his face, " Oh ! you're coming to your 
senses are you ? Well, I am glad to hear it ; and you'll be more carefdl for the fature." 

The last but one under confinement was " a bad fellow/' the governor told us, and was in 
fi>r six days ; whilst the last of all had been sent back from the works at Portland as incor- 
rigible. These two were merely inspected, and asked whether all was right ; but not a 
word was spoken in return by the men, who looked the very picture of bitter sullenness. So 
the heavy doors closed upon them, and the wretched creatures were again shut up in their 
living tombs. 

" Ah ! sir," said one of the warders to us, at a later part of the day, " some of the convicts 
are wry difficult to deal with. I remember once we had forty of the worst fellows sent to 
US here — ^the forty thieves we used to call them. They were men who had gone the round 
of the public prisons and the " huUEs," and some of them had been sent back, before their 
aentenoes expired, firom the public works at Gibraltar. When they came in, the governor 
was told that one of the men, who was in chains, was so dangerous that it wouldn't be safe to 
aUow him anything but a wooden spoon to eat with. Well, sir, the governor spoke to them 
all, and said if they would only obey orders they should be treated like other men ; but if they 
would not conform to discipline, why he was prepared to compel them. So he made no more 
ado but ordered the irons to be took off the most dangerous of them ; and sure enough that man 
became quite an altered character. However, we didn't like having such people here, I 
can teU you; for we always expected an attempt would be made to break prison by the lot 
of them all at once; and whenever many of them were brought together (as in the chapel, 
for instance), a sufficient number of officers was kept under arms, within call, ready to act 
in case of need. But, thank goodness, all went well, and the greater part of those very men 
not only left here with good chaiycters, but merely a few of them had to be punished. But 
another prisoner, not of the same gang, but a returned convict who had been in Norfolk 
Island, was much more difficult to manage than even these ; and I remember, a&esr he had 
been confined in the refractory cell, he swore, on being let out, that he would murder any 
man who attempted to come down to him there. He had made a spring at the officer near 
him, and would assuredly have bitten his nose off had the warder not retreated up the stairs, 
so thai the man was down below all alone, vowing and declaring he would have the life of 
the first person that tried to get him up. WeU, you see, we knew we could master him 
directly we had him in the corridor; but as we couldn't take his life, and he could <mr$, he 
was more than a match for us down in the refiractory ward. Accordingly the governor had to 
devise some means by which to get him up stairs without hurting him— and how d'ye think 
he did it, sir ? Why, he got some cayenne pepper and burnt it in a Aimigating bellows, and 
then blew the smoke down into the ward where the fellow was. The man stood it for some 
time; but, bless you, he was soon glad to surrender, for, as we sent in puff after puff, it set 
him coughing and sneezing, and rubbing his eyes, and stamping with the pain, as the fdmes 
got not only into his throat and up his nose, but under his eyelids, and made them smart, 
till the tears ran down his cheeks as if he had been a little child. Then immediately after- 


wards we threw ourselves upon him, and effectually secured him against doing any forther 
harm. Oh ! no, sir," added the officer, with a smile and a knowing shake of the head, ** he 
never tried the same game on after that; one dose of cayenne l>epper smoke was quite 
enough for him, I can assure you. 

'' When we first came here," continued our informant, *^ we used to have some weapons 
to .prevent a prisoner &om injuring any of us in his cell ; for, you see, we are ohligod to 
allow the convicts knives and hammers when they are employed as shoemakers, so that they 
may do their work in their ccUs. Well, some one or other of the prisoners used occasionally 
to get furious, and swear that they would stick us with their knives or knock our brains 
out with their hammers if we dared to come near them, and we could see by their expres- 
sions that they meant it too. But how do you think we used to do in such cases ? Why, 
one of us used to put on a large shield that was made of basket-work, well stuffed and 
covered with leather, and almost big enough to screen a person's whole body behind it; and 
when the officer saw a good opportunity, he would suddenly rush into the cell, thrusting the 
shield right in front of the prisoner, and whilst the fellow was taken aback with this, another 
officer would dart in, holding a long pole with a large padded crutch like an enonnous pitch«> 
fork at the end of it ; and thrusting this at the upper part of the prisoner's body, be would 
pinion him right up against the wall. IN'o sooner, toO) would this be done than another 
officer, bearing a similar crutch, but somewhat smaller, would make a drive at the fellow's 
legs, and pin these in a like manner ; whUst immediately that was accomplished, the other 
warders would pour in and oveipower the man. We have, however, now done away with 
all such things, for we find that if a convict is rebellious he is much sooner brought to 
himself by putting him on low diet than by all the fetters in tlic world. Only stop his meat 
and potatoes, as the cook said to you this morning, sir, and he'U soon give in, I worrant." 

Later in the day we were present when two piisoners, who had been reported for refine* 
tory conduct, were brought in for examination before the governor in his office. The report- 
book lay upon the table, and the governor pointed out to us that the offence of the one was 
refusal to wash the slates and go to chapel, and that of the other wilful disturbance of the 
congregation in the chapel by clapping his hands. 

The former of these had been liberated from the dark cell only that morning. He was, 
comparatively speaking, a mere boy, and entered the governor's office in a determined 
manner. But seeing us there he became frightened, mistaking us, we were told, for some 
awftd government authority. So when the governor asked him what he had to say, and 
whether he admitted the charge, he nodded his head sullenly in assent, and was immediately 
marched off to the dark cell once more. • 

The next offender was the church-disturber. He was one of the Glasgow boys of 
whom we have before spoken, and had been sent back to Pentonville ftom Parkhurst. He 
had already been punished four times before. His face, which was almost flat and broad, 
was remarkable for the extreme self-will depicted in him, and he had that peculiar thick buU- 
ncck which is so characteristic of stubbornness of temper. 

On being asked what he had to say, he stoutly denied the charge, declaring that it was all 
false, and that the officer had a spite against him. "Then," said the governor, ** let the officer 
state his case." The warder stepped forward and declared that, during praytjrs that morning, 
the boy had clapped his hands loudly at the end of the service. The officer said he was sure 
it was the prisoner, because the lad stood upon a stool in the chapel, being short, and he 
had his eyes fixed upon him while he committed the offence. 

" Well,*' said the governor, " what have you to say now?" 

" I say it aint true," muttered the boy, shaking his head, and fro^niing with a detcf- 
taincd air. 

*' Take him away to the dark cell,'* said the governor ; and he proceeded to write in the 
book that his punishment was to be three days' confinement in the refractory ward upon 



pimiahment diet, "with loss of stripe aad remoyal firom the A diviBion> which is the part of 
the prison occupied by the convicts who are permitted to work in partial association after 
having passed nine montlis in separation. 

** Yon see/' said the goyemor, taming to ns when the boy had left, " I am obliged to 
support my officers."* 

But if there be punishments at Pentom-illc, there are, on the other hand, rewards ; and 
many of the penal inflictions for breaches of discipline and riotous conduct consist merely in 
the withdrawal of the premiums given for good behaviour. '* Do yon find," said we, some 
time back to one of the turnkeys of another prison (Newgate), as he walked with us through 
the ancient " press-yard " — where formerly prisoners who had refused to plead at the bar, 
in order to save their property, suffered the "peine forte et dure," or, in other words, were 
" pressed to death '* — " Do you find," we asked, " that you have the inmates of the jail under 
the same control now as in the days of * thumb-screws,' and ' gags,' and brandings ?" 

" I think we have greater power over them, sir," was the answer; " for at present, you 
see, we cut off the right of receiving and sending letters, as well as stop the visits of their 
friends ; and a man feels those things much more than any torture that he could be put to." 

The prison authorities now-a-days, therefore, have learnt that negative punishments are 
far more effective \}ikaxL pontile ones. But as these same negative punishments consist merely 
of the deprivation of certain privileges or enjoyments, rather than the infliction of actual 
cmeltieB, it is essential that the granting of such privileges, as rewards for good conduct, 
should form part of the modem prison discipline. 

Accordingly, in Pentonvillo Prison, as we have already seen, one part of the punishment 
consists in the reduction of the ordinary diet to bread and water ; whilst another form of 
punishment, to which we have before alluded, is the loss of the red stripe or stripes decorating 

« The folloviog is an epitome of the punishments in this prison for ono entire year :-> 


No. of PrisoBcrs No. of Timea 

No. of 

No. of Prisonen 

No. of Times 

No. of 










1 . 

11 times 





2 . 

12 „ 





. 14 „ 



4 times . 


. 16 „ 



. 6 „ . . 


. 17 „ 

. . 17 


. 6 „ . . 


. 23 „ 



. . 7 „ . . 


. 24 „ 



. . 8 „ . . 



. . 9 „ . 




The oftneet fur which the prisoners v^cro punished were as nnder : — 

149 were for disobedience (such as refusing to work or attend echool or exercise) ; 83 for disturbing 
prison by shonting, whistling, or singing obscene and other songs ; 102 for misconduct in school, snch as 
talking, whistling, &c ; 33 for obscene communications or drawings (on books and chapeUstalls] ; 33 for 
miscondact in ehapel daring service ; 171 for communicating with fellow-prisoners (either b}^ writing, talking 
at exercise, or by knocking on cell- walls or through water-pipes) ; 2 for trying to send letters out of prison ; 
64 for wilfuUy destroying prison property; 25 fSor boring holes in cell- window, &c.; 9 for assaulting 
officers ; 29 for using hod language to officers, &c. ; 6 for false charges against officers ; 30 for fighting and 
wrangling with fellow^prisonci-s in association ; 9 for attempting to escape ; 3 for proposing to other prisoners 
to escape ; 4 for feigning suicide ; 3 for threatening to commit ditto ; 4 fbr dirty cells ; 22 for purloining bread , 
meat, &c ; 14 for having tobacco, &c., in possession. 

The nature of the ptmUhmenlt for the above offences was as follows :— 

634 were confined to the dark cell (292 of these with punishment diet, and 244 with ordinary diet, 18 with 
Io«8 of stripee, and 10 with loss of one stripe) ; 40 of these 534 were so confined for ono day, 236 for two days^ 
249 for throe days, 4 between five and ten days, and 4 between ten and twenty-one days. 11 were confined 
to the light cell (9 with punishment diet, and 2 with ordinary diet). 26 were confined to their own cell (19 
with ordinary diet, and 7 with their secular books withdrawn). 18 were withdrawn from working in asso** 
ciatioD, and 7 from school. 1 suffered corporal punishment (36 lashes) ; and 4 were removed from the 
working party in A division. 


the arm of those who have conducted themselTes well during the first six months of their 

Nor is this badge of good conduct a mere honorary distinction, for those who haye obtained 
it become entitled to receive a certain gratuity for tiieir labour, according to the quantity of 
work done ; and only the best behaved among these are removed from separate confinement 
in the day, and allowed to work in association — a privilege, moreover, which entitles them 
to an extira pound of potatoes at dinner. 

At the time of our visit, there was about 8 per cent, of the prisoners (or 29 in 368) 
working together; and so highly is this indulgence prized, that it becomes one of the severest 
infiictions to send an associated man back to separate confinement. * 

Again, only well-conducted prisoners are allowed to i^poeive a visit from their MendB.f 

* The following are the official rules and regulatioiiB conoemiDg good and bad conduct, a copy of which 
is suspended in each cell : — 


'* Transportation for certain offences having been abolished by Act of Parliament, and certain periods of 
imprisonment of much shorter duration, under the term *' penal servitude," haying been substituted in place 
of the sentences of seven and ten years* transportation, which had been usually awarded, no remission, as a 
general rule, of any part of the term of penal servitude will be granted ; the period of detention, in place of 
a longer sentence of transportation, haying been settled by law. The Secretary of State will, however, be 
prepared to consider any case of any convict whose conduct may be the subject of special recommendatioii. 
The Secretary of State is also desirous, as a general rule, of holding out encouragement to good conduct by 
establishing successive stages of discipline, to each of which some special privileges will be attached. Goa- 
victs of good conduct, maintaining a character for willing industry, will by this rule be enabled, after certain 
fixed periods, to obtain the higher stages, and gain the privileges attached to them. 

<< For the present, and until further orders, the following rules will be observed : — 

'* All convicts under sentence of penal servitude wiU be subjected to a period of separate oonfinement^ 
followed by labour on pubUc works. 

'' Convicts imder sentence of transportation will be subject to the same discipline so long as they are 
imprisoned in this country. 


<<1. Convicts, as a general rule, will be detained in separate confinement for a period of nine months 
from the date of their reception in a government prison. 

'* 2. Every convict who, during a detention of six months in the prison, may have conducted himself in a 
satisfactory manner, will be allowed to wear a badge, which will entitle him to receive a visit from his friends. 
A second badge, with the privilege of a second visit, wiU be granted at the end of three additional months, 
provided his conduct has continued to be satisfactory. 

** 3. Convicts wearing badges will be recommended for gratuities to be placed to their credit^ acoording to 
the scale approved by the Secretary of State. 

** 4. In the event of a convict being deprived of a badge througli misconduct, he will, at the tame time, 
forfeit all advantages he had derived from it, including the gratuity already credited to him (if so ordered). 
He may, however, regain the forfeited badge after an interval of two months if specially recommended by tlM 
Governor and Chaplain. 

'* 5. On removal of convicts from separate confinement to public works, they will be placed in the flnt, 
second, or third class, according to their conduct, attention to instruction, and industry. This dssaification 
will affect their position in the following stages of their servitude. 

<* 6. Convicts deemed to be incorrigible, will be specially dealt with." 

t The subjoined are the regulations respecting such visits : — 

'* The prisoner has leave to receive one visit frx>m his friends, provided^ 

<* 1st. If the visit is made within one month* 

'* 2nd. If the prisoner is well behaved in the mean time ;.— badly behaved prisoners are not allowed to see 
friends when they come. 

<< 3rd. The visit to last only fifteen minutes. 

<' 4th. Visitors admitted only between the hours of 2 and 4 o'clock in the afternoon. 

" 5th. No visit allowed on Sundays. 

<* 6th. Such of the above-named friends as wish to visit, must all attend at the same time, and produoe this 


Farther, aaother curiouB priyilege granted to well-conducted prisoners in Pentonville, is 
the liberty of labouring; for so terrible is separate confinement found to be, without 
ooeupation, that one of the forms of pxmishment peculiar to this prison is the stoppage of 
a man^s work, and forcing him to remain in his own cell in a state of idleness throughout 
the day. 

What high penal refinement is here shown, in making the feelings of monotony and vacuity 
of mind so keen a pain to the erratic natures of criminals (ever bent as they are upon 
change and amusement) that, though the convicts be remarkable for their innate aversion to 
labour outside the prison walls, the deprivation of work within them becomes a means 
of discipline to such characters ! 

*^* JSxm'ming and SeaUh of the Prisoners, — At eight o'clock in the morning the " Model 
Prison*' is noisier and Mler of life and bustle than ever, and the transition from the silence 
during break£B»t-time to the sudden outpouring of the convicts is a strongly-marked feature 
of the place. 

No sooner does the clock point to the hour above mentioned, than the bell for morning 
prayers in the chapel is heard booming and humming overhead throughout the resonant 
arcades, and instantly the cell-doors are successively thrown open, and the brown-clad 
prifloners stream forth from every part of the building ; above, below, on this side, and on 
that, lines of convicts come hurrying along the corridors and galleries at a rapid pace, one 
after the other, and each at the distance of some four or five yards apart, while the warders, 
who stand by, watching their movements, keep crying to the men as they pass, " Now, step 
out there, will you — step out!" 

This is accompanied with a noise and clatter that is as bewildering as the sight — the 
tramping of the feet, the rattling of the iron staircases by the bridges as the prisoners pass up 
and down them, the slamming of the cell-doors, and the tolling of the bell overhead — all keep 
up such an incessant commotion in the brain that the mind becomes half-distracted with what 
it sees and hears. Nor does the tumult cease in a second or two, for as it takes some seven 
or eight minutes to empty the prison when frdl, the lines of convicts streaming along from 
all parts of the building seem to be endless, and impress you with the idea of the number 
being positively infinite. 

Moreover, each of the prisoners is not only clad alike — and brown as so many bees pour- 
ing from the coimtless cells of a hive — but every one wears a peculiar brown cloth cap, and 
tiie peak of this (which is also of cloth) hangs so low down as to cover the face like a mask, 
the eyes alone of the individual appearing through the two holes cut in the front, and seem- 
ing dbnost like phosphoric lights shining through the sockets of a skull. This gives to the 
prisoners a half-spectral look, and though they have hardly the same hideous appearance as 
the diver at the Polytechnic, with his big hydrocephalous head and glass- window eyes, 
nevertheless the costume of the men seems like the outward vestment to some wandering soul 
rather than that of a human being ; for the eyes, glistening through the apertures in the mask, 
give one the notion of a spirit peeping out behind it, so that there is something positively 
terrible in the idea that these are men whose crimes have caused their very features to be 
hidden from the world. It is strange, too, how different the convicts look under such 
circumstances from the ordinary coarse-featured men seen, in the chapel ; for at Pentonville the 
screening of the faces gives a kind of tragic solemnity to the figures, and thus there appears 
to be nothing vulgar nor brutal about them. 

We are here speaking of first impressions only, for after a time, when the spectral senti- 
ment has worn off, the imposition of these- same masks — though originally designed, it must 
be confessed, with every kindness and consideration to the prisoners, in order that their faces 
might not he seen in their shame— -cannot but be regarded as a piece of wretched frippery, 
and as idle in use as they are theatrical in character ; for the men at "the Moder* being all 


destined either for transportatioiL abroad, or fbr labour at the public vorks at homoy where 
no such masquerading is indulged in, it becomeB positivelj silly to impose snch a costume 
on the prisoners as a means of preyenting recognition in after life, since all such restraints 
are removed during the latter part of their punishment.* 

At the same hour as that for morning service, exercise begins in the '' rope-walk," as it 
is called, and two divisions of the men, who then come pouring forth from their cells, are led 
off for airing into a spacious yard, while the other two divisions are sent into the chapel — 
the prisoners from B and D corridors being at exercise while those from A and are at 
prayers, so that the prison at this hour is emptied of all but such as may be invalided at the 

Let UB follow the men to their exercise now, and reserve the scene in the chapel for 
future description. 

At Pentonville there are five exercising yards, and it will be seen, on reference to the 
bird's-eye view of the prison given at page 116, that the two larger yards, which are for 
exercising in common, and called the " rope-yards," are situate on either side of the long 
entrance hall leading from the portcullis porch, and marked by a series of ooncentric rings, 
whilst the three others (which are for exercising apart) lie between the several corridors, 
and are wheel-shaped, the several radii, or spokes, consisting of walls or partitions, to 
separate the men waUdng there one from the other, and the centre serving as a small 
''aigus," or station, for a warder, whence to survey the whole of the prisoners at one 
glance. These exercising yards are numbered in rotation, that on the left-hand side of the 
entrance hall being called l^o. 1, and that on the right-hand side No. 5, and the smaller 
private yards styled No. 2, 8, and 4, respectively. 

The men who were put to exercise at the hour above mentioned, tamed out into yard 
No. 1 ; and as they descended a small flight of steps a warder standing there cried out, ** Leit !" 
*' Bight !" according to the appointed station of the convicts. The conoentrio rings here con- 
sisted of a narrow line of bricken paving let into the soil, and on this lay a long rope knotted 
at distances of fifteen feet apart. Here the prisoners took up their station, one at every 
knot, all with masks down, and with a warder to watch over each of the drdes of men at 
exercise, so as to prevent all communication between them individually. 

When the whole of the men were assembled in the yard, and each at their different 
stations, holding the rope in their hands, the principal warder cried in a loud voice, 
''Forwar-r-r-d ! " and instantly the whole of the 130 convicts there began to wheel round 
and round, and to move along at the same rapid pace as if they were so many circles of 

There was a sharp easterly wind blowing on the morning of our visit that stnng the skin 
and flooded the eyes, as it swept by, and made one really envy the brisk movements of 
the prisoners. '* Now, move on, will you — come, move on ! " one warder would cry to the 
flagging ones. "Step out there, men, step out!" another would exclaim, as the convicts 
filed rapidly by them. 

Presently the principal warder roared, " Ha-a-a-lt ! " and instantaneously the whole of 
the brown rings that before were circling round and round, like some cavalcade at a drcns, 
came to a sudden stop with almost military precision; and immediately afterwards the 
warder shouted, ''Face about!" whereupon they one and all tamed on their heels and 

* It Ib bat light to add, that this bit of priaon foppery is to be abolished. Colonel Jebb, is. a letter 
addreaaed to the Under-Secretary of State, qnotea the following reaolution oome to by a Board of Inqiiiry 
in favour of its diacontinnanoe :— *' That the mask or peak does not prevent priaonen from xeoogniring 
each other in the priaon ; moreover, that aa prisoners see each other before they are brought to the priaon^ oome 
in considerable bodies, and are aaaembled together when they leave the prison, it would be desirable to discon- 
tinue it, since the use of it appears calculated to depress the spirits of the men, without obtaimng any oorrea- 
ponding adyantage."— JS^^or^ an ih$ Dueipline and Management of Conviet Prmnt for th$ Tear 1853. 


commenced pacing in an opposite direction, the officers crying as before, *' Step ont, men/' and 
" Move on there/' as they one after another went striding past them. 

At first one is astonished at the rapid rate at which the prisoners keep moviag, but a 
reference to the Goyemment reports tells us that this mode of exercise has been adopted after 
the plan pursned at Wakefield, where we are informed the prisoners are made to walk 
briskly round paved paths, forming three concentric rings; and which plan has been introduced 
at Pentonyille, because, as Colonel Jebb says, ^' experience has shown the necessity of the 
greatest precautions in the administration of the discipline of strict separation, in order to 
goard*against its tendency to depress and otherwise affect the mental energies of the 

The rapid exercise, therefore, at Pentonville Prison partakes more of the character of a 
liKiJriTig to a drowsy man, than an airing to a wakeM one; and as medical instruc- 
tions enjoin us to drag, pinch, kick, or indeed to resort to any forcible means to induce 
muscular exercise in a person who is suffering firom an opiate, so the '< brisk walking'' «t 
'* the Kodel" is intended to rouse and stir the men out of the depression induced by separate 
confinement — to shake up their half-thickened blood, as one does a doctor's draught before it 
can be made to do its duty. 

Indeed, we find in the report of the medical officer of the prison (giyen at page 116), 
that the diseases prevalent at Pentonville are precisely those which are known to arise from 
undue confinement — no less than 52 per cent, of the entire disorders consisting of dyspepsia 
and constipation — so that out of a total of 1732 eases requiring medical treatinen^ no less 
than 1103 were affections of the organs of digestion. 

Nevertheless, it must be confessed that the men whom we saw previous to their departure 
for Portsmouth appeared to be perfectiy healthy, and to be in no way subject to any 
depression of spirits.* 

* Since the puUication of the prerioufl part of Thb Gbsat Wobld of London, we have received a letter 
fiom a gentleman, who is at once a strenuous and weU-meaning advocate of the separate system, remonstrat- 
ing against the conclusions we have drawn as to the operation of this mode of prison discipline ; and as we 
omaelves have no other object than the truth, we readily append his remarks — ^which are worthy of eyery 
eooaderation, as well from the character as position of the writer-— so that the pubUc may decide fairly upon 
the subject (1.) He writesj " At pages 103 and 104, you attempt to show that the discipline of Pentonville 
produced, in a given time, upwards of ten times more than the average proportion of lunacy in all other 
prisons throughout England and "Wales ; whereas it is impossible to institute any fair comparison in such 
a case. For what parallel is there between Pentonville, in which, under the separate system, the term was 
18 months, and upwards, and * all other prisons,' &c., in which, under short sentences and summary convic- 
tioDS, it averaged to very nuieh lest f 

(2.) *' Again, your rate of 6*8 of criminal lunatics in every 10,000 of an average annual population in 
' an prisons,' Ac. — (which, although not so stated, was probably derived from the number found to have 
been insane on iricU) — ^must fall veiy far short of the cases of insanity which actually occurred in every such 
10,000 m the year. For, as shown by Mr. Burt, at p. 99 of his book, the proportion of lunatics was ascer- 
tained to have been 13 (persons acquitted as insane) in every 10,000 of the prison population (tried) ; but 
it being impossible to discover the average period that elapsed between the attack (of insanity) and the. 
prisoner^ ^ial, the interval was assumed, for example, to have been 6 or 4 months — and thus the cases of 
insanity occurring during th$ entire year must have been, according to that rate, in the proportion of 26 or 
89 in 10,000. And it did not appear that the highest of such proportions was too high. 

(3.) ^ Mr. Burt further showed, horn another table, that the annual mean number of cases of lunacy 
tfaroHnc^iont the prisons of England and Wales reported for each year between 1843 and 1847 was 89*4 — tho 
average daily population being 14,689 — ^giving a proportion of 63 cases of insanity in every 10,000, which 
is a frur larger proportion than occurred under the separate system, when carried out in its integrity, for the 
longest terms, with the greatest strictness, and co-eztensively with that same period of time, at Pentonville. 

(4.) ''Again, at the pages refenred to, and at page 115, you ascribe to the separate system, preperly to 

eaStd, results which it utterly repudiates. That system, commencing in 1843, and ending in 1847, or at 

latest in February, 1848, lasted 6 years and 2 months, and no Umgor. Within that period, when its oum con- 

ditiflns and retpuxements were fulfilled — and net beyond that 'period, when they were violated and distorted, 



At a later hour of the day — ^for from eight to half-past twelve the prisoners are contintiallj 
going to and returning from exercise — ^we were led towards the private exercising yards, and, 

and when innoTatlons, ag^ainat which it protests, were introduced— jou must therefore look for its legitimate 
results ; and these, whatever may be said, and by whomsoeyer, to the contrary, are the very reverse of the 
hideous dimensions you describe. But instead of drawing a broad line after the termination of these five yean 
(the duration of the system), so as unmistakably to distinguish it from that other system — ^for which I know 
no name — ^which succeeded it, and which in the three following years of 1848, 1849, 1850, was attended with 
the most disastrous results, viz., with at least a four-fold larger proportion of insanity than oocuired under the 
separate system altogether ; results which, as compared with the last four cotuectUive years of it, were greater, by 
eight times and upwards, than under the original system — (instead of distinguishing between these diflEerent 
systems) you have confounded the results of the two under a eommon name ; not, I beUeve, intentionally, 
but probably because others whose writings you may have consulted had done so before." 

Now, against the first of the aboye remarks, we would urge that it is asserted by the adyocates of the 
separate system, as " carried out in its integrity" at Pentonyille, that the greatest number of cases of insanity 
occur during the early part of the imprisonment ; and Mr. Burt, in his " Results of Separate Confinement" (page 
132), cites a table, in which he shows that, out of 51 cases of mental affection, no less than 29 occurred 
within the first six months and under ; and 15 between six and twelye months ; whereas only 5 occurred 
between twelve and eighteen months ; and not more than 2 between eighteen months and two years ; or, in 
other words, that whereas 44 cases of mental disorder occurred within the first year, there were but 7 within 
the second. Hence, in opposition to the first of the above objections, we say — with all deference—that 
there U some parallel between Pentonyille, ^' where the term of imprisonment used to be eighteen months and 
upwards," and all other prisons where " the term ayerages so much less." 

Against the second obseryation we can only adduce the fact that, in the Government tables [firom which 
the normal rate of lunacy was deduced, it is not stated that the number of lunatics there given refers to 
the persons acquitted as insane " upon trials'* and that no reason appears for making such an assumption. 
But even assuming such to be the case, and increasing the ratio to the same extent as Mr. Burt for the entire 
year, we raise the proportion of lunacy merely to 11*6 or 17' 4 in the 10,000 prisoners, which is still widely 
different from 62-0 to the 10,000 which is the proportion at Pentonyille. 

In opposition to the third remark, in which it is sho^-n that the proportion of cases of insanity to the 
aioerage daily population of the whole prisons of England and Wales, is 63 in every 10,000 p^Lsoners, we answer, 
that there ie aesuredly no parallel here, since the Pentonyille returns are made out according to the groes 
number of conyicts entering the prison, and not according to the daily average number of prisoners (see Burt's 
'* Besults," page 122), whilst those from which the normal rate of lunacy was deduced refer, also, not to tho 
daily average of prisoners, but to the gross priaon population of England and Wales. 

With reference to the fourth remark, we can but quote the following table given by Mr. Bradley, the 
medical officer of the prison, in his report for the year 1853, and which is arranged to show the 'proportion 
of lunacy in every thousand prisoners eeriatim as they entered ** the Model," but which we have here 
increased to ten thousand, by the addition of a cypher to the ratio, in order to reduce the whole of the statistics 
to one uniform standard, and so facilitate the comparison : — 

No. of Cases of No. of Cases of No. of TnftAl 

Insanity. Delusion. Suicides. aw«. 

60 100 160 

100 50 10 160 

40 90 20 150 

90 70 160 

20 20 

10 10 20 

For the first and second items the term of imprisonment in Pentonyille, says Mr. Bradley (a gentleman, 
be it observed, who is often commended by the Suryeyor-Greneral of Prisons for the accuracy and lucidity of 
his statistical tables), was eighteen months, whereas with the third and fourth it was only tweWe months, 
so that if calculated for an uniform period^ he says, there would be an increase of one-third in the ratio 
of lunacy for the third and fourth items oyer that of the first an^ second. This increase Mr. Bradley attri- 
butes to the fact that the earlier prisoners were picked men, whereas the later ones were the ordinary convicts 
of a low intellectual standard. The diminution in the ratio of insanity in the fifth item the medical officer 
ascribes to the following causes : — (1) The shortening of the term of imprisonment in Pentonyille. (2) Increased 
quantity of out-door exercise, and the substitution of exercise in common for exercise in separate yards. 
(3) Better yentilation of the cells. (4) Relaxation of the discipline in all cases of danger. (5) Awakening 
the prisoner's interest in the pursuit of his trade. (6) Increased amount of school instruction giyen to the 
most ignorant. 

The same officer, moreoyer, adds that though much has been gained by the measures adopted during 


the 1st 1 


thousand prisoners 












as we irent, we passed a detachment of '' associated" conyicts at work with barrows and 
spades in the prison gronnds, and with an officer attending in their rear. 

These private yards consist, as we have said, each of a series of eight compartments, or 
deep narrow dens, as it were, that seem, with their partitions, not nnlike the elongated stalls 
of a stable, all radiating from a smaU octagonal house in the centre, where sits a warder 
watching the prisoners. Here the invalids and refractory or dangerous prisoners are put 
to exercise. 

As we neared yard No. 4, the warder whispered in our ear that the short man with red 
hair, whom we should see exercising in one of the compartments, was in for a murder com- 
mitted at Carlisle ; and, indeed, had had so narrow an escape fh)m the gallows, that his 
respite had arrived only on the Saturday before his appointed execution on the Monday. 

As we passed, we could not help fixing our gaze upon the blood-shedder, who was pacing 
the yard moodily, with his hands buried in his pockets ; and as the men, in this part of the 
prison, exercise with their cap-peaks up, we saw sufficient of the features of the felon — ^for 
he returned our glance with a savage stare and scowl — ^to teach us, or rather to make us 
helieve (and it is astonishing what physiognomical foresight we obtain afUr such traits of 
charactCT), that he was thoroughly capable of the act for which he was suffering. He had 
been a pitman in the north, and had the peculiar freckled, iron-mouldy, Scotch complexion, 
whilst his cheek bones were high, his face broad and flat, and his neck short and thick 
as a bull-terrier's, to which animal, indeed, he appeared to be a kind of human counterpart. 
As we saw him prowling there, round and round within his deep, narrow yard, he reminded 
Qfl of a man-beast caged up in some anthropo-zoological gardens. 

Scarcely had we passed this one, before our eye fell upon another prisoner, whose more 
'' respectable" features and figure, as well as silver hair, told that he did not belong to the 
ordinary convict class ; and though we could not but consider his sentence an honour and 
glory to the unswerving justice of the country, as proving the falsity of there being one law 
for the rich and another for the poor, nevertheless, we could not, at the same time, refrvin 
from sympathising with the misery and shame of those innocent relatives and friends whom 
the crime of this wretched man has involved in utter social ruin. 

It forms no part of our office to pander to the idle curiosity of the public as to how a 
titled criminal may bear himself in prison, and as we knew that every word we penned on 
the subject would be gall and wormwood to the bruised hearts of those belonging to, or 
connected with the family, we closed our note-book before reaching the private yard where 
the individual was exercising, and turned our head away, so that even he might not fkncy 
that we had come to exult over, and make still more public, his degradation. 

*«* ArrmU of Oormets, — ^At a little before nine, a.ic., the men return from their morn- 
ing's exercise and prayer, and the corridors, which have remained for nearly an hour drained 
of all their inmat^ begin to swarm again with prisoners, as the men come pouring back 
from the yards and chapel ; and then the arcades, and galleries, and staircases are once 
more lined with the masked convict troops filing along, one after another, as rapidly as they 
can stride towards their separate cells. 

At nine o'clock the parade of the prison officers takes place. 

recent jetn as regsrcU the redaction of Ae oases of mental disorder, ih4 Hmita of tafetff have §earceijf y§t Um 

To Mr. Bradley, again, the merit leema to be due of recommending that the daily amount of ont-door 
•honld be increased, and that each exeroiBe should be of a healthy and exhilarating character rather 
than the numotonoua and listlese walk of separate yards, as formerly practised at the prison. 

Now such statements and figures, it will be oheeryed, are at variance with the strictures of our correspon- 
dcDt ; and we can but add that, when authorities disagree, it b our duty to state the two cases as Curly as 
poaiibls, and leave the public to decide. 


" Fall in ! " cries the chief warder oa the hour is etrikiiig, and infltantlj the twenty and 
odd officers draw themselYes np in a double line across the centre corridor. They are habited 
in their glazed caps and short work-day jackets, that are not unlike a policeman's coat shorn 
of its tails, and ornamented with a small brass onown on the stand-iq> collar, whilst each 
wears a broad black leathern belt round the waist, with a shiny cartouche-box for his prison 
keys projecting from the hip. 

No sooner are the men arranged in military Hues than the head warder shouts — ^' Stand 
at ease ! — ^Eyes front ! — ^Bear rank fall back ! " and instantly the officers behind step a pace 
.backwards, their feet moving as one man. The chief warder passes between the ranksy 
and when he has finished his inspecti<m of the warders, cries again — ''Bear rank, forward!" 
whereupon the m^i behind draw close up to the rank in frx>nt, and then the head officer 
proceeds to read over the regulations and duties for the next day ; after which he shouta 
" Break ! " and inmiediately the warders disperse to their several quarters — ^the regulations 
just read over being placed on tl^e desk in the centre corridor for the iniq)ecti(Hi of the officers 
throughout the day. 

Presently a man appears carrying a letter-box, with a padlock at its side and a slit at the 
top. The one we saw was marked B, for it was the receiving-box for the corridor so inscribed, 
and contained the convicts' letters to their friends, which had been just collected frxxn that 
division of the prison. 

*' That box, sir>" said the warder who acted as our guide, ''is taken to the chaplain, who 
reads the letters in it, and after that to the governor, who does the same ; and if they are 
found to contain nothing improper or contrary to the prison rules, they are despatched to the 
prisoners' friends. The schoolmaster supplies the m^i with the paper," continued our 
informant, " and the prisoner writing to his friends says, over night, to the officer on duty, ' I 
shall have a letter to send to-morrow morning.' " * 

* The foUowing are the official regtdatioiift retpecting the oeiiding and ireceiving of letters by oonviBti 
and which are usaally printed on the fint page of the letter'-paper supplied to them : — 

" Convicts are permitted to iprite one kiUr on reception^ andanother ett the end of tkret months. The^m^iftdm 
reeeive one letter (prepauf) every three monthe during their ttag. Mottem of privaU importtmee to « eomM may 
he communicated at any time hy letter (jtrepaid^ to the Governor or Chaplmn^ who wiU ittform the convict thereof ^ 
if expedients 

" In case of misconduct, the privilege of receiving or umting a Utter may he forfeited for t'he time, 
" All letters of an improper or idle tendency y either to or from convicts, or containing slang or other ohfectionMe 
expressions, wHl he suppressed. The permieeion to torUe and receive letters is given to the convicts for the pttrpoee 
of enahUng them to keep np a connection with their respeetoNe friends, andnot that thepmay hear the newscf the 

'< AU letters are readhy the Governor or Chaplain, andmmt he legihly tcritten, and not crossed. 

'* Neither clothes, moneys nor any other articles are allowed to he received at the prison for the use of convietSj 
except through the Governor. Persons attempting otherwise to introduce any article to or for a convict, are UaUe 
tojine or imprisonment, and the convict eonoemed is Hahle to he severely punished." 

By way of showing the kind of letters written by convicts of the better dass, we here append one from a 
youeh who had been imprisoned for defranding his employer. It is headed by the subjoined official instfae- 
tions :— " The conviof s writing to be confined to the two inner pages. In writing to the convict, direct to 
No.— C J ." The letter itself is as foUowv :— 

"Mt Dbab Mothbk 

" I am sorry that yon should have been kept waitin^so long to hear from me but the loasoa 

is because I wanted to let you know what Mr. D said and I did not hear from him until last Monday 

and he did not answer my letter sooner because he had been waiting to see if he could hear of anything that 
would suit me and he says he was sorry that he had not at that time he seems to think that it would be advisable 

not to return to L and he also says that he should have no objections to employ me as far as he Kitn Hf 

is concerned but that is business concerns other people so much that they might not think it advisable he wishes 
me well and hopes you may be able to meet with something to suit me I was recommended for my liberty 
last Saturday but cannot say to a month when I shall oome home when called upon by theOfaapiain I oonld 


By a cnzions ooinddenoe, it so liappened that we were able to witness the anival as 
well as 13ie departme of a batch of oonviots in the oonise of the same day ; and early on 
the moniing of our viidt we had seen placed in the ooiridor bundles of clothes, which we 
wQfe told had been sorted ready for the coining prisoners from IMQllbank. 

PentosiTille Prison, it should here be obs^red, is a kind of probationary asyloin, where 
eoxLTicts are qualified, either for transportation abroad, or for duty at the public works at 
home, such as Woolwich, Portsmouth, Portland, &c. ; indeed, it is a kind of penal purgatory, 
where men are submitted to the chastisement of separate oonfinement, so as to fit them for 
the after state. Originally, the Model Prison was deaigiied as a conTict academy for transports, 
where the inmates were not only to be taught a trade that would be a means of subsistence 
to them in the colonies, but where a certain moral, if not religious, impression was to be 
made upon them, in order to render them good members of the new society they were 
about to enter upon; and, in the first years of the working of this institution, the prisoners used 
to he fitted out in a kind of sailors' costume, and assembled in the central corridor, in their 
straw hats, and with their '' kits" at their side, previous to their departure for the conyict 

Since the comparative abolition of the transport system, however, the convicts Utmng 
Pentonville are eent either to Portsmouth (as we have seen), or else to Woolwich or to 
Portland, according as men are wanted at one or other of those establishments. On the 
other hand, convicts arriomg at Pentonville come from IMGUlbank, which prison now serves as 
a kind oidtpdtfoT the reception of convicts generally, and whither they are sent fr^>m the 
eeveral detentional prisons after they have been found guLLty, and sentraiced for ^e offences 
with whidh tiiey were chaiged. 

Early in the forenoon of the day that we passed at PentonviUe, we were informed that 
the expected new bat<^ of convicts was outside the gates; and that, if we would step towards 
tiie ooiirt-yard, we could see them received at the doors. 

We foimd the governor, with the chief warder and other officers, assembled on the steps 
at the end of the prison hall. As soon as we reached the spot a whistle was given, and, the 
outer gates being thrown back, we saw some omnibuses drawn up in the large portcullis 
porch without. Then the doors of the several vehicles were opened, and out came a string 
of some ten convicts frxmi each of the carriages. 

The miserable wretches were chained together by the wrists in lines, after the same 
fashion as we have already described. Some were habited in the ordinary light snuff-brown 
convict suits, and others wore gray jackets, all having Scotch caps, and small bundles of 
Bibles and hymn-boo^s, tied in handkercMeft, under their arm; whilst all the articles 
Ihey wore — jacket, trousers, cap, and even their gray stockings — were marked by the red 
stripe which is characteristic of all convict apparel ; for not only are the clothes, but 
even the sheets and fiannels of the Grovemment prisons so distinguished. 

On descending from tihe omnibus, the new prisoners were drawn up in five rows on one 
side of the court-yard. They were of all i^es — ^from mere boys to old men of between fifty 
and sixty. Nor were iheir expressions <^ features less various ; some looked, as a physiognomist 
would say, ''really bad feliows," whilst others appeared to have even a ** respectable " cast of 

only g;ive yonnelf as a nf«r«iice and the Governor told me on Saturday that I had a good one come I shall 
be boo to write another letter and think ^ be at home the beginning of April but perhape can tell more about 
it in my next 

" Wiahing you all well I conclude with my kindest lore to my dear brothers sisters relations and friends 

and accept the same dear Mother yourself 

'* I remain, 

<< Tour.afiectionate and loving Son, 

" Please to write soon God bless you " " Cs. J— • 

The writer of the above letter has since been liberated on " license," and been provided with a situation, 
through the kindness of one of our own friends. He seems likely to go on weH. 


countenance, the features being well formed rather than ooarse, and the expression marked 
by frankness rather than cunning, so that one could not help wondering what hard pressure 
of circumstances had brought them there. It did not require much skill in detecting character 
to pick out the habitual offender from the casual criminal, or to distinguish the simple, l»oad 
brown face of the agricultural convict from the knowing, sharp, pale features of the town 

<' That's the youngest boy I oyer saw in this prison," said one of the warders, as he 
pointed to a convict-lad among the troop, who seemed scarcely fourteen years of age. 

'' Ko wonder we get them here so young,'' exclaimed the chief warder, '^ for late last 
evening I saw three boys stuffed in a hole under the railway, just where the man has a fire in 
the day-time to roast his nuts and apples, so that the place is a little warm at night for the 
poor things." 

Here an oMcer, with a gold-lace band roimd his cap, marking him as the principal 
warder who had come with the convict batch, stepped forward and delivered his papers to 
the Pentonville authorities. 

''■You see," said the governor to us, " the officer from Millbank brings ns the caption- 
papers, with the sentence and order of Court, as well as the certificates of conduct in connec- 
tion with each man during his imprisonment, so that we may know all the antecedents of 
those we receive. Then we give a receipt for the bodies on the warrant of the Secretary of 
State, a duplicate of which has been lodged with us some days previously." 

" Please to unlock them," said the Pentonville chief warder to the "MTillhgnlr officer ; 
and instantly the official with the gold-lace band proceeded to do as requested, whilst the 
other Millbank officers drew the stout curb-chain through the holes of the handcuff, and bo 
detached the prisoners one from the other. 

Then the governor's clerk called over the names of the men contained in the Secretazy 
of State's warrant ; and as the convicts cried, "Here, sir !" they passed over, one afto^another, 
to the other side of the yard. 

After this the medical officer inspected the new prisoners, even though he had been 
frimished with a certificate that the convicts sent were " free from infectious or contagious 
disease, and fit to be removed." 

" Are you in good health ?" the doctor asks of each man, as he walks along the line with 
a note-book in his hand, and ready to enter any answer to the contrary — " Are you in good 
health ?" and if the reply be in the affirmative, the man is dismissed to the reception wards 
below, there to pass through the other preliminary examinations. 

On the day on which we were present there were but one or two men amoi^ the fresh 
arrivals who complained of being sickly, and one of these was a ghastly, featureless spectacle 
from syphilis. 

" What can we do with 8uoh a man here ?" said the doctor, turning to us. 

" Can you read, my man ?" he asked of another prisoner, the " fitcial angle" of whose 
head showed him to be a man of low intellect. " Ko, sic," was the answer, " but I 
know my letters." " And he will never know anything more," added the medical officer in 
an under-tone, when he had dismissed the prisoner, " for he is one of the men we often get 
here that no teaching on earth could instruct." 

" Do you find the convicts generally persons of inferior understanding ?" asked we. 

" OeneraUy speaking, I should say certainly," was the cautious reply. " There axe 
exceptions, of course ; but as a body, 1[ consider them to be hadly developed people. Yonder, 
however, is one of the contradictions we occasionally meet with," whispered the medical 
officer to us. 

The man the doctor alluded to was a person of a highly intellectual cast of countenance, 
and, what struck us as being more peculiar, his forehead was not only broad and high, 
but the head bald — ^for it is rather an extraordinary circumstance, that when the convicts at 


a GoTemment prison are mnstered altogether, as in chapel, we seldom or never see one 
bald or gray head among the 400 or 600 individuals that may be there assembled. 

On inquiry, the new prisoner proved to be a German ''physician/' or natural philosopher 
(for in G^ermany the term physician is used in a different sense from what it is in England), 
belonging to Berlin. He had been sentenced for stealing a portmanteau at a railway station, 
and not only tried under a fedse name, but refused to give any information as to his Mends. 

The medical officer then informed us that they were often awkwardly situated with the 
foreigners sent to the prison. A little while ago there had been two Chinamen there, and 
among the " batch" that we saw aixive, there were, besides the German physician above 
alluded to, no less than three Frenchmen ; there was, moreover, a Spaniard already in the 
prison, who called himself a physician, and who, being unable to speak English, communi- 
cated with the doctor in a kind of Spanish dog-Latin.* 

When the medical officer has finished his examination of the fresh prisoners, the governor 
proceeds below to say a few words to the men, as to the rules and regulations of the prison. 

We accompanied the governor down to the reception ward for this purpose, and there 
found the convicts drawn up partly in a narrow passage, and partly in a small room at the side. 
The address was at once dignified and kindly. The governor told the men that he hoped 
they would conform to the distressing circumstances in which they had placed themselves, 
and save him the pain of punishiog them for a breach of the prison rules. It was his duty, 
he said, to see those rules strictly carried out, and he made a point of never swerving 
from it. At that prison, all intercommunication among prisoners was strictly forbidden, and 
though some might think an infringement of this rule a trivial offence, nevertheless the 
authorities could not look upon it in such a light, and therefore an attempt on the part of 
any man to hold communion with his fellow-prisoners would be immediately punished. But if 
there were punishments, the men would find that there were rewards also ; and these rewards 
were open to any prisoner to gain by good conduct, without the least favour. They would 
find, too, that exemplary behaviour would serve them, not only in that prison, but in the one 
to which they might be sent hereafter ; so he trusted they would spare him the exercise of 
the painful duty of punishing, and allow him the more pleasant office of rewarding them 
there, so that he might give them each a first-class character when they left, and thus render 
their imprisonment as light as it possibly could be made consistently with public duty. 

When the governor had finished his oration, the chaplain came and spoke to them also. 
His address was of a more tauehtn^ character ; for the clergyman said he was well aware 
what a sad trial it was for them to be parted from aU their friends, and it was the most painful 
part of his office to be*visited by the relatives of prisoners— to witness the heavy affliction 
that convicts brought upon their families by their disgrace and pimishment. He begged of 
them, therefore, to conduct themselves well, and to turn their thoughts to the one Great 
Being who was still ready to receive and welcome them to' a share of His love ; and to 
remember that though aU l^e world might shun them in their shame, and that though they 

* The medical officer of FentoxiTille obliged lu with the last letter he had received from thie Spanish con- 
Tici. It ran as follows : — 

" Abitavid in est dome non mandacavid sine panis et potatorum, oaro non posum masticare, et debilitacio 
apod eraiid ore et enfirmetas aumentayemm, ego yoIo si posum sine mandnoare ad ezpensaa meas, abeo domus 
et terras eoi sua productione dad suflciens rentam ; enfirmetas meas sunt anticuarum, ego abeo metodnm 
(almor) in inieetumem aqnarom malv : calida (reuma^) Lao cum deoootom SarspariU calidum et multarum 


We append as literal a translation as is possible of the above Jargon :— 

*' I have lived in this house, not eating anything except bread and potatoes— flesh I cannot chew, and mj 
debility and infirmities augment I wish, if I can, to eat at my own expense. I have houses and lands, the 
produce (or income) of which g^ves a sufficient rent. My infirmities are ancient ; I have a method-M>r sys- 
tem of core— {«lnor} in an tnjeotion of water of mallows hot {rheitm), milk with a decoction of sarsaparilla hot, 
sad many things." 


had hardly one Mend left to say a kindly word for them, there iraaOnfiwho had taffered on 
earth for their sakes, and who was ever ready to plead for mercy — where mer(r^ was most 
needed — ^in their hehalf . He hoped that they would all do thisy eo that when tibieir frienda 
came or wrote to him, to leom some tidings of them, he might he able to soothe their angnish 
with the assorance that they had become better men, and mig^t atill live to be a oomfort 
and a joy to those npon whose heads they had, as yet, only bron^t down shame and sorrow. 

We watched the men intently while the tender exhortation was being deliyered to 
them, and when the chaplain spoke of their friends and relatives, they one and aU hnn^ 
their heads, whilst some, we conld see, bit their lip to stay the rising tear; and when the 
speech was finished, there was many a moistened eye, and many a cry of *' Bless you, sir !'' 
as the minister took his leave. 

After the new-comers had been spoken to as above by the governor and chaplain, they 
were ordered into two small rooms in the aame part of the building as that in which they 
had been addressed; and on our returning to the *' reoeptiooDrroom " a few moments after- 
wards, we heard the buzz of many voices, and found the men chattering away as hard as 
school boys in play-time, for they loiew it was the last taJk they would be able to indulge 
in for the next three-quartecs of a year ; whilst outside the door was an offioer giving notice 
to the men that they would not be allowed to take anything into the prison but their BibLea 
and Prayer*books. 

'' Have any of you got any letters, or locks of hair, or anything else to give up ? " cried 
the officer, as he put his head into the room; " for if they're found on you in the prison 
they'll be destroyed." 

'' IVe got a letter," exclaimed one, holding out a piece of paper, and as he handed over 
the article, the officer proceeded to write on Ihe back the owner's name, and to deposit it 
in a trey by his side. The warder then told us that the various packets collected would be 
put under the care of the steward, who kept a Ixx^ of all that was entrusted to him, and on 
the convicts' leaving, the articles would be either restored or transferred to the prison to which 
they might be sent. He added, that the prisoners set great store upon such things, and that 
numbers of them entered the prison with locks of hair hung round their neck. '' There are 
several locks there, you see, sir, that I have collected already," said the warder, pointing to 
some small packets done up after the feishion of '' kisses " at a confectioner's. 

By this time the usual preliminary bath was ready, whikt the other end of the passage 
was filled with a white f(^ of steam as thick as that pervading a laundry. 

Then began the examination of the prisoners previous to bathing. For this purpose 
they were had out into the passage one by one, as soon as tiiey had stripped themselves of 
their clothes, and made to stand before Ihe officer in a perfect state of nudity, while he 
examined every part of their person. 

*' There now, place your feet on the mat. Whaf s the use of you're going on the cold 
stones when there's a rug put for you ? " exdaimed the officer in an authoritative tone. 
*' Now, open your mouth," he continued, when the prisoner had stationed himself as directed, 
«< and lift up your tongue. Did I say put oitt your tongue, man ? lift it up, don't you 
hear ?" whereupon the officer proceeded to spy into the open jaws of the convict, as closely 
as a magpie does down a bone ; and when he had satisfied himself that there was no money 
nor anything dse secreted within it, he moved to the back of the man and cried, '' Bend 
your h^ad down!" and then commenced examining the roots of the prisoner's hair, as well as 
behind his ears. This done, the next order was, '' Hold up your arms ! " and then the naked 
man raised his hands high above his head, one after the other, while the officer assured him- 
self that he had nothing hidden there. 

After this, the convict was commanded to place himself on all fours, so as to rest on his 
hands and feet, and then to raise his legs one at a time, so that the warder might aee whether 
anything were concealed under his toes. 


^' Thear% tiiafll do. Clesp thiB rag oyer your BhouldeiB and mm away to the bath/' 
added the official, when the examination was oondnded. 

''We oan't be too carofnl, air/' said the wardei; turning to ns, as he held up the man's 
Bible by the coveiSy and proceeded to shake the pendent leaves backwards and forwards, in 
order to satisfy himself that nothing had been inserted between the pages. '' Sometimes 
a piece ci silTer has been Ibund stowed away in a man's mouth, and some convicts have been 
known to bnng in keys and pick-loeks hidden about their bodies in the most inconceivable 

The next process was the bathing, and as we entered the bath-room we found the floor 
strewn with bundles of clothes, and a prisoner, with his hair wet and clinging in matted 
''pencils" about his faoe, busy dressing himself in the Pentonville flannels, shirt, and 
stodkingBy and with a couple of warders in large aprons standing by. In the adjoining 
bath«room was another convict splashing about in the warm-bath, and evidently enjoying 
tibe luxury of tibe brief immersion in the hot water. 

" There, go outside into the passage and get your o6«t and trousers," said the warder to 
the' man who was half-dressed; whilst to the naked one, who came running along with a 
rug over his shoulders, he cried, " In you go, and look sharp!" as he beckoned him towards 
tlie bath and ordered the other to come out. 

On the opposite side of the passage to the bath-room the governor's clerk and another 
were busy making out the register-number for each of the new-comers, and examining the 
men and their papers previous to entering their names on the prison books, as well as assign- 
ing to them their several trades. 

On entering this room we found the boy that the chief warder had before drawn our 
attention to, as beingtiiie youngest lad iitat had ever been confined within the walls of that 
prison, vndeigoing his examination. In his captioki-'papers he was marked sixteen years of 
age, but certainly did not look fourteeti. He had been imprisoned twelve times for one month, 
two months, and so on up to twelve months, and was now sentenced to four years' penal servi- 
tude for stealing a handkerchief value one shilling. He had all the sharp, cunning appear- 
ance of the habitual London tibief^ and as he spoke he feigned a simplicity that you could see, 
foy ihe curi and quivering at the comers of bis mouthy required but the least frivolous word 
to make him break through and burst into laughter. 

The next convict who entered belonged to the agricultural class, and hs had been sentenced 
to four years' penal service also, for stealing a broom and a pair of leathern mittens. " What 
have you been ?" inquired one of the clerks of the man. " A gardener," was the brief and 
timid.reply. ** Ever worked at anything else?" was the next question* "Always at that kind 
of work," the man answered. " Been in prison before ? " " Yes, sir." " Learn anything 
there ? " "I leamt mat-making, if you please, sir." "Can you make a mat?" ''Well, I '11 
try, nr." Whereupon the man was dismissed. 

The trades carried on in Pentonville Prison^ we were told, consisted of weaving, mat- 
making, tailoring, and shoemaking ; and, in the distribution of these employments, the 
officers look principally to the physical and mental capabilities of the convicts. Strong, 
broad-shouldered men are put to weaving and to mat-making, whilst the more feeble class 
of prisoners are set to work as tailors. 

At Pentonville the authorities make four distinct classes of prisoners. ( 1 ) The dangerous 
men, or those that are notorious prison-breakers, and convicts of known desperate characters ; 
(2) Second probation men, or those unruly prisoners who have been sent back from the 
public works to xmdergo another term of separate confinement,* (3) Ordinary "separate 
men," or those who are working out their first probation of nine months ; and (4) The 
associated men, or those who, having conducted themselves well while in separation, are 
allowed to work in company with other well-conducted convicts. 

niare are, moreover, prisoners of first, second, and third class charaoteirs; according to 


their behayiour during their term of incaiceratioii. The first daas constitates by tax the largest 
proportion, and consists generally of the well-edacatedembezzlerB and forgers, as well as the 
more ignorant agricnltoral prisoners, together with the first-offuice men, and the old jail- 
birds. The second class characters mostly beloi^ to the more thoughtless and careless of the 
conyicts, who are carried away by temptation or temper ; whilst the third dass characters 
usually appertain to the self-willed and refractory boys, who are from 15 to 25 yean of age.* 

Again, as regards the mental qualifications of the conyicts, they are diyided into firsty 
second, and third class men. The first dass consists of prisoners who haye no necessity to go 
to school, being able, not only to read and write well, but acquainted with ariUmietic as fieu: as 
the rule of proportion. The second dass comprises men who can read and write, and work 
sums as fiEff as the compound rules ; whereas the third dass men are those who are im- 
perfectly educated, and whose arithmetical knowledge extends no farther than the simple 
rules. This third class again is sub-diyided into three sub-classes; the first of whidi indudes 
those who can read and write, and do the simple rules in arithmetic, whilst to the second 
belong such as are learning the simple rules, and the tiurd comprises all who can read, write, 
and cypher only imperfectly, or not at all. 

Of the well-educated class of prisoners the proportion is about 14 per cent, of the whole ; 
of the moderately-educated class there is not quite 8 per cent.; whilst the imperfectly- 
educated prisoners ayerage yery nearly 80 per cent.f 

* We were preient on another oooanon, when lome 24 priaonen, who were going away to Portland on the 
following morning, were had into the govemor'a room, ao that he might aay a few worda to them preTiooa to 
their departure. Of theae, 21 were about to leave with first claaa charaetera, whilst only two had aeoond 
class ones, and the remaiaing prisoner a third dass. Among the first-clasa prisonera, there were 4 who had 
been sentenoed for 6 years, one for 6, one for 8, one for 21, and one for life, whilst the majority had been 
condemned to 4 years' penal service. Among the number, too, one had been in priaon aix timea before, and 
another seven ; but few had been punished while at FentonvUle, and of these only two had been punished 
more than once ; one of theae two, however, had been seven times in the dark celL The first clasa men were 
told that their good conduct would serve them where they were going to, and that thej would find it to their 
wel&re to strive and keep the good character they had earned. The two with the second daas characters 
were mere boys, and they were had in aeparately, and exhorted to behave better for the future ; whilst the 
other, having the third claaa dharaoter, waa likewise spoken to alone, and entreated to try and bea good lad at 
the pUtoe he waa going to ; whereupon he aaid that he had made up hia mind to turn over a new leaf. This 
boy waa fiir from ill-looking, and hia expreasion betokened no depraved nature. He had come to Fentonvillek 
however, with a bad character from Birmingham ; still the governor told us that he did not believe the lad 
to be utterly vicious, but weak and wayward in character. *' If [he falls in with boys, he will most likely 
turn out ba^y, but if he gets among sensible men, he may do wdl enough," were the govemor^s obeerra- 
tions to ua on the lad's leaving. 

t Mr. Wilson, the schoolmaster of Pentonville Prison, was kind enough to prepare the following return for 
us in connection with this part of the subject : — 



. No.of8eludani]i 
Belonging to the first class (or those who can read and write well and cypher as fiur as •▼«i7 lOO. 

the rule of proportion) . . . . . . • . .14 

Belonging to the second clasa (or those who can read and write well, and cypher as far 

as the compound rules) ..••••... 6*76 

Belonging to the third dass (or those whose arithmetical knowledge eztenda no &rther 

than the simple rules) — • 

Belonging to the fint sub-clasa (or those who can work the simple rules of arithmetic) 17*75 

Belonging to the second sub-class (or those who are learning the aimple rulea of 

arithmetic) « « . .•••.. 41*75 

Belonging to the third aub-dasa (or thoae who can read, write, and cypher only 

imperfectly, or not at all) . . «... 19*76 


N.B. — The above average ia deduced from four hundred examples. lOO'OO 


%* iVwoM Work and OratwUies. — ^We have already spoken incidentally of the work 
done by the FentonTiUe prisoners^ and we shaU now proceed to set forth the details in con- 
nection with that part of our subject. 

As early as half-past six, a.ic., the prison labour begins, and continues throughout the 
day — ^with the intervals of meal time, and the chapel service, as well as the period set apart 
for exercise— up to seven o'clock, p.m. 

The trades carried on within the '' Model Prison/' consist of weaving and mat-making, 
oocapations which are pursued principally in the lower wards; tailoring, at which the 
prisoners on the first tier are set to work ; and shoemaking, in which trade the men on the 
upper tier are generally engaged. In addition to these, there are a few convicts employed as 
carpenters and blacknniths, and to them the '* shops " in the basement of C division are 
devoted, whilst there are still some others working as cooks, bakers, and cleaners, besides a 
few bricklayers employed in the grounds.* 

The labour at Pentonville, owing to the monotony of separate confinement is, as we said 
before, so far from being looked upon as a punishment, regarded rather as an indulgence by 
the generality of prisoners, so that one of the penal inflictions in that institution is to stop a 
man's work. 

''There are some men, however," said the warder to us, as we walked through the various 
work-shops, "who are so naturally averse to all kinds of employment, that they would rather 
lie down like pigs than be put to any labour. ' If you don't do your work quicker and 
better,' perhaps an officer may say to such men, 'I shall report you.' 'Do/' they'll answer, 
'that's just what I want, for then I shall have a Httle rest.' 

"With the greater part of the men, however," continued our attendant, ** an occupation 
attracts a man's mind, and he gets to feel a bit proud of his abilities when he finds he's able 
to do something for himself, even though it's only to make a pair of phoes, or to turn out a 
few yards of doth. He seems to think himself more of a man directly he knows he's got 
some trade at his fingers' ends at which he can earn a living, if he likes, when his time's up.f 

The sentencee of the prisonen confined at Pentonville in the year 1854 were as follows, out of a total of 

887 prisoners : — 

210 men, or 64*2 per cent of the whole, were sentenced to 7 years' transportation. 




















traniportation for life. 





12 yeaia' tnuuportation. 















4 years' penal servitude. 






387 1000 

* In the year 1854, the distribution of trades among the Pentonville prisoners was as follows : -^ 
Oat of a gross average of 523 convicts employed throughout the year, there were 181, or 34 per cent., 
oeenpied as tailors ; 108, or 21 per oent., working as shoemakers ; 107, or 20 per cent, as weavers ; 81, or 16 
per eent, as matmakers ; 30, or 6 per cent, as bricklayers, carpenters, smiths, &c. ; whilst the remaining 16, 
or 3 percentt were sick, and put to no employment whatever. 

Moreover, of the gross average of 523 prisoners, about 456, or 87 per cent, were at work in a state of 
•eparation from the others, and the remaining 67, or 13 per cent, placed in association ; whilst of the 67 
^ aiMociatied men," 4 were tailors, 4 shoemakers, 7 weavers, 5 mat- makers, 4 carpenters, 5 cooks, 4 bakers, 
18 wave at work at other trades on medical grounds; 7 were sick in the infirmary, and 1 1 were other prisoners 
voriDiig in the deaaing department 

t The great defect of the industrial training at Pentonville is, that it leads to no definite end. The 
^ Model Prison" was originally designed, as we have seen, as a kind of moral and industrial school for con- 


At half-past six, as we said, the trade-instractors go lotind the several wards to see 
whether the men hare sufficient work, though enough is usually given out by them on the 
preceding day to last the prisoners till eight or ten o'clock the next morning ; and early in 
the forenoon, as we went our roimds with the warder, we found, lying on the asphalte pave- 
ment in one of the corridors, two large bright-coloured mats, like hearth-rugs ; these were 
the work, we were told, of the man in the neighbouring cell. 

" He's only been four months at mat-making, sir," said the trade-warder to us ; '' and 
yet he's very clever at it now — ^isn't he ?" 

yicts intended for transportation to the colonies ; .and yet the tndee which the men were tanght there were 
precisely those that were the least of aU needed in young countries, since the products of the weavers', tailors', 
and shoemakers' crafts admit of heing imported from other parts, so that there is necessarily hut Uttle demand 
in those countries for such forms of lahour; and, notwithstanding farming and agricultural work are 
naturally the most desirable and yaluable of all occupations in primitive states, these were exactly the 
employments that were not taught at the Model, even though at the time of its erection there was no deficiency 
of land in the neighbourhood. 

But if the forms of labour taught at FentonTille were ill-adapted to the requirements of the oonTicts in 
the first instance, they are worse than useless as a means of benefiting them at present ; for now that the trans- 
portation of offenders has been comparatively abolished, and our conyicts are mostly sent to the public works at 
home, either to labour in the quarries, or to do mere manual work in the arsenal and dockyards, where on earth 
can be the good of giying prisoners a nine months' eoarse in tailoring, shoemaking, or weaving, previous to going 
to such places ? The main object, we lanoy, of teaching men trades in prison is (apart from making them con- 
tribute to their own support), to furnish them with a means of subsistence on their leaving jaiL This should, 
under a high system of prison discipline, always constitute one of the principal ends in view, viz., to convert a 
member of the community, who is not only valueless, but positively an incumbrance to the state, into a produc- 
tive agent, and so make him individually contribute some little to, rather than abstracting a considerable 
quantity from, the general stock of wealth. Such an end, however, can only be attained by long- 
continued industrial traming and teaching, and certainly not by putting men to school for nine months 
at handicrafts which require several years' hard practice before any proficiency can be attained in them, 
and afterwards setting these incipient tailors, shoemakers, and weavers to dig, drag, break stones, or 
quarry, according to the exigencies of the pubUo works. What amount of skill, for instance, can possibly 
be acquired in the arts of tailoring, shoemaking, or weaving, after working for only three-quarters of a 
year at the craft } The instruction in such trades, so far frt>m elevating a man into the dignity of a skilled 
labourer, degrades him to the level of the slop-worker ; and we have known many such who, on leaving jail, 
served only to sweU the ranks of those rude and inexperienced work-people, who become the prey of the 
cheap Jew manufacturers, and who, consequently, are made the means of dragging down the earnings of the 
better-class workman, while they themselves do not get even scavengers' wages at the labour. Agun, some 
convicts learn in prison only just sufiicient of carpenters' or smiths^ work to render them adepts in the art of 
housebreaking, though mere bunglers in the fashioning of wood or metal into useful forms ; and we know 
one " cracksman" who learnt his trade as a burglar at the Government works at Bermuda. Surely, how- 
ever, when convicts are sentenced to Mverai yeevrf penal servitude, the time might be profitably employed 
in perfecting them in some Ofie handicraft, rather than putting them for a few months to an art, and then 
keeping them for several years afterwards at the ruder forms of manual labour. If it be thought expedient 
to employ convicts at the dockyards and the arsenal, assuredly in the ten years' penal servitude that many 
of the men have to undergo, there would be time enough to render them experienced and skillful ship-wrig^ts, 
or anchor-smiths, or cannon-founders, or sail-makers ; so that not only might they be made to take part in the 
building or fitting of our ships, but at the expiration of their sentence they would, be proficients in a trade 
that would at once yield them a considerable income^ and be an attractive and honourable art for them to 
pursue ; whilst to those convicts who had conducted themselveB well during their servitude, the Govenunent 
might offer, on their liberation, to continue their employment at the wages of free men. 

Indeed, until some such industrial schools be estabhshed iwpwftetmg dexterous prisonem in the hl^er 
forms of labour, in which Government itself has the means of flniUng employment for them when liberated^ 
there can be but little hope of reducing the criminal population of the country, or of preventing those who 
have been once or twice in prison continually retuming to it. The experience of Pentonville is so fkr aatia- 
factory that it shows a strong desire on the part of the convicts to be made acquainted with the skilled forms <tf 
labour, as well as great aptitude for learning such matters, for all the prison authorities there agree, that the 
majority of the convicts get to think more highly of themselves, and to have a greater sense of self-reliance, 
when they find that they are able to produce the smallest article of utility; so that it is really laaentable to 
pee such experience wasted as it is at the present day. 

in PtaologTuplu bj Herbert n'iUiil>> 179, Bcfoit Btnat. 


"It's astoiiiflhiiig/' rejoined our guide, ** the quickness that some men display at leaming 
their trades." 

The trade-instractor proceeded to spread the rugs out upon the pavement, so that we 
might see them to better adyaatage. They were both of a kind of rude velvet pile- work, 
and the one had a blue ground, with a red and white pattern tastefully worked upon it, 
while the ground of the other was a chocolate-brown, with red aud blue figures. They had 
heexL made by the same man, aud the trade-instructor, we could see, was not a Uttle proud 
of his pupil. 

After this we were led by our guide to the shoemakers' little shop, at the comer of one 
of the oonidors. Here, of course, there was a strong smell of leather, aud the place was 
littered with lasts, and boots, and small stacks of soles, like cakes of gutta-percha. The 
officer wbo had charge of the shop showed us a pair of high-lows that had been made in the 
prison by an agricultural labourer. " He had never put stitch to leather, sir, before coming 
into the prison," said the official, as he twisted the boots over and over for our inspection. 
Then he produced a pair of convict boots with upper leathers as stiff as mill-board, and 
heavy soles the hob-nails upon which reminded one of a prison-door. These had been made 
by a farm servant who is a convict, and were worth, said the officer, "at least twelve 
shillings." Some men, he informed us, would do a pair of such boots in the course of a day's 
work at Pentonville, which was not like a day outside, he continued, on account of the many 

'* If s strange," repeated our attendant warder, " how some men pick up a trade. We 
always find farm servants learn the quickest, and that simply because they aint above doing 
as they are told, like the well-educated clerks and others that we get here." The trade< 
instructor then produced a pair of cloth boots, with patent leather at the toes and sides; these 
had been made, he told us, by one who was not a very good hand when he came to the prison, 
but had so far improved as to turn out a pair of boots like those, which would pass muster in 
many a shop." 

Kezt we were shown a pair with elastic sides. ''A farm-labouring lad closed that pair," 
he went on, " and a regular shoemaker (who is in the prison) finished them." 

After this we descended to the steward's stores in the basement of the building. Here 
we found immense rolls of the peculiar gingerbread-coloured convict cloth, with a red 
stripe in it ; and there was the usual wooUen-drapery smell clinging to the place. 

" We supply all the Government prisons, sir, with the convict cloth," said the store- 
keeper ; " and in some years we weave upwards of 50,000 yards here. But we not only 
weave the doth, sir — ^we make up the clothes as well ; and in the year 1858 the tailors here 
turned out more than 5,000 jackets, 4,000 vests, and nearly 7,000 trousers, besides repairing 
4,500 old ones ; and that isn't such a very bad allowance of work, seeing that we had only 
150 tailors in the prison. 

'^ Perhaps you've seen some of the shoes we make here, sir?" continued the store- 
keeper, as he grew proud of the prison labour. 

" That's what I call a good, strong, usefdl article," exclaimed the clerk, as he produced 
a pair of the heavy convict boots before described ; ** and it's quite a credit to the men how 
readily they take to the work. A year or two ago, sir, we manufactured very nearly 5,000 
pftirs of boots and shoes for the (jovemment prisons." 

Then the attendant drew our attention to some really handsome mats and rugs, the sur- 
face of which was almost like Utrecht velvet. " Some of those, sir, I call uncommon tasty 
thiags," continued the official, '' and such as no regolar fisustory might be ashamed of. Our 
average manufacture here is about 4,000 of those bordered mats and rugs, and about 2,000 
of those ' double-thrumb ' there," he added, as he directed our attention to a commoner sort. 
*' Yes, sir, a man gets to see his value when he begins to do such thingsas those. Besides 
thisy we make up all the hammocks for the men at the Hulks and at Chatham." 



"HavG you got a hammock yon can let the gentleiKiatL see?'' asked tlie guide of the 

"Oh, yes ! certainly," was the willing reply, as the man htirried off to produce one of the 
convict beds. 

"There, now, that's a really good, strong, serviceable hammock, sir, as good a one as could 
be bought in the shops. It's for Chatham, I believe ; for I know we've got an order for 
that place. Lost year we made up more than 500 hammocks here, and fitted the heads and 
supplied double the number of straps and girths. Our shoemakers make the one, and ihc 
tailors the others. Then, again, we manufacture all the chock-lining, and all the twill for 
the convicts' handkerchiefs, besides about 10,000 yards of shirting for the prisoners, and 
some 5,000 yards of sheeting and towelling as well. Yes, sir, everything mode for the 
convicts has a red stripe in it — sheets, stockings, towels, flannels, and all. We make those 
bed-rugs, too, sir," added the officer, pointing up to a roll of yellowish-brown counterpanes, 
that were packed above the large presses. " We supply all the convict prisons with those 
rugs. We make, indeed, almost every bit of clothing that the convicts require. The work 
makes a man think more of himself than if he could do nothing." 

We inquired as to the time it took for the convicts to learn the different trades. 

"Now that twiU, sir, is beautifully done; and a man will do such an one after two months 
teaching," was the reply. " I don't think that the prisoner who made that has been quite 
so long here. In three months we reckon that a man ought to be able to sew all prison 
garments, or, if he's been put to shoemaking, to make the prison boots and shoes. Some do 
it in less time, and some never do it at all. In each ward, you see, sir," continued the store- 
keeper, "there is a discipline officer that we call the trade-instructor, or trade- warder, and 
he has to take part in the prison discipline as well as to teach the men their work ; and for 
that purpose he has to see his prisoner in his cell as often as he can, and to show him how to 
do the work, as well as to observe how he gets on. We've got twelve such instructors here, 
sir, and they take their turn at watching every sixth night, as well as the regular warders — 
they're on duty from six in the morning until six at night, just the same as the other officers." 

In answer to a question of ours as to whether the prisoners received any reward for their 
labour, and whether they had a certain task or quantity of work given out to them, the 
official informed us that after a man had been six months in the prison, and he had obtained 
a badge for good conduct, he was entitled to receive a certain gratuity, which varied from 
fourpence to eightpence a week, according to the work done.* " This gratuity," he added, 

* We subjoin the official regulations concerning the remuneration given to the prisoners for their work : — 
'* The following Rules and Scale for Regulating Gratuities to Convicts in Separate Gonfinemeut for work 

performed will be for the present in force :— 

** 1. Prisoners who have passed six months in the prison, and whose good conduct entitles them to a 

badge, will be credited with gratuities according to the following scale, viz. :— 

Trade or Occupation. 

Shoemakers (work equal to) 




Ad. per Week. 

Cotton weavers „ 
Cotton Handkerchiefs 

2) paii's of Shoes 
2 suits of Prison Garments 
36 square feet (red bordered) 
33 yards of Prison Cloth, in- 
cluding winding bobbins 
24 yards 
2 dozen Handkerchiefs 

M. per Week. 

3 pairs 

3 suits 
45 square feet 
36 yards 

30 yards 
2^ doEen 

M. per Week. 

4 pairs 

4 suits 

54 square feet 
42 7ards 

36 yards 
3 dozen 

Carpenters • 
Smiths . . 
Other Trades 
Cooks . 

Bakers . . ] 
VTashers . . 6(f. 


according to industry and snpeiior workmanship. 

hd, per week. 


"is placed to Uie coBTict's account in the prison books, and transferred to the public works 
Trhen he leaves here, so that it goes to form a Aind for him on the expiration of his tertn 
of imprisonment. Some long-sentence men have as much as £20 to receive on getting 
their liberty, and then they have a good suit of clothes given to them as well — according to 
their station — in order that they may have a fair start in the world again." 

" "Would you like to see some of the * liberty clothing,* sir ? " inquired the storekeeper, 
as he pulled down a bxmdle of new clothes. " There, sir," he continued, " that's as genteel 
a paletot as a man could wish to put on, and one in which no one could be taken for a 
person just fresh from a convict prison. We give such as these to men who have been 
clerks or better-class mechanics. We buy them, I should tell you, and they stand us in 
about fifteen shillings the suit. The clothing for the prisoners who have been farm servants 
and agricultural labourers, we mostly make ourselves. That bale of moleskin you see there," 
he added, pointing to a roll of mouse-coloured fustian, " is intended for those who have 
been labouring men, and who may be released upon ticket-of-leave." 

*' I know a man," chimed in our attendant waarder, " who was a forger, and had seven 
years of it, but he got off with a ticket-of-leave, and is now earning his three pounds a week 
regular, at a respectable trade. Ifs quite wonderftil what a few ticket-of-leave men come 
back, sir, whatever people may say." 

From the store-rooms, we passed into the shops and wards for tJie associated prisoners. 

We have before said that the A, B, and C divisions of PentonviUo Prison have only three 
wards in connection with them, whilst the D division has four, viz. : one tmder-ground, or 
in the basement of the building, where some thirty associated prisoners have their cells. 
This is somewhat like a crypt, and was formerly the old refractory-ward ; but since the 
modification of the separate system at Pentonville, and the admission of a small number of 
the best-conducted prisoners to associated labour, the lower part of the prison has been 
devoted to this purpose. 

" It's only the very weU-behaved men that we put into association, sir," said the warder 
who still accompanied us on our rounds ; " we very rarely allow prisoners to associate who 
have been even so much as once reported ; and it's merely on medical grounds if we do occa- 
sionally break through the rules. The cleaners you saw this morning, sir," continued the officer, 
" and the prisoners working out in the grounds, and the carpenters and blacksmiths put to 
labour in the shops, under C divison, as well as the men in the bakehouse and kitchen, are 
aU chosen from the best class of prisoners ; for the liberty to labour in common, with the 
cap-peak up, is one of the highest rewards we have here for good conduct. 

** This is the tailors' shop, or cutting-room," said our guide, as he led us down a passage 
out of the associated ward towards a largish room, that had a kind of dresser or shop-board 
along one side of it. Here we found the place littered with bales of cloth, and three prisoners 
at work ; one seated on the board cross-legged like an Indian idol, and without shoes or 
braces, in true tailor fashion, whilst he stitched away at a " bespoke " waistcoat ; and the 
other two cutting out the brown convict cloth with huge shears, the blades of which gnashed 
at every snip. Here, too, there was the same unpleasant smell of scorched wool, or hair, so 
peculiar to Sartorian establishments, and which seems to be a kind of odoriferous mixture of 
a washerwoman's ironing-room and a barber's shop. One of the convicts at work in this shop, 

**2. No gratuity will be allowed unless the work be done to tbe satisfaction of the maniifacturer. 

'* 3. No prisoner on the sick list will be allowed any gratuity while unable to work. 

*< 4. No fraction of a week can be allowed. 

** o. No prisoner under punishment aliall be allowed any gratuity for the week in which he may be 

" 6. Any prisoner fcn-feiting his badge will ccaBe to be credited with a gratuity until he has regained his 
badge ; and in the event of the prisoner committing a serious offence, he may, at the discretion of the 
directon, be liable to forfeit all former gratuity to which he would otherwise have had a claim." 


and who had formerly heen employed as cutter at a lai^ outfitting warehouse, showed us 
the American sewing-machine that was occasionally employed at Pentonyille for stitching the 
seams of the prison trousers. 

Hence we passed to the shop where the warps are arranged for the convict weavers, and 
the floor of this place was littered with baskets full of red and brown thread, whilst there 
were large hanks or skeins of blue and white yam lying about. Here were four men engaged 
in preparing the warp for a piece of prison handkerchiefs, two were winding the threads, 
whilst the others were busy holding the large comb through the teeth of which the threads 

One of these men was of ''noble fEimily/' and had been convicted for forgery in a mer- 
chant's office. 

From this we went to the shop for the associated mat-makers, where the mats that are made 
in the cells are cut to a uniform length of pile, by means of a shearing-machine that stands 
in the centre of the room. The three prisoners engaged at this work were, when we entered, 
busy setting the spiral knives that extend from end to end along the narrow cylinder; and 
when the cutters were sharp enough a mat was put through and through the machine, 
whilst one turned the wheel and the others helped to pass the mat in and out the instru- 
ment, the air being charged with a cloud of fibres by the time the operation was finished. 
Here, too, were bundles of coir, and large sheep-shears for clipping the coarser kind 
of mats. 

After this we were led back to the A division of the building, where, it was explained to 
us, convicts who had been nine months and more in separate confinement were placed, and 
allowed to work with their cell-doors open from nine till one, and from two till five every 
day except Sundays.* Finally, we learnt that the estimated amount of the earnings of 
the gross number of prisoners in Pentonville, in 1854, was, in round numbers, £2,850; 
whilst the gross expense of the prison was nearly £17,000; — so that the convicts at the 
establishment contribute not quite one-sixth to the annual cost of the establishment — indeed, 

* We append the official rules concerning the asaociatLon of those convicts who have been upwards of nine 
months on separate confinement : — 

" Prisoners who shall have been nine months and upwards in this, or any other separate prison, since 
conyiction, are to occupy the cells in A diyision, and undergo the discipline presently described. 

*^ As a general rule they must be qualified with one or more good conduct badges ; nevertheless, prisoners 
who shall not have been in this prison long enough to have obtained a badge— but whose good conduct, in 
this and other separate prisons, since conviction, would entitle them thereto, had the whole time been paased 
in this prison — will be eligible for the privilege. 

" The loss of, or misconduct which would incur the loss of badges, if possessed, will be a disqualification. 

''The cell-doors (circumstances permitting) are always, except on Sundays, to be open from 9 till 1, and 
from 2 till 6 o'clock. The prisonears may sit dose thereto, and work with cap-peaks turned up, but not pass 
out of their cells or other places assigned to them, as presently mentioned ; or intercommunicate, or in any 
way violate good order. 

" Should the qualified prisoners exceed the number of cells in A division, the excess are to be 
brought, during the hours aforesaid, from the other divisions into the corridor of that division, and kept 
together according to their trades, and the divisions whence they came, but each apart at least — feet from 
the others. 

<' These are to bring with them their necessary work-seats, tools, and implements for labour, and remove 
them back again on return to their cells. > 

''Medical prisoners (so far as circumstances permit) are to be subject to the same form of discipline, 
but to be kept together, and, as a body, as far apart as possible from the others. 

" The manufacturer is to arrange that the prisoners generally are properly attended to and instructed in 
trades. Besides the proper discipline officers of A division, and the trade-warders, who impart instruction, at 
least two will be appointed specially to exercise supervision, to be selected alternately from the different 
divisions and wards, with regard to a strict equalization of time and labour. 

" The prisoners are to be exercised with cap-peaks turned up, two hours, and one hour on alteixiate 



the estimated value of fheir labour is but one-half that of their food, so that the convicts 
there are still far fh>m being a self-supporting body.* 

%* CUmng the Piriton for the Night — ^The remainder of the routine at Pentonville con- 
sistB merely of repetitions of processes that have been already described. 

At one o'clock the prisoners dine (the principals, as usual, having taken their meal pre- 
viously), and the distribution of the dinner is effected in the same manner as that of the 
breakfast, with the exception that it is served up from the kitchen (where each portion is 
regularly weighed) in wooden trays, each containing sixteen tins — ^not unlike the vessels in 
which bill-stickers cairy their paste — Shaving a division in the middle, on one side of which 
the potatoes are placed, and on the other the meat and soup. 

This soup we were invited to try, of course, and found it far superior to the thickened 
traah sold at the pastry-cooks', and reaily tasting of meat instead of flour. We discovered at 
the same time, too, that the convicts in the infirmary were allowed their mug of porter in 
addition to the mutton-chop or bit of codfish that may have been ordered for their dinner. 

Then at half-past five the prisoners have their supper of gruel and bread, and the work is 
given out by the trade-instructor for the next day. A little before six o'clock two warders go 
round each ward — one a-head turning the tops of the gas-pipes, whilst the other lets down 
the trap of each cell^door, and introduces a small lantern for the prisoner to light the jet in 
his cell. After this the officers assemble in the centre corridor previous to going off duty — 
each with his great-coat on and his keys in his hand ready to be delivered up to his principal. 
Then the chief warder cries, 'Tall in!" and '' 'Tention!" as at the morning parade; where- 
upon, the warders being arranged in rank and file, the bead officer reads over the list of 
prisoners who have been received that day, as weU as the register-number of those who 
are to be specially watched on account of their having attempted to escape from other prisons. 

Then the keys are collected from the discipline officers (those of the non-discipline 
officers — such as the cook, baker, plumber, engineer, &c. — ^having been given up at the gate 
some five minutes before), and this is done in the entrance passage, the same as during the 
giving of them out in the morning — ^the key-box being placed upon a chair, and each man 
proceeding to hang up his bunch on the hook assigned to him, while one of the principal warders 
standing by sees that the number tallies with the list on the back of the box. At this 
hour all but eight sets of keys are delivered in, four of which remain to be collected at the 
final closing of the prison at ten at night. And when the principal has satisfied himself that 
all the keys which should be delivered in at six are there, the box is removed to the iron-safe 
in the chief warder's room by way of security. 

At seven o'clock in the evening, the prisoners' work is suspended, and then there is 

• The annexed are the official retams in connection with this part of the subject :— 



Number of 











WeftTCTB ..... 

Shoemakers .... 
Matmakers .... 
BricUayers, carpenters, and smiths 

Total Earnings. 

£ B. d. 

708 6 3| 

1,096 13 2 

567 13 2 

365 5 6i 

116 1 6 

£2,863 18 6} 


Earnings per 


j6 8. d. 

3 18 2f 
10 4 ll| 

6 5 1 

4 10 2\ 
8 14 Oi 



Bcarooly a sound, except that of the oooa^onal stroke of the gong, t6 bo heard in the oomdois. 
Prom this time till nine o'clock, the prisoners are allowed to read such books as they may 
have obtained from the library. To show us that the men were generally so occupied, tho 
officer who had attended us throtkghout the day led us now from cell to celli and drew aside 
tho small metal screen that hung down before the Httle peep-hole in each door, when, on 
looking through it, we found almost every prisoner whom we peeped in upon seated close to 
ihe gas-light, and busily engaged in perusing either some book er periodical that was spread 
out before him. 

Eight o'clock is the hour for the table, tools, tub, &c., to be placed outside the cell-door of 
those convicts who have attempted to break out of priscm ; the tools and brooms of all other 
convicts confined within the walls are also put out at the same hour. The prison now once 
more resounds with the successive slamming of some hundred doors, and scarcely has this 
ceased before the noise is heard of the warder double-locking each prisoner's cell, while the 
officers are seen flitting along in the dusk of the corridors as they pass rapidly from door 
to door. 

This done, the night-duty roll is placed upon the desk in the centre corridor, inscribed 
with tho number of prisoners contained in each of the wards of the four divisions of the prison, 
together with the name of the officer attached to each of those divisions for the night. 

At a quarter to nine, the last bell rings for the prisoners to prepare for bed, as well as 
for the dangerous or suspicious men to put out their dothes, so that in case of their breaking 
prison in the night they may have nothing to go away in ; after this the cell-lights are 
extinguished, the sailor-like cutlasses that are worn by the warders during the night arc 
brought out, and placed ready in the corner of the central corridor, whilst the warders on duty 
pass rapidly along, turning the tap of each gas-jet outside every cell as they go. Then the 
corridor lights are lowered, and the officers put on their felt overshoes, so that by the time the 
hour of nine sounds through the galleries, all is as stiU as a catacomb— the few remaining 
gas-lights shining in the black pavement in long, yellow, luminous lines, and the only sound 
heard there being the faint jangling of the warder's keys, as he moves from place to place. 
Nor is there any other living creature seen moving about, excepting the solitary " convict-cat*' 
that is attached to the prison. 

Now begins the inspection of every part of the building, and the trial of every outlet, in 
order to be assured that all is safe for the night. 

We followed the principal warder on his rounds to ascc^rtain the security of tho place, 
and first mounted to the warders* sleeping-room, where the officers who are on duty for the 
night retire to rest, until the time for their watch comes on. Here in one comer was an 
alarum fastened to the wall ; this was to rouse the warders, and had a series of pendulums 
marked A, B, 0, D, to indicate the division of the prison whence the signal might come. 
The alarum was set by the principal for the night, so Uiat the officer on duty might ring it in 
case of danger. 

Thence we were led into the chapel with merely a bull's-eye lantern to light us by the 
way, and we went scrambling up the dark stairs, one after another, as hard as we could go, 
for there are upwards of sixty doors to see secured, and every part of the enormous building 
but tho cells— within and without — above and below — to be visited within the hour. Tho 
chapel was pitch dark, but the warder's lantern was flickered into every comer, so that the 
officers might satisfy themselves that no one was hidden there. 

After this we hurried away, up the clock-tower, to the chapel roof, and when we had 
thoroughly examined this, we hastened down again, the warders telling strange stories by the 
way of iagenious escapes ; as to how one Hackett had cut a passage for his body through the 
floor of his chapel-stall during divine service, and escaped through a small hole in the wall 
made for the purposes of ventilation ; and how, too, another convict had oast a key to fit 
his door out of a piece of the water-pipe in his cell, but had been detected, after opening his 


door, oiring to the metal of the key being so soft that it bent in the lock, and rendered it 
impoflsible to be withdrawn. 

Then we passed along the eoiridors, to try the gates and side-doors leading to the 
exeroifiiiig grounds, and, finding these all lost, we hastened down the spiral stairs to the 
associated ward below ; and here ihe warder and the principal proceeded to lock the passage 
doors one after another — ^the noise of the bolts flying, sounding in the silence under ground 
with a doable intensity. 

This done, we returned once more to the corridors, and looked to the other outlets to the 
eoceicisiiig yards, the tramp of the feet as we went being echoed through the building, 
till it seemed like the march of many troops heard in the night. 

Now we hastened below into the basement of corridor C, where we saw that the 
carpenters' and blacksmiths' shops were all safe, and examined as to whether the ladders were 
duly chained up for the night; whereupon, on ascending the steps again, one of the warders 
proceeded to fasten down the trap at the top of the stairs. 

The next part of the duty was to inspect the refractory ward, and here the door of one 
of the dark cells was opened, so as to see whether the prisoner was safe. 

''All right, boy, eh ? " cried the officer, as he whisked the light of his bull's-eye full into 
the face of the wretched lad, who lay huddled up in his rug on the rude wooden couch, but 
who gave no answer in return. 

" He'll be up in the morning," said the other warder, as he suddenly closed the door, 
and made the building ring again with the deep metallic sound. " He's the only one we've 
got in to-night." 

On this being completed, we hastened back to the centre corridor, and passing through the 
glass doors, commenced inspecting the seyeral offices on either side of the passage, whilst 
the warders raked out the expiring fires in those rooms that had been used up till a late 

Henoe we harried, all of us, up the stairs to the iofirmary wards, where we found the 
two inyalids asleep, and the infirmary warder there seated by their side; and thence we 
descended to the reception wards below, and inspected every hole and comer of them. 

From this part of the building we stepped out into the grounds — ^the sound of the feet, 
grating on the gravel as we paced along, seeming almost to startle the intense stillness of 
the place ; and thus we passed first into the steward's offices to see that the fires, &o., were 
safe, and afterwards across the yard into the stores, the tramp of the many boots along the 
wooden passage now filling the bmlding with a hollow noise. 

Here, dark as the place was, wo could still tell by the smell — ^now of cloth, then of 
leather, and then of the yam for warping — i^e character of the stores we were passing by 
the way; whilst, on entering the kitchen, the pent-up heat and odour of cooking, and the 
scrunching of the sanded fioor under the solo of the foot, were sufficient, without the light of 
the lantern, to tell us whereabouts we were. 

Next we entered the bakehouse, where there was a peculiar smell of bread and flour, 
and after that we went into the steward's provision store, and hero was a characteristic 
pcrfome of cocoa, oatmeal, and treacle all blent together. 

From the latter part of the building we passed for a moment or two into the exercising 
ground. The bleak March air rushed in as soon as the side-door was opened, and the moon- 
light sky without looked as uninviting and cold as steel, so that it set one shivering to step 
into the air after the stifling heat of the kitchen. 

On our return thence the warders entered their own mess-room ; and, having put on 
their great-coats, they sallied forth to the prison grounds once more, but now leaving their 
lamps behind. This was done to see whether there were any lights in the cells, for the 
prisoners, they said, occasionally made candles out of their meat-fat and pieces of the thread 
supplied fliem for their work. By examining the building from without they were enabled 


to detect any improper lights burning within it. Accordingly, the officers retired far back to 
the grasB-plots, and there turned round to gaze up at the several wings of the prison. The 
walls and windows, however, were pitch-black in the darkness, with the exception of the long 
streaks of yellow light shining through the casements of the corridors. When the officers 
had satisfied themselves that all was right here, they proceeded to try the several entrances to 
the building from the outside, as they passed round within the walls. 

At length we returned to the warders' mess again, where we found another officer raking 
out the remains of the mess-room fire for the night. And thus ended the inspection of the 
prison, the search having occupied near upon an hour, although it was executed at a most 
rapid pace; for there were some scores of rooms and shops to examine and ''secure," besides 
no end of doors to fasten, and many a flight of stairs to ascend, in addition to making the 
entire circuit of the grounds. 

Stni the last office of all had to be performed — ^the four of the eight sets of keys that 
were retained at the six o'clock muster had now to be delivered up. These were handed 
over by the warders going off duty at ten o'clock, to the principal on special duty for the 
night, and by him carried to the chief warder's room, where they were placed with the rest 
in the iron-safe, and the metal door securely locked for the night. 

Then the fire annihilators that stood in the comer of the apartment were duly looked to, 
and the prison finally reported to the governor as '' all secure." 

A Sunday Morning at PentonmUe, 

Strange and interesting as are the scenes witnessed at the Model Prison on a week day, 
nevertheless the strangest and most interesting of all the sights is the performance cf 
divine service on the Sabbath. Nor do we say this after one solitary visit, for being anxious 
to watch the effect of prayers on the convicts at this institution, we made a point of attending 
service in the chapel on several occasions, so that we might speak from no singU observation 
of the ceremony. 

The chapel itself reminds one of a moderately-sized music-hall, for it is merely a spacious 
room without either naves or aisles, or pillars, or galleries to give it a church-like character; 
and at the end facing the pulpit there is a series of seats rising one above the other, after the 
fashion of a lecture-room at an hospital or philosophical institution. These seats are divided 
off in the same manner as the pit-stalls at a theatre, but in appearance they resemble a small 
box or pew rather than the imitation arm-chair peculiar to the orchestral '' reserved seats." 
Indeed, the reader has but to imagine the ordinary pews of a church to be arranged on an 
inclined plane, one above the other, rather than on a level fioor, and to be each divided into 
a series of compartments just large enough to hold one person, to have a tolerably definite 
notion of the sittings in the chapel imder the '' separate system " at Pentonville. 

Of the separate sittings or individual pews there are altogether some 270 in the Penton- 
ville convict chapel, and the prisoner who sits nearest the wall in each row of seats has 
to enter first, and he, on the other hand, whose place is nearest the middle, last ; for the 
partitions between each of the sittings serve also as doors, so that when they are turned back 
a passage is formed to the farthest unoccupied seat from the middle or general entrance. 

Another peculiarity of the Pentonville chapel consists in the raised and detached sittings 
appropriated to the warders, for as it is the duty of the officers attending service there to seo 
that no attempts at intercommunication are made by the prisoners, it becomes necessary that 
they should be placed in such exalted positions throughout the chapel as to be able to look 
down into each separate stall near them. Accordingly, it will be observed, on reference to the 


engnYifig, that two warders are placed on elevated seats immediately in front of the separate 
pews, and one at the end of each of the narrow galleries that stretch half along either side of 
the chapel (the farther extremity, only of these being shown in the accompanying illnstra- 
tion), whilst two more warders occupy siinilarly raised stations immediately under the organ, 
so as to be able to survey the pnsoners in the upper stalls.* 

We have already described the swarming of the convicts from every part of the building 
for daily prayers, and the long lines of men — each prisoner being some twelve or fifteen feet 
behind the other — that then come streaming along the galleries as the chapel beU is heard 
booming fitfdlly overhead. The scene is in no way different on the Sunday, and it is astonish- 
ing, on entering the chapel, to find how silently it is filled with the prisoners. Every man, as 
he enters, knows the predse row and seat that he has to occupy, and though some few pass in 

^ The chapel ii the great place of eommunioation among prisoners under separate confinement. Such 
communication is cairicd on either hy the oonyict who occupies (say) stall No. 10 leaving a letter in stall No. 
9 as he passes towards his own seat, or else hy pushing a letter during divine senrice imder the partition-door 
of the stall; or, if the prisoner be very daring, by passing it over his stall. Sometimes those who are short 
men put their mouth to the stall-door, and say what they wish to communicate, whilst pretending to pray ; 
or, if they be of the usual height, they speak to tlieir next door neighbour while the nnging is going on. 

There is not^ however, much communication carried on among the prisoners in school, and very little 
during the operation of cleaning the prison. The authorities, however, expect that a large amount of inter- 
course takes place among the men while they are out in the exercising grounds, and we are assured that 
double the inspection could not prevent it there. Other convicts, moreover, fling letters into the cells as they 
go by from chapel, *< though this," adds our informant, " should not occur under vigilant inspection." 

The means of commimication adopted by the prisoners are often curious. Some men scratch what they 
want to say on the tin dinner-cans ; others talk from cell to cell by means of the water-taps ; others, again, 
use a short and abrupt cough in the chapel with the view of directing another conviot's attention to some 
eommunication they wish to make. Under the silent system, moreover, it is usual for the prisoners to speak 
while on the tread- wheel, either by their fingers or pointing to certain figures and numbers that have been 
carved by previous prisoners about the place ; and others, again, accustom themselves to talk without moving 
the lips, so that they can look a warder full in the face while conversing with their neighbour, and yet tlie 
warder detect no signs of any communication going on. 

Under the separate system.the prisoners have an ingenious method of communicating by means of knock- 
ing on the oeU-waUs. '* The following description,'' says Mr. Burt, in his " Kesults of Separate Confinement," 
iirom which book the aooount is copied, " is printed precisely as it was given me by a prisoner deserving of 
credit. 'The plan is this (ss taught me by a youth who desired, in case we might be neighbours, to hold a 
ngiilar communication} to write upon a piece of paper the letters of the alphabet, and under each letter to place 

A B D 
a number, commencing at one, thus : ' ' ' ', &o. &c, A person wishing to communicate with his 

neighbour would then rap with his knuckle or nail on the wall, spelling the words with numbers in- 
stead of letters. Thus, to propose the question, * How do you get on ?' I should knock thus : — 

8 15 23 4 15 7^20 16 U ' "** hetween each word give three rapid knooks, to imply the word was com- 
plete. This system of corresponding, although at first sight it may appear tedious, is much less so than one 
would imagine ; for regular practitioners are so thoroughly acquainted with the numbers of each letter, that 
a eonversation is earned on with the same facility as by talking with the fingers; besides, in this system 
there are many abbreviations for yes, no, dec, and a sort of freemasonry, or certain signs, both rapid and con- 
vincing, and perfectly intelligible to each other. Many may doubt this statement, as I did myself when I 
was first initiated ; but I can positively assert, that I have myteif^ with my limited kno^edge of this curious 
system, learnt a great portion of the history of a party who never opened his lips to me, nor would I dosire 
that he ever should. From this individual I learnt his name, place Of iHith, offonoe, sentence, the date of his 
eoming into the prison, and many other circumstances, which he contrived to make me acquainted with before 
I had ever laen him, or had been in my cell four-and-twenty hours.' 

''The truth of this sUtement," adds Mr. Burt, " was verified by the fact that the name, birth-place, 
crime, and sentence of the prisoner in the adjoining cell were correctly stated by my informant, although 
they had no previous knowledge whatever of each other. It may be added, that the prisoner who eommuni- 
eated the infomiation was convicted in a wrong name, while no officer of the prison knew that he had another 
name until it was discovered in this manner. Other prisoners have given me a similsr desoription of this 
method of oommunicationy which may be termed the priam&ri tUetrU UUgraph" — (P. 271). 


together at the same momen^ these go to opposite quarters of the gallery — either to the one 
side or the other of the upper or lower stalls, as the case may he — so that, owing to the 
intervals hetween the men in the several lines of prisoners pouring iifto the edifice from 
different parts of the prison at one and the same time, each convict is ahle to get to his seat, 
and to close the partition-door of his stall after him, hefore the one following his steps has 
time to enter the same row. The consequence is, that neither riot nor confusion prevails, and 
the quarter of a thousand and more convicts, who are distributed throughout the chapel 
gallery, are stowed away, every one in his proper place — and that in some few minutes, too 
— ^with as little noise and disorder as occurs at a Quakers' meeting. 

When the chapel is fiUed, it is a most peculiar sight to behold near upon three hundred 
heads of convicts — and the heads ottfy, the whole of the prisoner's body being hidden by the 
front of the stalls — ranged, as it were, in so many pigeon-holes (for the partitions on either 
side produce somewhat of this appearance), and each vnth the round, brass, charity-boy-like 
badge of his register number hung up, just above him, on the ledge of the stall at his back. 

Nor are the heads there assembled such as physiognomical or phrenological prejudice 
would lead one to anticipate, for now that the mask-caps are off we see features and crania of 
every possible form and expression — almost from the best type down to the very lowest. True, 
as we have said, there is scarcely one bald head to be observed, and only two remarkable 
men with gray, or rather silver, hair — ^the latter, however, being extraordinary exceptions to 
the rule, and coming from a very different class from the ordinary convict stock. Neverthe- 
less, the general run of the countenances and skulls assembled in Pentonville Chapel are far 
from being of that brutal or semi-idiotic character, such as caricaturists love to picture as 
connected with the criminal race. Some of the oonvicts, indeed, have a frank and positively 
ingenuous look, whilst a few are certainly remarkable for the coarse and rudely-moulded 
features — the high cheek-bones and prognathous mouths — ^tbat are often associated with the 
hard-bred portion of our people. Still it has been noticed by others, who have had far better 
opportunities of judging than ourselves, that the old convict head of the last century has 
disappeared frY)m our prisons and hulks ; and certainly, out of the 270 odd fetces that one 
sees assembled at Pentonville chapel, there is hardly one that bears the least resemblance to 
the vulgar baboon-like types that unobservant artists still depict as representative of the con- 
vict character. 

There are few countenances, be it remarked, that will bear framing in the Old Bailey 
dock, and few to which the convict garb— despite our study of Lavater and Gall— does not 
lend what we cannot but imagine, frY>m the irresistible force of association, to be an unmis" 
takahly criminal expression. At Pentonville chapel, however, as we have said, we see only 
the heads, without any of the convict costume to mislead the mind in its observations, and 
assuredly, if one were to assemble a like number of individuals from the same ranks of society 
as those from which most of our criminals come — such as farm-labourers, costeimongers, 
sweeps, cabmen, porters, mechanics, and even clerks — ^we should find that their cast of 
countenances differed so little from those seen at the Model Prison, that even the keenest eye 
for character woi^d be unable to distinguish a photograph of the criminal from the non- 
criminal congregation.* 

* The only oriminal trtit we ouxselves have been able to detect among the ordinary convict dao, u a 
certain kind of dogged and half-suUen expretsion, denoting stiibbomneu and way wardneas of temper, whilat 
many of the young men who are habitual thievea certainly appear to us to have a peculiar cunning and aide-> 
long look, together with an odd turn at the comers of the mouth, as if they were ready to burst into laughter 
at the least frivolity, thus denoting that it is almost impossible to excite in their minds any deep or lasting 
impression. Nor, so far as our experience goes, have even the ** brutal-violence" men in general their charac- 
ters stamped upon their faces. We heard, only recently, a <* rough '' declare that Calcraff s situation was just 
the thing to suit him, as there was good pay and little to do connected with the berth ; and yet, to have judged 
by the fellow's countenance, one might have mistaken him, had he been clad in a suit of black, for a city 


There is somethingy even to the lightest minds, inexpressiUy grand in the simultaneouB 
outpouring of many prayers, so that the confessions of transgression, and the supplications 
for m^t^y, as well as the thanksgivings, the invocation of hlessings upon all those who 
are in sickness or want, and the hymns of praise, uttered by some hundreds of voices, 
become one of the most sublime and solemn ceremonies the mind can contemplate. Go 
into what assembly or what country we will — ^let us differ from the adopted creed as much 
as we may — ^we cannot but respect the divine aspirations of every multitude gathered 
together for the worship of the Most High ; for though the form of such worship may not be 
the precise ceremony to which our notions have been squared, and though we may believe, 
clinging to some human theory of election and salvation, that there is another and a shorter 
way to Heaven, nevertheless we cannot but reverence the outpouring of several souls as 
the one common yearning after goodness, the universal veneration of all that is deemed to 
be just and true. 

But if this be the mental and moral effect of every religious assembly, composed of 
righteous men« how much more touching do such aspirations and supplications become when 
the wretched beings confessing their sins and imploring mercy, are those whom the world 
has been compelled to cut off from all society, on accoxmt of the wrongs done by them 
to l^ir feUow-creatures ; and we are not ashamed to confess that when we heard the 
convict multitude at PentonvLlle, cry aloud to their Almighty and most merciful Father, 
that they had " erred and strayed from his ways like lost sheep," saying with one voice, 
** we have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts,'' and then 
entreating one and all for mercy as ** miserable offenders," and begging that they might 
" hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life" — ^the prayer of these same wretched 
outcasts, we are not ashamed to confess, so far touched our heart that the tears filled our 
eyes, and choked the most devout "Amm^* we ever uttered in all our life. 

And such a prayer, too, in such a place, repeated by felon lips, is not without its 
Christian lesson on the soul ; for though the first feeling is naturally to consider the above 
confession as specially fit for that same convict congregration, and to fancy, when we acknow-^ 
ledge with the rest "we have left undone those things which we ought to have done, 
and done those things which we ought not to have done," that the " we" has particular 
reference to the wretched beings before us rather than to ourselves. 

The next moment, however, the mind, stripped of all social prejudice at such a time, 
gets to despise the petty worldly pride that prompted the vain distinction, and to ask itself, 
as it calls up its many shortcomings — ^its petty social cheats and tricks — as well as its 
infinite selfish delinquencies, what vast difference in the eyes of the All- wise and Just can 
there be between us and these same ** miserable offenders," whom we, in the earthly arrogance 
of our hearts, have learnt to loathe. 

And as the lesson of Christian charity and brotherhood steals across the soul, we get to 
inquire of ourselves, what did we ever do to better the lot of any like those before us ? 
Have we not then really left undone the things that we ought to have done, towards such 
as they, whispers the obtrusive conscience ? If we are a little bit better than they, is it 

miasionary, or eren a philanthropist. NeTertheless, the generality of the ** brutal-violence" class of criminals 
are characterised by a peculiar lascivious look— a trait which is as much developed in the attention paid to 
tbe arrangement of the hair, as it is in the look of the eye or play of the mouth. They are, however, mostly 
remarkable for that short and thick kind of neck which is termed ** bull," and which is generally charac- 
teristic of strong animal passions. As a body, moreover, the habitual criminals of London are said to be, 
in nine cases out of ten, '< Irish Cockneys," i. e., persons bom of Irish parents in the Metropolis; and this is 
doubtlessly owing to the extreme poverty of the parents on their coming over to this country, and the conse- 
quent neglect experienced by the class in their youth, as well as the natural quickness of the Hibernian race 
fer good or evil, together with that extreme excitability of temperament which leads, under circumstances o( 
want and destitution, to savage oatrages— even as, in better social conditions, it conduces to high generosity 
if not 


not aimply because we have-been a great deal more favoured than tliey ? Did we make our 
own fate in life ? Did you or I, by any merit on our own part, win our way into a rank of 
society where wo were not only trained from early childhood to honest courses, as regularly as 
those less lucky (though equally deserving) wretches were schooled in diBhonest ones ? and 
where we were as much removed from, temptation by the comforts and blessings with 
which we were surrounded, as thet/ were steeped to the very lips in it, by the want and miseiy 
which always encompassed them ? Have we ever devoted the least portion of the gifts 
and endowments we have received, and of which assuredly we are but the stewards rather 
than the rigktfid possessors, to the rendering of the lot of the wretched a whit less wretched 
in this world ? Did we ever do a thing or give a fraction to make them better, or wiser, or 
happier ? Or, if we have done or given some little, could we not have done and given 
more ? Honestly, truthfully, we must answer ; for there is no shirking the question at such 
an hour and in such a place, with those hundreds of convict eyes turned towards us, and 
those hundreds of felon lips crying aloud, *' There is none other that fighteth for us but Thou, 
God !'* 

Nor can we then and there stifle our conscience with the paltry excuse that the men are 
unworthy of such feelings being displayed towards them ; for, as we hear them repeat the 
responses, we cannot but fancy there is a profundity of grief and repentance, as well as de- 
vout supplication, expressed in the very tones of their voices, when they cry, after the solemn 
passages of the litany, *' God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy upon us, miserable sin- 
ners !" " God the Son, Redeemer of the World, have mercy upon us, miserable sinners !" 
Or else, in answer to the prayer of the minister, " that it may please thee to show thy pity 
upon all prisoners and captives !" say one and all, '* We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord !" 

Indeed, the attention of the men is so marked, that during the reading of the lessons 
the leaves of the Ribles are turned over by the prisoners at one and the same time, so that the 
noise sounds positively like the sudden rustling of a forest. 

One convict we noted with his hands raised high above his head, and clasped continually 
in prayer, while others seldom or never raised their eyes from their book ; and it struck us 
as not a Jittlc extraordinary to hear so many scores of felons, and even some one or two 
manslayers, that were congregated under that chapel roof, say, with apparently imfeigned 
devotion — as the minister read from the communion table the Commandments, *' Thou sholt 
do no murder !" and " Thou shalt not steal !" — '* Lord have mercy upon us, and incline our 
hearts to keep this law!" 

Nor is the attention of the convicts to the clergyman's discourse less decorous and 
marked, than their conduct during the prayers ; and on one of our visits, the assiBtant-chaplain 
related an anecdote at the conclusion of his sermon which showed how easily these men are 
moved by any appeal to family ties. The minister told them how it had once been his 
sad duty to be present at the funeral of a young woman and her infant, by torchlight, saying 
that the reason of the ceremony being delayed until so late an hour, was in order that 
the father might see the last melancholy office performed over the body of his child \ and 
he had had to travel on foot for many miles, from the town in which he resided. 

It was curious to watch, as the humble history grew in interest, how every prisoner's 
head was stretched forward from his little stall, and their eyes became more and more 
intently rivetted on the clergyman. 

When the old man saw the coffin of his girl and her babe lowered into the grave, pro- 
ceeded the minister, his tears streamed down the furrows of his cheeks j and when the service 
was over, and the sexton was about to begin shovelling the earth into the grave, and hidc» 
for ever the remains of his children, from his view, he bade the man desist while he took a 
last look at all that once boxmd him to the world. As he did so, the old father cried 
through his sobs that he would rather see her uid her little one dead in their g^ve, than 
have beheld her living with it in her shame. 


When the tale iras told, there vtm hardly one dry eye to bo Botioed among those so-called 
hardened convict* ; some bnriod their faoei in their handkerchiefB, in very grief at the 
misery theytoohad heaped on Bomeparent'ahead; and othen sobbed aloud from a like oauBC, 
BO that we conld hear their gasps and Bighe, telling of the homos that they had made 
iTTetched by tbeir shame. 

*,* QmtUity the Chaptl. — ^For the order of leaving the chnpel, an initniment is employed 
OS a means of signalling to the prisoners the letters of 

therovs andnnmbersof the stallc in the snccession 

that the men in them are to retire to their cells. 

This instrument consists of an oblong hoard, 
raised open a high shaft, and has two apertures in 
front, BO as to show a small portion of the edge of 
two wooden discs that aro placed at the back of the 
board. One disc is inscribed with letters, and the 
other with figures ronnd the rim, and arranged in 
such a manner, that, by causing one or otb» to 
m-olvc behind the board by means of a string passed 
over the centre, as shown in the annexed drawing, 
a fresh letter or number is made to appear at either 
aperture, according as the right or left hand wheel 
is worked — the letter and the number appearing to 
the priaoners, as represented in the upper diagram, 
giving the front of the board, and the wheels being 
arranged as factored in the lower or back view of the 

"When the service is over, the instrument is 
moved to the space in front of the communion table, 
and a warder proceeds to work the wheels from 
behind, so as to shift either the letters or the 
anmber?, as may be required. 

Each row of scats on either aide of the entrance 
passage in the middle of the chapel gallery u simi- 
larly lettered, and corresponds with the characters 
on one of the wheels, whilst the scyeral stalls or 
pcwB in those rows are numbered alike on either 
aide of rach entrance-passage, and correspond with 
the figures on the other wheel ; so that when tho 
warder fnms the one wheel round, and lets tho 
letter A appear at the aperture, the convicts in that 
row put on their caps and prepare to move ; whilst 
immediately the flgnre 1 is brought to the other 
apotvrc, then the first stall on either side of the 
central possi^ pull down their cap-peaks, and 
throwing back the partition-door, hasten frvm tho 
clnqtcl ; and when the numbered wheel is tamed a 
little farther ronnd, BO as to bring the figure 2 in the 

•petluie^ then the convicts, on either side the passage occi^ying the stall next to the one jnst 
vacated, likewise turn down their cap-peaks, and throwing back the division of their stall, pass 
in a similar manner eat of the chapel. Then nnmber 3 stalls are signalled away in like man- 
ner, each prismer, asbefive, making a passage for those who ore to come after him, by poshing 


back the division-door of lus stall, and so on up to number 10 ; after which the letter-wheel 
is revolved a little more, so as to present another character to the prisoners' view. Then 
another row prepares to leave, as before ; and thus the chapel is entirely emptied, not only 
with considerable rapidity, but without any disturbance or confusion** 

Of the Moral. EffecU of ths DhcipUne at PentomiUe, 

We have already spoken of the mental effects of the separate system as carried out at 
Pentonville Prison, and shown that, whereas the proportion of lunacy is not quite 0*6 in 
every thousand of the prison population throughout England and Wales, the ratio of insanity 
at Pentonville was more than ten times that amount, or 6'0 in the first thousand convicts 
that entered the Model Prison; whereas it was 10 in the second thousand, 4 in the third, 
and 9 in the fourth ; so that, had the prisoners throughout England and Wales been treated 
according to the same system, there would have been, instead of an everage of 85 lunatics 
per year in the entire prison population of the country, upwards of 850 madmen produced. 

Great credit is due, however, to the authorities for relaxing the discipline immediately 
they became impressed with the conviction of its danger to the intellects of the prisoners ; 
for, as driving a man mad formed no part of the original sentence of a convict, it is clear 
that the prison authorities had no earthly right to submit a criminal to a course of penal 
treatment which had the effect of depriving him of his reason. Since the alteration, however, 
in the working of the separate system, and the introduction of the present method of brisk 
walking, together with an increased quantity of out-door exercise, and a more perfect system of 
ventilation, as well as shortening the term of imprisonment to one-half its original duration, 
the ratio of insanity has been reduced from 6*0 to I'O per thousand prisoners (see page 144). 
Nevertheless, as the medical officer says, '' though much has been gained, the Umits of safety have 
scarcely yet been reac?ied,'* the ratio of lunacy at Pentonville being stiU almost as high again 
as the normal rate deduced from the average of all other prisons. 

Were it not for this terrible drawback, it must be admitted that the separate system is 
the best of all the existing modes of penal discipline— better than the ** silent system," 
which has, to recommend it, only the negative benefit of preventing intercourse among the 
criminals — and better than the '' mark system," which would have convicts sentenced to do 

* The arrangement of the chapel into stalla is not generally approved, even by the advocates of the sepa- 
rate system ; and surely, if such an arrangement be not inditpensably necessary for the carrying out of that 
system, they should he immediately condemned as hearing a most offensive aspect, and one that hardly con- 
sorts with a Christian edifice, where the minister speaks of even the convicts as " hrethren." 

** As regards the division of the chapel into separate stalls,'' says Colonel Jehh, in his Report for the year, 
1852, *' Mr. Reynolds, the chaplain at Wakefield, who is a warm advocate of the separate system, thus 
expresses his opinion : — ' I am of opinion that the plan of the chapel is yery objectionahle. I object to it, 
in the first place, because I thmk it is calculated to produce disagreeable associations in the minds of the 
prisoners regarding a place of public worship. I object to it, in the second place, because I believe it to 
produce a chilling feeling of isolation opposed to Uie proper social character of public worship. I object 
to it, in the third place, because, instead of preventing communication between different prisoners, 
it affords increased facilities for communication ; in the fourth, because it affords an opportunity to the ill- 
disposed to employ their time in chapel in writing on the wood-work of the stalls instead of attending to 
the service, and opportunities, also, of disturbing the worship of the other prisoners, by making noises, which 
it is very difficult to trace to any particular prisoner.' " In these opinions Mr Shepherd, the goveriMW 
of Wakefield Prison, expresses his concurrence ; whilst Colonel Jebb himself adds :— *' Much of the inoonve- 
nionce pointed out by the governor and chaplain at Wakefield has been experienced at Pentonville. 
Writing of the most objectionable diaracter appears on the wood- work in many placesy and puniahmiBQtii 
for attempto to communicate have been frequent" 


a oertain taak of work^ raflier ihaiito snflSsr a definite term of imprisoDment; but task-work 
was neyer yet known to make labour a pleasure to a man, though this is the main point 
claimed by the advocates of that system as rendering it superior to all others. 

The separate system, however, not only prevents the communion of criminals far more 
effBctually than the silent system can possibly hope to do, and makes labour so agreeable a 
relief to the monotony of solitude, that it positively becomes a punishment to withhold it, and 
thus, by rendering idleness absolutely irksome to the prisoner, causes him to find a pleasure 
in induistry — a feat that the ''mark," or, more properly speaking, "task" system, c^ never 
hope to accomplish ; but, by cutting the prisoner off from all society, the separate system of 
prison discipline compels him to hold communion with himself— to turn his thoughts inward — 
to reflect on the wickedness of his past career with the view of his forming new resolves for 
the fdtnre, and so gives to his punishment the true enlightened character of a penance and a 
chastisement (or chastening) rather than a mere vindictive infliction of so much pain. 

That the separate system has really produced such effects as the above, the records of 
Pentonville Prison thoroughly attest. It is urged, however, by those who object to that 
mode of prison discipline, that the reformations it assumes to work are mere temporary 
depressions of spirits produced by physical causes, rather than being conversions of nature 
wrought by the power of religion. 

It should, however, be borne in mind that it is impossible for any one to repent of his 
past misdeeds — to be overcome with remorse for an ill-spent life— and yet be lively and happy 
over the matter. Grief necessarily has a tendency to depress the mind and body, and so, 
too, mental or physical depression has a tendency to induce grief,- consequently, there being 
hero a state of action and reaction, it is but natural that the dejection or lowness of spirits 
resulting from separate confinement should induce sorrow for the past, and that this same 
BQROW again should serve to increase such dejection. Whoever became a better man without 
IpwflniJTig over his former transgressions? If, therefore, we really wish to excite in the 
mind that state of contrition which must infallibly precede all reformation, if not positive 
conversion of character, we must place the individual in predsdy those circumstances which 
will serve to depress his haughty nature and to humble his proud spirit; and this is just the 
effect which, according to the medical evidence, the system of separate confinement is cal- 
culated to produce. 

But it is said that these reformations, 'so far from being real permanent changes of 
nature, are mere temporary impressions, caused by the long confinement to which the assumed 
converts have been sulijected, and that ihej owe their momentary results to that derange- 
ment of the organs of digestion which arises from the want not only of proper air and 
exercise, but the stimulus of agreeable society ; so that men get to mistake a fit of the 
" megrims" for a religious frame of mind, or, in the words of Thomas Hood— 

" Think they're pious when tiiey're only bilions." 

Others urge, again, that these same professed conversions are mere hypocritical assump- 
tions on the part of the prisoners for the sake of cajoling the chaplain out of a " tioket- 
of-leave" long before the expiration of their sentence ; for as it has been found that many of 
tiiese same converted convicts soon relapse, after regaining their liberty, to their former course 
of life, people immediately conclude that the religious turn of mind, previous to their 
being set free, was merely simulated for the particular purpose. Moreover, we are well 
aware that the other convicts generally believe these displays of religion on tiie part of 
their fellow-prisoners to be mere shams, calling those who indulge in them by the nickname 
of " Joeys." We have been assured, too, by the warders, that the prisoners know the very 
fbotsteps of the chaplain, and that many of them ML down on their knees as they hear him 
oinning, so that he may find them engaged in prayer on visiting thdr cell; whereas, imme- 
diately he has left, they put their tongue in their cheek| and langh at his gullibility. 


Nevertheless, we are indined to belieye that there is a greater desire for religious 
oonsolatioii among prisoners than is usoally supposed. Indeed, it is our creed that men 
oftener deceive themselves in this world, than they do others. Again, it should be borne in 
mind, that criminals are essentially creatures of impulse, and though liable to be deeply 
affected for the moment, are seldom subject to steady and permanent impressions. TMb 
very unsettledness of purpose or object, is the distinctive point of the oriminal character, so 
that such people become inoapable of all continuity of action as well as thought. Hence, it 
is quite in keeping with the nature of criminals, that when subjected to the depressing 
influence of separate confinement, they should exhibit not only deep sorrow for their past 
career, but also make earnest resolves to lead a new life for the Aiture, as well as offer up 
devout prayers for strength to carry out their intentions — even though in a few days or 
months afterwards, they themselves should be found scoffing at their own weakness, and 
pursuing, without the least remorse, the very same course for which a little while ago they 
had expressed such intense contrition-— contrition that was as fervent and truthfdl as a child's 
at the time, but unfortunately quite as evanescent. 

Still, amid all this fickleness of purpose and its consequent semblance of hypomsy, and 
amid, too, a large amount of positive religious trickery and deoeit, there are undoubted cases 
of lasting changes having been produced by the discipline of separate confinement. As an 
illustration of this fieu^t, tiie following letter may be cited, for though written by a mere boy 
prisoner, previous to his leaving for Australia, we have the best assurances that the after 
character of the man fully bore out the mature professions of his youth, and that he has 
since returned to this country, not only honest, but a highly prosperous person, having amassed 
a considerable fortune in the colonies, and still continuing to lead the godly, righteous, and sober 
life that he had so often prayed to have strength to pursue, in the very chapel where we had 
but lately heard the other convicts supplicating — ^and apparently as devoutly — ^for the same 
power: — 


(The orthography as in the original.) 

"I, J D , came to this prison on Sep'. 28^ 1843 inamost pitifdl condition. 

Destitute of true religion, of any morality, of any sound or useful knowledge, or of any desire 
to acquire the same, with a hard, wicked, and perverse heart fuUy bent to, and set on, all 
manner of mischief, altogether ignorant of my spiritual condition, a child of the Devil, a 
lover of the World, a slave to Sin, under a most miserable condemnation, having no hope 
and without God in the World. This is somewhat the condition I was in on coming to this 
prison, until by degrees the grace of Qoi began to change and new modle me, by showing to 
me my sins and then leading me to repentance, by giving me desires to love and fear God 
my Saviour, by enabling me rightly to understand the word and way of Salvation ; and 
savingly, with fedth to receive the same. I can say now, what I could not then ; that I love 
those commands which were so grievous to me in my unr^generate state. I delight to read, 
study, hear and obey the blessed, pure and holy precepts of God's Word, and I hope I may 
ever continue to do the same to my life's end ; they shall be my guide, my teacher, and 
director through the dark passage of this world. I can say with sincerity I have enjoyed 
my Sabbaths of affliction and solitude far more than the days spent in sinfiil pursuits, and I 
have been always as comfortable here as I could desire to be. I have been taught most 
Godly, truly, savingly, and soundly, the truths and doctrines of God's Word, in which is 
contained all my hopes, comfort, and Salvation, by my faithful Pastors; and I have most 
haply had given me a heart to receive and understand the same to my great comfort I 
do truly intend to follow the &ith that my ministers have taught me, and to live «AftAwiiwg 
to it, GK>d's grace preserving me. I am simply and only trusting on my Saviour for Pardon, 
Bighteousness, Sanctification, and Bedemption, or in other words a Joyful Salvation. And 


Idofhinkitmyboimdendaty, after leceiTing these inajiifold blessmgs and privelegeB, at all 
timeBy and at eyery period of my life to keep God's commandments by loying him Supremely 
with all my heart, and by doing to all men as I wonld they should do unto me — ^the sum of 
all the Commands. The breaking of these has been the cause of all my trouble and misfortune, 
but the keeping of them will be my fiiture hapiness and prosperity in this short life, and in 
the world to come through the merit of my Gracious SaTiour, "Wbom I hope to know better, 
to loye more and to worship in his fear eyermore, Amen. I haye always found my officers 
yery kind to me especially my warder and Extra Warder, with whom I haye had most to 
do. My schoolmasters haye taught me a great deal of useful knowledge, and haye taken 
eyery pains to instruct me in what was good. ••«**! haye learnt Grammar 
BO flur as to parse a sentence well. Arithmetic I haye made great progress in. I could not do 
on coming here Simple Proportion, but I haye gone through my arithmetic, and began to 
study Algebra so far as fractions. I haye also acquired a little knowledge of Geography and 
Astronomy, with other useful subjects. * ♦ ♦ ♦ 

'' And in this condition I leaye this Prison a changed and altered person to what I was on 
coming to it. But by the Grace of God I am what I am. And so I go my way to a distant 
land, steadfastly purposing to lead an upright life, and to dwell in loye and charity with all 
men, t^anViTig God for this affliction which hath oonfered so many blessings upon me. 

"J D , Aged 21, June 29th, 1845.'' 

In addition to the aboye we may feurther quote some yerses that were written by one of 
the Pentonyille conyicts, upon the subject of the anecdote of the burial of a young woman 
and her child by torchlight, which has been already mentionGd in our description of the 
service in the Pentonyille chapel ; for these yerses will go fSar to illustrate the point we have 
been insisting upon, namely, the susceptibility of prisoners in separate confinement to reli- 
gious and other graye impressions for the time being : — 



And were those joyful tears the old man thed? 
Could he unfeigned rejoice ? his daughter dead, 
When by the lantern's gleam, in darkest night, 
The graye reoeiyed her onoe loVd form from sight. 
He'd trayelled far that day that he mig^t gaze 
Upon this scene ; this caused delay; her &ce 
He could not see again : upon her breast. 
Her little babe in death's embrace did rest : 
' His hoary head was bare, with grief his yoice 
Exclaimed, '' My God, I do indeed rejoice, 
That thou my child hast taken in her prime. 
And sayed from fjarther guilt, and shame, and crime !" 

The minister of God, one Sabbath mom, 
The &ct affirmed, to many prisoners; t<»n 
Prom eyil ways, and friends: and for their good 
Confhied with best intent to solitude. 
But how describe the workingB of the mind? 
Of all, some felt, and wept, and some were blind. 
With hardened hearts, and steeped in guilt, the most 
Gould glory in their shame, their crimes their boast 


Some fathers, too, were there, with daughters left 
In the wide world, of fostering care bereft : 
Their anguish great, the tears fall down their face. 
They almost felt iaclined to curse their race. 

But better feelings ruled, as one they heard. 
The minister explain the written Word ; 
With studious zeal, his loye for souls was great, 
He felt commiseration for their state ; 
His text tiie miracle that Jesus wrought. 
When unto Nain's city He, unsought. 
Brought joy for mourning, dried the widow's eyes, 
And gracious spoke — " Yonng man, I say, arise !" 
His glorious theme, the Saviour's wondrous love, 
Caused many hearts to pity, melt, and move, 
And earnest pray that Gtod the Spirit's voice 
Might now be heard — " Young man, I say, arise !" 
That some poor souls, immersed in guilt and sin, 
Might feel the power of love, new life begin 
To find ; forsake their guilty paths ; repent. 
The ways of heaven pursue with pure intent. 
Might hunger after righteousness divine. 
And let their fiiture conversation shine ; 
Might have a blessed hope beyond the skies, 
Wben the last trump shall sound, '* Arise ! Arise !*' 


The Female Convict Prison at Brixton lies in a diametrically opposite direction to the 
'' Model Prison" at Pentonville — the former bearing south, and the latter north, of the heart 
of London ; and the one being some six miles removed from the other. 

It is a pleasant enough drive down to the old House of Correction, on Brixton Hill, espe- 
cially if the journey be made, as ours was, early one spring morning, without a cloud to dLn 
the clear silver-gray sky, and before the fires had darkened and thickened the atmosphere of 
the Metropolis. 

It is curious, by the by, to note the signs of spring-time that come to the Londoner's 
ear. Not only does the woman's shrill cry of ''Two bunches a-penny— sweet wa-a-11- 
fiowers !" resound through the streets, telling of the waking earth and the bursting buds, 
and wafting the mind far away to fields and gardens; but there are long trucks in the 
thoroughfares, the tops of which are a bright canary-yellow, with their hundred roots of 
blooming primroses, and others a pale delicate green, with the mass of trailing musk-plants, 
while the hoarse-voiced barrow-men are shouting, '' All a-blowing ! all a-growing ! " as they 
halt by the way. Then there are tiny boys and girls either crying their bunches of exqui- 
sitely odorous sweetbriar, or thrusting little bouquets of violets almost under your nose, and 
following you half-down the street as you go; whilst many of the onmibus-drivers have a 
small sprig of downy-looking palm stuck out at one comer of their moutii. Farther, thei« 
are the hawkers balancing their loads of spring vegetables on their heads, the baskets laden 


with bundles of bright fleah-ooloured rhubarb, and with small white wicker pktters, as it 
were, in their hands, some filled with pale waxen-looking sea-kale/ and others bright greeny 
with an early dishfiil of spring salad. 

Moreoyer, the streets echo throughout the day with women's cries of " Any o^omaments 
for your fire stove ! " pleasantly reminding one of the coming warmth; and presently you 
see these same women flit by your window, carrying a number of light and bright-hued cut 
pc^erB that are not unlike so many weU-be-flounoed ladies' muslin aprons, and bearing on 
their aim a basket filled with tinted shavings, that remind one of a quantity of parti-coloured 
soapsuds, or, better still, ihe top of a confectioner's trifle. 

On the morning of our visit to Brixton, as we passed along the streets towards West- 
minster Bridge, we met hawkers coming from the early market at Covent Garden, with their 
trucks and baskets laden with the pretty and welcome treasures of the spring; and the tank- 
like watering-carts were out in the thoroughfares, playing their hundred threads of water 
upon the dusty roadways for the first time, that we had noted, in the course of the present 
year. Then it was peculiar to be able to see right down to the end of the long thorough- 
fares, and to find the view of the distant houses no longer filmed with mist, but the gables 
of tibe buildings, and the steeples of the churches, and the unfinished towers of the Houses of 
Parliament standing out sharp and definite against the blue back-ground of the morning sky; 
whilst, as we crossed the crazy old Westminster Bridge — ^where the masons seem destined to 
be for ever at work — ^the pathways were crowded with lines of workmen (though it was not 
yet six o'clock) streaming along to their labour, and each with his little bundle of food for 
the day, dangling from his hand. 

Then, shorUy after our ''Hansom" had dived beneath the railway viaduct that spans 
the Westminster Boad, we came suddenly into the region of palatial hospitals and philan- 
thropic institutions, as well as Catholic cathedrals and St. Faul's-like lunatic asylums, and 
handsome gothic schools for the blind, together with obeliskine lamp-posts bmlt in the centre 
of the many converging roads, and gigantic coaching taverns, too— that one and all serve to 
make up the " West End," as it were, of the lai^ and distinct Metropolis over the water. 

The atmosphere was still so dear and fresh, tiiat though we turned off by the Orphan 
Asylum we could see far down the bifid thoroughfares, and behold the dome of Bethlem 
Hospital, as well as the cathedral tower of Saint George's, soaring into the air high above 
tiie neighbouring rooft. 

In a few minutes afterwards we were in the peculiar suburban regions of London, where 
the houses are excruciatingly genteel, and each is pre&ced by a small grass-plat hardly bigger 
than a Turkey carpet ; and where, in the longer garden at the back, an insane attempt is 
usually being made to grow cabbages and cucumbers at something under a crown a-piece— the 
realm of Cockney terraces, and crescents, and ovals, and commons, and greens, and Hoins 
Taverns, and donkey stands, as well as those unpleasant hints, in the shape of lodge-like 
tuxnpikes, that one is approaching the outskirts of London. 

Then, as we turn off by St. Mary's Church, the thoroughfisure begins to assume a still more 
suburban look; for now the houses get to be semi-detached, the two small residences clubbing 
together so as to make each other appear twice as big as it really is; while every couple of 
villas is struggling to look like a small mansion in a tiny park, with a joint-stock carriage- 
drive in front, that is devoted to the use of ^^ fly that is occasionally hired to take the ladies 
out to tea and scandal, with the female president, may-be, of the Blanket, Coal, and Baby-linen 
Sodety, in the neighbourhood. Here the residents are mostiy of a commercial and evan- 
gelical character ; the gentiemen all go up to town in the *' Paragons " every morning to 
attend at the Stock Exchange ; and the young ladies set forth on their rounds in connection 
with the district visiting societies — ^their only dissipation being the novelty of a sermon from 
Bcone Uack missionary preacher who may come down to the neighbouring chapeL 

Hesre are seen gloomy-looking ahopsi inscribed ''Tract Depdts;" and as we pass the 


e^tircli at the angle of the road, leith the showy tomb gtanding at tlie extreme point of the 
burynLg-groundy and begin to mount the hill, we see honaes with a kind of Bummer-hoofle 
bnilt on the roof for enjoying the extensive view of the dead of London smoke for ever 
liflwgfwg over the adjacent Metropolis. 

fiere^ again, are large half-rostio half-eockney taverns, where the City and West End 
omnibuses start from, and here, at the end of a roral " blind alley" hard by — a nairowiah 
lane, known as the Prison IU>ad, to which there is no outlet at the other exiiemity — stands 
what was once the Surrey House of Correction, and is now the Female Conyict Prison. 

The Sistory, Plan, and Discipline of the Prison. 

The Brixton, or rather Surrey House of Correction, is situate in one of the most open 
and salubrious spots in the southern surburbs of London. '' Like all the jails erected about 
jforty or sixty years ago," says Mr. Dixon, in his work on the ''London Prisons," ''it was 
built in the form of a rude crescent, the govemor^s house being in the common centre, and 
his drawing-room window commanding a view of all the yards. It was, par exeeUenee,'* 
he adds, " a hard-labour prison." Lideed, the treadmill, which now generally forms a part 
of the machinery of correctional prisons, was first set up at Brixton. This was in the year 
1817, the apparatus having been invented by Mr. Cubitt, of Ipswich. 

This prison was originally built and adapted for 175 prisoners, having been fitted with 
149 separate cells, and 12 double ones. The separate cells were each 8 X 7) X 6 feet, 
and almost unventilated, so that they were considerably more than half as small again as 
the " Model cells" at Pentonville, the latter having a capacity of 911 cubic feet, whilst the 
capacity of those at Brixton was only 360 cubic feet ; and yet, though from their defective 
ventilation they were unfitted for the confinement of one prisoner, and because the law did not 
allow two persons to be placed in one cell, it was the practice, in order to evade the statute 
by a legal quibble, to cram as many as three into each of the "dog-holes" — as the C^ermans 
tmn their andent dungeons — ^while bedding was supplied only for two. The consequence 
was, that though the prison was built for the acconmiodation of only 175 prisoners, the usual 
number confined within it was more tiian double that amount, or upwards of 400. Hence 
it is not to be wondered at, that, despite its standing in the healthiest situation, the old 
Surrey House of Correction was one of the unhealthiest of all the London prisons; and that 
out of 4,048 persons passing through it in the course of the year, there should have been 
not less than 1,085 sick cases reported, 249 of which were fevers, caused, in the surgeon's 
opinioa, by the over-orowded state of the jail. 

On the removal of the Surrey House of Correction to the New Prison at Wandsworth, 
the Brixton Jail was ordered to be pulled down ; but, owing to sentences of penal servitude 
at home having been substituted for transportation abroad (16 and 17 Vic), it became 
necessary to establish a prison for female convicts. With this view the Surveyor-General 
was authorized to treat for the Brixton House of Correction. It was ultimately purchased of 
the county for the sum of £13,000 ; and immediately afterwards certain additions and altera- 
tions were commenced, so as to render it capable of accommodating from 700 to 800 female 

These additions consisted principally of the erection of two wings— one at either end or 
horn of the old crescent-shaped range of buildings — as well as a new chapel, laundry, and 
houses far the superintendent and chaplain. The wings were adapted for the accommodation 
of 212 prisoners in each, so that the prison accommodation, when these were finished, con- 
sisted of 158 separate ceDs^ 12- punishment cells, 424 separate sleeping oeUs, besides two sets 



of four aasociaiioii roomB— one at the flonth-easteni and the other at the Bouth-wefltem angle 
0f the building, and each capable of containing Bome 60 prisoners (15 in each room), or 120 
in an ; flo that altogether the present accommodation afforded by the new prison cells and the 
old ones is sufficient for abont 700 prisoners, whilst the altered building has now the general 
appearance and arrangement shown on page 176.* 

** In the course of the autumn of 1853/' say the Qovemment Beports, *^ steps were taken 
to (H^anize the staff for the new establishment. It was then decided that the efficient female 
officers at MiUbank should be removed to Brixton, and that the female establishment at the 
former prison should be gradually broken up, all articles that could be used being made avail- 
able for the latter. 

** Towards the end of November in the above-mentioned year, there were 75 cells com- 
pleted and fit for occupation, and as the numbers of female convicts in the several prisons — 

* At the time of our viilt, the following were the number and dietribation of the female oonvicta 
confined within this ptuon : — 



Old Prison Cells 

Total . . 

Ditto, ditto, As- 
sodated Booms 

Total . . 


























Weet Wing . 
(/or Ui elaia 

Total . 

Bast Wing' . 
{/or 2nd and Zrd 
cUut prisonen,) 

Total . 





















Total in the Prison 

Komber of prisonets in each class : — 
First Glass 
Second Glass 
Third CUms, and Probation . 








On the other hand, the subjoined table shows on one side the number of prisoners xeoeiyed at Brixton in 
the eouxse of the year 1864, and on the other aide how some of these were disposed of i-^ 


juri ' wium 1st amd SIst dbobkbbb, 1864. 

On the 1st January, 1864 :— 

The Kumber of GonTicts in Brixton Prison • 76 

Beoeived during the Year irom Millbank Prison 178 

From Gonnty and Borough Jails • . 410 

liOBatio Asylum ....*... 1 


Disposed of during the Tear, by- 
Discharged by License 9 

Ditto, on Medical Orounds 4 

Pardons . . {cSditionill .' .' .' .* .' * 1 

Bemoved to Lunatio Asylum 2 

Died 4 

Number remaining 31st December, 1864 . . 643 







ugmeuted by the c«SBalion of tnuuportation — baduicreu«dtoBaiiic<mveiiiMiteztait,U'wia 
thought desirable to relieve them by making use of even this limited amonitt of accom- 
modakon. Accordingly tbat number of females vas removed from Uillbank to Brixtmi on 


the 24th of November, 1853 — those selected for removal being chosen in consequenoe of 
their previous good behaviour and their acquaintance vith piison discipline." 

As regards the discipline enforeed at Biixton prison, it maybe taii to consist of a jveliminary 
stege of separation as a period of probation, and afterwards of advancement into snoceeaiTe 
stages of discipline, each having snperior privileges to those wbioh preceded it; bo that whilst 
the preliminary stage consiBls of a state of comporativs isolation from the world, the fbmale 
prisoners in the latter stages of the treatment are subject to less and less stringent ngulations, 
and thus pass gradually t^irough states first of what are termed " silent association," under 
which titef are allowed to work in common without speaking, and afterwards advance to a 
state of asBociatiou and interoonmiunicati<»i dniing the day, thouj^ still slewing c^iart at 

The following are the reasons assigned for this mode of treatment : — 

"Until rery lately female convicts," the anthoritiM tell us, "were taught to regard 
ezpatriatitm as the inevitable consequence of their sentenoe ; and when detuned in v^llhaTilf 
— usually fbr some months, waiting embarkation — they wen reconciled to the discipline, 
howeva strict, by the knowledge that it would soon cease, and that it was only a necessary 
step towards all bat absolnto freedom in a colony. Now, however, the oircnmstanoes being 
materially altered, and discharge frvm prison in fltis conntry becoming the mle, it is 
essential that a correeponding change in the treatment of female prisoners should take place, 
with die view to preparing them to re-enter the world. Hence the neoeesity fbr establishing 
a system commahning with penal coercion, fallowed by appreciable advante^ 6x c^mtinaed 
good behaviour. 

" As therefore a systematized classification, defaoted by badges, and the placing of small 
gratoities for indnatry to the credit of the deserving, have been found by experience in all 
the coUTlct prisons to produce the most satia&ctwy results, the same principle ha> b«ea ez- 
t«nded to Brixton." 


^WUk this Tiew the prifloners there are diyided into the following classes: — (1) First 
daw— (2) Second Class— (8) Third Glass— (4) Probation Class. 

All prisoners on reception are placed in the probation dass, and confined in the cells of 
the old prisQDr^in ordinary cases for a period of four months, and in special cases for a longer 
temiy according to their conduct; and no prisoner in the probation class is allowed to receiye 
a Tint. 

On leaving ilie probation class the prisoner is promoted to the third class, and when 
she has conducted herself well in that class for the space of two months, she is allowed to 
receiTe a visit. Then, if her conduct continue good for a period of six months after promotion 
to the third class, she is transferred to the second class, and is not only allowed to wear 
a badge marked 2, as indicative of promotion, but becomes entitled to a gratnity of from 
sixpence to eightpence a week for her labour, such gratuity going to form a fond for her 
on her liberation. 

If after this she still continue to behave herself well, while in the second class, for another 
period of mx months, she then is raised into the first class, and allowed to wear a badge 
marked 1, as well as becoming entitled to a gratuity of eightpence to a shilling a week for her 

No pirisoiier is recommended for removal or discharge on license (or tioket-of-leave) until 
she has proved herself worthy of being introsted with her liberty previous to the expiration 
of her sentenoe. 

Old or invalid prisoners, or those who have infants, or who, from any other cause, may be 
unaUe to work, have their case specially considered (after having gained their promo- 
tion to the first or second dass), with a view to their being credited with some small weekly 
gratuity. ^ 

Prisoners may be degraded (with the sanction of a director) from a higher to a lower 
dass through misconduct, but their former position may be regained by good conduct, and 
that without passing the full time in each class over again. AU privileges^ moreover, for 
good behaviour, such as gratuities for work, and the permission to receive visits, may be 
finrfeited by bad behaviour. 

" The means at our command," add the directors, " for improving, if not actually reform- 
ing, finnale convicts in prison, though carefully designed and fEtithfully executed, will be in- 
sufficient in many instances unless some asylum be found to receive them on their discharge 
from prison. The difficulties in the way of such women, as the majority of these prisoners, 
returning to respectability are too notorious to require description or enumeration. They 
beset them iu every direction the moment they are discharged, and drive them .back to their 
finrmer evil ways and bad associates, if they be not rescued through the medium of a refuge 
from whence they may obtain service.'' 

Jhieriw of the Brixton Prison. 

It was not much after aX o'clock when we began our da3r^s Sounds at the above insti- 
tution. The gateway here looks as ordinary and ugly as that oi Pentonville appears 
picturesque and stately, the Brixton portal being merely the old-fashioned arched gateway, 
with a series of *' dabbed" stones projecting round the edge, and the door itself studded 
with huge nails. 

On the gate being opened, we were saluted in military style by the ordinary prison gate- 
keeper, and shown idto the little lodge, or old-fiadiioned porter^s office at the side, where 
we were soon joined by the prindpal matron (whom the superintendent had kindly directed 



to accompany ns for the entire day), and lequesied to fidlow her to Hbe interior ti the 

The matron was habited in what we afterwards learnt waa the official ooatome or nni- 
form belonging to her station ; there was, however, so little peculiar about her drees that it 
was not until we saw the other principal matrons in the same ocdoored ribbons and gowns 
that we had the slightest notion that such a costume partook in any way of a uniform char 
racter. She wore a doTC-coloured, fine woollen dress, with a black-doth mantle, and straw 
bonnet, trimmed with white ribbons, such being the official costome of the principal matrans. 
The uniform of the matrons, on the other hand, consists of the same coloured gown, but 
the bonnet is trimmed with deep blue, and when in the exereifling grounds, the doak they 
wear is a large, deep-caped afiair, that reaches nearly to the feet, and is made of green wooUen 

While treating of this part of the subject, we may add that one of the main peculiaritieB 
of Brixton Prison is, that the great body of officials there belong to the softer sex, so that the 
discipline and order maintaiaed at that institution become the more interesting as being the 
work of those whom the world generally considers to be ill-adapted for government. So much 
are we the creatures of prejudice, however, that it soimds almost ludicrous at first to hear 
Miss So-and-so spoken of as an experienced officer, or Mrs. Such-a-one described as having 
been many years in the service, as well as to learn that it is some young lady's turn to be 
on duty that night, or else that another fiEdr one is to act as the night-patrol. It will be seen, 
too, by the subjoined list of officers at Brixton Prison,* that even the poets of superin- 

* The following is a lift of the fleyeral offioen of the Female Convict Prison, Brixton, in the year 


£mma M. Martin 
Ber. J. H. Moran 
Jas. B. Bendle . 
Fred. S. Parkyn 
John Face . . 
Edwin Mills . 

John Wildman . 
Sarah Mott . . 
Margaret Hall . 

Catherine Hewitt . 
Mary Ann Donnelly 
Susannah "White , 
Elijsaheth Jones 

Maria Hill . . . 

Mary Jane Bennett 
Saiuh fiogers 
Ellen Jones . . 
AnnEediongh . 
Ellen Cordwent 
Emma Fox . . 
Harriet White . 
Mary F. Machins 
Merrion Stewart 
Mary Deaville . 
Agnes J. Mayne 
Susan Edwards 
Catherine Eeevea 
Constance Croeling 


Augusta Madesh 
Eleanor Millingtnn 


Marianne Fry 
Elixabeth Harrison 
Ann Stevenson 
Mary A« Hall 


Deputy ditto 




Superintendents clerk 

Steward's ditto 

(Vacant) . . . 
W. F. Ralph . 
Julia Sims . . 
Sarah Smith 
Caroline Hassall 

Steward's clerk 



Chas. Pumell . . . 
Fredk. King . . . 
Oeo.Aylward . • . 


Principal Matron 

Do. acting as derk to Su- 
Do. do. to Chaplain. 



Assistant do. 



Jane Alderson • • 
Caroline Tucker . 
Eliaabeth White . 
Martha A. Dickson 
Margaret Foley • 
Eliza Leatherdale . 
Msrgaret Hughes . 
Mana Hutchinson 
Lavinia Macpherson 
Emma Melhuish 
Msria Palmer . 
Louisa Face . . 
Eliaabeth A. Baber 
Merrion Halliday 
Mary Smith . • 
George Luckett 
William Hant . 
Mary Mant . . 
William Allan . 
Thomas Boberts 

John Simmance 
Thos. Hawkins . 
Stephen PaakhnrBt 

Steward's derk 
Foreman of Works 
Scripture Beadsr 


Steward's porter 



Assistant MatroB 















tendcni^s and ehaplain's oterks are women ; bat those who are inclined to smile at such 
matters shonld pay a visit to the Female Convict Prison at Brixton, and see how admirably 
the ladies veally manage snch affiiinu 

Thero is but litde architectiual or engineering skill to be noticed in the building at 
Briston, after the eye has been aoeostomedto the comparative elegance and scientific refine- 
ment vifidUe in the arrangements of PentonviUe. 

At the end of a laige oonrt-yaidi as we enter, stands a chunsy-looldng octagonal house, 
tiiat was originally the governor's residence, or *' argus," as such places were formerly styled, 
whence he was sapposed to inspect the varions exercising yards and sides of the jail itself. 
This argus, however, is now devoted to the several stores and principal offices required for 
ihe management of the prison. 

The most remarkable parts of the jail are the two new wings built at the comers, or 
horns, as we have said, of the old crescent-shaped building. These consist each of one long 
corridor, th» character of which is somewhat like the interior of a tall and narrow terminus 
to some railway station ; for the corridors here are neither so spacious nor yet so desolate- 
looking as those at PentonviUe, since at Brixton there are stoves and tables arranged down 
the centre of the arcades, and the cell-doors are as dose as those of the cabins in a ship, to 
which, indeed, the cells themselves, ranged along the galleries, one after another, bear a con- 
siderable resemblance. 

But though there are many more doors visible here than at the largest railway hotel, 
and though tiie galleries or balconies above, with their long range of sleeping apartments 
stretching rotmd the building, call to mind the arrangements at the yards of the old 
coaching inns, nevertheless there is nothing of the ordinary prison character or gloomy look 
about this part of the building ; and though the corridors are built somewhat on the same 
plan as the arcades at PentonviUe, they have a considerably more cheerM look than the 
apparently tenantless tunnels at that prison. 

The old parts of Brixton Prison are the very opposite to the newer portions of it, for in them 
we see the type of a gloomy and pent-up jail. There the passages are intensely long and 
narrow — ^like flattened tubes, as it were — and extend from one point of the crescent to the 
other, at the back of every floor ; the doors of the ceUs too are heavy cumbrous affairs, with 
a large perforated circular plate in each, such as is seen at the top of stoves, for admitting 
or shutting-off the heated air — ^which clumsy arrangement was originaUy intended as a means 
of peeping into the ceUs from without. 

These passages of the old prison are as white as snow with their coats of Hme, and seem, 
from the monotony of their colour and arrangement, to be positively endless, as you pass by 
door after door, fitted with the same big metal wheel for spying through, and the huge ugly 
lock of the old prison kind. 

The cells in this part of the building are not unlike so many cleanly ceUars, with the 
exception that their roofs are not vaulted, and there is a smaU '* long-light '' of a window near 
the ceiling. 

These ceUs are each provided with a gas-jet and chimney, and triangular shelves, as 
weU as a small stool and table, and a Httie deal box for keeping cloths in, and which can 
also be used as a rest for the feet. Then there is a haimnock, to be slung from waU to waU, 
as at PentonviUe, and the rugs and blankets of which are usuaUy folded up and stacked against 
the side, as shown in the annexed engraving. 

The cells here are aU whitewashed, and as white as Alpine snow, with their coat of lime, so 
that they try the sight sorely after a time ; indeed, we were teld that a gipsy woman (one of 
the Coopers) who was imprisoned here, suffered severely in her eyes from the dazzling white- 
ness of the walls that continuaUy surrounded her ; and if it be true that perpetnaUy gazing 
at snow has a tendency te produce " gutta teretta " in some people, we can readUy understand 
the acute pain that must be experienced by those whose sight is unable to bear such intense 


^are, and from vbioh it is impoasiUe to transfer tlie eye even ap td the bine of the Ay by 
way of s lelief. Wo yren intbrmsd that the gipey voinan. wan very viduit during her 
incarceratioii, and it does not require a great stretch of fuioy to conoeiTe tiie extzeme mental 
and physical agony that must have been inflicted upon such a person, unaccoatomed as she 
had been all her life even to the ctmflnement of a houM, and whose eye had been looking 
upon the green fields ever since her in&noy ; so that it is not diflonlt to understand bow 
the fimi blank irbite walls £>r ever hemming in this wretched creatote, must have seemed 


not only to have half-siifled her wi& their doeenees, but almost have maddened her with 
the intensity of their mow-like glare. 

The cells in the east and west wings, though smaller than those in the old part of the 
prison, have not nearly so jail-like a look about them ; tar the sides of these are built of 
corrugated iron, and though fitted with precisely the same fiimiture as the cells before 
descaibed, they greatly resemble, as we have said, the cabin of a ship (see engraving on next 
page), whilst the arrangements made fbr the ventilation of each chamber are as perfect as they 
well can be under the ciicomstancei. 

Kespectmg the character of the inmates of this prison, the Government reports 
famish ns with some cnriooi informatiDn. "The prisoners," say the Directors of her 
Hajeaty's Convict Prisons, " may generally be classed, as regards their condnct, in two 
divimonsi viz., the many who are good, and the few who are bad. In one or other extreme 
these unforttmate fiaudes hare been ucnally fimnd. It ahw by no means mioommimly 


oecnn ihat a voman vho luu oondooted herself for several monOia oatrageonsly, and beea 
to all appearance iaaensible to Bhame, to kindness, to punishment, irill suddenly alter and 
mntiQiie without even a reprimand to the end of her imprisonment; whereas, on the other 
hand, one who has behaved so well as to he pat into the first olasa, and on whom apparently 
every dependence may be placed, will suddenly break oat, give way to uncontrollable passion, 
and in utter desperation commit a ■nocossion of offences, as if it were her object to revenge 
herself upon herself. 

" Among the worst piiaoners were womm who had been sentenced to transportation just 

previously to the passing of the Act which practically snbstituted imprisonment in this 
country for expatriation. A few of these had, according to their own statement, even 
l^eaded guilty for the purpose of being sent abroad ; but when Uiey became aware that 
they were to be eventually discharged in this country after a protracted penal detention, 
disappointment rendered tiiem thoroughly reckless; hope died within them; they actu- 
aUy courted punishment; and Qieir delight and occupation consisted in doing as much 
mischief as they could. They constantly destroyed their clothes, tore up their bedding, 
and smashed their windows. They frequently threatened the officers with violence, 
tlun^h it must he stated, at the same time, they seldom proceeded to put their threats 
in force ; and when they did so, some amoi^ them — and generally those who were most 
obmndona to discipline— invariably took the officers' part to protect them from penKmal 


^' Of these afe^aienotataUimproyed,iiotwitlmiaiiding1^kmdn 
or the ptudshments they hare undergone^ or the moral and leligioiis instractioii ihey have 
received ; and they will prohably remain so until their sentenoes hare expired. Some, how- 
ever, are doing very weU, and give promise of real amendment." 

Farther, the medical officer, in his report for the year 1854, says, "I may, perhaps, 
be here allowed to state that my experience of the past year has convinced me that the 
female prisoners, as a body, do not bear imprisonment so well as the male prisoners; 
they get anxious, restless, more irritable in temper, and are more readily excited, and 
they look forward to the fatore with much less hope of r^aining their former position in 

'' Neither can I refrain from saying that there are circumstances which help to reconcile 
the male prisoner to his sentence, but which are altogether wanting in the case of the female. 
The male prisoner not only gets a change from one prison to another — and though small 
as this change be, yet it is a something which, for the time, breaks the sameness inseparable 
from his imprisonment — ^but, what is of far greater moment, he looks forward to the time 
when he will be employed in the opm otir on public works. 

'^ The length of the imprisonment of the woman, however, combined with the present 
uncertainty as to the duration of that portion of her sentence which is to be passed in prison, 
as well as the more sedentary character of her employment, allowing the mind, as it doea, 
to be continaally dwelling on ' her time' — all tend to make a sentence more severe to the 
woman, than a sentence of the same duration to the man." 

Farther, the chaplain gives us the following curious statiatics as to the education and 
causes of the degradation of the several women who have been imprisoned at Brixton : — 

" Of the 664. prisoners admitted into this prison from Novemb^ 24th, 1853, to December 
31st, 1854, there were the following proportions of educated and uneducated people : — 
Number that could not read at all . 104 

„ „ could read a few syllables ... 53 

„ „ could read imperfectly . 192 

Total imperfectly-educated 349 

Number that could read tolerably, but most of whom had learned 

in prison or revived what they had learned in youth . 315 

ModdTisUily'eiMeat&d None 

Total 664 

''Hence it appears," adds the chaplain, ''that among 664 prisoners admitted into this 
prison, there is not one who has received, even a moderate amount of education. Among the 
same number of male prisoners, judging by my past experience, I feel persuaded that there 
would be many who had received a fair amount of education. This confirms me in the opi- 
nion which I expressed last year, ' that the beneficial effects of education are more apparent 
among females than men.' 

" Of the same 664 prisoners, the minister tells us — 

453 trace their ruin to dmnkenness or bad company, or both united. 
97 ran away from home, or from service. 
84 assigned various causes of their fall. 
6 appear to have been suddenly tempted into crime. 
8 state that they were in want. 
16 say they are innocent. 






A Day at Brixton.^ 

On our tray acrofls the gravelled oonrt-yard, we had our first peep at the female oonyicts 
imprifloned at Brixton, aad bo rimple and pictoiesqne was their convict costume, that they 
had none of tiie repnlsiye and spectral appearance of the brown masked men at FentonyiUe, 
nor had they even the nnpleasant, gray, pauper look of the male prisoners at Millbank. 

Their dress consisted of a loose, dark, daiet-hrown robe or gown, with a blue check apron 
and neckerchief, while the cap they wore was a small, close, white muslin one, made after 
the £uhion of a French h(nme*s. The colour of the gown was at once rich and artisticaUy 
appropriate, and gave great value to the tints of the apron, and even the whiteness of the 
cap itself. On their arms the prisoners carried some bright brass figures, representing their 
Tc^aka nnmber; while some bore, above these, badges in black and white, inscribed one 
or two, according as they belonged to the first or second class of convicts. 

OooasionaUy there fiitted across the yard some female convict, dad in a light-blue kind 
of ovei^^ress. These, we were informed, were principally at work in the laundry, and 
the garb, though partaking too much of the butcher-tint to be either pleasing or picturesque, 
was still both neat and clean. 

The first place we visited was the bakery, and on our way thither we passed women 
carrying large Uaok baskets of coal, and engaged m what is termed the ** coal service " in 
the yard. 

The bakery was a pleasant and large light building, adjoining the kitchen, and here we 
finmd more females, in light blue gowns, at work on the large dresser, with an immense heap 
of dou|^ that lay before them like ahuge drab-coloured feather-bed, and with the master baker 
in his flannel jacket standing beside the oven watching the work. Some of the female prisoners 
were working the dough, that yielded to their pressure like an air-cushion ; and some were 
cotling off pieces and weighing them in the scales before them, and then tossing them over 
to othen, who moulded them into the form of dumplings, or small loaves. 

At the end of the bakery was the large prison kitchen, where stood kind of beer-tn^ys-^ 
Budi as tibe London pot-boys use for the conveyance of the mid-day and nocturnal porter to 
the booses in the neighbourhood. These trays at Brixton, however, served for the conveyance 
of the dinner-cans to the'several parts of the prison, whilst the huge, bright, spouted tin beerf 
cans that stood beside them were used for the dispensation of the cocoa that was now steaming 
in theadjoining coppers, and being served out by more prisoners, ready against the breakfost* 
hour, at half-past seven,f 

• We may add here, that the Brixton County House of Oovrectioii, aooording to Brayley^s Sittorff oj 
AMmy, was ereotod in 1819-20, for the reoeption and imprisonment of offenders eentoiced to haid 
lahonr, either at the oonnty aseUee or leenonfl, or summarily oonyioted before a magistrate. **Thid 
boQiidary*waU»" says the oounty historian, " is about twenty feet in height^ the upper pert being of open 
brkk-work, and enoloees about two and t half acres of ground. This prison is chiefly formed by a semi- 
oetagonal bnilding, heTing a chapel in the centre, in front of which, but separated by a yard, is Uie tread- 
miQ, wUeh was fonaerly more than suffioiently notorious from the severity of its appliestion.'^ 

The total cost of the bnilding, together with the sum paid for the purchase of the land and ereetion 
ef the treadmill, was, we aie informed by Mr. Woronsow Greig, the obliging derk of the peace for Surrey, 
£51,780 17«. 7il., whilst the sum paid for the oonstruotien of the mill itself was £6,918 Z$, 6if. 


t For breakfost the ordinary prison dietconsistsof 6 ounces of bread, and ] pint of cocoa to each prisoner, 
whilst thoaa engaged in the Ubonr of the laundry^ bakehouse, ftc, are seyerslly allowed 8 ounces of bread 
and one pint of coooa. 

For dinner tha prison allowance is 4 ounces of cooked meat» | pint of soup, with | pound of potatoes and 
6 oanoes of brea^ whilat the labooreia get each 5 ounces of meat| and \ pint of soup, with 1 pound of pota^ 



\* The Serving of the Dmn&rt at Brixton. — We were preeent at the Bemng of the dinnerB 

in this eitablishmenty which were dispensed after the following manner : — 

At a few minutes before one o'clock the ''breads" are counted out into large wicker baskets, 
in the shape of those used for dinner-plates, while the tin cans — ^which, like those at Penton- 
yiUe, have a partition in the middle, similar to the ones carried by bill-stiokers — being filled 
with soup and meat on one side, and potatoes on the other, are ranged in laj^ potboy-like 
trays, which are inscribed with the letters of the several wards to which they appertain. 

Precisely at one o'clock a bell is heard to ring, and then the matrons of the old prison 
enter in rotation, each accompanied with four prisoners, one of whom seizes one tray, while 
two more of the gang go off with another thai is heavier laden, and the last hurries off with 
the basket of bread, with an officer at her heels. 

After this, large trucks are brought in, and when stowed with the trays and bread- 
baskets for the '^ wings," they are wheeled off by the attendant prisoners, one woman 
drawling in front, and the others pushing behind. 

We followed the two trucks that went to the east wing of the prison, and here we found 
a small crowd of women waiting, with the matrons at the door, ready to receive the trays as 
the vehicles were unladen. " That's ours !" cried one of the female officers in attendance ; 
and immediately the prisoners beside her seized the tray with the basket of bread, and went 
off with it, as if they were so many pot-girls carrying round the beer. 

Then a large bell clattered through the building, and one of the warders screamed at the 
top of her voice, '' Lord, bless this food to our use, and us to thy service, through Jesua 
Christ our Lord. Amen !" 

No sooner was the grace ended, than the officers of the several wards went along the 
galleries, opening each cell-door by the way, with three or four prisoners in their wake, 
carrying the trays. The cell being opened, the matron handed in the bread firom the basket 
which one of the prisoners carried, and then a can of soup from the tray, the door being closed 
again immediately afterwards, so that the arcade rang with the unlocking and slamming of 
the doors in the several galleries. When the dinners were all served, the cell-doon were 
double locked, and then another bell rang for silence ; after which, any prisoner talking, we 
were told, would be reported to the superintendent for breach of rules. 

The distribution of the dinners was at once rapid and orderly, and reflected no slight 
credit upon the several ladies who are engaged in the conduct of the prison for the almost 
military precision with which the duty was carried out. 

A curious part of the process consisted in the distribution of the knives before dinner, 
and collection of them afterwards. Per the latter purpose, one of the best-conducted 
prisoners goes round with a box, a matron following in her steps, and then the knives, 
ready cleaned, arc put out under the door. These are all counted, and locked up in 
store for the next day. But if one of the number be short, the prisoners are not let out of 
their cells till the missing knife be found, each convict and cell being separately searched, 
with a view to its discovery. 

During the dinner hour we went over to the inflrmary kitchen, to see how the sick pri- 

toes and 6 ounces of bread — ^the oonYaleaoenti hAving the aame as the labouren, with the ezoeption of being 
served with mutton instead of beef. 

For supper, on the other hand, the labourers and oonvalesoenta haye eaoh 8 ounoes of bread and 1 
pint of tea, whilst the laundry- women haye all 1^ ounce of cheese in addition— the ordinary prison diet for 
the same meal consisting of a pint of gruel and 8 oimces of bread for the No. 3 women, as they are called (t>., 
I^e third-class prisoners) ; whilst the No. 2 women get the same allowance of gruel and bread four times in 
the week, and a pint of tea instead of gruel three times in the week ; and the No. 1 women a pint of tea 
every night 

This dietary scale is very nearly the same as that at FentonTille, with the exception that the pnmmea 
there get 1 lb. of potatoes instead of | lb., as at Brixton. 


Bonen fiured in Biixton. Here we found the cook busily Borving out a small piece of boiled 
cod for some who had been ordered to be placed on fish diet, and dishing up some mutton 
chops for others. Then there were poached eggs for a few, and a batter-pudding and some 
rice-milk for some of the other invalids ; so that it waa plain the majority of the poor 
croatoieB fared more sumptuously under their puuishment than they possibly could have 
done outside the prison walls. 

%* Exercising nft BrixUm. — ^The airing yards at this prison have Httle of the bare 
grsyel school play-ground character, so common with those at the other jails, for here there 
are grasa-plotB and flower-beds, so that, were it not for the series of mad-house-like windows 
piercing the prison walls, a walk in the exerdsing grounds of Brixton would be pleasant 
and unprison-Iike enough. 

The prisoners exercise principally for one hour — ^from eight till nine; the laundry- 
women, however, whose work is laborious, walk for only half the usual time. 

It is a somewhat curious and interesting sight to see near upon two hundred female 
convicts pacing in couples round and round the Brixton exercising yards, and chattering as 
they go like a large school, so that the yard positively rings as if it were a market-place 
wilJi the gabbling of the many tongues ; indeed, the sight of the convicts, filing along in 
couples, reminds one of the charity children parading through the streets, for the prisoners 
are dressed in the same plain straw bonnets, and not only have a like cleanly and neat look, 
but aire equally remarkable for the tidiness of their shoes and stockings. {See engra/dng,) 

As we stood, with the principal matron stiU attending us, watching the prisoners pace 
round and round, like a cavalcade at a circus, while the warders on duty cried, '' Hasten on 
there, women— hasten on !" our intelligent and communicative guide ran over to us the 
peculiarities of the several convicts as they passed. 

« Those you see exercising there, in the inner ring, sir,'' she said, ^'are the invalids, and 
we let them walk at a sbwer pace. This one coming towards us," she whispered, ''is in for 
li&, ibr tiie murder of her child. You wouldn't think it, would you, sir, to look at her ?" 
and assuredly there was no trace of brutal ferocity in her countenance. '' Her conduct here 
has been always excellent — she's as gentle as a lamb ; I really think she's sincerely penitent." 

" That one now approaching us," she added, '' is one of the worst tempered girls in the 
whole prison. By her smile, you would take her to be the very opposite to what she is." 

<' Yonder woman," continued the matron, ''is one of the best we have here, and yet 
she's in for biting off a man's ear; but the man had been trying to injure her very much 
before she was roused to it. They are mostly all in for thieving, and, generally speaking, 
they have led the most abandoned lives." 

The truth of the last remark was evident in the smiles and shamelessness of many; for, 
as they paraded past us, not a few stared in our face with all the brazen look of the streets, 
and yet many of their coimtenanoes were almost beautiful, so that it was difficult to believe 
that there was any deep-rooted evil in their hearts. 

'< It is curious, sir, the vanity of many of these women," whispered our intelligent guide. 
" Those straw bonnets none of them can bear, and it is as much as ever we can do to make 
them put them on when they are going to see the doctor. They think they look much 
better in their caps. One woman, I give you my word^ took the ropes off her hanmiock and 
put them round the bottom of her dress so as to make the skirt seem foller. Another we 
had filled her gown with coals round the bottom for the same object ; and others, again, 
have taken the wire from, roimd the dinner cans and used it as stiffners to their stays. 
One actually took the tinfoil from under the buttons, and made it into a ring. You 
would hardly believe it, perhaps, but I have known women scrape the walls of their cells 
and use the powder of the whitewash to whiten their complexion. Indeed, there is hardly 
any tridL they would not be at if we did not keep a sharp eye upon them." 


%* The Chapel at Brixton PrUon, — ^The little chnicli for the female oonvicts is at once 
simple and handsome in its internal decorationfi. The roof, which ie of oak, bears a rode 
resemblance to that of Westminster Hall, ornamented as it is with its brown '' hammer- 
beams " and '' collar-beams;" and when the sittings are filled with the oonyict-congr^ation, 
habited in their dark claret gowns and dean white caps, we hardly know a prettier or a more 
touching sight in the world ; for the suspicion of hypocrisy that lurks in the mind, despite 
the apparent feryour of the prisoners at Pentonville, serves greatly to lessen our sympathy 
with the contrition of the criminals there. We all know, however, that women are naturally 
not only less skilled in simulation and cunning, but of a more religious and ardent tempera- 
ment than men, so that we no sooner hear the confessions of sin and supplications for mercy 
uttered in the general responses of these wretched unfortonates, than it becomes impossible 
to withhold our commiseration, or to refrain from adding our own prayer for their forgire- 
ness to the one common cry. 

Moreover, never did we see a congregation more zealous and apparently truthfol in their 
devotions, for though we ourselves were, with the exception of the gate-keeper and the 
minister, the only male among the number there assembled, and a stranger to the place, 
nevertheless our presence served in no way to take the attention of the women fr^m their 
books; and we could tell, by the fixedness of their gaze upon the chaplain during his dis- 
course, how intent they all were upon his precepts and teachings. 

Nor was it any wonder, to those who had previously witnessed the feeling which existed 
between the minister and the prisoners at Brixton, ihsX the convicts should hang upon his 
every word as children listen, in purest faith, to all that fbUs from a father's lips. 

We had gone over the prison in company with the chaplain himself, and noted, long 
before the service commenced, that he was esteemed as a kind and dear friend by every 
one of the wretched inmates there. The smile in each countenance as he passed, the sparkle 
in every eye, and the confiding look of all into his face, told us that the wretched women 
dung, in their sins, to him who was their protector against the fury of the world without — 
even as the adulterous woman sought shdter from the wrath of her assailants in the loving- 
kindness of Christ himself. 

As the chaplain accompanied us on our rounds, we soon saw that his was no mere prth 
femon of Christian duty, and that those he had imdertaken to watch over and lead into now 
and happier paths he took no common interest in-i— beiog acquainted with almost all the mem- 
bers of their fEunily, and speaking first to this one of her mother, and then to another of 
her son, while to a third he told how some old fellow-prisoner whose time had recently 
expired, was doing well, and in a comfortable situation at last 

Nor was it only the chaplain himself who was thus ftiendly with th^ inmates 
of the jail, for every member of his youthfrd flvnily was equally well known, and, one oould 
see at a glance, equally beloved by them all ; the young people had evidently made them- 
selves acquainted with the history of each wretched woman under their father's care, and 
while the sons displayed no little interest in the chaplain's duty, the daughter spoke of the 
poor fallen women with exquisite tenderness, and delighted to recount to us how some of 
the convicts had been reclaimed, and how little the world really knew of the trials and 
temptations of such characters. Indeed, we never met with a finer ai^d nobler instance 
of Chrbtian charity than we here found practised daily by this most righteous and 
unassuming family. 

%* ^^BeporU^^ PunishmeniSf and JReJraetory CeUs at Brisptcn. — ^We requested permission of 
Mrs. Martin, the superintendent, to be present during her examination of the prisoners who 
had been reported for misconduct. The superintendent sat at her desk, in the prindpal office 
of the argus or octagonal house, in the centre of the prison yard, and gftTO drreotiQns to the 
matron in attendanqe to bring in the first prisoner who 1^ been reported, 


''Thisy" said tlie superintendent to us, awaiting the return of the matron with the 
woman, '' is a case of quarreling and fighting between two of the prisoners-^-a charge that, 
I am sorry to say, is by no means unusual here." 

Presently the door opened, and the matron brought in a prisoner whose features and 
complexion were those of a Creole, and who was habited in the blue dress of the laundry- 

" How is it, prisoner," inquired the lady ^yemor, *' that you are brought here again ?" 

** Well, mum," repUed the woman, as she shook her head with considerable emotion, 
and drew near to the table of the superintendent, **1 couldn't stand it no longer ! She offered 
to strike me three times afore erer I touched a hair of her head — ^that she did, mum ; and 
as my liberty hadn't come, you know, mum — ^" and the half-caste was about to enter into a 
kng explanation on the latter part of the subject, when she was stopped by the lady 
saying, " Yes, I know ; and I make great allowance for you." 

" I was sure you would, mxmi," briskly replied the woman ; " she called me a ." 

" Oh, dear me ! — ^there, I don't want to hear what was said," again interrupted the 
superintendent. ** Well, I shall not pimish you until I have looked into the affisdr ; so you 
may go back to your work." 

" Thank you, mxmi," and the prisoner curtseyed, as she left the room with the matron ; 
whereupon, immediately afterwards, another conyict was ushered in. 

« You have been behaving very iU^ I hear," said the superintendent. 

"I'm very sorry," was the prisoner's reply; ''but I'm a woman as doesn't like 

** There, don't say that ; for I hare your name down here rather often ! " returned 
the superintendent ; " besides, my officer teUs me that you were at fisiult, so I shall punish 
you by stopping your dinner." 

** These are aU the refractory cases," said the female officer, as the prisoner curtseyed 
and left the room ; ''but there are three women who wish to speak with you, ma'am." 

" Yery weU, bring them in," said the superintendent. 

The first of these was a young Scotch girl, who said that she came about her letters, 
and that she hadn't got her letters, though her mother had written her several letters, 
but that all her letters had been kept back. Whereupon the superintendent explained to 
her that she was only allowed to receive and write one every two months ; and on the 
female derk being consulted as to the number the girl had received, the answer returned 
was that she had been permitted to have three within the stated time ; so the prisoner left 
ihe room muttering that the letters were from her mother, and that she wanted her letters, 
and no one had a right to keep back her letters. 

"That girl," said the superintendent, " has got ten years, and is very irritable under it ; 
Indeed, I often think the women make up the cases for the sake of coming here and getting 
a little variety to their life." 

The second prisoner seeking an interview with the superintendent, was likewise a Scotch 
woman, and she also came to speak about her letters. " You gave me permission^ mum, to 
write to my son," said the convict; "he's come home firom Balaklava, and gone to Bombay 
since." " Well," was the answer, " if I did, you must leave the letter here and I will see 
about sending it for you." " Bless you, mum !" said the old woman, as she hobbled, with 
repeated curtoeys, out of the room. 

The last woman seeking an interview was one who came to know about being recom- 
mended for her ticket-of-leave. " The women that got their badges at the same time as me 
has bad their liberty already, please mum," urged the prisoner. Whereupon the superin- 
tendent asked the woman whom she had got to receive her when she was let out. " My 
nster," was the answer. " And how do you mean to support yourself?" " Oh, please 
mum, my sister says she'll get me into service," replied the prisoner, curtseying. "I 


hope yon will do well," was the kind-hearted exclamation of the superintendent ; '' and your 
recommendatiim shall be sent up next time." 

'< Is that all, Miss Donnelly?" the lady-goyemor asked, as the prisoner retired thanking 
her ; and being informed that she had seen all the applicants, the female officer was dismissed. 

" We have sent away altogether upwards of 200 women on tidcet-of-leaye, and only 
4 have come back," said the lady, in answer to a question from us, " and even with 
those four we can hardly beUere them to be guilty ; the police are so sharp with the poor 
things. When they ore brought back to me here, the women feel dreadfully ashamed of 
themselves, and one was the very picture of despair. She's the mother of twins, and hafi 
attempted her life several times since. The police are very severe with them, I think ; and 
I can't help feeling an interest in the wretched creatures, just as if they were children of 
my own. Last night I was obliged to order handoufb to be put on the ticket-of-leave woman 
who has just been sent back to us ; she had conunenced breaking her windows, and threatened 
to assault her officer. This re-commitment has made her quite different, and I think the 
state of her mind is very doubtful now: When I first came here," continued the lady, "I'm 
sure it was like living in another planet. As a clergyman's wife, I used to see aU kinds 
of people of course, but never any like these. Oh, they are most peculiar ! There are 
many of them subject to fits of the most ungovernable fury ; very often th^re is no cause 
at all for their passion except their own morbid spirits ; perhaps their Mends haven't 
written, so they'll sit and work themselves up into a state of almost frenzy, and when 
the officer comes they will give way. Sometimes they know when the fit is coming on, and 
will themselves ask to be locked up in the refructory wards. 

'' When they are in these fits they're terribly violent indeed," the superintendent 
went on ; " they tear up and break everything they can lay their hands on. The other day 
one of the prisoners not only broke all the windows in her cell, but tore all her bed-clothes 
into ribbons, and pulled open her bed and tossed all the coir in a heap on the floor; 
and then she wrenched off the gas-jet, and so managed to pull down the triangular iron 
shelf that is fixed into the wall at one comer of the cell. When the prisoners work 
themselves up to such a state as that, we're generally obliged to call the male officers 
to them. The younger they are the worse they behave. The most violent age, I think, 
is from seventeen to two or three and twenty — ^indeed, they are like fiends at that age 
very often: But, really, I can hardly speak with certainty on the matter, the life is so 
new to me. Often, when the prisoners have behaved very badly in one prison, they'll 
be quite different on going to another ; a fr^sh place gives ^em an opportunity of turning 
over a new leaf, I fancy. Oh, yes ! I find them very sensitive to family ties, and Fm 
often touched myself to think such wicked creatures should have such tender feelings. 
The son of that old Scotch woman you saw here writes her the most beautiful letters, 
and sends her all the money he can scrape together. Generally speaking, they have most 
of them been previously convicted, and more than once; often, too, the very worst outside 
are the best behaved in the prison — ^that makes it so difficult to get situations for them." 

Afterwards, in the course of an interview with the medical officer, we sought to ascer- 
tain whether any physical cause could be assigned for these sudden and violent outbursts 
among the women. The surgeon informed us that he knew of no bodily or organio reason 
to account for them ; four per cent, of the whole of the prisoners, or 20 in 600 were subject 
to such fits of violent passion, and these were almost invariably from fifteen to twenty-five 
years of age. The elder women were equally bad in nature — ^perhaps worse — ^but they did 
not break the prison rules like the younger ones. '' Women, even in their most fiuious 
moments," he told us, " seldom injure themselves or those around them, though they will 
break their windows, and even occasionally tear their own clothing to ribbons." 

On a subsequent occasion we spoke of these ungovernable bTirsts of violence to a lady 
friend of our&— one who was really of an exceeding gentle nature; and she frankly confeesed 


that she could undentand &e luzory of BmaRhiTig things in an overwhehning fit of temper. 
" YoTL men/' aha said, as she saw tis smile at her oandonr, '' are stronger than we, and 
theiefore yon vent your passions upon the people about you ; but women cannot do this 
from their yery weakness, and so those poor ignorant things who hare never learnt self- 
control expend their fory npon the tables, chairs, and glasses, that are unable to torn upon 
them-«-6ven as some husbands yent their passion on their wives, who are incapable of defending 
themsolTes against them. 

** Temper," she added, '^ is always cowardly, and wreaks itself only upon such things as 
itfaacieeit can master." 

At another part of the day we inspected the refiractoiry cells, which are situate in the old 
prison* These are six in number, and not quite dark, the screen before the windows being 
pieieed with holes ; for on entering one, and requesting that the double doors might be 
dosed upon us, we found we could see to write after a few moments, when the eye had 
grown aocostomed to the darkness ; and it was curious to watch how each part of the cell 
that was invisible at first started into sight after a few minutes. Then we could see that 
there was the same rude wooden couch, with the sloping head-piece, on the floor as in others, 
and a large air-hole, fix>m 12ie passage near the ceiling, for the ventilation of the cell. 

There were also the '^hoppered cells," where those women are put who are accustomed 
to break the windows, or to speak or look out of them — ^the hopper being a slanting iron 
screen in front of the casement, so called from its resemblance to that wedge-shaped 
trough in a miU into which the com is put to be ground* Six of these cells were without 
glass and six with, whilst one was constructed upon a new plan, and had a perforated zinc 
screen to prevent the women smashing the windows. 

** The punishments," says the Brixton chaplain, in his report for 1854, '' are apparently 
numerous ; but a car^dl inspection of the misconduct-book will prove that m>H of them have 
been inflicted upon the tame persons, and that the great body of the prisoners has not been 
sabjected to any punishment at aU. Yiolence of temper is one great evil with female 
prisoners : they are so easily excited, and so subject to sudden impulses, that it is very painful 
to cansider what misery they bring upon themselves, owing to the influence of bad temper."* 

%* ns Cmotet Nwrufry at Brwton. — ^The most touching portion of the female convict 
prison, and what distinguishes it essentially from all the penal institutions appropriated to 
male prisoners, is that which forms the heading of the present portion of our description 
of the internal economy of the Brixton establishment. 

To those who know the early life and education of the habitual criminal — who know how, 
in many cases, he was bom among thieves, reared and schooled among thieves, and thieves 
only — how he was begotten, perhaps, by a convict frither, and nursed by a felon mother, and 

* The ibUoviDg list is extracted from the laet pabliBhed Bepoit of the Dtreotors of GonTiot Prieons :~ 


InHflBdcuffii 31 Confined to Cell 34 

Ckniflht WaistooAt 1 Withdrawn from Asaociation ... 70 

p^f , Cell i ^^ Bationa - - - 141 Beprimanded ------ 257 

"^^^^ (Bread and Water - - 147 Admoniahed 171 

On Bread and Water Diet - - - . 92 Not pnniahed on Special Grounda - - 19 

Deprived of One Meal or Part of a Meal - 246 

Total - - 1209 

By the abore table it will be aeen that the moat frequent pnniahment resorted to was confinement in the 
refinaekory ceQ, of which there were 288 caaea in the conrae of the year. That the next pnniahment in the 
order of fireqnency was a aimple reprimand, of which there were 257 cases, whilst the chastisement, of 
which the number of cases stood next in the list, was the deprivation of a meal, or part of a meal, and of 
wliidi there were 246 instances. The more serious impositions, such as handcuffa and straight waistcoat, 
wsre oon^pantiTely limited. 


trained, too, at tlie eai*]iest age to dishonedt practiced by light-fingered tutors, as regularly 
as out children are disciplined into yirtnons courses^-how he was taught by his companions 
in crime to look upon the greatest ruffian as the greatest hero ; and how with the Tagabond 
and wayward class, from whom his paradoxical morals hare been derived, the plundering of 
the industriotis portion of society is regarded as a part of yirtue, if not religion — (for the 
gipsy says to her child, " And now, having said your prayers, go out and steal," even as 
the Thng offers up his worship to Kalee, before startmg to ensnare and murder his victim) — 
and how, moreover, your true hereditary criminal has learnt from his earliest childhood to 
admire and approve of only feats of low cunning, and that brute courage, which his class 
terms ''pluck;'' and to believe that to **do your neighbour, as your neighbour would do 
you," constitutes the real mrnmum hamtm of life ; he, we repeat, who knows this, and who 
knows, moreover, that there are distinct races of outcasts and wanderers, moved by the very 
opposite philosophy and principles to that which we and our children have, as Christians, 
been taught to revere, must surely feel, that had it been his lot to have be^i bom and bred 
among such tribes, his own conscience would, most probably, have been as warped and 
tainted as that of those he has learnt to condemn, if not to loathe ; and feeling this, the 
first great lesson of toleration, viz., that even his own individual exemption from jail is 
due rather to the accident of his birth and parentage, than to any special merit on his part, 
he cannot but in his heart get to pity the poor wretches who have been less lucky in the 
lottery of life than he. 

But this is mere sentimentality, the sterner reader will perhaps exclaim'-^maudling 
philanthropy, that comes of the prevailing morbid desire to cuddle and caress creatures whom 
we, in our honest indignation, should shun and despise. Those who think thus, we answer, 
should visit Brixton prison, and see the little babes there, clinging to their convict mothers' 
skirts, or playing with their rag-dolls in the convict nursery ; and then ask themselves what 
fiftte they think can await the wretched little things that have made so bad a start in the great 
race of life. Will not the goal they are destined probably to reach have the vowels trans- 
posed, and be written yoo/ instead ? — for even though now they be, as the Qreat Teacher 
said, '* types of the kingdom of heaven," and with an almost angel^innocenoe beaming in their 
pretty Uttle cherub &ces, is it not most likely that, in after life, those who drew their first 
brealh inside the prison walls will come to breathe their last gasp there also ? Is this so- 
called Christian country sufficiently enlightened and charitable yet, think you, to allow such 
as they the same chance of success in the world as honest men's children ? Will they meet 
with no gibes in years to come, for their felon extraction ? Would you, reader, like to take 
them into your household and your family, when they grow np, to tend your own little ones ? 
And if all the arrogant prejudices of society be at war with their advancement, think you 
they will live at peace with the rest of mankind ; or that they can possibly find in after life 
that honesty is the best policy, when almost every one is prepared to deny them the 
privilege of labouring for their livelihood—- or, in other words, the veiy means of practising 
the virtue ? 

'' This," said our attendant, as we entered the pathetic place, while the matron led the 
first babe she met towards us, " is little Eliza ; she was bom in the jail at York, and is 
rather better than two years old." 

The tiny creature hung its head, and struggled to get back to its mother, as we stooped 
down and held our hand out towards it ; but the little thing had long been accustomed to see no 
man's face but that of the chaplain and the sui^geon, so it screamed to get farther from us, the 
nearer we drew towards it. She was a pretty gray-eyed child, and dressed the same as the 
other infants in the room, in a spotted blue frock — tho eofwtot hahif'^thes. The mother of 
this one was the wife of a labouring man, and condemned to five years' imprisonment. 

With the tears stingiog our eyes, we passed on to the next little innocent — innocent for 
how long? She was called Jeanie, and was nearly two years and a half old ; ehe had been 


bom in Glasgow prison; the mother was nmnamed, and sentenced to four years' penal ser- 

Little Sarah, the next we tamed to, was a poor, white-£BU)ed infant, that had been bom 
in Brixton prison itself seven months ago, and was sicldj with its teething. The mother had 
to suffer fonr years' penal servitude, and was married to a private in the Fusilier Guards, but 
had not heard from him since her eouTietion. 

The next babe was younger still, haTing been bom in Brixton on the 7th of Febmaay 
last This was a boy, and named Thomas. The mother was unmarried, and had four years' 
penal servitude to undergo. 

Martha was the name of the next convict child ; and she was a fair-haired, fresh-cheeked, 
pretty little thing, rather more than two years old, and asleep in the prison bed. 

" That is the moat timid child I ever met with," said the kind-hearted matron, who 
aooompanied us throughout the day. " She was bom in Lincoln Castle, and the mother-^ 
C She's unmarried, sir," whispered Hie officer, apart, to us, as we jotted down the facts in 
our note-book) — ^has ten years' transportation, and more than seven years still to serve." 

''Ah ! %M% a sad romp," said our attendant, as we passed on to another child — ^Annie, 
she was called. She was tfttteriu^ along, as she held her mother's finger. " She's two 
years and three masths on the 21st «f May, sir," said like mother, in answer to our 
question, ''and was bona m Lewes jail. Fve got six years' penal servitude." Poor 
Annie! we inwardly excUdmed; for she was a dean, flaxen-haired, laughing little thing, 
that smiled as she looked up into our face. " ]!^ot married ! " added the wretched mother, 

At this moment the ehaplain entered, when several of the Httle things toddled off towards 
the good man, and he raised them in his arms, and kissed them one after another. " Oh ! I 
■aw Tommy's mother, the other day," said he to one of the women, in reference to an old 
prisoner who had obtained her liberty. " She's been doing very nicely. Tommy's been rather 
poorly, though. I hope I shall be able to get her another situation." 

" There, you see," said the minister, turning to us, and pointing to the tins on an 
adjacent table, "is the nursery breakfast. There's a pint of TnilV for each child, and tea for 
the mothers." 

As we left, the matron whispered to us that the pictures for the children, hanging u^ 
against the wall, were given by the cleigyman. And when we returned to the nursery, latCT 
in the day, we found the mothers at work at some new frocks that the chaplain's daughter 
had presented to the poor little things. 

" There's one apiece all round, baby and all," said the matron, as she held up a tiny frock 
that was finished, by the little short sleeves. It was a neat chintz pattern, that was at once 
serviceable and pretty. " They'd only those white-spotted blue things before, sir." 

At another part of the day we spoke with the chaplain himself concerning the prison 
T^nlations upon such matters, and 'Qien he told us that at one time there had been as many 
as thirty children in that establishment ; but lately the Secretary of State had issued an order 
forbidding them to receive children from other prisons. " If the child be bom here it is to 
stay with the mother — how long I cannot say," added the minister, " but if bom in jail 
before? the mother comes here, it is to be sent to the Union immediately she is ordered to be 
removed to this prison. We never had a child older than four years, but at MiUbank 
one little thing had been kept so long incarcerated, that on going out of the prison it called 
a horse a cat. The little girl that we had here of four years of age, my children used to 
take to the Sunday school, so that she might mix a little with the world, for she used to 
exclaim, when she was taken out into the road and saw a horse go by, ' look at that great 
big doggie.'" 

There is, indeed, no place in which there is so much toleration, and trae wisdom, if not 
goodness, to be leamt, as in the convict nursery at Biixton ! 



%* T^ Ddwary of iht Prtum Letttrt. — ^A letter, at all tiines, is mora higUy prized by 
uromen than men. The reason is obvious. The letters addressed to males are more frequently 
upon pnrely busineea matters, so tliat after a time the sight of moh docmnents conjures ap 
no pleasant association in men's minds; 'whereas the lettera of females ara, generally, bo 
inlimatoly connected with matters of pleasura, and bo often with the oatpooringa of affec- 
tion from friends or islationB, that the reiy sight of an envelope bearing their name and 
address is snfflolent to exoit« In tliem not only flie moat lively emotions, but the most 
intense cnriority. 

Tovards the evening of tiie day cS our vimt to Brixton prison, the chaplain's clerk (who, 
be it observed, was no serious -locking gentleman in dingy black, but an intelligent and 
pleasant-looking young woman, who, in the female prison, combines with the clerk's 
du^ tlie equally male office of g^ieral postman) came towards us with a bundle of letters, 
and asked us whether we would like to accompany her on her rounds. "It's one of the 
pleasantest duties, sir, that we have te perform hera," sold the considerate post-woman ; 
" and no one knows but ourselves how the poor prisoners look forward to the arrival 
of their letters. Say after day th^'U ask me to be sure and bring them one soon, as if I 
oould make them quicker." 

ITe told the ol^k, as we walked along with her towards one of the wings, that we had 
that nLoming had evidence as to the anxiely the prisoners felt about receiving letters frmn their 
friends. " Ah, tiut they do," she returned ; " and if the letter doesn't come just when the 
time is due for getting it, they'll sit and mope over it day after day, and work themselves 
up at last into such a violent fiiry, that they'll break and tear up everything about them." 



By tbifl time we had roaohed Qa cell in the weet wing, to vHch Hie fl^st letter irsa 
addreaaed. The Tomen vera locked np in their cells daring tea-time, and the derli:, pladiig 
her montli cslon against ths door, called tiie name of tiie priaoner located vitiiiq. 

" Yes, mnm," was the anaver that came from the cdl. 

" Hore'a a letter for yoo," added Ihe ole^, aa ahe stooped doi*^ qnd threw tiie doca- 
ment under the door< In a moment after there was a positive aoream of delight within, 
liidlowed by a cry of " Oh 1 how glad I am." Thpi we opnld hear the poor oreatnre te«r 
open the sheet, and bc^iin mumbling the oontraits to heraelf in half hysteric tones. 

The dark had hurried on her rounds, while we stood listening by the door, and she 
moained waiting for us ontaide the cell of ttie next prisoner on her list " Sheridan," she 
whispered. " Yes, mum," was the rwpid reply, as if the inmate of the oeU recognised Qie 
weloame rcnce, and anticipated what was coming. Then the letter was slid under the 
doorway, as befbre, and this was followed by a simple exclamation of " Oh ! tliank you, 

" The last prisoner," said the derk, as she now hastened off towards the laundry, "has mora 
friends in the world than the other, and that is why she rec^ved h& letter so differentiy." 
In the laundry, the prisoner to whom the letter was giyen smiled gratefully in the clerk's 
&oe, aa die dirast it into her bosom. " Can yon read it ?" inquired the letter-carrier, who 
■eemed almost aa delighted aa the prisoner herself. "Oh, yea, mum, thank you," replied 
the woman; and ihe l{urried to tlie oUier end of the wash-house, to enjoy its ocmtenta qnieUy 

Then three more letters were delivered, one to a piisimer in tiie kitchen, an^ tl>e others 


to women in the •est wing. After that, we followed the clerk acrosB the yard to the 
infirmary, where the last letter was given to the head-nurse. 

** I ne7or deliver the letters myself here," added the thoughtM and tender-hearted clerk, 
*' because I don't know the state of health the prisoners may be in, and I'm afraid of 
exciting them too much." 

As a further example of the store set by the female prisoners x^n the letters they 
receive from their relatiyes and friends, we may mention that there is hardly a cell that is 
not frimished with some fancy letter-bag, worked by the prisoner, in the form of a large 
watch-pocket; and we were assured that the documents treasured in such bags are 
prized as highly as if they were so much bank-paper, and that in the moments of sadness 
which overcome prisoners, they were invariably withdrawn and read — perhaps for the 
hundredth time — as the only consolation left them in their friendlessness and affliction. 

%* Female Chrmct LdlHmr at Brixbon. — ^The work done by the women prisoners is, 
of course, of a different character to that performed either at Pentonville or the hulks. 
The tailoring at the former establishment gives place to the more appropriate shirt-making, 
hemming flannels, and stitching stays, &c. ; while the hard labour of the prisoners woridng 
in the arsenal and dockyard is here replaced by the more feminine occupation of tiie 

The laundry at the Brixton prison is no mean establishment. Here the majority of 
the women whom we have before met in our rounds, habited in their light-blue checked 
over-dresses, are found, standing on wooden gratings, washing away at the wooden troughs 
ranged roimd the spacious wash-house which forms the lower part of the building. Here 
some, with their bare red arms, are working the soddened flannels against a wooden grooved 
board that is used to save the rubbing of the elothes, while the tops of the troughs are 
white and iridescent with the clouds of suds within them. Two women in the centre are 
turning the handles of the wringing machine that, as the box in which the wet clothes are 
placed fspuR round and round, drains the newly-washed linen of its moisture by the mere 
action of the centrifugal force. In one part is a large wooden boiler heated by steam, and 
scattered about the place are tubs ^lU of brown wet sheets, large baskets of blankets, and 
piles of tripey-looking flannels ; whilst a dense white mist of steam pervades the entire 
atmosphere, and the floors are as wet and sloppy as the streets of a Dutch town on a Friday. 

From the wash-house we ascended to the drying-rooms over-head, and here one of the 
doors of what seemed to be a huge press was thrown open, and an immense clothes' -horse 
drawn out, with rows of unbleached toweb and blankets across its rails, while the blast of 
hot air that rushed forth was even more unpleasant than the dampness of the atmosphere 
below. Hence we passed into the ironing-room, and as we approached the place, we knew 

* It IB at Brixton that aU the dothei are washed for the 850 and odd priaonera ocmflned at PentonviUe, 
and the 820 in Millbank, as well as the linen of the 688 conTiota in Brixton prison itself ; so that altogether 
the women in the laundry have to supply clean olothing eyerf week for some 1800 persons. Hence, we are 
barely surprised, when we read in the return of the work done, that there were more than half a milHon 
pieoes washed at Brixton in the course of the year 1854. Besides this, we find the prisoners made up during 
the same time more than 20,000 shirts, and nearly 10,000 flannel drawers and waistcoats, 1,200 shifts, 8,500 
petticoats,. 5,700 sheets, 2,000 caps, 8,700 pocket-handkerohieft, 2,800 aprons, 2,800 neckerohiefs, 1,200 
jackets, aiid just upon 8,400 towels ; so that the gross yalue of their united labour was estimated at vety 
nearly £1,800. llie Male of gratuities paid to eonyicts at Brixton is nearly the same as that of other prisons 
— ^those in the second class receiying from 6<f. to 8A per week, and those in the first from 8i. to 1«. per week, 
according to their industry. 

The expenses of the prison, on the other hand, were upwards of £15,700 — the cost of the officers, 
clerks, and servants being yery nearly £8,900 ; that of yictnaUing the prisoners amounting to£ 3,000 and 
odd, while their clothing and bedding came to yery nearly £8,000, and the fiiel and light for the prison to 
upwards of £1,200. 


by the smdl of bamt flannel the natare of the oceupation carried on within. Here 
were. gafl-stoTOB for heating the irons, the ordinary grates being fonnd too hot for the 
raramer, and there was a large blanketed dresser, at which a crowd of clean-looking women 
were at wotk, in yeiy white aprons, while the place resounded with the continued click of 
the iroaa returned every now and then to their metal stands. On the floor stood baskets of 
newly-ironed dothes, and plaited, and looking positively like so much moulded snow; 
whilet, ov^-bead, might be heard ^e rumbling of the mangles at work on the upper floor. 

Prom eleven till twelve, the women located in the wings pursue their needlework in 
silence, and seated at their doors ; and then it is a most peculiar sight to see the two hundred 
female convicts ranged along the sides of the arcade, and in each of the three long balconies 
ihai run one above the other round the entire bmlding, so that, look which way you will, 
on this aide or on that, you behold nothing but long lines of convict women, each dressed alike, 
in their deati white caps, and dark, claret-brown gowns, and all with their work upon their 
knees, stitching away in the most startling silence, as if they were so many automata — 
tiie oEoly noise, indeed, that is heard at such a time being the occasional tapping of one of the 
matrons' hammers upon the metal stove, as she cries, '' Silence there I Keep silence, women !" 
to some prisoners she detects whispering at the other end of the ward. {8ee engramng,) 

As we passed down the diflerent wards, examining the work as we went, each woman rose 
from her little stool, and curtseyed, while those on the other side stared, with no little 
wonder at the object of our visit. Some were making flannels, and some shirts. *^ We make 
all the diirts for Portland, Fentonville, and MOlbank," said the matron, who still accom- 
panied us ; '' but those blue-checked shirts are for Moses and Son ; we have had many scores 
of pounds from them !'' (No wonder, thought we, that honest women cannot live by the 
labour of shirt-making, when such as these, who have neither rent, nor food, nor dotiiing to find, 
are their competitors.) One of the convicts was engaged upon some open embroidery- 
work. ** She's in for life,'' whispered the matron, as we passed on — another was busy at a 
beaatifol crotchet coUar, that was pronounced to be a rare specimen of such handiwork, the 
flowers being raised, so that the pattern had more the appearance of being carved in ivory 
than wrought in cotton. At the upper end of the long arcade stood one (who had evidently 
belonged to a better dass than her fellow-prisoners), cutting out a dress for one of the matrons. 
We mounted the steps leading to the paddle-box-like bridges that connect the opposite 
galleries, and, as we walked along, the matron still drew our attention to the various articles 
made by the women. " That one is engaged in knitting the prison hose ; the other is making 
up the caps for the female convicts. This woman is considered to work very beautifully," 
added owe guide, as she drew our attention to a sleeve in crotchet work, that looked rich and 
light 88 point lace. ^'Ifs taken me nearly three weeks to do," said the prisoner, in 
answer to the matron, '' but then I have a room to clean, and to go to chapel twice a day, 
besidea." One was ill, and seated inside her cell-door reading the ''Leisure Hour," 
and on looking at the article that engaged her attention we foxmd it to be headed, ** An inci- 
dent in the life of a Erench prisoner !" 

From seven till eight in the evening the same silence and work go on ; but at this 
period the women sit within their cells on their stools. The chaplain accompanied 
us round the building at this hour, and, as we passed along, the prisoners in the lower 
cells rose one by one and curtseyed to the minister, while those in the galleries above 
stretched their heads from out their cell-doors to see who were pacing the corridor below. 
After this we passed into the passages of the old prison, and gentiy turning the '' inspection 
plate " of some of the cells of the women in separate confinement, peeped in tmobserved 
upon the inmates, and found some working, and others reading, but none, strange to say, 
idling. Then we looked down into the " convalescent ward," and saw the women seated round 
the fire-places on either side; and after a time we returned to the west wing, as quietiy as 


possible, so as to,ayoid being heard by the prisoners; for the matron was amdons we 
shotild witness the passage from silence to conversation that occnrs preoisely at eight hare. 

The corridor seemed to be entirelj deserted, no form being yisible bnt those of the 
matrons on the cross-bridges aboTe; while the place was so still that, as our attendant 
said, "No one would belieye there were a hundred and ninety-nine women at work 
within it.*' 

As we waited the arrival of the honr, we saw heads continually stretched out to look at 
the clock at the end of the corridor ; and when the first stroke of the time-piece was heard, 
the prisoners, one and all, poured out of their cells with their stools in their hands, and 
seated themselves in couples between their doors, while they placed their lamps on the 
pavement at their feet, and commenced talking rapidly one to the other. This movement was 
80 simultaneous that it seemed more like a pantomime-trick than a piece of prison discipUne ; 
while the change from utter sLLence to the babbling of some two hundred tongues was so 
immediate as to tell us, by the noise that pervaded every part of the building, how severe a 
restraint had been imposed upon the prisoners. 

Shortly after this the collection of the scissors began, amidst the continual tapping of the 
official hammer against the stove, and the cry of the matrons, " You are talking too loud, 
wom^n! Make less noise, there!" The scissors, when collected, are strong one by qdo 
upon a large circular wire, like herrings upon a rush, and then carried to the store-cell, 
and locked up by the warder for the night. 

In the west wing there is no further siLence previously to retiring to rest. In the east 
wing, however, prisoners are ordered to abstain from talking for a quarter of an hour before 
the bell rings for bed. 

We re-entered the latter wing precisely at half-past eight-r-just as the bell was linging; 
the arcade was filled with the noise of shifting the stools, for during this term of silence the 
women no longer sit in couples betwecQ their cells ; so thoy retired with their little wooden 
seats, and placed themselves just within their doors, where they began read^lg. 

The silence now was even more perfect than ever, and remained so till the bell oommenoed 
ring^g at the prisomgate, announcing the time to retire to rest. Then iostantaneooaly the 
prisoners, one and all, rose from their seats, and, seizing the stools, withdrew to tiieir ceUs ; 
and then putting out their brooms, they closed the doors aft^ them, till the whoile corridor 
rang from end to end with the concussions. 

This, again, was but the work of an instant, the act being performed with militaiy 
precision^ and in a minute or two afterwards the principa} matron was seen travelling along 
from cell to cell, and double locking every door herself. 

In the other wing the same operations had gone on at the same time, and though it was 
but five minutea after the quarter when we returned to it^ we found all still and oLoae for 
the night. 

It would not be right to close our account of the interpal economy of this prison without 
commending, more directly than we have yet done, the excellent manner in which the govern- 
ment and discipline of the institutioiL is carried out by all the lady-officers connected wiOi 
it — ^from the thoughtful and kind-hearted superintendent, down even to the considerate Utile 
postwoman. Indeed, we left the establishment with a high sense of the kindneas and care 
that the female authorities exhibited towards the poor creatures under their charge:^ and it 
is otur duty to add, that we noted that aU at Brixton was done more gently and fteling^y, 
and yet not less effectually, than at other prisons— the feminine qualities Bhining as eminently 
in the d^arapter of warders as in that of nurses. 


(Fmm a Fholocrtpk bj Bnbtrt Wmtklni, lit, BcicDt SUrI.} 



Half an hour's journey along the North Kent Bailway, past the rising meadows near 
Blackfaeathy and the bright toy villas, planted in the centre of the greenest conceiyable lawns, 
which make the neighbourhood of Charlton — ^then through a long dark tunnel — ^will deposit 
the traveller within five minutes' walk of the Dockyard gates of Woolwich. 

The sign of the public-house, '' The Wabbios," which shows a gaudy front dose to the 
station, sug^;e8ts at once the proximity of the hulks. The lazy men, in cotton-velvet-fironted 
waistcoats, leaning against the door-posts ; strong musters of very dingy children ; remark* 
ably low shops, exhibiting all kinds of goods at wonderfully cheap prices ; and street after 
street of little houses, where the wives of the regularly employed dock labourers advertise 
the nature of their industry in their parlour windows — ^indicate the neighbourhood of a 
great industrial establishment. 

Taming from the entrance of the Dockyard — opposite which is a flourishing public-house, 
rejoicing in the suggestive sign of ''The Old Shebb Hitle," which probably reminds 
some of its customers of peculiarly '' good old times'' — and keeping the high, dark walls of 
the yard on the left, the way lies past little shops and beer establishments on the right, 
towards the arsenal. iVom the elevated churchyard, crowded with graves, the sharp outlines 
of •which are rounded by the waving of the uncut grass, the first view of the river, with the 
flat Essex marshes beyond, is obtained. Here, immediately opposite the yard, rises the bulky 
form of the great ''Wabbiob" hulk, which, the authorities declare, can hardly hold together. 
Painted black and white, and with her naked and puny-looking spars degraded to the rank 
of clothes-props for the convicts, she stands in curious contrast to the light steamers that 
dance by her, and to the little sloops laden with war stores, and bound for Sheemess or 
Portemouth, that glide like summer flies upon the surface of the stream, almost imder 
her stem. 

Prom the churchyard, veering to the right along the busy little High Street, the way lies 
past a long line of shop windows, displaying capacious tea-pots, flanked by wondrously 
variegated tea-cups, and offering tempting advantages to the lovers of '' a comfortable tea." 
A dead wall stOl farther suggests the neighbourhood of the hulks ; for there the posting^bill 
of &e Woolwich theatre offers to the aspiring youth of the locality the lessons of '' The 
Chaiv of Cbdce ; or. The Inn on Mmnshw Heath**^ Then, before the arsenal gates, which 
are protected by three or four stem policemen, a broad avenue is seen at noon, marked by a 
double row of women, standing with their arms a-kimbo, and with baskets of the freshest 
and reddest-looking radishes upon the ground before them, waiting for the coming of the 
labourers, who are about to leave the arsenal for dinner. 

As we pass through the arsenal gate, noticing a long gun pointed right through the 
portal, we are asked where we are going. 

**To the ' Defence' Hulk," we answer. 

Porthwith we are ushered into one of the lodges at the side of the gate, where our name, 
address, and profession are inscribed in a police book. We are then told to pass on to the 
water^s edge, where we shall And a policeman who will hail the hulk. Through groves of 
tumbled wheels and masses of timber, past great square buildings, frt>m the roofs of which 
white feathers of steam, graceful as the " marabout," dart into the clear air, and through 
the doars of which the glow of fires and the dusky figures of men are seen, we go forward 
to the flag-staff near the water's edge, and close to the bright little arsenal pier, with its 
red lamps, and that long iron tube under it, through which the shells are sent to the sloops 
mooEred alongside. A heavy mist lies upon the marshes on the opposite bank of the river ; 
yet, in the distance, to the right of the '' Dbfenoe," Barking Church is visible. 


The ''Defence*' and ''TJititb/' moored head to head, with the bulky hammook-honsea 
roared upon their decks, their barred port-holes, and their rows of conyicts' linen swinging 
from between the stunted poles which now serve them as masts, have a sombre look. From 
this point we can just see, nearly a mile farther down the river, the heavy form of the 
''Warbios" moored dose alongside the Dockyard, with the little, ugly ''Sulfhub" (the 
washing-ship) lying in the offing. 

Meantime, ^e policeman, placing himself in a prominent position upon the pier, has 
hailed the officer in the gangway of the ''Defbkce ;'' and in a few minutes afterwards a long 
" gig," pulled by four convicts, in their brown dresses and glazed hats, parts from the hulk ; 
and showing in the stem tiie stiff, dark form of an officer, steering directly for the landing- 
place, upon which we are standing. 

As the boat touches the shore, one of the convicts places a little mat upon the cushioned 
seats, upon which we tread as we jump into the craft, telling the officer that we bear an order 
for the governor. With wonderful precision the convict boatmen obey the orders of the 
officer, and point the boat's bows back again to the gangway of the hulk* 

In a few minutes we are aboard; and, as we pass up the gangway steps, we hear 
one officer repeat to the other — ''For the governor!" And then a warder, with a bright 
bunch of keys attached by a chain to his waist, conducts us to the governor's drawing- 
room — a pretty apartment, where, from the stem-windows of the hulk, there is a very pic- 
turesque view of the river. 

^ iii — a. 
The Butortf of the Hulh. 

The idea of converting old ships into prisons arose when, on the breaking out of the 
American War of Independence, the transportation of our convicts to our transatlantic pos- 
sessions became an impossibility. For the moment a good was effected, for the crowded 
prisons were relieved; but from the time when the pressure upon the prisons ceased, 
down to the present, when the hulks may be said to be doomed, all writers on penology 
have agreed in condemning the use of old ships for the purposes of penal discipline. 

If, however, we follow the wording of the 19th GI«o. III., cap. 74, in which the use of 
ships for prisons is referred to, we shall perceive that an idea of turning convict labour 
to account, for cleansing the Thames and other navigable rivers, had probably directed 
the attention of government to the possibility of arranging ships for their crowds of 

The " JvsTiTiA," an old Indiaman, and the " Cbnsob," a frigate, were the first floating 
prisons established in England. This system, though condemned by such men as Howard 
and Sir William Blackstone,t was not only persevered in, but extended; tiU, on the 1st 

* The section of the act referred to runs thus : — 

" And, for the more seyere and effectual puniihment of atrociooa and daring offenders, be it further enacted. 
That, from and after the First Day of July, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-nine, where any Hale 
Person . • . shall be lawfully convicted of Grand Larceny, or any other Crime, except Petty Larceny, for 
which he shall be liable by Law to be transported to any Parts beyond the Seas, it shall and may be lawfol 
for the Court ... to order and adjudge that such Person . . . shall be punished by being kept oa 
Board Ships or Vessels properly accommodated for the Security, Employment, and Health of the Persons to be 
confined therein, and by being employed in Hard Labour in the raising Sand, Soil, and Gravel from, and 
cleansing, the River Thames, or any oUier River Navigable for Ships of Burthen," &c., &c. 

t '* London Prisons," by Hepworth Dixon, page 124. 


of Jaauary, 1841, there were 3,552 convicts on board the varioas hulks in England."^ In 
1S54 the numbers so confined had been reduced to 1298. 

Some idea of the sanitary condition of these establishments, even so recently as 1841, may 
be gathered from the report of Mr. Peter Bossy, surgeon of the '* Warbiob" hulk, off Wool- 
Trieh, which shows that in that year, among 688 convicts on board, there were no less than 
400 <»8e8 of admission to the hospital, and 38 deaths ! At this period there were no less 
than 11 ships (including those stationed at Bermuda, and the ''Euryalus," for juvenile 
eonvicts) used by the British government for the purposes of penal discipline— if discipline 
the then state of things could possibly be called. 

There are stiU ofGlcers in the Woolwich hulks who remember a time when the '' Justitia'* 
(a second '' Justitia," brought from Chatham in 1829) contained no less than 700 convicts ; 
and when, at night, these men were fastened in their dens — a single warder being left on 
board ship, in charge of them ! The state of morality under such circumstances may be easily 
conceived— crimes impossible to be mentioned being commonly perpetrated.f Indeed we 

* In 1841, the gron number of convicts received on board the hulks in England during the year was 
3,625, and these were natives of the following countries, in the following proportion : — 

8,108 were bom in England. 
80 „ Wales. 

229 „ Scotland. 

180 „ Ireland. 

• 13 „ British Colonies. 

15 „ Foreign States. 

Thetr occupations had been as follows :— 

804 had been Agriculturists. 
1,176 „ Hedhanics and persons instructed in manufactures. 
1,986 „ Labourers and persons not instructed in manufactures. 
82 „ Domestic servants. 

69 „ Clerks, shopmen, and persons employed confidentially. 
8 „ Superior class, or men of education. 

As regards the religion of these same 8,626 convicts, the subjoined are the statistics : — 

2,984 belonged to the Established Church. 
269 „ Boman Catholic ditto. 

167 „ Scotch ditto. 

246 were Dissenters. 

9 „ Jews. 

1 „ Of *' another denomination/' 

Concerning tbeir prison ''antecedents" — 

1,451 were flrst-offimce men. 

487 had been in prison before. 
1,625 „ convicted before. 
10 „ in penitentiary. 
52 „ transported before. 

Their ages were as follows :— 


8 were under 10 years old. 

213 were from 10 to 15 years old. 

958 „ 15 to 20 „ 

1,612 „ 20 to 30 „ 

839 were above 30 years old. 

1,108 were mairied. 
2,522 were single. 

t Even so late as 1849, we find the ''Unitd," hospital ship at Woolwich, described in the following terms;— 
<« In the hospital ship, the * Unit^,' the great majority of the patients were infested with vermin ; and their 
peiaons, in many instances, particularly their feet, begrimed with dirt No rog:ular supply of body-linen had 
been issued ; so much so, tiiat many men had been five weeks without a change ; and all record had been lost 
of tfie t*"*^ when the blankets had been washed ; and the number of sheets was so insui&cient, that the 


were afisnred by one of the warders, who had served under the old hulk ^' regime^^ that ho 
well remembers seeing the shirts of the prisoners, when hung out upon the rigging, so black 
with vermin that the linen positively appeared to have been sprinkled over with pepper ; and 
that when the cholera broke out on board the convict vessels for the first time, the chaplain 
refused to bury the dead until there were several corpses aboard, so that the coffins were 
taken to the marshes by half a dozen at a time, and there interred at a given signal from the 
clergyman ; his reverence remaining behind on the poop of the vessel, afiraid to accompany 
the bodies, reading the burial-service at the distance of a mile from the grave, and letting 
fall a handkerchief, when he came to '' ashes to ashes and dust to dust," as a sign that 
they were to lower the bodies. 

It was impossible that a state of things so scandalous could last ; and the successive 
reports of the directors of convict prisons are evidence of the anxiety witli which they urged 
upon the government the reform — if not the abandonment of the hulk system alt(^ther; 
for, to the disadvantages inseparable frx>m the conduct of ptison discipline on board ship, 
the governors of hulks were forced to add the rottenness of the vessels intrusted to them. 
They were expected to govern five hundred convicts in a ship, the same as in a convenient 
building, and to keep them healthy — ^in a rotten leaky tub ! 

The completion of the Portsmouth Convict Prison, in 1852, at length effected an import- 
ant reduction in the hulk establishments. The ' ' Yosx " was given over to the Admiralty to be 
broken up. Li 1851 the ^'Devenoe" had been moved to Woolwich to replace two un- 
serviceable hulks, and the ''Wasuiob," which lies off Woolwich Dockyard, and is still 
called the model hulk, had been reported as unsound. It wiU be seen, by the accompanying 
extract fr^m the directors' report for 1852, that they again drew attention to the '' Wahbiob;" 
while in their last report (1854) they have, once more, ventured into a few details. 

*< The * Wabbiob,' " say they, *' is patched up as well as her unsoundness wiU permit, 
but there is no knowing how soon she may become quite unfit for further use, and it will be 
advisable to take the earliest opportunity that offers of transferring the prisoners to some 
more suitable place of confinement, as any serious repairs would be quite thrown away on 
so decayed a hulk, if indeed they would be practicable." • To this remonstrance of the directors 
the governor added his own, in these emphatic words — '' It is well known that the hulk is 
in a most dilapidated condition, and scarcely able to hold together. Recent repairs, sup- 
porting the lower deck, &c., have rendered her safe from any immediate danger; but the 
remedy is merely temporary. She is rotten and unsound from stem to stem." 

Still the " Wabbxob" remains, in spite of such remonstrances as these, with canvas 
drawn over her leakages, to keep the damp from the wards, moored off the Woolwich dock- 
yard, with 436 convicts between her crumbling ribs. 

Before passing from this brief history of the hulks, to paint their actual condition, the 
labour performed by their inmates, and the regulations under which they are conducted, we 
will quote a paragraph fh)m the general remarks of the directors, addressed to the govern- 
ment at the beginning of last year on this subject : — '' Our opinion on the disadvantages of 
the hulks, as places of confinement for prisoners, has been so strongly expressed in previous 
annual reports, that we feel it unnecessary here to say more than that we consider these dis- 
advantages radical and irremediable, and to urge the necessity of adopting every opportunity 
that may offer of substituting for them prisons on shore, constructed, as at Portland and 
Portsmouth, with sleeping ceUs for all the prisoners. Kow that the transportation of crimi- 
nals can only be carried on to a small extent, it appears of very great importance that every 

expedient had been resorted to of only a single sheet at a time, to save appearances. Neither towels nor 
combs vere provided for the prisoners' use, and the nnvholesome odour from the imperfect and neglected 
state of the water-closets was almost insupportable. On the admission of new cases into the hospital, patients 
were directed to leave their beds and go into hammocks, and the new cases were tamed into the vacated beds, 
without changing the sheets." 


defeet in ocmnection with their impriBonment which might lessen the prospect of its being 
efieotaal as a pnnishmenti and also as a means of their reformationy should be got rid of as 
speedily as possible, and of mteh defeeU we know n(me at M approaehing in magnitude to the 
atioeuUion of the eonvicte in theprieon Atifib.*' 

It should be remembered, let ns add, by the opponents of the ticket-of-leave system, that 
although it is from these condemned haUcs, where the men are herded together and are 
pretty well free to plot and plan as they please, that they are turned upon society, never- 
thel^, according to the directors' report just quoted, of five hundred and forty*four convicts 
disidiaiged in 1854 from the Woolwich hulks only, and one hundred and six discharged 
before that period — ^in all six hundred and fifty convicts — there have been but six received 
back with licenses revoked for misconduct. 

Ajb we have already remarked, however, the hulks are doomed. At the present time the 
** Wasbiob," lying off Woolwich Dockyard ; the little '* Sulphtjb," a floating wash-tub for 
Uie convicts, lying opposite the "Wajbsiox;*' the ''Dsfbhce," lying off Woolwich Arsenal; 
and the ''Uirrri," made fast to the ^^Dbfekce," and used as the hulk hospital (together with 
the "SunLnrtt Castle," the invalid depot, and the '*Bkitoii " convict hospital at Portsmouth), 
are the only *' floating prisons " in England— though, by the by, the '' Wabbiob," floats only 
cmoe a fortoight.* 

The expense to the country of the hulk establishment (including the '* SiXBiiira Castlb " 
and "Bbtton" at Portsmouth), in 1854, the date of the last returns, was £43,545 9«. 7d. 
Of this BUBi the cost of management (including the salaries, rations, and imiforms of officers) 
wasiftaarly £14,000, and that of victualling and clothing the prisoners about £20,000 ; while 
the remainder was made up principally of gratuities to convicts (about £3,000), clothing, and 
travelling expenses of liberated prisoners (upwards of £1,500), medicine, and medical com- 
f<»:tB for the sick (£1,850 odd), fuel and light (£1,500), &c. 

The hulk system, condemned, as we have already observed, from the date of its origin to 
the present time, has been the despair of all penal reformers. OriginaB/y adopted ae a make' 
eUfi under preeeing eirewmtaneee^ these old men*of-war have remained dwring nearly half a 
eenimy the receptacles of the worst class of prisoners from all the j ails of the United Kingdom 

* BrAraoDXT or tbb Nuxbba of Pbiboivzbs bxceitsd on boabb the Comviot Ebtablisbmbntb at 



Nmnher on board, 

BemainiDg on board January 1st, 1854 
Adokitted during the year 

Total • • . . • 

Sow dispoMd of 

Diaoharged to Colonies 
Sent to other Priaons 
Pardoned .... 
Sent to Lunatic Aayluma . 
Invalided to «< Stirling Caatle * 
Escaped .... 
Died .... 


























27 1 







Total . 
Kcmaining December 31, 1854 

Grand Total . 

Average daily number of prisoners 

t 1,270, J. S., on the 20th July, drowned accidentally in canal. 1,240, J. M., on the 20th June, died 

suddenly from apoplexy on board the " Defence." 


— ^a striking instance of the inertness of goyemmenty as well as of its utter callonsnees as to 
the fieite or reformation of the criminal. 

Convicts who have undergone the reformatory discipline of Millbank and PentonviUey arc 
at the hulks suddenly brought into contact with offenders who have undergone no reformatory 
discipline whatever. All the care which has been taken at Pentonville and at Millbank to 
prevent the men talking together, and associating with one another, is thrown away, 
since the first freedom granted to the convict imdergoing penal servitude is given when ho 
reaches the hulks, and finds himself in a '' mess,'' where he will probably meet with aite old 
companion in crime at least. The authorities declare that in these messes only ''rational" 
conversation is permitted, but it is very clear that forty or fifty men cannot be crammed 
into one side of a ship's deck, put together upon works, and swung elbow to elbow in 
hammocks at night without finding ample opportunity for free conversation. 

Whatever good is effected, therefore, by the systems of Millbank and Pentonville is 
effectually destroyed at Woolwich. The reformed convict from Pentonville is at the hulk 
establishments cast among companions fh)m whom the separate system sought to wean him, 
while he is put to labour of the hardest and least interesting character. He was, p^haps, 
a shoemaker, or a tailor, or weaver at Pentonville; at Woolwich, however, he haa to 
lay aside the craft that he has only just leamt, and is set to scrape the rust frx)m shells, or else 
stack timber. Here he is not only thrown amongst brutal companions, whom it was before 
considered perdition to allow him to associate with, and even to «m, but put to do the lowest 
description of labour — ^in some instances at the muzzle of a guard's carbine — and impressed 
with the idea that it is the very rsptdmeneM of this labour which is his punishment, so that 
it is strange, indeed, if the lessons of Pentonville have not been utterly erased from his 
memory, granting that the imposed dumbness of the *' silent system," or the physical and 
mental depression induced by the separate system, to have worked some permanent salutary 
effect on his heart. 

Convict Labmr and Diseipline at Woolwich. 

''The hulk system was continued," says Mr. Dixon, "notwithstanding its disastrous 
consequences soon became patent to all the world ; and it still flourishes — ^if that which only 
stagnates, debases, and corrupts, can be said to flourish — though condemned by every impar- 
tial person who is at all competent to give an opinion on the matter, and this because the 
labour of the convicts is found useful and valuable to the government — a very good reason 
for still employing convict labour upon useful public works, but no reason at all for continuing 
the hulks in their present wretched condition." 

As we have already remarked, this labour is of the description called "hard ;" that is to 
say, it is the exercise of irksome brute force, rather than the application of self-gratifying 
ddll ; still those persons who are familiar with the working of a dockyard or an arsenal, 
know that this " hard" work is valuable in both establishments; for in the general report 
of the directors on the results of 1854, under the head of "Earnings and Expenses," 
we find that the labour of the convicts confined in the hulks alone was valued at 
£19,736 5«. 9i. These earnings, however, it should be observed, were exclusive of the 
estimated value of the labour of the convicts employed as cooks, bakers, washers, shoe- 
makers, tailors, and others engaged in work merely for prison purposes. 

The directors tell us that the kind of work performed by the convicts is chiefly labourers' 
work, such as loading and unloading vessels, moving timber and other materials, and storee. 



deaning oat Bbips, &c.y at the dockyard ; whilst at the royal arsenal the piisoners are employed 
at jobs of a similar description, with the addition of cleaning guns and shot, and excavating 
ground for the engineer department — 329 prisoners, out of a daily average of 515 on board 
the "DsiBircBy" having been so employed. '' The only artificer's work^^ add the directors, *' ihat 
the eonmeU hn/oe had an opportunity of performing has been, to a very smaU extent, in exeeutiny 
repass and other jobs for the serviee of the hulks in which they have been confined,** * 

Ajb regards the industry of the prisoners, the directors say " the men generally have 
worked wHUnyly and with good effect, considering the disadvantage inseparable from their 
being occasionally mixed with, or in the neighbourhood of, numbers of free labourers and 
others — a circumstance which requires, for the sake of secarity, considerable restraint to be 
placed on their freedom of action. Punishments for idleness, though always inflicted where 
Uie offence is proved, have been by no means of frequent occurrence." f 

The '' willingness " here spoken of, however, is of a very negative kind, and might bo 
better described as resignation, or a desire to escape punishment. Kevertheless it should in 
fJEomesB be added, that the governor of the '' Wassiob ** hulk reported to the directors of 
ooorict prisons, in 1854, that "the value of the convicts' labour might be favourably com- 
pared with that of an equal number of free workmen." 

%* Fakie of Labour at the Suits. — ^Let us turn now to the value set upon the labour of 
Uie prisoners at the hulks by the directors of convict prisons. 

The report for 1854 returns the value of convict dockyard labour at 2s, 5j^d. and a 
fraction daily, per man ; while arsenal convict labour, according to the same authority, is 
worth 2s, 4J. per diem; that of the convict carpenters, blacksmiths, painters, plumbers, 
and coopers is valued at 2s, 6d. a day, and that of shoemakers, tailors, washers, and cooks 
at Is. 6i., whilst the general prison labour, working of boats, &c., is set down at only 
Is. Sd. a day. 

"Now, by this scale we find that the following were the earnings of the convicts at 


16th decembeb, 1854. 


QemnX Oeeii]«tioD. 

OsnuAKCi (A) Work 
tac Parties (m de 

pKisoif WoBX (B) (oa 


Pudnter - 

ra - 

Tiilon - 










Oeneral Oocnpation. 

Sick (C) and unfit for 
labour {a$ deUuM tfi 
eol. 4) - - 


Skfakatb for Pvhmb 
xsMT (or otber rea- 

ATerage daily number 






Deeerlption of Work. 

(A.) Obdkancb Worx- 
XMo Paktxbs. 

Removing and ataoking 

DiBcbarging mud 
Shippiog and imabip- 

pmg stores 
Cleaning out abeds 
Cleaning sbot and sbell 
Carting sundries 
Digging graTel « 
Odd jobs not measura- 
ble . - - . 
Slaking and repairing 
grummetta and wads 
R^iring butt and 


Assisting tradesmen - 
Cleaning out drains - 

Total . 

> o 







Description of Work. 

(B) PnisoH Woaz. 

Boarders cleaning sbip 
generallT.and attend- 
ing on ack at bospi. 
tel - - . . 

Boatmen . . . 

Wbitewasbers - 


Net-maker • . - 

(C) Sick. 

Sick at Hospital - 
DittOi complaining 


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t Rtport ^f ike Direelors of the Qmvict PHeem on ike J)iic$plme and Management of the Hulk EtUiblUhmmt, 



Woolwichi '^08 calculated according to reasonable wages, for the different descriptions of 
work performed, per day of 10 hours," during the year 1854 : — 






Name of Hulk. 

By luferior Workmen. 

By Superior Workman. 

No. of Days, 
10 hrs. eaoh. 



No. of Days, 
10 hrs. each. 


estimated Yalue. 


Average per 


"Defence" . . . 
"Warrior" . . . 

£ s.d, 
10,067 6 9 

8,453 15 5 

1 £*.</. 
2,889„9 342 2 7 

1],691„3 ! 873 1 

£ t. d. 

10,409 9 4 

9,326 16 5 

20 4 3 

21 7 10 

Total . . 


18,521 2 2 

14,581„2 : 1,215 3 7 


19,736 5 9 

20 15 OJ 

Here then, we perceiye that 951 conyicts on board the two Woolwich hulks, performed 
altogether very nearly 180,000 days' labour in tbe course of the year, and earned cd- 
lectively, in round numbers, £20,000, or almost 20 guineas per head.* 

* The subjoined is a more detailed account of the quantity and the kind of voik done by the conTicts 
in the dockyard and arsenal at Woolwich : — 


IN TRS YEAR 1854. 

BemoYing and stacking, &o., cubic timber, 2,825,073 cubic feet, at 12«. per 1,000 feet . 

Bemoring and stackuig superficial timber, 1,726,555 superficial feet, at 4«. 6d. per 1,000 feet 

Bemoying iron, ballast, stores, &c., 23,916 tons, at 6d, per ton 

Weighing and stacking ditto, 25,654 tons, at 4dL per ton 

Bemoying coals, 46,406 tons, at 7d, per ton .... 

Weighing and stacking ditto, 83,586 tons, at 6d. per ton 

Carting sundries, 3,362 loads, at 6d, per load .... 

Spinning and balling oakum, 228 cwt., at 2«. per cwt. . 

Cattingup old rope, 193 tons, at 2«. per ton .... 

Picking oakum, 119 lbs., at B^d. per lb 

Bemoying, stacking, and veighing old rope, &c., 1,932 tons, at 6d, per ton 

Odd jobs not measurable :~ Assisting shipwrights and riggers, cleaning out eawmiUs, steamers, 
docks, and yard, testing chain cables, &c., docking and undocking yessels, cutting up old 
iron, staging, pitch scraping, cross-cutting timber, remoying bootSi Ac &c., 266,948 
hours, at 10 hours per day, equal to 26,694 days 8 houxi, at 2s. i4L per day . 

Total yalue of dockyard labour 

1,695 10| 

888 9 


597 18 

427 11 


1,353 10 


699 14 


84 1 

22 16 

19 6 

2 14 


48 6 

3,414 7 10^ 

. £8,453 15 5 


Bemoying and staeking timber, 2,222,350 cubic feet, at 12«. per 1,000 feet .... £1,333 8 

. 1,371 10 

Ditto ditto 6,095,636 superficial feet, at 4«. 6d. per 1,000 feet 

Making mortar, 329 cube yards, at lldL per yard 15 1 

Breaking stones, 3,525 budiels, at 6d. per bushel 73 8 

Facing stones, 839 superficial feet, at 6d, per foot 17 9 

Weeding, 59,787 superficial yards, at If. 6 J. per 100 yards 44 16 

Baising and remoying mud, 13,070 tons, at 6id. per ton 299 10 

Bemoying and shipping stores, Joc., 53,037 tons, at 6<f. per ton 1,325 18 

Gleaning shot and shell, 247,370 No., U, per 24 shot 515 7 

Carting sundries, 44,550 loads, at 6<f. per load 1,113 15 

Digging and remoying grayel, 8,547 cube yards, at 6d, per yard 178 1 

Making concrete, 96 cube yards, at If. per yard 4 16 

Odd jobs not measurable :~ Cleaning saw-mills, sheds, drains, tanks, and cadets' barracks, 
making and repairing grummotts, wads, &c., repairing butt and roads, assisting tradesmen, 
filling hollow shot, whitewashiog, cutting sods, mowing, making and stacking hay, 

spreading mud, clearing away snow, &c. &c., 19,550 days, at 2f. id. per day . . 2,280 16 8 



Total yalue of arsenal labour • £8,574 2 

K.Bt— The totals aboTe giren, though Inoorreot, are eopled literally from the Direetora* Report. 


*«* OmnM GrahtUiei, — ^The gratnities which the conrictsy labouring on the public works 
or in the huUcB, aie entitled to, are diyided into "conduct gratuities" and "industry gratuities/ ' 
both of which ybtj according to the class to which the conyict belongs. Each prisoner is 
entitled to his conduct gratuity irrespective of his gratuity for industry, whilst his industry 
gratuities are measured by the zeal with which he labours. The conduct gratuities, as 
arranged in the books of the governor of the ** Defence/' stand thus :-— 


1st Glass Prisoners (receive) . . . , M. Weekly. 

2nd Glass Prisoners ,, „ . • Qd. „ 

3rd Glass Prisoners „ n > « • 4td, „ 

The industry gratuities, or sums placed to the credit of the convicts according to the 
amount of work done, vary from Sd, for a '* good '' quantity of labour performed, to 6d, for 
a *' very, good " quantity.* 

We took tiie trouble to inspect the books of tiie '' Dbfekcs," and can testify to the 
marvellous neatness and accuracy with which they are kept. When a prisoner is reported 
to the governor, the latter can tell, by a glance at the character-book, the conduct of the 
former during every week he has spent at the hulk. At the expiration of the convict's term 
the diaracter-book is summed up, the advantages resulting firom the prisoner's class and 
industry are added together, and he has a bill made out of the sum due to him, in the 
following form, which we copied from the governor's book : — 

J. G., Glass I. Gonduct. 

90 weeks, V. 0., at 9d. per week .£376 

13 weeks, G., at 6d. per week . . 6 G 

1 week (infirmary accident) 6d, 6 


99 weeks, V. G., at 6d. per week 2 9 6 

4 weeks, G., at Sd. per week . 10 

1 week infirmary, Srf. per week 3 

53 weeks (ticket-of-leave class, at 6d. per week)t 16 6 

7 11 9 
Had in private cash 4 

Total 7 12 I 
* The sabjoined is extracted from the govemoi^s books :^ 

1. 1 INDT78T11T OJUTTrimS. 

2. V As per aathorified scale. 


y. 6. (Terj good). If the number of the V. G.'s is under one-third of the total number of weeks that 

the prisoner has been in the prison, he may receiye ^d, for every Y. G. ; if OYer one*third and under two- 
thirds of the total number, he may receive 6d. ; if oyer two-thirds, he may receiye 6 J. for eyery Y. 0. 

6. (good). The prisoner may receiye Zd, for cyery G. (unless the whole of the gratuities become forfeited 
by misconduct). 

0. Nfl. 

Y. B. (yery bad). ^ 

P. (punishment). ( Kil. Being forfeited for misconduct. 

B. (bad). ) 

1. (infirmarj). NU. The infirmary cases are liable for special considerations with reference to class and 
eondttct, but not for extra gratuity. 

L A. (infirmary accident). Discretionary — being goyemcdby the circumstances ) but| os a rule^ a gratuity 
is allowed according to the prisoner*s preyious conduct and industry. 

Jj. Q^jbt labour). According to class (as aboye), but no extra gratuity. 

The aboye scale does not apply where a special scale is authorised for inyalids. 

t This payment of M. per week was the compensation made to prisoners who, after the suspension of 


This man leoeived on leaving fiye shillings in cash, £3 159. in a Post-office order, payable at 
his declared destination. Thus a balance of £3 129. Id, in his favour remained in the 
governor's hands, to which he would become entitled when a letter, of which he was 
furnished with a printed form on leaving the hulks, was received from him, signed by the 
clergyman, or some other responsible person in his neighbourhood, as a proof that he was 
leading an honest life.* 

The rule is, that if a prisoner's account when he is discharged be under £8, he may 
receive half on leaving, and the balance two months subsequently ; whereas, if his balance 
exceeds £8 and be under £12, he must wait three months for the balance. In addition to 
the money due to him, every prisoner discharged from the hulks is provided with a new suit 
of dothes and a change of linen. 

The gross sum paid in gratnities to the convicts at the hulks amounted to upwards of 
£2,950 in the course of the year 1854, while the cost of the clotliea and travelling expenses 
for the prisoners, on obtaining their liberation, was £1,650 odd. 

\* Badg$9y Sfe. — ^A distinctive portion of the discipline carried on at Woolwich consists 
in the badges worn by the pris<mers on the left arm, and the rings worn on the rig^t. 
These badges are made of black leather, with an edge of red cloth, with white and Uack 
letters and figores upon it. We advanced towards some convicts who were hauling up lineo. 
to the mast to dry, and who wore both rings and badges. The first badge we examined was 
marked thus :— 

The 7 meant that the prisoner had been sentenced to «^m years* transportation; the 8 
that he had been in the hulk that number of months, and the Y. G., that his conduct had 

trauBportation for short temu, remained in the hnlks during the paanng of the tieket-of-leave hUl. The 
▼eeklj allovance was paid to them from the date at which they would have obtained tickets had they pro* 
ceeded to Australia, till they were set free from the hulks. Thus J*. C. was a prisoner d3 weeks longer than 
he would have been confined had he been sent to the colonies. 



'* In the event of your conduct being satisfactory when at liberty, and that you faithfully perfonn tho 
conditions printed at the back of the License, your claim to the balance of your (Gratuity will be admitted on 
your returning this paper to me at the expiration of three months from your release, backed by the certifi- 
cate of the Magistrate or Clergyman of the Parish, or other competent and known authority, that yov aro 
eaming your liyelihood by honMt means, and have proyed youzself deserving of the clemency which has 
been extended to you by Her Majesty. 

'* The following particuLars must be carefully stated in returning this paper:— 
Christian and Surname at length, and Prison Number • • 

Tour Occupation or Calling, or in what manner you are eaming ) 
your liyelihood J 

The name of the Post-office at which the order should bo made ) 
payable ... ) 


18fi /' 


been very good all the time he had been there. Another man wore a badge marked 
thus: — 





ThiB denoted that the prisoner was suffering fomr yeaxB* penal seryitude ; that his conduct 
had been good during mt months ; and that he had been on board the hulk eigM months. 

These badges are collected once in every month, and conveyed to the goyemor's office. 
The eharaoter-book, as filled up from the weekly reports of the warders, is gone oyer in each 
caae, and, at the same time, if the prisoner have behaved badly, hib badge is altered, and he 
loses some of the advantages of his previous good conduct.* Three months' good report in the 
character-book constitutes a Y.O., or i^ery good, and advances the wearer three months towards 
the second stage of penal seryitude. Accordingly the man's class is not marked upon his 

But l^e first man whose badge we noticed upon his left aim, had also upon his right arm 
a blue and two red rings. The blue ring denotes the second stage of penal seryitude, and the 
red rings that he is a first-class convict. One red ring upon the right arm makes a second- 
olass convict; and the third-class prisoner is known by the absence of all rings from his arm. 
By this system we are assured that it is almost impossible that a prisoner can be unjustly 
dealt with. 

• '' The badges which are giyen as a record to the prisoner of his aotoal position with reference to cha- 
raeter, have proved to be a great enoooragement ; and that they are prized is evidenced by the efforts made 
to obtain them, and to regain them by good oonduot in such cases as they may have been forfeited. 

'* The Goyemor of Portland Prison observes : — 

« * The system of wearing conduct-badges on the dress, by which the monthly progress of each convict 
towards the attainment of his tioket-of-leave is publicly marked, woriu very satisfactorily, as is evinced by 
the anxiety of even the ill-conducted prisoners to regain a lost good-conduct mark, and the efforts to keep 
•abseqnently dear of the misconduct book.' 

** As a means of promoting good conduct^ a system of classification has also been adopted, the object of 
which will be best understood from the rules established with reference to it, which are as follows: — 

<' ' The prisoners shall be divided into three classes, to be called the first, second, and third dasaes. The 
daanfication shall depend, in the first instance, on the report of character and general conduct since con- 
Tictioii that may be received with a prisoner ; and subsequently, on his actual conduct, industry, and 
obaeryed character under the discipline of the establishment 

^ ' 6. Prisoners in either the first or second classes shall be liable to removal to a lower class for miscon- 
duct. The priM>ners in the different classes shall be distlngmahed by badges, indicating the particular class 
to which each prisoner may belong. 

'* * 7. Prisoners who habitually misconduct themselves will be liable to be sent back to separate confine- 
ment, or to be removed to some penal establishment under more severe discipline. 

^ * 8. The object of the clasdfication is not only to encourage regularity of conduct and a submission to 
^■^plitut In the prison, by the distinctions that will be maintained in the different classes, but to 
prodnee on the mind of the prisoners a practical and habitual conviction of the e£B&ct which their own good 
conduct and industry will have on their welfare and future prospects. 

*' ' 9. Such distinctions shall be made between the classes, and such privileges granted, as shall promote 
the object of giving encouragement to those whose good conduct may deserve it, provided such distinctions 
do not inteifere with diadpline nor with the execution of a proper amount of labour on publio works.' "— 
jRapoH on ike Di§eipUne and Comlruction of Fortland Pritony and iU Connection with ths SyUm of Convict 
now in operation^ by Lieut.-Col. Jebb, C.B., 1850. 


A Bay an Board the ^^Befenee" Hulk, 

The cold; gray light of early momiiig gave to eyeiything its most chilly aspect, when 
at fiye a.h. we stepped aboard the '' Defence/' the old 74-gii2L ship, with the determination 
of spending an entire day with her 500 and odd inmates. But before we describe Hie yarions 
duties by which every day in a conyict-ship is marked, let us here acknowledge how much 
we owe to the courtesy and to the ludd explanations of the goyemor, Mr. S. Byrne. As we 
run up the gangway of the silent huU, and survey the broad decksi and massive '' galleys," 
and hammock-houses, in the misty light, the only sounds heard are the guigling of the tide 
streaming past the sides of the black-looking vessel, and the pacing of the solitary warder- 
guard — ^tiie silence and the stillness of the scene in no way realizing the preconceived idea 
of a convict hulk. Yet as wo pass to the ship's galley, at the fore-part of the vessel, and see 
the copper sheathing glistening on the floor round the cook's fire, with the lai^ black boiler 
above it, and the sparkling yellow fire shining through the broad bars, the sight reminds us 
that there are hundreds of mouths to feed below. The cook sharply rakes the burning coals; 
and the copper frets, and spurts, and steams, with its unquiet boiling volume of the reddish- 
brown cocoa. 

This cook is the first convict with whom we have come in contact : he is preparing tiie 
break&sts of his fellow-prisoners, who are still sleeping under the hatches. Close at hand 
is the bread-room, piled with baskets and boxes; while opposite is the officers' gaUey, with 
another stove, standing on its plate of glistening copper sheathing. Above, on the forecastle, 
are the hammock-houses — divided off into large, black, deep cupboards — ^bulging over the 
gunwale of the ship. Then we pass the drying-houses for linen (used in wet weather), and 
the little cabins at the gunwale waist, where the mechanic-convicts employed on board ply 
their respective handicrafts. Glancing over-head, we observe the shirts and stockings of the 
prisoners below dangling from the scanty rigging between the masts, and fluttering in the 
wind — as we had remarked them from the shore in broad daylight on another occasion. 

We are now near the top deck hatchway by the forecastle; it is still haired and 
padlocked. Here the bayonet of the sentry on duty, glistening in the light, attracts our 
attention. Then we notice the heavy bright beU, swung in front of the hatchway. AH 
is quiet yet. We can hear the water splashing amid the boats at the broad gangway, or 
along the shelving sides of the ship, under her barred port-holes. The warder who accom- 
panies us, ourselves, and the sentry are still the only people on the spacious decks of the old 
seventy-four. The poop, given up to the governor's rooms, and to those of his deputy and 
officers, is railed round ; while a series of chimney funnels, projecting here and there, break 
the regularity of the outline. 

The warder proceeds to open the hatchways ; and we descend, in company with him, the 
top deck, in order to see the men in &eir hammocks, before rising for their day's duties. 

%* The *^ Twrning-out'^ of the Conmcts. — On reaching the top deck we found it divided, by- 
strong iron ndls (very like those in the zoological gardens, which protect visitors from the forj 
of the wild beasts) frx>m one end to the other, into two long cages as it were, with a passage 
between them. In this passage a warder was pacing to and fro, commanding a view of the 
men, who were slung up in hammocks, fEistened in two rows, in each cage or compartment of 
the ship. There was also a little transverse passage at the end of each ward, that allowed 
the officer on duty to take a side view of the sleepers, and to cast the light of his bull's-eye 
under the hammocks, to assure himself that the men were quiet in their beds. 

The glimmering little lanterns attached to the railings, so that the warder on duty could 
trim them without entering the wards, were still alight. The glazed hats of the men hung 



tip oyerhead, reflecting the pale beams ; and fhe men themselres were still snoring in their 
dingy hammookg. 

In these two compartments or wards were 105 conviots, parted off into sections, D 1, 
D 2, and A 1 and A 2. {See plan, p. 211.) And a cnrions sight it was to look upon the great 
sleeping mass of beings within them ! Hie hammocks were slung so close to one another that 
thej formed a perfect floor of beds on either side of the vessel, seeming like rows of canvas- 
boats. But one or two of the prisoners turned on their sides as we passed along the deck, 
and we could not help speculating, as we went, upon the nature of the felon-dreams of those 
we heard snoring and half-moaning about us. How many, thought we, are with their friends 
onoe more, enjoying an ideal liberty ! — ^how many are enacting or planning some brutal 
robbery ! — ^how many suffering, in imagination, the last peuaity of their crimes ! — ^how many 
weeping on their mother's breast, and promising to abandon their evil courses for ever ! — and 
to how many was sleep an utter blank — a blessed annihilation for a'while to their life-long 

The convicts here arranged were flrst-class men — ^there being mamfest advantages in the 
top deck over the middle and lower ones, as shown by Mr. Bossy, in his report on the 
*'Waxbiotl*' hulk, in 1841*. We followed the warder towards the stem of the ship ; and, at 
the extremity of this deck, we crossed a grating, and reached the hatchway leading to the 
middle deck. 

The middle deck was arranged on the same plan as that of the top one ; excepting that 
the passage between the swinging hammocks was wider. Here 129 men were sleeping in 
the divisions or wards called E 1, £2; Bl, B 2. {Seephfif-g, 211.) Here, too, the officer was 
parading between the wards or cages, and splashing about chloride of lime that stood in 
backets between the wards. It was still very dark; and the groaning, coughing, and yawning 
of tibe deeping and waking prisoners, had anything but a cheerful effect on the mind. The 

*' A Staidont of the Number of Prisonen sent to the Hospital, from the 1st of October, 1840, to the 
10th May, 1841, inolosiye ; showing the Deck to which thej helonged, and the mortality from each: — 


Daily averaee 

Kumber of 


Total Number 

sent to 
the Hospital. 

T, . Total Number 
Rate Qf 

percent. jj^^^hs. 

per Gent. 

Top • • 



Total . 



36 6 
70 ; 16 

60i 1 12 




68 1 32 


** The smaller proportion of illness among the prisonen on the upper deck is readily explained by their 
exemption from depressing causes. 

" Aocoiding to the present system of classification, all prisoners newly arriycd who are still smarting 
nnder tiie pain of diagrace and separation from their homes, and have not yet recovered from the anxiety, 
sorere diadpline, and spare diet endured in jail ; all whose transportation is for a long term of years or for 
hStf and aU whose character and conduct are bad, remain the tenants of the lower deck ; but if the prisoner's 
sentence be short, and his character and conduct good, ho may in three months be raised to the middle deck, 
and in twelve months to the upper deck, where if he once arrives, there is a strong expectation he will not 
leave the country ; he feels he has the confidence of the officers ; and a cheerful hope of regaining his home 
aostains and restores a healthy vigour to body and mind. 

'^ If a Umg-sentencod prisoner is the subject of scrofula, of ulcer, of scurvy, of general infirmity, or of any 
eanse nnfitting him for the voyage, he will become by good conduct an inmate of the middle deck, and will 
remain there for several years ; so that we gradually acquire an accumulation of invalids on this deck, and 
this ia one reason of the frequent deaths of its inhabitants. 

" The upper deck is much drier, being farther removed fVom the surface of the river ; and, being more 
fully exposed to the sun, is hotter than the rest The large size of its porta also affords better ventilation."— 
IMM B^fort, by F. Bouy, iwf^ton to ^^J^ TFarrhry" for 1841. 


air -was close and unpleasant, but not remarkably so, considmng that it had been exhausted 
by the breaOi of so many men since nine o'clock on the previous night, when they turned in. 
We had still another deck to visit; so we followed our warder and deacended the hatch- 
way to the lower deck, which was higher, and had a broader passage than the two upper ones 
through which we had just passed. This deck waa arranged to accommodate only 240 men ; 
bnt, at the time of our yisit, it contained (mly a 190 sleepen, arranged in seotionB thiu. 


F 1, F 2, and F 3, on one side, and C 1, C 2, and C 3 ontheo^er. {Stepian, p. 211.) 
This spacious deck stretches right under the fore-part of the poop, the barred port-holes 
admitting hnt little light ; still the air is fireshet than in the decks above, which receive the 
ascending heat from tho 1 90 sleepers ; for, by means of brood openings in the stem and bowa 
of the ship, a constant stream of fresh air is carried through the vessel. Altogether thero 
were, at the time of our visit, 424 convicts stowed between the decks. 

The men seem to be comfortably covered, having two blankets and a rag each. 
The tables used for meals are unshipped, and lean against the bars of the passage ; the men's 
boots are under their hammocks, and their clothes lie upon the benches. 

Having passed throitgh this gloomy scene we reach a narrow white- washed passage, at tlic 
head of the lower deck, and entering by a side door, we come to the solitary cells. We 
follow the buU's-eye carried by the warder. Presently he stops, and placing his lantern 
against a rude opening in the bulkhead, tlirows its %ht upon a man in one of the cella 
vitlun, who is sentenced to "forty-eight hours." Having inspected Uio sleeper, whoislying 



Jiaddled in hia brown rug upon the groxind, for there are no hammocks allowed in this 
oelly he darkens the place once more and proceeds to the second. 

In solitary cell No. 2, the man is sleeping in his hammock, and the scuttle is not 
darkened. As the light from the bull's-eye falls upon his face, the prisoner blinks his eyes, 
and callsy ** All right !" as he rolls in his bed. 

We now pass on to a cell in the bows of the ship. Here the hammock hides the man's face 



/ '■* 

AJB \ 


OKK j 



1 '■ ■ 

\ m 

a. I 


Q 1 


H / 




1 / 


K / 


(TkA Icttcn and flgUM A 1, A S, D 1, D 2, ftc rafer to Uie leTeral wards on the different decks ; O Indicates the Schoolmaster, 
H Chief WardOT, I Clerk, K Steward, L L L L Depaty Goremor, H Chaplain, N N Principal Warder, O O Warders* 

from our Yiew, so we adTance across immense white- washed timbers or '* knees," that stand 
up as solid as milestones, and so on to the opposite c^ in the bows. This one is empty ; 
but the next contains a prisoner who is in for three days, on bread and water, for re:l^ising 
to work in the boats. We then return to the lower deck, through a door at the opposite 
side to that at which we entered the solitary cell-passage. There are five such cells in all — 
two on either side, and one in the bows. 

As we re-entered the lower deck, we found the lamp-man (a conyict), in a gray Scotch 
cap, blowing out the lamps. He, together with the oooks' and officers' servants, are let out 
a little before the general call- time ; their services being necessary before the prisoners are 
roused at half-past five o'clock, and the day's business begins.* 

The deep-toned bell against the forecastle now sounded three bells. The men had been 
expecting the unwelcome sound; for, a few minutes before, as we traversed the lower 
deek to examine the air-passages and ventilators, we saw heads popped up here and there 
from the dingy hammocks to have a peep at us as we passed. The usual hour for rising 
was evidently at hand. The effect of the bell, however, was astonishing. In a minute 
scores and scores of men tumbled out of their beds, and were wriggling and stretching 
themselves in their blue shirts. 

*' All up ! Turn out, men ! " cries the officer ; and the convicts are in their trousers in 
an inconceivably short time. 

* We here publiah a table citing the distribution of time on board the hiUk, extracted from the Report 
«f the DiTocton of Convict Prieons. This table, however, can give no definite idea of the work really per- 



'* Let 116 go to the top deck^ and we shall see how the hammocks are lashed^" suggests 
our warder; and on ascending to the upper decks we find many of the men already 
dressed, and with their hammocks lashed up like huge sausages. 

Presently the gates were opened, and the men turned out one after anofiier, carrying 
their bolster-like beds on their shoulders. 

*' Now men, go on there ! steady — steady !*' exclaims the officer. " Gome on, men ! 
Come on, the rest of you ! " he shouts as we reach the forecastle. The men appear in single 
file, some carrying one hammock and others two. Those who carry two have, in addition 
to their own bed, that of a fellow-prisoner, who remains below to forward other work. 
Some of the men are fully dressed in their brown striped convict's suit ; while others are in 
their blue shirt sleeyes. The officers continue shouting to the men, and hastening their 
movements. '* Come on with that hammock ! Come on now ! " 

Long lines of men, with their hammocks upon their shoulders, wind along the decks. 
The sides of the black hammock-houses are open, discovering lettered compartments, as A 1, 
A 2, B 1, &o,; and the warders on duty go into the houses, and see the hammocks stowed, 
as the prisoners deliver them, under their proper letters, varying the work by directions, as 

fonned, nor of the regularity with which five hundred men axe made to oonform to certain houn, in the 
minutest particular. 



Prisoners rise, wash, and roU 
up hammocks 

Break&st (officers and ser- 

Cleaning classes 

In readiness to turn out to) 
work (preparing the boats, ^ 
ftc.) ) 

Labour, including landing and ^ 
msTohing to and £h>m work- > 
ing ground ) 

Dinner for officers and pri- 

Labour, including mustcoing^ 
and marohing to and fh>m > 
working ground ) 

Prisoners are mustered, wash, ) 
and prepare for supper . . . . ) 

Supper, washing-np, ic .... 

Evening prayers, school, and^ 
those not at school repairing r 
clothing, &c., mustered in- 1 
termediatelj / 

Sling hammo<ucs 



In Sommer (longest day). In Winter (tliortest day). 

(In intermediate leaaont, the honre vary aoeording to light). 



▲.X. Hri. Min. 

6 SO 

6 = 30 


6 80 = 30 

6 30 

7 16 = 45 

7 16 

7 30 = 15 

7 30 12noon=4 30 
12 noon 1 p.m. = 1 

ip.K. 6 30=4 30 

6 30 6 = 80 

6 6 46 = 46 

6 46 8 30 = 1 46 

8 30 9 = 30 


Total ftom 


6.30 A.]!, to 8.0 p.H. 16 30 


▲.K. Hrs. Min. 

6 30 6 = 30 

6 6 30 = 30 

6 30 7 16 = 46 

7 15 7 30 = 16 

7 30 12noon=4 30 

12 noon 1 p.m. = 1 

1 P.IL 

= 3 

4 4 46 = 46 

4 46 6 30 = 46 

6 30 7 30 = 2 

7 30 8 = 30 


6.80A.ic.to8.0p.H. 14 30 


Meals 2 16 

Labour, including mustering, and moTing to and ) o a 

from ) 

In-door oocnpiution, erening instruction, &c, ftc. . . 4 16 

In Summer 16 30 

2 16 
7 80 
4 46 

InWinter.... 14 30 


'* ShoTe that a bit forwaid there. Now then, stow away there^ my lads — stow away ! Do 
you beloog here P Howoameyousolatef' 

''AnymoreG 1 ? Is thatthelastof G 1? Now then, come on, lads ! Moyeup!" 

** We get the whole ship np and stowed in half an hour/' said onr warder. '' The bell 
went at half-past five, and yon'U see, sir, we'll have all the hammocks np by six.'' 

Still the brown line of men moved forward to the hammock-honses, each hammock bear- 
ing the prisoner's registered nnmber stitched npon it, and with the word ''Defence" printed 
on the canyas. 

The prisoners continne to pour ont as we descend again between the decks, and find that 
many hare got the tables shipped against the bars, and the benches ranged beside them. 
Kow some of the men are washing in buckets, placed ready over night ; and others arrang- 
ing their hair by the reflection of the window-pane; and others, again, scrubbing th^ 
tables ready for breakfast. Everything and everybody seem to be undergoing a cleansing 
process more or less searching. 

We next proceeded once more to the deck below, following our guide. The scene was 
a busy one. Some of the prisoners were still combing their hair ; others were washing 
the deck boards, which were shining under the plentiM supply of water; others, again, 
-were covering the white deal tables (which are scrubbed also every morning) with painted 
canvas taUe-eloths ; then there were groups of men, down on one knee, brushing their 
boots, while the messmen were busy at the preparations for breakfast. The tables, ranged 
in a row along the wards, accommodate eight prisoners each. Each man takes his turn as 
messman, while the service of the ward is divided. 

All the breakfast things are in block-tin, and they glisten as though they had never been 
used. Some of the men have polished theirs over-night, and tied them up in handkerchiefs, 
to give themselves a little extra time in the morning. ''Where's your plates ? Where's 
your plates ?" cry the messmen. Eor water, one prisoner at a time is let out of each ward, 
and as soon as he returns another is allowed to go on deck. 

The various processes, collectively called getting-up, may now be said to be complete, 
and the prisoners are all fairly padlocked in their wards, under the eye of a single warder. 
After dx o'clock in the morning, however, there are two of&cers upon the lower deck till 
nine o'clock in the evening, when the men turn in. The costume^of the prisoners, as we 
now see them completely dressed, is the same as that worn at Pentonville, viz., rusty brown, 
with red stripes upon it. 

The chief warder enters and inquires whether all are up. " All up !" is the answer, as 
the men give the military salute. " There you see, sir," said our attendant, as four beUa 
(six o'clock) rang, " all the hammocks are on deck, and the men are locked up, as I said they 
would be." 

The first business of the morning being over, the men break into 'groups or read. Many 
a one, to our astonishment, took his Bible and began reading it with no little earnestness. 
Here an altercation ensued between two prisoners about the tins, which one of them 
was still cleaning. This was promptly suppressed by a cry of " Halloa ! What are you 
about there, losing your temper ? " 

At this time, too, the doctor's mate appeared, carrying a wooden tray covered with 
physic bottles and boxes of salve, and followed by an officer holding a paper containing the 
« invalid list." This officer checks the distribution of the medicine. 

%♦ Ofic&rt* DuiiS9, — ^The ship now begins to wear an animated appearance ; for at six 
o^dock the officers, chief warders, and cooks come on board, all those we had seen previously 
having been on duty throughout the night. The officers at the hulk are arranged into 
divisions, the first mustering 20 men, and the second 19 men* In answer to our inquiries 
on ihu sabject, our attendant said— 


*' Theresa twenir in fiist divifflon. And nineteen in second divifdony and, in addition to thei^ 
the chief warder and two principal warders. Twenty officers sleep on board one night, 
nineteen the next. To the first dlTision there is one principal and the deputy-goyemor, 
while the second division is commanded by the chief warder, and one of the principal 
warders. Well, the first division came on dnty yesterday at seven a.m., and will go off duty 
abont six o'clock to-night. It's a very long sketch. The officers came on duty at half-past 
six this morning, and will remain on dnty till six o'clock this evening. They will be on 
their legs all the time. They will not have more than twenty to twenty-five minutes to get 
their dumer. It's not only one day, but every day the same thing. They're on their legs 
all day long, for they are not allowed to sit down. The first night-watch comes on at eight 
p.ic., and remains on duty till half- past ten. The second watch comes on, and remains till one. 
Then he is relieved by the third watch, who remains tUl half-past three — ^the fourth watch 
doing duty till six o'clock. Kow the watch that's just relieved will have a quarter of an 
hour to wash and shave, for the officers muster at a quarter-past six. So you see there's 
not much time lost* The breakfast is served down at half -past six. This occupies till a 
quarter to seven. From a quarter to seven till a quarter past, the warders are at liberty ; 
but during this time they must breakfast, dean themselves, brush their buttons and the 
crowns upon their collars, and be on deck to parade at the quarter-past seven. Then they 
turn to the labour. They're just going to muster the prisoners. Perhaps you'll like to 
see them." 

%* Muiter and Breakfad, Diet, Sfe, — ^We went down once more between decks. The 
muster of the prisoners had just commenced. Two officers were occupied in the wards. 
The prisoners were all ranged behind the tables — '' Silence ! keep silence there !" shouted an 
officer ; and then, while one officer called the names of the prisoners, the other marked down 
the absentees upon a slate. As each name was called, the man owning it responded, '' Yessir," 
accompanying his reply with a military salmte. The replies of " Yessir," in every variety 
of voice, ran along the wards. 

This ceremony over, the registering officers retirM, and the warder on duty padlocked 
the men in once more. We then went to see the muster of the absentees — as the cooks, 
bakers, and the like— which was carried on in the same way as with the prisoners in the 
wards, only each absentee^ as he cried, " Yessir," and saluted, passed out, to return to the 
duty from which he had been for the moment withdrawn. 

" There you see, now^" jsudd our attendant, '' every man in the ship has answered to 
his name." 

" All correct, or !" said the registering warder to the chief. 

" Kow, then, A ward ! ** was shouted down the hatcbway. 

'' This is A ward, sir," said our attendant, " coming up for breakfast." 

Instantly four of the convicts appeared, following one another. '' That's for A ward.** 
''B ward!" was next shouted down. ''Now, then, B ward here !*' And in this way the 
messmen of the various wards were simmioned from their decks, to fetch the breakfasts of 
their comrades, the messmen of each deck appearing at different hatchways ; for it may be 
here observed that there is a separate hatchway for each floor of the vessel. 

The messmen were now seen moving along in file towards the diip's galley, and 
presently they re-appeared, each man carrying a large beer-can frill of cocoa, the bread 
being taken down in baskets, and served out by the officers at the ward-doors. 

At half-past six the doctor comes on board, when an officer goes round shouting in 
the wards, '' Any men to see the doctor?" Six men appear in answer, and are formed in 
line near the galley-door. They are ushered one by one into the little suigery, and here, 
if the case is considered at aU serious, a trap-door is opened, and they are passed at once 
down into a little separate room underneath, prepared with '' bath and other convenience." 



Ifine-tenths of the calls for medical aflsutance, however, are dismiflsed as MtoIoub, such call 
hemg looked upon with great soflpidon, as generally evincmg a desire to avoid a day's labour 
in the arsenal. 

While remarking the six applicants for medical assistance, we also noticed four men 
drawn up in a line at the end of the main deck, attended by an officer. These were 
''reported" men, about to answer for some infraction of prison rules. 

We now followed the chief warder below, to see the men at breakfast. '' Are the messes 
all right?" he called out as he reached the wards. 

*' Keep silence there! keep silence !" shouted the officer on duty. 

The men were all ranged at their tables with a tin can frill of cocoa before them, and 
a piece of dry bread beside them, the messmen having just poured out the cocoa from the 
huge tin vessel in which he received it from the cooks ; and the men then proceed to 
eat thor breakfast in silence, the munching of the dry bread l^ the hundreds of jaws being 
the only sound heard.* 

After this we returned to where the reported prisoners were drawn up, facing the 
govemor^s house, upon the quarter-deck. They were called into the office one by one ; and 
as the second man was called, the first re-appeared,, and was marched off between two 
gfficers to a solitary cell. 

'* This is my report for yesterday ; I give one in every morning," said the officer attend- 
ing us, as he went to hand the document in, together with a " cell report," stating the number 
of prisoners under punishment, the days they had done, &c. 

Next our attention was directed to the convict boatmen, who were preparing to take the 
ship's messenger ashore. 

" They have already heeta on shore this morning," continued our persevering informant, 
to bring off the cook and chief warder. '' That's the hospital cutter, sir," and our friend 
pointed to a little boat, rowed by two prisoners in their brown suits, and carrying three or 
four warders in the stem. 

'* Now, sir, our boat's just going aboard the ' Unset ' " (for such is the general pro- 
ntinciation of the French name). '' Sere is our sick report, sir, for the day," he continued, 
showing us the document. '' It is delivered in every morning.^ There are only two men 
on it now. One, you see, requires light labour, and tiiie other 'loiw diet.' " 

At this moment a dashing little boat, with her stem seats cushioned, and rowed by four 
men, puUing long oars, appeared at the gangway. 

'* This is the gig, sir, to take the doctor away." 

The officers now b^ia to exhibit great activity, while the men below are cleaning 
their tables and tins — ^having finished their morning's meal. 

*' That boat won't be back in time unless she's hailed," said one officer, looking towards 
tiie shore. '^ It only wants a few minutes to seven, now." 

« The following is the Scale ofj^Diet on board the '* Dbfemob" Hulk. 


12 Onnoea of Bread. 

1 Pint of Cocoa. 

mionnL (fbb icak). 

6 Ounoea of Meat. 
1 Ponnd of Potatoes. 
9 Onnoes of Bxead. 


1 Pint of Grnel. 
6 Ounces of Bread. 

Soup Days: — Wednesdays, Mondays, and 
Fridays, when the dinner stands thus : — 1 pint of 
soup, 5 ounces of meat, 1 pound of potatoea^ and 
9 ounces of bread. 

The bread, potatoes, Ac, are serred by con- 


1 pint of gruel and 9 ounces of bread for 
breakfast, dinner, and snpper—serred when men 
are on the sick list, in the hulk. 


1 pound of bread per day, and water. 


Anotiber boat now pulled towards the eihipy rowed by men weaiiiig gaenueyBy maiked 
« Dbfencb/' and glazed bats that had numbers stamped upon them. 

''Be as quick as you can, Matthews/' shouted one of the (^cenn— '4t'8 only five 
minutes. Look sharp." 

The boat, as directed, went off to the long brown boats, and brought them alongside the 
gangway, to take the prisoners off to their ''hard labour" in the arsenal. 

" They're going to take the ofioers firsts" said our attendant. ** The eeoond diTision's just 
coming on duty now, sir." And glancing to the shore, by the side of the bright little 
arsenal pier, we could peroeive a dark group of officers, standing near the landing steps — 
carrying bundles in handkerohie& — ^their glazed eaps and bright butt(NQ8 sparkling in the 
sunHght as they moved about. " The boats axe raOier behindhand, lor the priaonerB 
should be all in them at the first stroke of seven*" 

Nine bells (seven o'dock) sounded, as we went onoe more bdow, and fbond that the 
men had just finished deaning their tin mugs, and were gathering up the bits of ehalk into 
bags, and arranging these same mugs on top of the inverted plates, round their tables ready for 
dinner. Some, too, were washing the tables again, to get beforehand with their work; 
while others were covering their bright tin plates and mugs with the coarse table oLotfas, to 
keep the dirt from them ; and others, again, were reading their Bibles, or lounging laziLy 

"They know to a minute the time they have, sir; and the offloers are as severely taught 
to obey the progress of the dock, for if they are not at the landing steps at seven predsely, 
the boat pushes off without them, and will not return to fetch them." 

The boat that had gone to bring the warders aboard was soon on its way baok to the ship, 
crowded with the glazed caps and dark uniformB of the offloers, relieved by the fresh white 
guernseys of the convict rowers. 

Seven o'dook is the hour for the offloers' parade upon the quarter-deck ; the object being 
to see that they are aU sober and fit for duty. The parade over, the guazd appears on deek. 
It consists of four men, armed with carbines, and with iheir cartoudie boxes slung behind 
them by a broad black belt. This guard stands neaf the gangway ; the men having their 
carbines loaded, and held ready to fire, while the prisoners pass to the boats. 

Looking overboard, we now peroeive the convict boatmen, in their guernseys and glazed 
hats, bringing the two long-boats to their proper position opposite the gangway, ready for 
the debarcation of the prisoners on their way to their work at the arsenal. 

At a quarter-past seven the offloers for duty ashore are called over by the diief warder, 
in the presence of the deputy-governor, while a principal oheeks them. Twelve extra guarda, 
composed chiefly of soldiers from the Crimea, and some wearing dasps upon their muxler'a 
uniform (an uniform, by the way, exactly resembling that of the Pentonville offloers), now 
file down the steps, to be ready to receive the prisoners, who begin to appear above the 
hatchways, marching in single file towards the gangway, with a heavy and rapid tread; and 
it is an exdting sight to see the never-ending line of convicts stream across tihe dedc, and 
down the gangway, the steps rattling, as they descend one after another into the capadoua 
boat» amid the cries of the officer at the ship's side— ''Come, look sharp there, men! 
Look sharp !" 

%* l>ebareaium of Prifonen far Work in the Artenal.'^The rowers hold their oars 
raised in the air, as the brown line of men flows rapidly into the cutter bdow, some seat 
themsdves in the stem, but the large majority stand in a dense mass in the bottom of the 
long low craft, dotted here and there by the dark dress of the officers planted in the midst 
of them. In fine weather no less than 1 10 convicts are landed in eadi of these b^its or 

It is pretty to watdi these long boats glide dowly to the pier, their dense human flwght 


painted broimoiiflieBtieam. And scaoK^y has one boat landed its felon crew, before another 
is AUed, and makixig for the arsenal pier and the shore. {See en^aoing,) "Sgt is it less picta- 
reaqne to see the prisonflirs olamber up to the parade ground; &11 in line there with military 
precision; separate according to the chief officer's directions into worldng parties (each 
working party being in charge of a warder) ; and move off to the scene of their day's labonr^ 
in long brown strings. This is a very cniions scene, and one that it will be impossible to 
witness some few years hence. 

A third or snrplns small outtiBr puts off with the few remaining ptisoneFS, and more 
gaards. These guards, we obserre> wear cutlasses; such cutlasses being carried as a spedal 
protection, for the officers wearing them have charge of working pacrtieB employed beyond the 
boondB of the arsenal ; as, for instance, upon a mortar battery in the marshes. The man are 
now off to work. Those prisoners who remain in the ship are in the deck cabins^ plying 
their handicraft for ihe use of the hulk. 

We now left the hulk in the deputy-gOTcmor's gig, vi company with that officer, who 
acted himself as steersman. 

''Kowthen, shove off! Altogether! Lay (m your oars! Sharp as you can !" were 
the brisk orders; and as we neared the shore, the directions to the men ran, ''Hold water, 
all of you! Poll all! Hard a-starboard ! Port, there! Ship oars!" 

The men obeyed these nautical directions with admirable precision, and soon landed us 
at the arsenal stkirs, amid huge stone heaps, piles of cannon tumbled about, and aill bounded 
by long storehouses and workshops that seemed to cross each other in every direction. 

We accompanied the deputy-governor in his inspection of the gangs, as tiie convict crew 
stood drawn up in Unes, headed by their respective officers. It is necessary to change and 
equalize the gangs daily, we were told, according to the work each has to perform. Here 
tiie officers proceeded to search under the men's waistcoats, and to examine tiieir neckcloths, 
00 as to prevent the secretion of clothes about their persons, which would enable them to 
disguise themselves, and to escape am<mg the frqp labourers. Ko less than seventeen such 
attempts to escape had taken place amcmg the '' Dxfbngx" convicts in one year, though out of 
tiiese only three got off. In 1854 there were five attempts at escape, of which but one was 

The searching and arrangement of the working parties or gangs being effected, the officer 
gives the word of command, ** Cover !" then, '' Pace— forward !" and each gang wheels off 
to the direction of its work, the men walking two abreast, and the rear being brought up by 
the officer in charge. 

As the several gangs leave the parade-ground, the officer in charge gives the number of 
his party, and that of his men. The parties, or gangs, are numbered &om 1 to 30. Thus, 
as one party passes, the officer calls, " Two-— eight ;" that is, party No. 2, containing 8 men. 

^* Gloee up ! close up your party, Matthews— they're all straggling !" cries the deputy- 
governor to one of the guards, who is taking off his men somewhat carelessly. 

Hie arsenal is now in ftill activity. The tall chimneys vomit dense clouds of black 
smoke; steam spurts up here and there ; the sharp click of hammers falling upon metal can 
he heard on all sides; the men are beginning to roU the shells along the miniature railways 
laid along the ground for the purpose. AU the gangs of prisoners are off, leaving a dense 
eloud of dust behind them. 

There are 299 in the arsenal to-day, the deputy-governor informs us. This number is 
added, he says, to the ascertained number remaining on board the hulk; and then, if the whole 
tally with the number registered upon tiie governor's books, all is right. 

We then turned our attention to the hulk once more, and re-entered the deputy- 
goveaor^s gig. As we were jerked through the water by the regular strokes of the meii| 
and the measured working of the roUocks, we noticed ^ heavy cranes planted along the 
quay— -flifiir wheels covered wilji small rodb like paiasolsy but bearingi neverfhelesBi some 



evidences of exposure to the weather. " "With one of those cranes," said the officer to us, " I 
have seen a single man lift a cannon on board a ship. They are worked by hydraulic pressure." 
No sooner did we reach the gangway of the ** Defence" once more, than the principal 
warder on board cried, as he met the deputy-goyemor, ** Two hundred and ninety-nine^ 
sir !" alluding to the number of prisoners who had left the ship for labour in the arsensL 
" AJl right ! " was the laconic reply. 

%* TTie Library and School at the Hulks. — ''Would you like to come and see the meat, 
sir?" we were asked by our attendant officer. '' I have to go." The steward sees to the 
proper weight, while the deputy-governor examines the quality of the meat. The piece we 
saw was an enormous leg of beef, against which prodigious weights were necessary to ascer- 
tain its precise value. 

The prisoners left aboard the hulk were now busy washing the deck and the gangway. 
Some dashed buckets of water on the boards, while others were vigorously plying flat scrub- 
bing-brushes, fixed at the extremity of long handles. Below, in a boat, alongside th^ hulk, 
were more brown prisoners, pumping at a small engine, and forcing the water, taken from 
the Artesian-well in the arsenal, into the capacious tanks of the hulk. There is, in fact, one 
continued splashing of liquid everywhere— on the decks, and in the long-boats, or cuttersy 
which have now returned from the shore. The " Defence," we may add, has twenty 
tanks, holding two tons each of water. 

We next adjourned to the governor's comfortable breakfast-room, with its pretty stem- 
windows, and its light blue and white walls. The military salute of the convict-servant who 
entered from time to time, with his white apron about his loins, was the only reminisoenoe 
of the hulk as we sat at the morning meal. 

After this we visited the chapel and school-room.* The chapel is a square apartment, 


Date of Eeception. 


a ' 


learned to read 



learned to read 
rite imperfectly. 

Bead and write im- 

learned to read 
write well. 

considerable pro- 
se in arithmetic. 















February 11, 1854 - 






» 24 ,. - - 










March 13 ,, . . 











,1 24 „ . - 











April 20 „ 










May 2 „ 










n 4 „ - - 






















August 11 ?) ' - 











,. U „ - . 










October 9 „ - - 



— . 







• 2 

„ 11 „ - - 











Noyember 2 „ - - 











December 19 „ 











„ 23 „ - - 




















— \ 

t The prisoners who could " read and write " well, and those who were " weU educated " on reception, 
haye since made considerable adyancement in arithmetic and the lower branches of the mathematics. 



hit. ijji 



«|i! iiil''3 



lidnuiBbly ammged fbir its ptupose, the part on the level with the top deck fonning the 
gallerieBy to which the prisonerB on that deck pass direct from their wards, while the hody 
of the Httie ohurch is even with the middle deck, and accommodates the rest of the prisoners. 

The pulpit is erected at the stem end of the chapel, hetween the two decks, and has a 
faiight hrasB reading lamp to it ; its cushions being coyered with canvas.. Four more lamps 
are suspended firom the ceiling, the whole of the wood-work being painted to imitate oak. 
It is in the body of this chapel that the black, slanting desks, with inkstand holes (the very 
modelB of those which all boys remember with horror), are ranged for the daily school. 

At the side of the pulpit is the prison library. The selection of books is suggestive. 
Let ns run over a few titles culled from the backs of the volumes — ** Maroef s Conversations 
on Katural Philosophy," '^ Paley's works," " The Pursuit of Knowledge under Difficul- 
ties,*' Sturm's " Eeflections on the Works of God," '* Persian Stories," " Eecreations in 
Physical Geography," "The Bites and Worship of the Jews," ''The Penny London 
Beader," '< Pirst Sundays at Church," " Stories from the History of Bome," <' Short 
Stories firom the History of Spain," ''Swiss Stories," "Scenes fix>m EngEsh History," 
"BodweU's First Steps to Scottish History," "Stories for Summer Days and Winter 
Evenings," " Easy Lessons in Mechanics." There are in all 1099 volumes npon the shelves. 

In reply to our questions as to the books that are the most popular among the convicts, 
and the rules on which they were issued, we were informed that each prisoner had a right 
to have a book, and to keep it ten days. If he wanted it longer, he could generally renew 
the time. The books most in demand were Chambers' publications, and all kinds of 
histories and stories. Yery few asked for Paley's "Moral Philosophy." 

"I think," continued our attendant warder, "that 'Chambers' Miscdlany,' 'The 
Leisure Hour,' and ' Papers for the People,' are generally preferred beyond other publica- 
tions. There is a g^at demand for them. We haven't got ' Dickens' Household Words,' 
or I dare say it would be in request. The chaplain objects to it being in the library." 

All friends of education have scouted the idea long since> of leading uneducated men to 
a love of books by such works as Paley's "Theology" or Sturm's "Eeflections." These 
are now generally regarded as the unread books of Literary institutes — ^because difficult to 
understand, and in no way appealing to the minds of the great majority of readers. Let 
US, therefore, imagine a convict who has been rubbing the rust from cannon-balls all day 
long, wilh a copy of Paley for his hour's amusement^before he turns in. 1^ he reads he 
most probably will not understand. A distaste rather than a taste for readinja^ ^s hereby 
engendered. Yet books teaching kindly lessons, in the homely accidents of life, and which 
all may read and comprehend, are hardly to be found upon the chaplain's library shelf. 

The school is divided into nine divisions. The first division, subdivided into sections 
A and B^ musters 110 men. The second division musters 55 men, and so on. The divisions, 
as they attend the school, are generally so managed as to average 55 in number. Some 
ccmviots^ we were told, cannot read, and no teaching will make them. The teaching includes 
reading, writing, and arithmetic, as far as " practice." In reply to our inquiry as to the 
interval that elapsed between the convict's school-days, we were informed that the turn to 
remain on board for lessons came round once in every nine or ten days. 

The prisoners tdd-off for school now appeared on the ground-floor of the chapel, at the 
black desks. They were well-washed and brushed, and wore blue and white neokerchie&, 
and gray stockings barred with red stripes. The third division is in to-day. The school 
begins with two psalms and a prayer. 

"Ifow, attention for prayers !" is called out before they begin. Then the derk reads 
a chapter of St. Luke ; next the schoolmaster cites a verse from a psalm, and the men go 
stammering after him. It is a melancholy sight. Some of the scholars are old bald-headed 
men, evidently agricultural labourers. There, amid sharp-featured men, are dogged-looking 
youths, whom it is pitiftd to behold so far astray, and so young. And now the clerk who 


read the prayote may be seen teaching the men ; but it ii evidently hard vork, and few, it 
is to be feared, care for the school, fiirther than for the physical repose it secures them, 

yfe now passed to the little rooms off the wards, where a few prisoners were tailoring, 
while others were making the solid shoes such as the working gangs in the arsenal wear. 

We then advanced to the oabins ranged along the udes of the weather-deck. In one a 
bookbinder was binding the ni^;ed library volumes in black leather. " Take off yonr 04), 
sir !" cried oar attendant to the prisoner, as we appeared, " and go on with your work !" 

Next ws passed to the lamp~man's cabin, and found him trimming Qie night lamps 6a 


the wards. Then we reached the carpenter's shop ; and there a gray-headed old prisongr 
who was planing a deal-board, turned a melancholy &ce tewaida us as we eaieKfL 

Then we visited the tinen-honse, where two or three prisoners were arraufpng the linen of 
the various wards in little tight rolls. We inquired how often the men had a change. 
" They change their linen every week, and their flannels every fortni^t," was tlie reply. 
How gratifying te men who can remember the horrible £lth in which, only a few years sinoe, 
the hulk convicts were allowed to remain. 

There was not an idle man on board. Festoons of dothee were drying above onr heads, 
swung from the two stunted masts ; while across the main deck, lines of dark-brown string 
were being twisted by a convict rope-maker, to be turned to aocoimt for the hammocks that 
two other priwnera were mending in a little cabin hard by. Sverywben offloen were 


g over die mea at thrar Ubonn, each ^rarder being piovided viHi his book, in vMch 
he eaten ttie men's indoBtiy, or want of energy. Their (one to the men was firm, but not 
hard or harah ; atill they kept them to their taak. Every prisoner we approached saluted ns, 
military fashion, then stood still till the officer said, " Go on with your work, sir ! — Go on 
■with joax work !" when the men turned to their labour again. 

*»• ra# Worting Portia in the .^rwwo/.— The govemor now called his gig t« the gangway 
to carry us ashore to inspect the labourers in Ihe arsenal. It was a smart little boat, and 
the rowera were trimly dressed in white, with the word "DsraNCE" printed roimd the legs 
at their trousers. The men, with their glazed hats and ruddy fiicee, looked unlike convicts. 
Tlieir position is the reward of good conduct. They sit in a little deck-house dose to tha 


gMDgwsy, all day long, ready to be called out at any moment. The men volunteer for boat 
■errice. First, they are put into the water-boat, which conveys the well-water to and &om 
ttis shore ; .from this service they are promoted to the provision cutter, which also takes off 
the mibordinate officers ; and then they reach a seat in the governor's gig. The men like 
this service, and are sent for misconduct — as when they use bad language — to labour on the 
jmblic works. We started for the araenal once more, at a rapid pace ; the governor himself 
steering the pretty gig with its white tiller ropes. 

On landing, after passing by the heavy cranes, we came up with the first gang of prisoners, 
who were loading a bark alongside the quay. " These are the sloopB that convey war-storee 
to SbeeraeM," we were told. " And yonder black hull is a floating powder-magaeine, near 
which no ship anchors." We remarked the absence of military sentries, and were told that 
they had been withdrawn &om the convicts vrorking in the arsenal, although they still 
maanted guard. Then the place is pointed out to us whore the " Defence " once had a 



washing-liotLse, whicli Has been taken away by the g^yeniment ; together with a vegetable 
garden, where the oonyictB formerly cnltiYated vegetables for the hulk. '* Kow we wash 
on board the little 'Sulfhub' hnlk/' eontinued our informant, "and dry on board our 
own ship." 

We walked into the grounds of the arsenal, and soon came up with a second party of 
prisoners at work diggrog out shot. As we approached, the officer in charge gave the governor 
a military salute, saying — 

" All right, sir — 10-8." The 10 being, as we have already noticed, the number of the 
gang, and 8 the strength of it. The governor, who knows what the strength of each gang is, 
can thus assure himself of the presence of all the men. We next turned into the stone-yaid, 
the chosen ground of hard, dull, mechanical labour. Here there was a strong gang of men 
breaking granite. 

" All light ! how many ?" calls the governor. 

"All right, sir — 8-9,'' answers the officer in charge. Then, seeing a free workman at 
hand, the officer is told to keep him off. Here each man is doing taak-work. Every convict 
must break so many bushels, according to the size to which he is required to reduce them, 
the size being measured by a wooden machine, through which they are passed. Thus, a man 
breaking up the stones small, for a garden walk, must break two bushels daily, whereas a 
man breaking them up less, must fill four or six bushel measures. 

We then passed on to huge stacks of valuable timber. " All this," said our companion, 
" has been piled by convict labour." Through fields of cannon lying in rows— here black as 
charcoal^ there red with rust— past stacks of wheels and wheelless waggons, by sheds where 
the air was impregnated with turpentine from the freshly-worked timber, under heavy cranesy 
through mud, and sawdust, and shavings — here hailing a gang turning a wheel, and there a 
gang clearing rubbish — deep down a grove of conical heaps of rusty shells, where the men 
were filing and polishing them, we made our round of the convict working parties. All of 
them were busy. The officer takes care of that ; for he is fined one ftbilling every time one 
of his men is caught idling, while the escape of one entails his dismissal. 

Suddenly we came upon a guard whose duty it was to go the round of the gangs and 
collect the men who wished to satisfy a call of nature. Then we came upon an angle of the 
arsenal wall against the Flumstead high-road, where we saw an armed guard with his 
carbine, marching rapidly backward and forward. 

"Now I shall know directly whether all is right," said the governor, as he raised hia 
hand. The sentinel instantly halted, presented arms, then raised his right hand. 

"Had there been an escape," continued the governor, "he would have grasped his 
carbiae by the barrel, and held it aloft horizontally. That is the escape signal, and this man 
is stationed here because escape would be easy over the wall to the high road. Only the 
other day I caused a drain to be stopped up that led from the arq^nal to the marshes ; for we 
once had a hunt, that lasted all day long, after two prisoners who got into that drain. We 
caught them at its mouth by the Plnmstead road. 

It is exceedingly difficult to prevent attempts at escape, especially while tliere are so 
many free men in the arsenal. Last year there were no less than 14,000 free labourers 
employed there, and these men taken on without reference to character. 

Here the attempts at escape, which prisoners had made from time to time, formed for 
some time the subject of our conversation. 

"The convicts," we were told, "were generally assisted by the free labourers," who 
deposited clothes for them in some convenient spot. The convict slipped for a moment from 
his gang, put the clothes on, and passed out of the arsenal gates with the crowds of free 
men. Or else he made a dash for it, bolted past the sentinels, swam the canal, reached the 
tnarshes, and made off to the wood at hand. These attempts sometimes defied the utmost 
vigilance of the offloers. It was the duty of a guardi from whose gang a man escaped, to hasten 


on board with the rest of his men (unless He can find an officer to undertake this duty while 
he nuLB after the lost man)^ and report the escape. We then signal to the police aathorities by 
telegraphy to Bow Street^ Erith, Otuldford, Bford, Bezley Heath, and Shooter's Hill, so as 
to snrronnd him with a band of vigilant policemen, and prevent his getting clear. It was 
impossible to goard entirely against these attempts under this mixed system. They could not 
prevent the men from talking by night. Bat how much worse was it imder the old system, 
when some six hnndred or seven hundred prisoners were crammed into a hulk smaller than 
the ''DxFEKcs," and with only one officer all night to watch them. 

We inquired whether the men were very severely punished when they were lazy, and 
were answered in the affirmative. 

** They are sent here to labour," said the governor. " Here, officer, give me your labour^ 
book." This book contained on one side a description of the nature and quantity of the work 
performed, and on the other the conduct of the men during the work. We were assured, 
however, that the men have very seldom to be punished for idleness. "They do twice as 
much as free men," added the governor. " They work excellently." 

We now turned from the busy arsenal, crossed the canal bridge, and approached the 
little black wooden lodge of the policeman who guards the gate leading to the marshes. He 
sahites us as we pass out to the marshes. 

The scene, dose by the gate, is singularly English. To the light lies the rising ground 
of Flumstead, with its red square church-tower peeping from among the dense green cluster 
of tiie trees: Below is a duster of village houses, and beyond swells Abbey Wood up the 
shelving ground ; while beyond this, again, and serving as background, rises Shooter's Hill, 
d^vped by two or three surburban villas. 

Bight before us is a vast earth-work, all, as we are told, raised by convict labour ! It is 
a 6-inortar battery. We approached it (crossing the range where the ordnance authorities try 
thfiir rifles at the butt, while that solitary man, tax over the marshes, comes out of the 
shed by the side of Hie nuurk, after every shot, and with a long pole marks the point 
Idt) and found the prisoners, with their brown jackets thrown o£^ and some with their legs 
buried in water-boots, reaching to their thighs, digging the heavy, black, clayey soil, and 
carrying it away in barrows, under the eyes of two guards, with their cutlasses at their sides 
and two non-conmussloned officers of the sappers and minersi who were directing the works. 

" Thaf s a nice circular out, sir," said one of the non-commissioned officers, pointing to 
the earth-work thrown up. 

The governor then challenged the guards, who told off their numbers, and gave the 
usual " All right !" The bright red shell-jackets, and the caps with gay gold bands, stood 
oat in poinfhl contrast with the dingy crew of unfortunate men they were directing. As 
we looked on at the work going bravdy forward, our attention was specially directed to the 
healthy appearance of the men. 

" See," said the governor, evidently not a little proud of their ruddy dieeks, " they are 
not ill-looking men. I have to punish them very seldom. One or two of the men in the 
stone-yaid were old offenders, and they're the best behaved. There's a fine young chap 
there, stript to the buff, and working away hard !" 

%* The GmvieUf Burial Ground. — ^We turned away, and went farther over the marsheSi 
the ground giving way under our feet; and presently we passed behind the butt, while the 
IGnii balls were whistling through the air, and that solitary man was marking the hits. We 
approached a low piece of ground — ^in no way marked off from the rest of the marsh — ^in no 
way distanguishable from any section of the dreaiy expanse, save that the long rank grass 
had been turned, in one place latdy, and that there was an upset barrow lying not fiar 
ofL Heavy, leaden douds were rolUng over head| and some heavy drops of rain pattered 


upon our faoes as we stood tliere. We thonglit it waa one of the dreariest spots we had 
ever seen. 

" This," said the governor, " is the Convicts' Snrial Ground !" 

"We could just trace the rougli outline of dbtnrbed ground at our feet. Beyond this was 
a shed, where cattle foand shelter in bad veather ; and to the right the land shelved up 
between the marsh and the river. There was not even a number over the graves ; the last, 
and it was onlj a month old, was disappearing. In a few months, the rank grass will have 
closed over it, as over the story of ita inmate. And it is, perhaps, well to leave Qie names of 
the unfortunate men, whose bones lie in the clay of this dreary marsh, nnregistered and 
unknown. But the feeling with which we look upon its desolatbn in irrepressible. 


We fbllowed the governor up the ridge that separates the maish from the river, and 
walked on, bock towards the arsenal. As we walked along we were told, that under our 
feet dead mKi's bones lay closely packed ; the ridge coidd no longer contain a body, and 
that was the reason why, during the last five or six years, the lower ground had been taken. 

Then there is a legend — an old, old legend, that has passed down to the present time — 
about a little pale-blue flower, with its purple leaves — the " mbmm lamum" — which, it is 
said, grows only over the convict's grave — a flower, tender and unobtrusive as the kindness 
for which the legend gives it credit. Botanists, however, wiU of coarse ruthlessly destroy 
the local faith that has given this flower value ; for they will t«ll you it is only a stonted 
fimn of the " red dead nettle." 

We pass from the graves — meet a perambulatjng guard, who signals " All right I" by 
saluting and raising his band — and then, reciosBing the canal-bridge, where the convicta are 
■tacking wood, and the click and ring of bricklayers' trowels are heard, relieved now and 
then by the reports of the ordnance rifle-practice, we moke our way towards the boat 


Balnted by the " All i^te" and ealatee of the officera of vQitx working partjes tliat va 
pue by the iray. 

There are many objects to arrest our attention, bb we go, from ihe exploded wrecks of 
barrels, Ac., lying for sale near the butt bank, where men 
are di^ng shot out of the ground. We meet another 
patrolling guard, who gtvea the "AH right" aalnte; and 
whose dniy it is, as Boon as be beare of an escape, to dash 
Uirongh the encloanre abont the aiaenal, and, waving his 
carbine horizontally in tike air, commnnicato the fiict to the 
aeatriea in the mardieB. 

Our way lies then by the rocket-aheds, rather celebrated 
tar accidents. 

" Occasionally yon see the men at work there," said the 
goreiTior, "mkh out with their clothes ail in flames, and 
dire into &e canal. Only a month or bo ago, two or three 
■beds blew np, and the rockets vere flying abont all 
anumgst my men." As ve passed, a workman, black as 
gunpowder, appeared at the door of one of the sheda with a 

Clooe at hand to the Tooket-abeds, were little powder 
boats, like miniature Lord Uayor's barges, with the windows 
bhx^ed np and the gilding taken o£F. 

" There are tlie cartridge- sheds, too; and there the flre- 
nngintw me alwayB kept at the water's edge, in ease of acci- 
dmit, and with the hose ready in the water, as you see. 
All ri^t, Ur. Watson?" 

" All right, sir ! No. 8—10." ^^^ coimcr'a ploweb. 

Here, opposite the gang of oon-ricta just hailed, and 
who were hard at w<nfk stacking planks, were some few idlers upon the t<^ of a barge. 
" Ctmtiast the conduct of those fellows with my men," was the goyemor's observation. 
" Their language is dreadfiil, as yon can hear. You aee, too, that new building, with 
the tall, minaret chimneys, flanked by low stacks, and with crimson tongues of flame 
at top — that's a shell fbotory." There are abootB of white steam, and plumes of black 
smoke issuing from it ; and as we advance past endless stacks of heavy timber arranged 
by the conviotB, we hear &e rattle of machinery and the noise of wheels. Then as we 
go by the large new building where mortars are to be cast, the govenior approaches a gang, 
and asks again — 

" All ri^t, Mr. Jenning ?" 

" All ri(^t, sir ! 10 — 10," replies the officer. 

We now pass through shedE — large as railway atations — under which numerous pOea of 
timber are stacked, together with endless rows of wheelless carts, with .their wheels stacked 
opposite, and here we find the prisoners beginning to march in gangs towards the parade- 
ground. " It is half-paat eleven o'clock, and they must be on board the hulk to dinner at 
noon precisely," aays the governor to us. As we draw nearer and nearer to the parade- 
groond, we can see them filing along from different directions. There is no confuaian ou 
reaching the spot, fbr each man knows his exact place. Then a strict search of the men 
is made by tlie warders, to see that they have not secreted anything while at work — the 
men opening their waistcoats, and pulling off tlieir cravata, as befbre, to facihtate the 

The searching over, the men descend the Btaira, in parties, to the cutters, and return to 
the hulk in tlie order in whioh ikej left her in tlie morning. Having made the tour of the 


arsenal (which, including the section of the marshes tamed to use, measoies 160 sqnare 
acres in extent), we also returned on board the hulk with the governor. 

''Weigh all!"is the word of command. Andin a few minutes we are at the " Dkfbnce " 
gangway. The officers are hurrying the convicts on board. 

^* Now, Mr. B , bring your men up P' A long-boat approaches, crammed with men 

and warders. 

''Hoist your oars !" cries an officer as the cutter touches the hulk. The warders kad 
first, and then they hurry the men up the gangway steps. As soon as they reach the deck 
they advance, in single file, to their respective hatchways, and descend at once to their 

The tread of these two hundred men sounds below almost like thunder roUing under the 
decks ! They are at once locked up in their wards, where their tin mug and plate are 
turned upside down, one upon the other, around each mess-table, previous to dinner. 

%* ITie Convicts <U Dinner and Leaoing for Work, — ^Now men appear at the end^f the 
wards with large clothes-baskets full of bread. 

<' 3 — 7 ; 4 — 8 ; and 5 — 6 ! " cries the warder, as he dispenses the loaves to each mess. 

The mess-men of these parties advance to the gate of the ward, and receive their proper 
quantities for their respective messes. Some messes have a loaf and a quarter, otiiera 
two whole loaves, according to their nimierical strength — ^the men dividing these quantities 
themselves. There is also upon the mess-taUes a deal-board to cut up the meat upon. A 
man now comes below carrying knife-bags, and distributes them according to the number of 
men in each compartment. After dinner they are cleaned, put back into the bags, and 
returned to the proper officer. The men who have been on board all day were in dieir 
wards, pacing to and fro, before their companions came pouring down from their arsenal work. 

'' To your table, men ! '' cries the chief warder; and accordingly the men range them- 
selves in their proper seats. 

" Now A ward ! " is shouted down the hatchway. " Come on here— one, two, and 
three ! '* A man from each mess answers the call. Presentiy these messmen are seen 
returning, each carrying a small tub fiill of meat, and a net full of potatoes, together with the 
supper bread. One man at each mess may now be seen serving out the potatoes into tin 
plates. Then there is a cry of—" All up ! " 

The men rise, and grace is said. When the men are re-seated, a man proceeds at onoe to 
cut up the meat upon the mess-board. The dinner is now portioned out, and we are 
informed that the men very rarely quarrel over the division of the allowed quantities. When 
the meat is cut into eight or nine portions, as the case may be, the meat-board is pushed into 
the middle of the table, and each man takes the piece nearest to him. Then the peeling of 
potatoes goes actively forward, and the men are soon fEorly engaged upon their meal, 
talking the while in a low, rumbling tone. 

'' Not too much talking there ! Silence — silence here ! " cries the warder. 

Since the morning, the top deck and the others have imdergone a complete change. The 
windows have been removed, and the atmosphere is fresh and pleasant. 

The governor now went his rounds, and was saluted on all sides. 

At length one o'clock sounded. At five minutes past we saw the guard go down the 
gangway with fixed bayonets, followed by one of the principal warders. 

'' Now, then, turn the hands out, Mr. Webb, aiid man the gig ! '' was shouted. 

In a few minutes the convicts began to stream up the deck from the hatchways, and to 
move down the gangway in single file, to the cutters, as in the morning. 

" Oars up, here ! Oars up ! '' shouts the guard in the cutter to the rowers, as tbd 
first prisoners reach the water's edge. The boat carrying the guards— -their bayonets 
sparkling in the sun — and some officers too, is already off to receive the men on shore. 


in a few minutes the two hundred men are on their way to the parade-ground ; while on 
board the officers are occupied in mustering the ** boarders'' and schoolmen. 

Once more we push off in the governor's gig, as the sharp crack of the rifles in the 
marshes reminds us that the ordnance men are still practising at the butt. 

During the men's absence in the afternoon, the boarders carry the hacomocks back from 
the houses ; and while we were watching this operation, our informant related to us the story 
of a convict who, being employed in the chaplain's room, managed to cut up his black gown, 
and manufacture it into a pair of black trousers. With only this garment upon him, he con- 
trived, one very dark and gusty night, to drop overboard. He swam clear off, and reached 
a swamp, where he got entangled in a bed of rashes. Here he got frightened, and cried for 
help. Some men in a barge, who were passing, picked him up, and suspecting that he was a 
convict, delivered him up to the prison officers. 

The convicts leave their afternoon's work at a quarter-past Ave, so as to be aU collected 
by half-past, and before the free men leave. It was a pretty sight to see them re-embark 
for the night ; for the slantiag rays of the sun threw long shadows frx>m the cutters over 
the water, and the evening light sparkled warmly upon the tide, and danced as it caught 
every polished point of the dense mass, while the boats advanced towards the hulk. 

As we watched the cutters approach, we inquired into the regulations concerning the 
receiving visits and letters from their friends by the convicts. In reply we were told that 
they see their relatives once in three months, and that they are allowed to write every three 
months. These meetings of the prisoners with their friends are held under the poop — ^three 
meetings taking place at a time. There are, however, no regular days for visits ; if a friend 
calls while a man is away at labour, the authorities send for him. The regulations, we 
should add, appear to be carried out with great consideration. 

On the cutters reaohing the hulk, the prisoners stream up the gangway in single file as 
before — ^then pour down the hatchways, into their respective wards, where gruel is at once 
served out to them, and they are allowed to rest till chapel-time, at half-past six o'clock. 

After chapel, at eight o'clock, the men are mustered in their wards — and the gates of 
Rewards locked for the night. When the officer cries, " The muster's over !" the men jump 
up, the tables disappear, the forms are ranged along the sides of the ward, and each man 
gets his hammock from the comer in which they were piled in the afternoon by the boarders. 
In a few minutes all the hammocks are slung, and the men talking together. " The 4 divi* 
don is for school to-morrow," cries an officer. 

SSiortly after this each man is beside his hammock, preparing for bed, and then they 
are allowed to talk until nine o'clock ; but directly the clock strikes, not another word is 
heard. At nine o'clock the two officers to each deck are relieved by the night officer, and 
the men are in bed. There are also four guards who relieve one another through the night, 
at tiie gangway. 

At nine o*clock the countersign is given out by the governor to the chief warder, the 
chief warder giving it to the officers on the watch, so that after this hour nobody can move 
about the ship without it. 

AU is quiet. We hear once more the gurgling of the water about the hulk. Over towards 
the arsenal, the warm red lights of the little white pier stand out prettily against the dark 
shore, and there are bright lights shining over the crumpled water, in little golden paths. 
The shore, too, is studded with lights as with jewels. 

We are infonned that the countcrsigh for the night is '' Smyrna." Then we hear the 
loud metallic ring of two bells. ** Nine o'clock ! " cries the warder. Now there is not a 
sound heard below, but the occasional tramp of footsteps over-head. The men, as they lie 
in their hammocks, look like huge cocoons. The principal warder tries all the locks of the 
wards, and at ten o'clock the hatches are padlocked for the night, and the day's duties are 




f iii— 8. 
The " UniW' Mo^ital Skip. 

While the men were perfonning their afternoon labours in the arsenal, we fotmd time to 
go, in the captain's gig, on board the convicts' hospital ship, the " XJnit^ "—or " TJneet, 
according to the local pronunciation. 

The ** Uirrr£ " hospital ship, moored to the '* Defence,'' is an old 36-gan frigate, tak^i from 
the Erench. The officers who steered us on board bade us examine the beauty of her build. 

This ship is excellently arranged, and has large airy decks, along which iron bedsteads 
are placed, at sufficient distances, for the reception of the sick men from the ** Defbitce" and 
'' Wahbiob" labour hulks. The vessel is cleaned by a few healthy convicts; while some of 
the convalescents, in their blue-gray dresses and odd comical night-caps, are employed as 
nurses. The top deck is a fine spacious room, covered with matting, and lighted by wide, 
barred port-holes. 

The invalid bedsteads were ranged on either side of the deck from one end to the other, 
and at the head of them there were small places for books. " Here the temperature in the 
winter months," said the master, '4s kept up to sixty." 

We passed one man in bed,' who was coughing. It was a case of phthisis. He had 
chloride of lime hanging all round him, to destroy the odour of the expectoration. Then 
there was another poor fellow, with his head lying upon a pillow, placed upon a chair at 
the side of the bed, who had a disease of the heart, and had been spitting blood. The 
convalescents, in their queer, blue-gray gowns, draw up at the end of their beds as we 
move along, and salute us. Another man lies in bed, wearing a night-cap, marked 
'* Hospital ;" he has a broken leg. 

Another, of whom we asked the nature of his illness, replied, ''Asthmatical, sir!" 

'' Two healthy prisoners are employed on each deck," said the master, '' to act as nurses. 
One of the convalescents acts as barber. Thaf s he, with his belt round his waist filled 
with sheaths and razors." 

Then we visited the place where the convalescents assemble for prayers, morning and 
evening. '* We have twenty-four in hospital to-day," the master added ; " five were dis- 
charged this morning. There is plenty of ventilation, you perceive. A perfect draught is 
kept up, by means of tubes, right through the ship. We were told that a Bible and Tester 
ment were placed at the head of each bed ; and we saw one convict reading *' Recreations 
in Astronomy." 

We inquired about the scale of diet. In reply the master said, ''The man bo bad, 
up-stairs, has 2 eggs, 2 pints of arrowroot and milk, 12 ounces of bread, 1 ounce of butter, 
6 ounces of wine, 1 ounce of brandy, 2 oranges, and a sago pudding daily. Anotlier man 
here is on half a sheep's head, 1 pint of arrowroot and milk, 4 ounces of bread, 1 ounce 
of butter, 1 pint extra of tea, and 2 ounces of wine daily. Here is the scale of frill diet 
for convalescents : — 


4 ounceB of bread. 

^ pint of milk. 

% oiinoefl of oatmeal groeL 

4 oimoes of bread. 
One-mxth of an ounce of tea. 
i oonoe of iugar« 
^ pint of milk. 


8 ounoea of bread. 

8 ounces of mutton (uncooked). 

1 pound of potatoes. 

i ounce of salt 

i pint of porter. 

I pint of Boup." 



, ,■,•■,,'"11 

■ ■ riii'iiitll 

i ■■:■'*''!!:;! 

I Hi,-' 

:''6i V 

■I ii 


The healthy men employed on board the " Vmr^ " muster twenty strong, indnding the 
boatmen, cooks, and washermen. There are nine warders, an infirmary warder, and principal. 
The night-watches begin at half-past five, at which hour half the oficers leave the ship, and 
return at seven o'clock on the following inoming. The principal, however, lives on board, 
and there is also a resident surgeon. 

From the directors' report in 1854, we learn that there were on board, on the 1st of 
January in that year, 68 patients; that in the course of that year 676 patients were 
admitted ; that in the course of the same year 668 patients were discharged ; that two 
patients were pardoned on medical grounds; that 26 died ; that two patients were invalided 
to the " Stirl^ Castle ;" and that on the 31st of December, 1864, there were 36 patients 
left in the hospital. 

If iii-c. 
The " Stilphur " WoBhmg EuOc. 

From the '' TJhits" we proceeded, in the gig of the governor of the "DxFBirGE," past old 
steam^s, low wharves, flaunting little river-side public-houses, towards the great bulging 
hulk of the '' Wabbiob." But before bdng landed at the dockyard steps, to go on board the 
model hulk, we pulled aside to a little, low, dingy ship, which serves as a floating wash-tub 
to the Woolwich hulks. 

This old sloop of war, once carrying thirty guns, has now fifteen convicts on board, under 
the orders of a master, whose business it is to wash the clothes of the men in the '' Wabbiob " 
and ** Dkfskcb " hulks. There are three washermen, one blacksmith, and two stocking- 
menders here employed. On deck there was a solitary soldier keeping g^ard. The maindeck 
was very wet. Forward there were large square black water-tanks, and beside these a coiru- 
gated iron blacksmith's shop, with an old convict filing away inside. Bundles of convicts' 
stockings lie waiting to be mended near the poop, while lines, ornamented with linen, dangle 
over-head. Below, between the low decks, we groped our way, in the deep gloom, amid damp 
dothee — past men mending stockings, others folding convict clothes, and tying them up into 
rolls ready to be worn — ^in the steam and smell of clothes drying by heat, past capacious vats 
and boilers, all half-hidden, and looking terrible, because durk and spectral-like. 

The warder in charge of the old sloop showed us over his dingy kingdom with great 
courtesy, and answered our many questions with excellent good-humour. He told us that 
all the convicts employed with him throughout the day slept on board the ''Wabbiob" 
opposite. He alone remained on board all night. 

We pushed off from the '' Sitlphub,'' thanking the warder for his courtesy, and pulled 
for the dockyard steps alongside the '' Wabbiob." 

If ^-<» 

The " Warrior'' fftdk. 

This great hulk — an old 74-gun ship, upwards of sixty years of age, which has been the 
■db}ect of annual remonstrances from the prison directors to tiie government for some time past 


and the ribs of which, it is said, hardly hold together— is moored alongside the dockyard, 
with her head towards London, and serves to house the conyicts who work in the dock- 

We have so fully described the hulk system on board the *' Defehce/' which differs in 
no important particular from that pursued on board the '< Wabbioe," that it will be unnecessary 
to do more than glance at the general arrangements of this ship. Even the employment of the 
prisoners in the dockyard differs little in charaoter from that performed by the convicts who 
work in the arsenal. 

The distribution of the prisoners' time closely resembles that on board the " Dxfencb/' 
there being 2 hours given to meals; 9 hours and 5 minutes to work; and 4 hours 
and 25 minutes to in-door occupation throughout the summer; while in the winter the 
meals occupy 2 hours and 5 minutes ; work, 7 hours and 55 minutes ; and the in-door occu- 
pation, 5 hours. 

The ''Wabbiob" is reached, from the dockyard, by a gallery projecting from the quay to 
the gangway. At the end of the compartment under the forecastle is a large iron palisading, 
with two gates, which are securely padlocked at night. 

'* The ship," our attendant-warder informs us, <' is lighted by gas — ^the only one in 
the world, perhaps, that is so." This is owing to the dose contiguity of the vessel to the 

The top deck has a fine long wide passage. The wards are divided into two messes, and 
contain two tables each. The other arrangements are the same as in the '' Defence." Here, 
however, each ward has its little library ; and every man has a Bible, a prayer-book, a hymn- 
book, and a library-book ; the last he gets from the schoolmaster. Each ward, too, has 
a solid bulkhead, which prevent the authorities having too large a body of prisoners together. 
There is a gas-light at the bulkhead between each ward, so arranged as to light two wards 
at once, while the passage is darkened, so that the officer on duty can see the men, while 
they cannot see him. 

The middle deck is very fine and spacious, the passage being about five feet in width. 
There are eight wards on the top deck, ten in the middle deck, and fourteen on the lower 

The ship can acconmiodate four hundred and fifty men. There are now four hundred 
and forty-nine men in her, and out of this number only ten in the hospital. At the head end 
of the middle deck is a shoemaker's shop, where we found the convicts mending prisoners' 
shoes ; while opposite them is the tailor's shop, and here the workers were repairing shirts 
and flannels. 

The lower deck is also a fine long deck, reaching right from the head to the stem. There 
is a current of air right through it. It is, however, very low. At the fore-part of this 
deck, on one side, is the carpenter's shop; while the seven refractory cells occupy the 
opposite side. 

A black label hangs at each door of the dark cells, and upon this is chalked the name and 
punishment of the inmate. One runs thus : — ** In for 4 days ; B and W (bread and water) ; 
in 19th, out 23rd." The next man is m for seven days, with bread and water, for having 
attempted to escape ; and a third prisoner is also in for seven days, for extreme insolence 
to the governor and warders. "We now passed .on to the chapel, the surgery, &c., and entered 
the schoolmaster's cabin, where we saw the same class of books as we noted down on board 
the "Defekcb." 

The school classes are divided into eleven divisions, arranged according to the ability of 
the men. All the men have half a day's schooling each per week. AU take three lessons, 
viz., one hour's reading, one hour's writing, and one hour's arithmetic. Here we found some 
trying in vain to write, while one was engaged upon a letter beginning, " Dear brother." 



The copies the xi^en were making were generally better than one could expect.* We noticed 
also the chapel clerks, who were convicts with silver-gray hair, and appeared to belong to a 
better class. They write letters or petitions, we were told, for the prisoners who are unable 
to do 80 themselves. One of these clerks had been a medical man, in practice for himself 
during twenty-five years, while the other had been a clerk in the Post-office. The clerk had 
been tranBported fbr fourteen years ; and the medical man had been sentenced to four years' 
penal servitude. 

The working parties here are arranged as in the arsenal, only the strongest men are 
selected for the coal-'gang, invalids being put to stone-breaking. Li the dockyard there are 
still military sentries attached to each gang of prisoners. We glanced at the parties work- 
ing, amid the confusion of the dockyard, carrying coals, near the gigantic ribs of a skeleton 
ship, stacking timber, or drawing carts, like beasts of burden. Kow we came upon a 
labouring party, near a freshly pitched gun-boat, deserted by the free labourers, who had 
struck for wages, and saw the wdl-known prison brown of the men carrying timber from the 
saw-mills. Here the officer called— aa at the arsenal-i-'' All right, sir ! 27 — 10." Then 
there were parties testing chain cables, amid the most deafening hammering. It is hard, 
rery hard, labour the men are performing. 


THB TEAB 1864. 






Sinoe learned to read and 
write Imperfectly. 

en re- 






Date ofBeeeptloa. 



















Febnin724 „ 











ManshU „ 











» 24 „ . 











April 20 „ . 











,. 27 „ , 








— . 



May 1 








— . 

— . 


W 3 9f ' 











June 7 „ . 









_ . 


99 ^^ n 











August 14 „ 











n 28 „ 











Oetober 11 „ 











n 20 „ 







— . 




,. 27 ,. 






— . 


— . 



November 2 „ 







— . 




f$ ^ » ' 






— . 

— . 

— . 



Beoember 19 „ , 











Totals . 









t Those vho oould *^ resd and write well" whea reoehred, or were " well educated," haye siooe made 

considerable progress in arithmetic and other subjects. 



Hillbonk PriBon is only approaclied by land, in the case of tiie imfcirhmate coimcts irho 
are taken there. The visitor instinotiTely avoids the luiinterestiiig rtmt* down Parliament 
Street, Abingdon Street, and the dreary Horseferry Eoad, and proceeds to the prison by 

"We vin suppose bim to do as we did, take the boat at Hnngerford Stedrs, with which 
view, he mnst pass throngh (he market of the same name, which is cdebrated for its 
penny ices (" the beat in England"), and its twopenny omniboBCS (direct to the towns styled 
Camden, and Kentish Town), and also known aa the great West-end emporium for fish 
(including periwinkles and shrimps), fleah, and fowl. This daaaio spot was formerly 
remarkable for its periwinkle market, the glory of which, however, has now altogether 

The " Sfaoiofs Hail," in which the periwinkle traffic was once carried on, is now, as a 
very prominent placard informs ns, once more " To be lst." When the Cockney taste fbr 
periwinkles appeared to be dying out, the hall in question was made the receptacle for 
various models, which possessed no sort of interest to the dght-seer; after which 
it was converted into a "Mesmeric Saloon," which took an equally slight hold on the 
public mind. Then it was the site of various aihet failures, and recently it became a 
Segistration and Advertisement Agency, but, as it was imposible to descend any lower in 
the scale of inutility, it was, on this scheme being abandoned, finally closed, and there is now 
some probability of its exterior bdng turned to advantage as a hoarding for the exhibitioii of 
external rather than internal placards. 

Passing along the arcade, with its massive granite pillars, we notice the "Epping 
House," celebrated for Epping and other proyinoial butters so skilfolly manu&otuied in 
London. Then suddenly our.eyes and noses are attracted by the " Hot Uxat un> Fbdit Piks," 
exposed on a kind of fishmonger's board, in front of an open window, which also exhibits 
an announcement to the effect that there is a " Omteti Dining-Boom TTp-stairs." 

Then come the poulterers' shops, with the live cooks and hens in coops, and the 
scarlet combe and black plumage of the birds peeping throngh the wick^-baskets at ihe 
door, while dead geese, with their limp flufi^ necks, are hanging over the shelves of the open 


At the coiner is the graud pezmy ioe shop, the ** Tortoni's," of Hmigerford. Boys are 
feastiiig within, and scooping the frozen ffyrap in spooni^ out of the diminutiTe glasses, 
wliile black-chinned and dark-eyed Italians are moulding their *'ffaufres" in large flat 
cmrluig irons, above a portable stove. 

Before reaching the bridge we notice a row of enterprising fishmongers who are spocxi- 
lating in the silvery salmoni the white-bellied tnrbot, the scarlet lobster^ the dim-coloured 
crab, and the mackerel with its metallic green back, and who salute the passers-by, 
as they hurry to catch the boat, with subdued cries of '' Wink, winks V* or ''Any fine serrimps 

The subterranean music-hall at the southern extremity of the market, promises unheard- 
of attractions for the evening. The Dolphin and Swan Taverns, on either side, used to be 
rivals, in the days when holiday-makers, in the absence of steam-boat accommodation, 
used to drink and smoke, and pick periwinkles, on the roofs ** commanding a fine view (of 
the mud) of the river," and fancy the stench was invigorating and refreshing, as they 
flparingly threw their halfpence to the mud-larks, who disported themselves so joyously in 
the filth beneath. 

CazeMLy avoiding the toll-gate, we proceed along a narrow passage by the side, formed 
for the ben^t of steam-boat passengers. The line of placards beside the bridge-house 
celebrates the merits of ''Dowk's Hais," and ** Coofeb's Hi^oic Pobt&aits," or teach us 
how Gordon Gumming (in Scotch attire) saves his fellow-creatores firom the jaws of 
roaring lions by means of a flaming firebrand. 

We hurry along the bridge, with its pagoda-like piers, which serve to support the iron 
chains suspending the platform, and turn down a flight of winding steps, bearing a consider- 
able resemblance to the entrance of a vault or cellar. 

On the covered coal barges, that are dignifled by the name of the floating pier, are 
officials in uniform, with bands round their hats, bearing mysterious inscriptions, such as 
L. and W. S. B. C, the meaning of which is in vain guessed at by persons who have only 
enough time to enable them to get off by the next boat, and who have had no previous 
acquaintance with the London and Westminster Steam Boat Company. The words ''Pay 
Here " are inscribed over little wooden houses, that remind one of the retreats generally 
found at the end of suburban gardens ; and there are men within to receive the money and 
dispense the '' checks," who have so theatrical an air, that they appear like money-takers 
who have been removed in their boxes to Hungerford Stairs fix>m some temple of the legiti- 
mate drama that has recently become insolvent. 

We take our ticket amid cries of " l^ow then, mum, this way for Creemome !" " Oo's 
for TJngerford?" "Any one for Lambeth or Chelsea ?" and have just time to set foot on the 
boat before it shoots through the bridge, leaving behind the usual proportion of persons who 
have just taken their tickets in time to miss it. 

Barges, black with coal, are moored in the roads in long parallel lines beside the bridge 
on one side the river, and on the other there are timber-yards at the water's edge, crowded 
with yellow stacks of deal. On the right bank, as we go, are seen the shabby-looking lawns 
at the back of Privy Gardens and Bichmond Terrace, which run down to the river, and which 
might be let out at exorbitant rents if the dignity of the proprietors would only allow them 
to convert their strips of sooty grass into " eligible " coal wharves. 

Westminster Bridge is latticed over with pile-work; the red signal-boards above the 
arches point out the few of which the passage is not closed. The parapets are removed, 
and replaced by a dingy hoarding, above which the tops of carts, and occasionally the driver 
of a Hansom cab may be seen passing along. 

After a slight squeak, and a corresponding jerk, and amid the cries from a distracted boy 
of "Ease her!" " Stop her !" " Back her !" as if Ihe poor boat were suffering some sudden 
pain, the steamer is brought to a temporary halt at Westminster pier. 


Then, as the boat dashes wiih a loud noise through one of the least nnsonnd of the axxshes 
of the bridge, we come in ^nt of the "New Houses of Parliamenty with their architecture 
and decorations of Gk)thic biscuit-ware. Here are the tall dock-tower, with its huge empty 
sockets for the reception of the clocks and its scaffolding of bird-cage work at the top, and 
the lofty massiye square tower, like that of Cologne Cathedral, surmounted with its cranes. 

Behind is the white-looking Abbey, with its long, straight, black roof, and its pinnacled 
towers ; and a little farther on, behind the grimy coal wharves, is seen a bit of 8t. John's 
Church, with its four stone turrets standing up in the air, and justifying the popular com* 
parison which likens it to an inverted table. 

On the Lambeth side we note the many boat-builders' yards, and then ^'Bishop's Walk," 
as the embanked esplanade, with its shady plantation, adjoining the Archbishop's palace, 
is called. The palace itself derives more picturesqueness than harmony from the differences 
existing in the style and colour of its architecture, the towers at the one end being gray and 
worm-eaten, the centre reminding us somewhat of the lincolns' Inn dining-hall, while the 
motley character of the edifice is rendered more thorough by the square, massive, and dark 
ruby-coloured old bricken tower, which forms the eastern extremity. 

The yellow-gray stone turret of Lambeth church, close beside the Archbishop's palace, 
warns us that we aia^ approaching the stenches which have made Lambeth more celebrated 
than the very dirtiest of German towns. During six days in the week the effluvium from 
the bone-crushing establishments is truly nauseating ; but on Fridays, when the operation of 
glazing is performed at the potteries, the united exhalation from the south bank produces 
suffocation, in addition to sickness — ^the combined odours resembling what might be expected 
to arise from the putrefaction of an entire Isle of Dogs. The banks at the side of the river 
here are Hned with distilleries, gas works, and all sorts of frustories requirflig chimneys of 
preternatural dimensions. Potteries, with kilns showing just above the roofis, are succeeded 
by whiting-racks, with the white lumps shining through the long, pitchy, black bars ; and 
huge tubs of gasometers lie at the feet of the lofty gas-works. Everything is, in fact, on a 
gigantic scale, even to the newly-whitewashed factory inscribed ''Ford's Waterproofing 
Company," which, with a rude attempt at inverted commas, is declared to be '' limited." 

On tiie opposite shore we see Chadwick's paving-yard, which is represented in the river 
by several lines of barges, heavily laden with macadamized granite; the banks being 
covered with paving stones, which are heaped one upon the other like loaves of bread. 

Ahead is Yauxhall bridge, with its open iron work at the sides of the arches, and at its 
foot, at the back of the dismal Horseferry Boad, lies the Millbank prison. 

This immense yellow-brown mass of brick-work is surrounded by a low wall of the 
same material, above which is seen a multitude of small squarish windows, and a series 
of diminutive roo& of slate, like low retreating foreheads. There is a systematic irregularity 
about the in-and-out aspect of the building, which gives it the appearance of a gigantic 
puzzle ; and altogether the Millbank prison may be said to be one of the most successfhl 
realizations, on a large scale, of the ugly in architecture, being an ungainly combination of 
the mad-house with the fortress style of building, for it has a series of martello-like towers, 
one at each of its many angles, and was originally surrounded by a moat, whilst its long 
lines of embrasure-Hke windows are haired, after the fashion of Bedlam and St. Luke's. 

At night the prison is nothing but a dark, shapeless structure, the hugeness of which is 
made more apparent by the bright yellow specks which shine from the casements. The Thames 
then roUs by like a flood of ink, spangled with the reflections from the lights of Yauxhall 
bridge, and the deep red lamps from those of the Millbank pier, which dart downwards into 
the stream, like the luminous trails of a rocket reversed. The tall obeliskine chimneys 
of the soutiiem bank, which give Lambeth so Egyptian an aspect, look more colossal than 
ever in the darkness; while the river taverns on either side, at which amateurs congregate to 
enjoy the prospect and fragrance of the Thamesian mud, exhibit clusters of light which 

mLLBAim FBISON. 235 

attract the eye from one point to anotheri along the banks, until it rests at last npon West- 
minster bridge, where each of the few arches which remain ** practicable '' for steam-boats 
and barges is indicated by a red lamp, which glares from the summit of the yanlt like a 
blood-shot eye. 

% iv — a. 
Plan, Eutaryy and Discipline of the Prieon. 

liillbank prison was formerly guarded, as we said, like a fortress, by a wide moat, 
which completely snrrounded the exterior wall. This moat has been filled up, and the earth 
has yielded a tolerably large crop of long, rank grass, of the kind peculiar to grayeyards, 
bearing ample testimony to the damp and marshy nature of the soil. The narrow circle of 
meadow, which marks where the moat formerly ran, seems to afford very satisfiEU^tory grazing 
to the solitary cow that may be occasionally seen within its precincts. 

The ground-plan of the prison itself resembles a wheel, of which the goyemor's house 
in the centre forms the naye, while each two of the spokes constitute the sides of six long 
pentagons with triangular bases, and diyergent sides of equal length, at the end of each of 
which stands a turret or tower, with a conical slate roof, and a number of yertical slits for 
windows. From the two towers the lateral lines oonyerge at equal inclinations towards the 
apex, BO that each of the pentagonal figures presents a triangular front {8ee Oratmd^lanf 
p. 237.) 

Millbank Ffison is a modification of Jeremy Bentham's '' Panoptikon, or Inspection 
House." The ground on which it stands was purchased from the Marquis of Salisbury, in 
1799, fior £12,000; and the building itself, which was commenced in 1812, cost half a 
million. It is now the general depot for persons under sentence of transportation, or 
waiting to be drafted to goyemment jails, and is the largest of the London prisons. 

The entire ground occupied by the establishment is sixteen acres in extent, seyen of 
which are taken up by the prison itself, and the buildings and yards attachSd to it, while 
the remainder is laid out in gardens, which are cultiyated by the conyiots. 

It was originally built for the confinement of 1,200 prisoners in separate cells, but since 
tiie separate system has been partially abandoned, larger numbers haye been admitted, and it 
is at present adapted for the reception of about 1,300. 

When Jeremy Bentham first proposed the establishment of the penitentiary, his plan 
was announced as one ** for a new and less expensiye mode of employing and reforming 
conyicts." Although the prison was of course to remain a place of penal detention, it was 
at the same time to be made a kind of conyict workshop, in which the prisoners were to be 
employed in yarious trades and manufactures, and to be allowed to apply a portion of their 
earmngs to their own use. 

Part of Bentham's system conristed in placing the prisoners under constant suryeillance. 
From a room in the centre of the building, the goyemor, and any one else who was admitted 
into the interior, were to see into all parts of the building at all periods of the day, while 
a reflecting apparatus was eyen to enable them to watch the prisoners in their cells at 
nig^t There was a contriyance also for putting the yisitor into immediate oral communi- 
cation with any of the prisoners. This, from the beginning, proyed a fiedlure, considered 
onlj as a piece of mechanism. 

Bentham's plan of constant and general inspection — ^his *' panopticon principle of super- 
yision," as it was called, ** was referred to a Parliamentary Committee, in 1810, and, after 
some disenssion, finally rejected." 

In 1812| two yean after the abandonment of Bentliam's scheme, which proyided for the ao- 


commodation of '600 convicis, it was determined to erect a penitentiary for the reception of 1 , 200 
conTicts on the ground which the panopticon was to have occupied, and to allow each convict 
a separate cell. This prison, or collection of prisons — ^f(»r it consisted of several departments, 
each of ^ which was entirely distinct — ^was commenced in 1813, and finished in 1821. 
According to the discipline adopted in the new prison, '' each convict's time of imprisoment 
was divided into two portions ; during the former of these he was confined in a separate 
cell, in which he worked and slept." The separation, however, even imder the strictest 
seclusion, was not complete; the prisoners congregated, &om time to time, during the 
period allotted for working at the mills or water-machines, or while taking exercise in the 
airing-ground, and on these occasions it was found utterly impossible to prevent intercourse 
among them. After remaining in the separate class for eighteen months or two years, the 
prisoners were removed to the second class, in which they laboured in common. The evil 
tendency of this regulation soon became apparent, and, as in the case at Gloucester, the 
governor and chapledn remonstrated against it, alleging that the good effects produced by 
the operation of the discipline enforced in the first class, were speedily and utterly done 
away with on the prisoner's transfer to the second. The evil was so strongly represented 
in the superintendent's committee, that in March, 1832, the second class was abolished, and 
new regulations were made in order to render the separation between the prisoners more 
complete and efifectual. 

In time of the '^ penitentiary" system, the governor of the prison was a reverend 
gentleman, who placed an undue reliance on the efficacy of religious forms. The prisoners, 
independently of their frequent attendance in the chapel, were supplied, more than plenti- 
fully, with tracts and religious books, and, in fact, taught to do nothing but pray. Even 
the warders were put to read prayers to them in their cells, and the convicts taking their 
cue from the reverend governor, with the readiness which always distinguishes them, were 
not long in assuming a contrite and devout aspect, which, however, found no parallel in 
their conduct. As the most successful simulator of holiness became the most favoured 
prisoner, sanctified looks were, as a matter of course, the order of the day, and the most 
desperate convicts in the prison found it advantageous to complete their criminal character 
by the additi& of hypocrisy. 

This irrational and demoralizing system ceased with the reign of the reverend governor. 

By the Act 6 and 7 Yict. c. 26, it was provided that the Q«neral Penitentiary at Mill- 
bank should be called the Millbank Prison, and used as a receptacle for such convicts under 
sentence or order of transportation as the Secretary of State might direct to be removed 
there. '* Thiay are tx) continue there," adds the Eirst Eeport of the Millbank Prison (July 
81, 1844), in which an abstract of the act is given, ** until transported according to law or 
conditionally pardoned, or until they become entitled to their freedom, or are directed by the 
Secretary of State to be removed to any other prison or place of confinement in which they 
may be lawfully imprisoned ;" thus appropriating this extensive penal institution as a dep^ 
for the reception of all convicts under sentence or order of transportation in Great Britain, in 
lieu of their beiiig sent directly, as heretofi>re, to the hulks. 

Although many of the prisoners here are now allowed to work together, or '^ placed in 
association," as would be said in prison phraseology, the majority of them are kept in separate 
confinement. Every prisoner is supplied with moral or religious instruction. Prisoners, 
not of the Established Church, may obtain leave to be absent from the chapel, and Catholics 
hear service regularly performed by a minister of their own religion. 

Each prisoner is employed, unless prevented by sickness, in such work as the gov»iior 
may appoint, ev^ry day except Sundays, Christftias Day, Good Friday, and every day ap- 
pointed for a general feist, or thanksgiving ; the hours of work in each day being limited to 
twelve, exclusive of the time allowed for meals. Prisoners attend to llie cleaning of the 

« Bepoit of PaarUameataiy Committee on Fenitontiory Houte, 181 U 



pdjBODy nnder the sapexintendence of the warders, and some also assist in the kitchen and 
bakehouse under the direetion of the bakers and cooks. 

The conduct of each prisoner is carefdlly watched and noted, and the most deserving 
reoeiye a good-conduct badge to wear on their dress after they have been a certain time in 
the piison. 

MiUbank prison, as we have before said, consists of six pentagons which converge towards 
the centre. On entering the outer gate, pentagon 1 is the first on the right, pentagon 2 the 

Becondy and so on until we reach pentagon 6, the last of the radii of the circle, and which is 
immediately on the left of the entrance. 

Pentagon 1 contains the reception- ward, in which the prisoners are all confined sepa- 

In pentagon 2 the prisoners work at yarious. trades in separate cells. 

Pentagon 3 is devoted to the women, who are for the most part in separation. 

In pentagon 4 both the separate and associated systems are pursued. This pentagon 
oootainB the infirmary. 

Pentagon 5, besides its ceUs for separate confinement, contains the general ward, 
which coniiistB of four cells knocked into one. This ward is looked upon with a favourable 
^e by the *' old hands/' who are well acquainted with the prison habits, and endeaTour to 



gain admission to it for the sake of the conyersation which takes place thcrCi and whieh, in 
spite of the '' silent system^" can never be altogether put a stop to. 

There are three floors in each of these pentagonsi and four wards on each floor.* 

* We give^ as unial, the following — 



Mak Friionmri. 

The number of nude prieonen remftining^ on 

the let January, 1864, waa 

The number reoeired during the year :— 

From Dartmoor oonyict prison was 
„ Portsmouth „ 

y, Brixton „ 

yf Dorohester barracks 

„ •* Warrior" convict hulk . 

„ "Defence" „ 

„ Stirling Castle ,, 
In contract : — 

Leioester county 

From county and borough jails 

if Lunatic asylum 

Soldiers under sentence of transportation 
by courts-martial 













These prisoners had been diq^osed of as foU 

lows, Tis. :— 
To Parkhurst prison . 

„ PentouTiile „ ... 

,y Philanthropic asylum 





To public works : — 
Portland prison 
Portsmouth „ 
Brixton „ 
" Warrior" hulk 
"Defence" „ 
Dorohester barracks 

Deceased .... 
Transferred to a lunatic asylum 
Pardoned, fiee 


Conditional pardon 

Am iuTalids :— 

To the " Stirling Castle" hulk 
„ Dartmoor prison 

Number remaining^ Slst Dec, 1854 















FtmaU PrUoMTB, 


Bemaining in prison on Ist Jan., 1854 198 

Disposed of as follows :— 

Transferred to Female Prison at 

Brixton 178 

Discharged and licensed • 19 

Died 1 


The greatest number of male prisoners in confinement at any one time was^ 

On 10th August .... . 1,125 

Daily ayerage throughout the year :— 

Males • . 702*8 

** It will be remembered," says the report, "that, in the above tables, 700 couTiots were removed to Dor- 
ohester bairaoks ; and this took place between the 18th and 17th Augost, the cholera having broken out ou 
the 8rd of that month. ^ 

" The cholera having ceased in this prison, such convicts as remained at Dorohester, amounting to 392, were 
brought back to M illbank in the months of November and December, and, on the 28th December, Dorchester 
barracks were finally given over to the Ordnance authorities." 

The 700 convicts removed to Dorchester were disposed of as ibUows : — 

Died 1 

Bemoved to Pentonville . • . .' 8 
Parkhurst .... 70 

Portsmouth .... 99 

PorUand 130 

HiUbank 392 






There is an officer to evorj two wards, and each ward contains thirty cells, one of 
whidi is a store celL 

Every floor has its instmcting officer, but the instmcting officers appointed by the prison 
authorities teach nothing but tailoring, and prisoners who are anxious to learn some other 
trade, must obtain permission to enter a wa^ in which there is some prisoner capable of 
giving them the desired instruction. 

All the cells are well ventilated, and the prison generally is kept scrupulously dean, 
but the site of the building is low and marshy, and although enormous sums have been 
spent in draining and improving the soil, its dampness still renders it very unhealthy'>-«s 
may be seen by the following comparison of the number of cases of illness occurring in the 
several oonvict prisons throughout the Metropolis i — 


ihsMTOiryiLUl * . • . 

Bhixton . . . . . 

Hulks (''JDefinee" and " Warrior*') 
MiLLBANK {mdudmff females) . 

Number ot Gontiets 

pa08iiifr through 
the rriflon duri^ 
the year. 


664 * 

Nombet of Cases 

of Illneee 

dnrinff the 






Per Gentage of 
Illness to 

the Number of 




Total .... 5,761 14,500 251-7 

At Hillbank, therefore, more than twice as many cases of illness, in proportion to the 
prison population, occur among the convicts as at Fentonville in the course of the year; ten 
times as many as at the Hulks ; and no less than nineteen times as many as at Brixton, which 
is the healthiest of all the metropolitan government-prisons. 

The per oentages of removals and pardons on medical grounds, as well as deaths, with 
r^;aid to the daily average number of prisoners, exhibit sinular marked differences in the 
rektive healthiness of the several convict prisons of London ; thus : — 

Per Centage of 

RemoTals on 

Medical Orounds. 


Bhixtoh . 


Per Oentage of 

Pardons on 

Medical Orounds. 









Accordingly, we perceive that at Millbank there are nearly seven times as many deaths 
in the year as at Brixton, and more than three times as many as at the Hulks. 

The greater portion of the convicts confined at Millbank are employed in making 
Boldien' dolhing, biscuit-bags, hammocks, and miscellaneous articles for the army and navy, 
and other prisons, as well as the shirts, handkerchiefs, and cloth coats and trousers worn by 
the prisoners thems6lve8.f Others are occupied^ and receive instruction, in gardening. 

* It ii much to be regretted that there is no uniform statistical method of registering the medical retoms 
of the sevezal prisons, both in London and the oonntiy. Some of the medical officers, as those of Millbank 
md PentonviUe, &vonr us with elaborate per centages of the cases of iUness, deaths, &c., whereas, the 
iBgdtff»> statistica of tiie Hulks and Brixton are given in the crudest possible manner, and not only almost 
to the inquirer as they stand, but signally defecti7e in their arrangement in these sciontiflo days. 



Pentagon 3. 

Pentagon 8. 

Pentagon 4. 


Pentagon 6. 



Reception Ward 




























At the tiine of our visit there were altogether 828 prisonerB {i.e,f 472 less than the com- 
plement) confined within the walls ; of these 655 were males, and 1 73 females, and they 
were distributed throughout the prison in the following manner : — 





rentagon 1. 

1 Pentagoa 3. 

Pentagon 4. 

Pentagon 5. 

Pentagoa 6. 

General Ward. 



6 Si 










O « 






*& • 

O m 



































































































































142 1 







In Pentagon 1 
Pentagon 2 
Pentagon 3 
Pentagon 4 


In Pentagon 5 := 142 
Pentagon 6 = 134 
General Ward 

In the whole prison . 


The Present Use and Beguhtums of the Frtstm. 

The only entrance to die prison at Millbank is facing the Thames. 

The door of the ** outer gate," on the day of our first visit, was opened in answer to otir 
summons by the usual official, in the same half-polioe-half-coast-guard kind of uniform, and 
we were ushered into a smaU. triangular hall, with a staircase, leading to the gate-keeper*8 
rooms aboye, crammed into one comer, and a table facing it, on which were ranged a series 
of portable letter-boxes not unlike the poor-boxes to be seen at hospitals and churches. On 
one of these was written, ^'Mdle Officers* Zetter-hox,** and on another, *' Female Officers* Letter- 
box;*' a third was labelled, ** Prisoners* Letter-hox** and a fourth, '* Clerk of the Works** A 
few letters were on the table itself, and over its edge hung a long strip of paper inscribed with 
a list of the officers on leave for the night This we learnt was for the guidance of the gate- 
keeper, so that he might know what officers went off duty that evening ; in which case— our 
informant told us — they were allowed to leave the prison at a quarter-past six p.x., and 
expected to return at a quarter-past six the next morning to resume their duties— -each 
warder passing one night in, and one night out of, the prison. 

Hence we were directed across the long wedge-shaped " outer yard " of the prison — a 
mere triangular slip, or " tongue," as it is called, of bare, gravelled ground, between the 
diverging sides of the first and last pentagons ; and so we reached the barred ''inner gate,*' 
set, within a narrow archway at the apex, as it were, of the yard. Here the duty of the 
gate-keeper is to keep a list of all persons entering and quitting the prison, and to allow no 
inferior officer to pass without an order from the governor.* 


<( £very officer or servant of the establishment who shall bring or carry out, or endeavour to bring or 
cany out, or knowingly allow to be brought or carried out, to or for any convict, any money, clothing, pio- 
visions, tobacco, letters, papers, or other articles whatsoever not allowed by the nilee of the prison, shall \m 


We were fhen condncted through a saccesaion of corridors to the governor's room, which 
is situate in the range of huildings at the base of pentagon 1, forming one side of the hex- 
agonal court surrounding the chapel that constitutes the centre of the prison. This was an 
ordinary, but neat, apartment, the furniture of whioh consisted principally of a large official 
writing-table ; and the end window of which, facing the principal entrance, was strongly 
barred, probably with no view to preyent either egress or ingress, but merely for the sake 
of being in keeping with the other windows of the establishment. This window is 
flanked by two doors, through which the prisoners are admitted on their reception into 
the prison, or whenever, from misconduct or any other cause, they are summoned into the 
governor's presence. On such occasions a rope is thrown across the room, and forms a 
species of bar, at which the convicts take their positions. 

The governor, on learning the object of our visit, directed one of the principal warders to 
conduct us through the several wards, and explain to us the various details of the prison/ 

"Millbank,*' he said, in answer to a question we put to him, "is the receptade for aU 
ike convicts of England^ Wales, and Scotland, hut not for those of Ireland, which has a convict 
establishment of its oum,** 

Males and females of all ages are received here, the prison being the dep6t for '^convicts " 
of every description. When a man isi^onvicted, and sentenced either to transportation or penal 
servitude, he remains in the prison in which he was confined previous to his trial, imtil such 
time as the order of the Secretary of State is forwarded for his removal ; and he is then 
transferred to us, his " caption* papers " (in which are stated the nature of his offence, the 
date of his conviction, and the length of his sentence) being sent with him. From this prison 
be is, after a time, removed to some "probationary " prison (to undergo a certain term of 
separate confinement) such as that at Pentonville, or to some such establishment in the 
countiy; and thence he goes to the public works either at Portland, Portsmouth, or the 
Hulksy or else he is transported to Gibraltar, Bermuda, or Western Australia, where he 
remains tiU the completion of his sentence. 

On the arrival of the prisoners at Millbank, the governor informed us, they are examined 
by the surgeon, when, if pronounced free from contagious disease, they are placed in the 
reception ward, and afterwards distributed throughout the prison according to circiunstances, 
having been previously bathed and examined, naked, as at Pentonville. 

'' If a prisoner be ordered to be placed in association on medical grounds," added the 
governor, " the order is entered in the book in red ink, otherwise he is located in one of the 
various pentagons for six months, to undergo confinement in separate cell/' 

On entering his cell, each prisoner's hair is cut, and the rules of the prison are read over 
to him, the latter process being repeated every week, and the hair cut as often as required. 

When the convict is young he is sent as soon as possible to Parkhurst, provided he be a 
fit sabject, and not convicted of any heinous offence. In the case of a very hardened 
offender, when there is a probability of his doing considerable mischief, it is for the 
diieetor of Parkhurst to decide whether or not he will accept him. 

When the young convict is of extremely tender years, application is immediately made, 
by Uie imibank authorities, for his removal to the ** Philanthropic," at Eeigate, her 
Majesty's pardon being granted conditionally on his being received there. 

" One boy," said the governor, " went away on Tuesday ; he was not twelve, and had 
been sentenced for stealing some lead, after a previous conviction. We have one here," he 

UftOtm&L supended from his o£Sce by the governor of the prison, who shall report the offence to a director, 
▼bo^ upon proof of the offence, may cause the offender to be apprehended and carried before a jiutioe of the 
peace, who shall be empowered to hear and determine any such offence in a summary way; and every such 
oAeer or lenrant, upon conviction of such offence before a justice of the peace, shall be liable to pay a penalty 
not exceeding fifty pounds, or, in the diacretion of the justice, to. be imprisoned in the common jail or house 
of oosreelioii, diere to be kept, with or without hard labour, for any term not exceeding six calendar months.'* 


continued, ^'at this moment, a obild of betwe^ twelve and thirteen, -who bad been 
employed as a clerk, and bad robbed bis employer of between ten and twelve tbonsand 
ponnds." Tbe child, however, we afterwards learnt, had become frightened, and taken the 
money back ; but one of his reUtions had proceeded against him for the theft, with the view 
of getting him admitted into a reformatory institution. 

" We consider prisoners of tender years," the governor went on, " up to about thirteen. 
I remember a child," he added, '' of not more than nine years of age, who had been twelve 
times in prison — ^I do, indeed. That's some years ago now. There's the receipt for the 
child who lefk us the other day," he added, as he handed us the following oertifiQate i — 


uA W . 

" 71m ii to eeriify, that I have this day received, fr<m the euetody of the governor of XSIbank 

prieon, A W ^, aeoording to the terme of the conditiandl pardon granied to him. 

Dated the lUh day of May^ 1856. 

" Fhilanthropio Farm School, BfidMUy May 22, 1856. 

^^For th$ Sev> Sidnsy Tubnem, Becretary}* 


There have not been any young girls at Millbank lately he told us ; some had been sent 
to Manor Hall, but very few girls of tender years have been received at the Penitentiary. 

" I cannot say what would be done with very young girls," said the governor; *^1 should 
have to refer for orders. There were two of fifteen here, but they were the youngest." 

'' The females," he continued, '' go to the convict prison at Brixton, after they have 
been with me nine or twelve months, according to the vacancies there. The males go to 
Pentonville; in fkct, we keep Pentonville up. Those that remain here go to the public 
works, either to Portland, Portsmouth, or the Hulks, according to circumstances. Occa- 
sionally we send some to Gibraltar or Bermuda, and to Western Australia. Of course those 
we send to Western Australia can only be transports ; they can't be penal-service men. 
This prison contains young prisoners, old prisoners, female prisoners, and invaUdb. Old 
prisoners, who are able to. perform light labour, are sent to Dartmoor. Those incapable of 
light labour, or of any labour at all, are sent to the 'Stirling Castle,' invalid hulk at 

" If the prisoners are of very tender years," the govOTnor went on, ** I generally put 
them in large rooms, which you wiU see. We have six distinct prisons here— K)ne in each 
pentagon," he added, '* and, with the general ward, I may say we have seven, for it is 
quite distinct from the others. Pentagon 3, which contains the female convicts^ is q[uite 
shut off from the others, and opened with a separate key.'^ 

" We have two distinct forms of discipline here," continued the governor. ^' We pursue 
the separate system for the first six months, unless the medical officer certifies that the prisoner 
cannot bear it, in which case we remove him immediately into association. When t&e men 
are put together, the silent system is enforced — ^that is to say, we endeavour to enforce it ; for 
I need not tell you, that when seventy or eighty men are in the same place they are sore to 
talk, do what we may to prevent them. 

The governor here drew up a curtain, and showed us a large ground-plan of the poriiEmn, 
hanging on the wall. We expressed some surprise at its being covered, and inquired what 
purpose the curtain served. 

" The prisoners' eyes are so sharp," was the reply, " that they would understand the 
entire arrangement of the prison at once. They would discover the weak points of tiie 
building, and attempt to escape. We had one man here," he proceeded, '' named Balph 
(a regular Jack Sheppard), who tried to get out. He made fidse keys in his cell. The 
cocoa-mugs used at Ihat time to be made of pewter— we have thcon of tin now-<and 


he actoaUy melted the metal oyer his gaa-light, and then moulded ii into keys. I will show 
yon them;" and accordingly opening his desk, he took from it several rudely-made keys. 

"With these/' said the goyemoTy as he presented them to us in a hunch, '< he could have 
opened eyery door in the prison." 

Thisman, we learnt, was a most daring and desperate character, and the terror of eyery 
one he came near, when at liherty. We inquired how he behayed in the prison. 

" Be was as quiet as could be," was the governor's answer ; '* always well*behayed, and 
never abused any one." 

** Yon v^uld have thought butter would not have melted in his mouth," said the 
warder, when referred to for his corroborative testimony. *' He was quite an uneducated 
manyf' the officer went on to say; '^indeed, he got what little education he had from having 
been tranifported. 

The prisoners are sometimes very violent, but not often. ** Look at this hammock-ring," 
said the governor, as he produced a heavy iron ring, with a rope attached to it; '^you've heard 
of one of our men being nearly murdered ? Well, this i<i what it was done with," he said, 
giving it a gentie swing. '* Luckily, our man was very near to him, so he was not so much 
hurt as he might have been." 

** Here's another instrument for opening a bolt," and he then called our attention to an 
iron rod, formed out of two pieces, which were joined together with a hinge, like the handle 
of a lady's parasol, and could be doubled up together somewhat in the same manner. 

** They push this through the keyhole," he said, as he extended it before us, *' and let the 
further end drop. Then they move it about until they feel the bolt, and push it back." 

" I have been a number of years connected with prisons," pursued our informant, " and 
yet I find there's something firesh to be learnt every day. How they get the impressions o{ 
the locks must appear to strangers not a little wonderful. They do that witii a piece of soap." 

The conversation then took another turn. " We don't profess to teach anything here 
hut tailoring," the governor went on; ''but if they're shoemakers by trade they go to 
fihoemakdng, or, if they don't know any trade, perhaps we put them to pick coir. When a 
man attempts to commit suicide I always put him to pick coir, so that he may have neither 
toola, nor knives, nor needles to do any harm with." 

" It's a great thing," added the governor, '' to make a prisoner feel that he is employed 
on some useful work. Nothing disgusts a man, and makes him feel so querulous, as to let 
him know that he is labouring and yet doing nothing — ^like when working at the tread-wheel. 
I am of opinion that to employ men on work which they know and see is useful has the 
best possible effect upon men's characters, and much increases their chances of reformation. 
Every other kind of labour irritates and hardens them. After twenty thousand prisoners 
have passed through one's hands, one must have had some littie experience on such matters. 
There was a tread-wheel on the premises here, for the use of penal or second-probation 
men, and those only ; but its use has been discontinued for some months." 

All men of long sentences, or who are known to be of desperate disposition, are put in the 
middle floor of each pentagon, which is considered to be the strongest part of the prison, and 
bfldgee are given to prisoners who conduct themselves well. 

** On the first of every month," said the governor, '' the conduct-book is brought to 
me ; and in this is kept a list of all the men who have been six months in the prison. Here 
it is, you see, and in the first column is the register-number of each prisoner, in the 
aeoond his name, in the third his location in the prison, in the fourth his number of reports, 
and in the last column the folio of the book which contains those reports. liow, here's one 
man, you see, who has been rq^rted six times, so he wouldn't get a badge ; and here, at 
the eand of the book, is a list of those men who have been nine months in the prison, and 
who are to get a second badge. It's a great thing to a man," he added, "to get his badge, 


for if he goes from here without one, and in the tiiird claas, that entails six months' 
additiontd time before his name can be submitted for a ticket-of-leave." 

'' Oh, yes, it's a great thing/' chimed in the warder, ** to haye a badge. The men think 
a great deal of it, and feel the loss of it greatly." 

" We have first, second, and third class prisoners, according to their conduct," said the 
governor, *' and these classifications are made before the men go to the public works. The fact 
of a prisoner's being badged always shows him to be a well-behaved man ; but even when a 
man has behaved very badly, if he reforms at last, I give him a first-class character, or else 
he would become desperate on going down to the public works, and the governor would 
have a very hard time of it. Every man is also classed according to education when he 
goes away, but in that matter the first class represents the least educated." 

We were anxious to ascertain which class of criminals gave most trouble to the prison 
authorities. ** Sometimes," said the governor, in answer to our inquiries, *' the most despe- 
rate characters outside the prison are the best conducted inside the walls. It's the little, petty 
London pickpocket, who has been all his life at bad courses, that turns out the most difficult 
fellow of all to deal with. These characters are most troublesome. .They are up to all sorts 
of roguery and mischief; and we find the same thing when they come from the manufiEU^tor- 
ing districts. Your men who have committed heavy offences, and who are sentenced to 
some long punishment, are very amenable to discipline and most easy to deal with. Give me 
long-sentence men — I say it as the governor of a prison — ^they won't try to escape. Most of 
them have never committed another offence in the course of their lives; but the London pick- 
pockets have been at it all their lives, from their earliest childhood." 

'' There are not many cases of escape from prison now," said the governor, '* but I remem- 
ber two which occurred at -Dartmoor, in which some men succeeded in getting off. One of 
them got into a bog, and remained sunk in it up to his neck, while the officers were walking 
about close by, on the look out for him." 

^iv— y. 
The Interior of the Prison. 

%* 77ie Beeeption Ward. — After unlocking a "double-shotted" door, the warder, xmder 
whose charge we had been placed, conducted us into a long, lofty passage, like that of a 
narrow cloister, or rude whitewashed box-lobby to a theatre. On the right, higher than we 
could conveniently see, were the exterior windows of the pentagon ; on the left, the doors of 
the apparently infinite series of cells. 

These doors are double, the inner one being of wood and the outer one of iron lattice- 
work or "cross-bars." 

Every ward consists of two passages or sides of the several pentagons, and ranged along 
each passage are fifteen cells. The passages are fifby yards long, about ten feet high, and about 
seven wide, and all of equal size. They are paved and coloured white. The admixture, 
however, of a very slight bluish tint with the lime diminishes the glare of the whitewash. 

Along the wall over the cells runs a long gas-pipe, with branches which carry the 
gas into the cells themselves. Each cell is about twelve feet long by seven broad, and 
slightly vaulted. 

The inner door is left open in the day time fr^m nine till five, so that all semblance of 
a commimication with the world may not be taken away from the inmate. At night, however, 
or upon any misconduct on the part of the prisoner, the inner door is closed or " bolted up," 
as it is termed ; nevertheless, he can be seen by the jailer through a small vertical slit 
in the wall — like that of a perpendicular letter-box. Each cell is provided with a signal- 
wand, painted black at one end and red at the other, and the prisoner pushes one end of 



the wand throogh die alit, in order to eommonicate his wants to the warder — the black 
baling a special, asd the red a general, Bignifioation. 

At the top of each oell ia a ventilating aperture for the exit of the fool air, and in the 
centre of the paasage is a Tentilating fire, and an apparatus for introdacing hot air. 
Attached to the wall of the passage is a species of open rack, somewhat like a " press" 
without a door. We qnestioned the warder as to the use of this. 

" Oh, thsf B one of the anas' racks," he replied, " Tou remember the 10th of April, '48, 
and the Chartist riots. Wdl, we liad to 
give up the whole of pentagon 1 to the 
■oldiers ; we had the Gnards here, and 
that rack is where their anna stood. 
We had some of them here, too, for the 
Doke of Wellington's ftmeral ; bnt 
those racks were put here during the 
Chartist riots, and have never been 
moved since." 

At the end of the reception ward is 
the sm^ecm's room. Thia is merely a 
double cell, paved with flag-stones, and 
with a small door in the middle of the 
paztitian. AAer bathing, the new- 
coming prisoners are hrooght in here^ 
naked, and examined. They are then 
asked if they, or any of their iamily, 
have been insane. 

If the examiaatjon be satisfactoiy, 
a description of the priioner, witli a 
qtecificatiou of any private maika which 
mi^ be fbond on his body, is entered in 
• book. 

" Uoet parsons of bad repute," said 
Ute warder, "bave private marks 
stamped on them — ^mermaids, naked 
mrai and women, and the most extraor- 
dinary things yoD ever saw; they are 
marked like savages, whilst many of 
the regular thieves have five dots be- 
tween their thnmb and forefinger, as 

a aign that they belcmg to ' the forty raisoyER at wobk m axino bhoeb ik sepautb cell. 
thieves,' as they call it." 

The general description ent»ed in the suigeon's book states the height, the colour of th« 
hair, the hne of the complexion, and colour of the eyes. In the style of a fbreign passport— 
dte •' sMTTiMt jmpMwMtm" bemg, fof the most part, ralber more numerous than is the case 
with ordiBary travellers. 

At the end of the passage we come to the bath-room, which is situate in the centre of tha 
reception wards, and at lie base of the tower. The bath-room is drcnlar, and contains four 
batlu, the baths bdng in the pentagtm tower. To each pentagon thme ai« three such towers 
(one at each of the ftwit anglee), the foremost, or one in the middle, being called the 
"gCBOTal centre tower" of the ward. There is also another tower, in the centre of flie 
exercising yards within each pentagon, and this is styled " the warder's tower." 

Pentagons 1 and 2 are alike, and throughout of the strongest oonstruction. 


Pentagons 8 and 4, however, were originally built for women, and are of slighter 
construction ; though this is a compliment to the sex which unfortunately they have failed 
to justify, as the female convicts throughout the prison are pronounced '' fifty times more 
troublesome than the men.'* The ceUs here, too, are not vaulted like those of pentagons 1 
and 2, and the grated iron gates are less massive.* 

%* The Chain-room, — " Here," said the warder, as he opened the grating of one of 
the oeUs, in the lower ward of pentagon 1, and threw back the wooden door with a bang, 
"here is our chain-room, or armoury, as we call it." 

It was one of the ordinary cells, but literally hung in chains, which were arranged 
against the walls in festoons and other linear devices. In front of the window there was set 
out a fancy pattern of leg-irons, apparently in imitation of the ornamental fetter-work over 
the door of Newgate. The walls glittered with their bright swivel hand-cuffs, like stout 
horses* -bits, and their closely-linked chains like curbs, reminding one somewhat of the interior 
of a saddler's shop. But the brilliancy and lightness of some of the articles were in plaoee 
contrasted with a far more massive style of ironmongery, which appeared to have been 
originally invented for the ComwaU giants. A few of the manacles of the latter class 
were literally as large as the handle of a navigator's spade ; and there were two massive 
ankle-cuffs, with chains, such as highwaymen are supposed, by Yictoria dramatistB, to have 
danced in, but which would have effectually prevented all attempts at hornpipes on the part 
of any light-footed as weU as light-fingered gentlemen — ^weighing, as they did, something 
more than twenty-eight pounds. There were neck-pieces, too, heavy enough to break an 
ordinary collar-bone ; whilst everything was on so gigantic a scale, that we were struck by 
the absurdity even more than by the cruelty of such monstrous contrivances— even as 
the horrors of an. utterly extravagant melo-drama inspire us with mirth rather than 
fear. Still, there was something too real about the scene before us to induce any but 
the grimmest smiles, for by the side of the colossal swivel-ouffo, figure-of-dght-cu£B9> 
and iron waistbands which would have formed appropriate girths for Hie bronze horse, 
there were little baby handcuffs, as small in compass as a girl's bracelet, and about twenty 
times as heavy — objects which impressed the beholder with a notion, that in the days of 
torture either the juvenile offenders must have been very strong or the jailers very weak 
otherwise, where the necessity for manacling infants ? 

" They did not show much mercy to prisoners then,** said the warder, to whom we commu- 
nicated our reflections ; " and I can remember in my time, too, when the prison authorities 
weren't much better. I've seen a little boy six years and a half old sentenced to transporta- 
tion ; and the sentence carried into effect, too, though the poor child couldn't speak plain." 

The handcuff with bars attached, and ingeniously fashioned to represent the letter F — the 
chains as heavy as iron cables, and which were used for fastenii^ together entire gangs — ^the 
ankle-cuffs, which seemed adapted only for the ankles of elephants, were all shown to tmb, 
and we reflected with a sigh that this museum of fetters — ^this depdt of criminal harness — 
this immense collection of stupidities and atrocities in short — ^was not only a vestige of the 
sanguinary criminal legislation of the last century, but also a reminder of the discipline of 
our lunatic asylums as they existed at no very distant period. If it showed us what New- 
gate was until long after the days of Howard, it also suggested what Bedlam must have been 
previous to the accomplishment of Pinel's beneficent mission. 

** We never use anything here," said the warder, ** but a single cuff and diain. With 
one cuff," he continued^ ** I'd take the most desperate criminal all over England." 

We could not help expressing our satisfaction at the abandonment of so inhuman and 
useless a practice as that of loading prisoners with fetters which, independently of the mere 
weight, inflicted severe torture on them whenever they moved. 

* Pentagon 3 is at present alone let apart for lemale prieoneirB. 


', in Iron Blot Di (he nlrt. 

"Yea, it's given up everywhere now," was the reply, "except Scotland; and there they 
do it ttiS. The prisonerB vho come up to ua from Scotland have leg-irona and ankle-cuffs ; 
and the cul& are fostened on to them so tightly, that the people here have to knock away at 
them for some time with a heavy hammer before tbey can drive the rivets out. Occaaionally 
the hammer misaes the rivet, which fast^is the cuff, and hits the man's ankle. Any how, 
he must ooffer severe pais, aa the ouJGb are very tight and the rivets are always hammered 
in pretty hard." 

The most desperate and intractable prisoners, the warder informed us in the course of 
thu conversation, used formerly to be sent to Norfolk Island ; bat none had been transported 
time now for some years. The last who was consigned to that settlement was Mark 
Jefficy, the most daring ruffian they had ever had in Uillbank prison, and who ultimately 
attempted to murder the chief-mate of the hulk at Woolwich, wherenpon he was shipped 
off to Norfolk Island. 

" One man made an attempt to break prison here, ' ' continuod the warder, ' ' some years 
nnee, and with great auccees. It was not the man apokcn of with the false keys, but a fellow 
named William Howard, who was known to all his companions as ' Punch ' Howard. He 
ma in the in&mary for venereal at the time, and got through a window about nine feet 


^m the ground. With a knife he cut through the pivot which held the window, and 
£utened it up so hb to remain there until nighi He then forced back the iron frame, which 
was not more than six and a half inches square, and made it serve as a sort of rest, Uke the 
things used by painters for window-cleaning. This done^ he got upon it, tied his bed-clothes 
to it, and let himself down by them; after which he scaled t^e outer walls and went 
straight off to his mother's, at TTxbridge. I took him there in a brick-field. Of course, I 
didn't go into the brick-field where he had all his Mends, but I got his employer to call 
him out on some pretext, and then slipped a handcuff on him and brought ^™ back." 

%* The Cells at HtHbank. — ^Passing through a grated gate we came to the corridor, 
next to the general centre, and styled passage No. 1, that which we had just quitted being 
passage No. 2. The two passages are similar; at the end of passage No. 1, a brass bell is 
seen close to a door which leads to the warder's tower, and which is rung by the officers 
when the principal is wanted. In the next passage that we entered were located fho 
prisoners who were waiting for their tickets-of-leave, having just returned from Gibraltar— 
the " Gib " prisoners as they are called. 

On the grated gates of the cells here were the register-tickets of the men, with the name 
.of each written on the back. 

Two of the men in the first ceU rose and saluted us as we passed. Like the rest of the 
prisoners, they were dressed in gray jackets, brown trousers with a thin red stripe— the 
same as is introduced into most of the convict fabrics'^-blue orayats (also crossed with narrow 
brick-coloured threads), and gray Scotch-like caps. 

These prisoners were allowed to converse during the day, and to sit, two or three together, 
in each cell ; but they were separated at night. 

« You can take them away now," said the principal warder. '' Stand to your gates ! " 
the deputy exclaimed ; upon which the officer in the centre of the ward gave two knocks, 
when all the men turned out at the same time, closed their gates, and, in obedience to the 
warder's coromands to " face about," and ** quick march," went out into the yard to exer- 
cise, an officer being there ready to receive them. 

When the prisoners had left, we entered one of the cells. The odour of the walls we 
found of a light neutral tint. Beneath the solitary window, which, like all the cell win- 
dows, looked towards the " warder's tower," in the centre of the pentagon, was a little square 
table of plain wood, on which stood a small pyramid of books, consisting of a Bible, a 
Prayer-book, a hymn-book, an arithmetic-book, a work entitled ''Home and Common 
Things," and other similar publications of the Society for the Promotion of Christian Know- 
ledge, together with a slate and pencil, a wooden platter, two tin pints for cocoa and gruel, 
a salt-cellar, a wooden spoon, and the signal-stick before alluded to. Underneath the table 
was a broom for sweeping out the cell, resembling a sweep's brush, two combs, a hair-brash 
a piece of soap, and a ut^isil like a pudding-basin. 

Affixed to the waU was a card with texts, known in the prison as the '' Scripture Card," 
and a ''Notice to Convicts" also; whilst on one side of the table stood a washing-tub and 
wooden stool, and on the other the hammock and bedding, neatly folded up. The mat- 
tress, blankets, and sheets, we were told, have to be arranged in five folds, the colouied 
night-cap being placed on the centre of the middle fold; and considerable attrition is 
required to be paid to the precise folding of the bed-doihes, so as to form five layers of equal 
dimensions. The day-cap is placed on the top of the neat square parcel of bedding, which 
looks scarcely larger than a soldier's knapsack. 

" Up above, we have a penal-class prisoner in one of the refractory cells," said our 
attendant warder ; " the cell is not exactly what we call a dark one, but an ordinary cell, witii 
the windows nearly dosed up. The penal class prisoners are those who have been sent back 
from public works for committing some violent assault^ or for mutinous or insuboidhiate 


tondnci Tbay are XBtanied to us, by order of the directon, to undei^ vhat is called a 
' geatati probatioii.' When tiiey belong to the penal class, they are bolt^ up in thnr oella 
all day, aid treated with gteatei rigour than men under the ordinaty prison discipline." 

On reaching one oftLeoeoells, we fonnd the hammooksvvre replaced by iron bedsteads, or 
islher 1^ iron gratings resting on stone lapporte at either end, and the table and all the 
fdrnitnre plaoed in tjie corridor onbdde. 

"We pnt the faniitnre Uiere," said Hie warder, ''to prevent the ceiling being beaten 
down by the priaoner. We always take the foKnitoie ont of the refractory cells, and we 
like to haTO thoee oeUs eitoate (m the t«p floor, becaose the roo& there are mnoh stronger." 

Theee refractory cells lesembled the ordinary ones, except in two partioulars ; the 
vooden door was ootside, and was kept 
finnly closed oTcr the iron door or grating, 
while tiie windows were blocked np so 
« to admit only tlie sraalleet possible 
nnmber of rays. The warder threw open 
thedoorof one of the refractory cells, and 
asked the prisoner within how he was 
getting on. The man was nnder confine- 
ment for maUng nse of abnsiTe language 
to his officer. 

"He knew it was his temper," he 
said, as he spoke behind the grating, "but 
the; took him np so short ; he meant, 
howcTer, to become better if he conld." 

This prisoner was allowed half a 
ponnd of bread in the morning, end half 
a ponnd at night; he had nothing to 
drink bnt cold water. 

V Tht School-room. — "This ward," 
continned onr guide, as we passed 
throngjk another grated door, "leads to 
the goremor's room, where yon sat this 
fflonung, and here prisoners are placed 
who are brought np for report and have 
to be taken before him. The penal class 
ue aeaiched here befbre'they are taken 
in to the governor, in order to prevent 
their having anything secreted about 
them intended to injure flko governor. 
The gavemor adjudicates upon reportB 
erery morning." 

During the old penitentiary system, we may add, the prisoners used to remain at HiUbank 
&a three and four years—they were never sent away ; and when' they had done the whole of 
thdr ^obationary time, th«7 need to get their freedom as being thoroughly reformed characters, 
thon^ many of them have dnce returned and been transported. The officers in those days 
used to designate the extraordinary religions oonvicts as "pantdlers." The prisoners used to 
labrar as now, and, from being a long time in the one prison, became expert, and used to turn 
out a great deal of work. The officers in those days used to have to stand and road the Bible 
in the passages of the wards, while the prisoners were blackguarding them in their cells. 
The men tamed out hypocrites. The reverend governor had the management of the place up 


to AuguBt 1, 1843, when it became a convict prison. When it was a penitentiaryy or the 
''tench/' as the thieves called it, if convicts behaved with deception and pretended to be 
sorry for their ofEences, Ihey got their dischaige after a few years. Harry King, at Penton- 
ville, was one of this kind; he actually had a pair of green spectacles purchased for him, 
because he read his Bible so hard that his sight became injured by it. He pretended to 
be thoroughly reformed, but directly he got down to Portland he showed himself in his true 
character ; for he, with others, assaulted the officers and endangered their lives. 

Attached to every two pentagons there .is a school-room. The schools are divided into 
four classes, the fourth class being the highest. At one end of the school-room there are 
maps against the wall of the four quarters of the globe, and a table of Bible chronology; 
at the other is a tableau, representing the principal animals of creation, in which a 
very large whale (contrasted with a ^ery small man) occupies a prominent position. 

The prisoners, at the time of our visit, were seated in rows on either side of the middle 
passage, arranged on forms vrith one long continuous desk or sloping shelf before them. 
On a huge black board the following arithmetical proposition was chalked : — 

" What is the interest of £2726 Is. 4d. at 4^ per cent, per annum, for 3 years 154 

Here, too, a man of thirty was staring idiotically at the schoolmaster, as he endeavoured 
to teach him the painful truth, " that nine from nought you can't." 

\* Working in Ssparate Cells. — ^We now passed to the top floor of pentagon 2, whare the 
prisoners were employed in tailoring. In the first ceU, a boy was seated on his board making 
a soldier's coat. The gratings were closed, but the wooden doors were open. 

'' In the cells that you saw in pentagon 1," observed the warder, " the prisoners had 
hammocks. In some of Ihe wards, instead of hammocks they have an iron framewoik, 
resting at the head and foot on two large stone supports. Here, you see, we give them 
one of those boards, instead of the ironwork, so that they have a bedstead and a shopboard 
at the same time." 

The cells here had all the appearance of small tailors* workshops, and at the end of the 
passage there was a furnace for heating the irons which are used tor going over the seams 
of the garments made by the prisoners. 

In one of the cells here a convict was receiving religious instruction. The reverend 
instructor was reading to the prisoner, whom we heard, as we passed the cell, uttering his 
responses, in a solemn manner, from time to time. 

In this part of the prison we noted an old man, who appeared to have lost all capacity 
for taking an interest in work, or anything else, and who had, therefore, been put to pick 
coir. He was sitting down with his jacket off, and a heap of the brown fibre lying looee 
before him, and reaching nearly up to his knees. 

« This old man," said the warder " can't work much. When prisoners have no capacity 
for tailoring, have bad sight, or such like, we give them coir to pick." 

In a cell, where the Lustructing officer was presiding, several prisoners were engaged 
cutting out coats, stitching, and fitting in linings. 

** That boy, you see there, handles his needle well. How long have you been here, my 
man ?" inquired the warder. 

** Four months, sir !" 

" Ah, and you can make a coat now, eh ?" 

'' I think I can, sir," replied the boy. 

In another of the tailoring wards we noticed a cell with the wooden door closed. 

** There, you see, that man's been ' bolted up.' He's been talking with the other pri- 
soners, most likely, and so he has been deprived of the privilege of having his door open/' 

At the top of the martello-like tower, where the pails and tubs of each pentagon ara kept. 


is an immenee circular tank. *^ That's filled with water from Trafalgar Square/* said the 
warder. ** We used formerly to pump it up from a large reservoir, which was supplied from 
the Thames. Now it comes rushing in without any pumping at all.'' 

On the middle floor of pentagon 2 are the mechanics' wards. The prisoners were all at 
work there, either in the work-room, or in other parts of the prison, where repairs had 
to be effected. In this ward were painters, glaziers, coopers, hlacksmiths, carpenters, 
masons, bricklayers. 

The payement was striped with the light which came streaming through the grated doors 
of the cells ; but the windows in the passages were all darkened, to prevent the men seeing 
into pentagon 3, which contains the female convicts. 

"All the prisoners out of this ward," said our guide, as we entered another passage, 
" arc at school now ; you saw them up stairs. This ward is for tailors." 

" Here, now, are more good coats," he continued. '' These are for the officers of Dartmoor 
prison, and those for the navy." 

''How long has this man been at his work?" we inquired, in reference to one who 
appeared to be finishing oif his button-holes in a sufficiently artistic manner. 

"About ten months," was the reply; ''but we can soon see by looking at his register 

The warder, at the same time, turned up the small slip of card which was tied outside 

the grating of the cell, and read, " J ^ J ■ ■, penal class," the inscription on the 


"Ah, you see he is one of the penal class, who has reformed. He is not treated like 
the others, because, when one of the officers here was attacked, he went to the warder's assist- 
ance, and helped to save his life." The warder afterwards informed us, " the officer was 
attacked by four convict men as they came off the tread-wheel, and this prisoner stepped in 
and rescued him from their hands. That's why he's taken out of the penal class." 

" VeVe got C here, he who murdered his wife in the Minories, while he was 

dnink, on Christmas day last," the warder went on to say; ''he's a fine scholar — ^knows 
several languages — ^French, German, and Latin — and is a most quiet and respectable man. 
He had a capital situation in the India House, and was in the receipt of £150 a year. His 
father was Irish. He tells me he remembers nothing about the murder ; he was dead 
drank at the time. ' I know I must have done it, because everybody says so,' are the 
words he uses when he speaks of the affiur ; ' but it's all like a dream to me ! ' He was cast 
for death, and says he thanks the Sheriffi9, and Ordinary, and East India Company greatly, 
for it was through their intercession that he got off. I think he's sincerely repentant." (At a 
later part of the day we saw this man in his cell ; he was a dull, dark, bilious-looking fellow, 
and had anything but an intelligent cast of head). " I tell you, as the governor told you," went 
on the warder, " that the men who have the longest sentences are always the best behaved. 
We have several men who have never been in prison before, and who, if liberated, would 
behave very well. It's your regular Whitechapel thief— your professional pickpocket — ^who 
is all the trouble to us. Those old offenders are only in perhaps for a short time, but 
they ought never to be let go at all. Directly one of them gets out he meets some of his 
'pals,' and the first thing he hears is, ' I toy, I'm going to have a crack to-night; there'll 
be five or ten pounds for you out of it, if you like to come ;' and of course he goes. No ! 
those habitual professional thieves arc no good either in or out of prison; but they're 
safest in." 

" The first-ofifence men are sometimes very much to be pitied," continued the warder, 
"and I feel for solne of the soldiers we have here about as much as any of them. May-be 
a soldier has got drunk and struck his sergeant, and then ho gets sentenced to fourteen 
years for it; when very likely the morning after he'd done it, he knew nothing at all about 
the matter." 


'' This/' Baid the officer, coming to a halt, as we reached the oeatre of the ward, at the 
angle formed by the two passagesi '^ is the spot where poor Hall, one of the officers of the 
prison, had his brains knocked out. The man who did it is in Bedlam now. He was a 
Jew named !Francis, a regular Whitechapel thief, and no more mad than you or me*-at least 
he didn't seem to be when I saw him. He told me he meant to murder some one. Well, 
one day he put the black end of his signal-stick out of the cell, to tell the officer that he 
wanted to go to the closet. The officer let him out, and he came along here with his 
utensil in his hand. The officer was leaning 0T6r the trough, and the man came behind 
and knocked him oyer the head with it, and, when he was on the ground, regularly 
beat his brains out — ^there, just where we're standing. Those utensils are yeiy dangerous 
things ; some of them weigh nearly ten pounds. I Ve weighed them myself, so I 'm certain 
of it." 

The smell of leather and the sound of tapping informed us that we were entering the 
shoemakers' ward. 

^' How long have you been at shoemaking, my boy ? " inquired the warder of a lad who 
appeared to be hard at work in one of the cells we were then passing. 

<< Four years," replied the lad, speaking through the iron grating. 

"How old are you? " 

" Sixteen." 

*^ And how long have you been here, my man ? " 

" Only came in yesterday," replied the prisoner, starting and touching his cap. 

"This ward," we were told, "had earned more than £4 during the previous week." 
The instructing warder was present, with a long black apron over his uniform. In one of 
the cells, where the tapping was most vigorous, there were rows of new shoes on the floor ; 
a shoe-closer was in the comer, with bundles of black leather lying on the stones at his feet, 
and a small shoemaker's tray by his side. Another prisoner was twisting twine over the 
gas-pipe. Several of the men had all the appearance of regular shoemakers, and many wore 
leathern aprons, like blacksmiths. 

This ward and the next, that is to say, wards A and B of pentagon 2, are the only two 
wards where shoemaking is carried on in separation. 

" How do you do, Mr. Tickel?" said our attendant warder, as he passed the instructing 

In the dickers' department we found a collection of boot-fronts, rolls of upper-leather 
soles, and heaps of shoes, and in the cell next to it a man was rubbing away at a Wellington 
boot on a last. 

" You've got some good Welliagton boots here, Mr. Tickel, haven't you ?" said ihe 

" Yes,*' said Mr. Tickel, and leaving the grated gate he went into the cell, and came out 
wilh his hand thrust into a boot, which he offered to our inspection. 

" That's as good a boot," said he, with no little pride in the work, " as could be found 
in London. The leather looks a Httle rough now, but when it's been rubbed up it will be a 
flrst-rate article. The man who made it used to work at one of the West-end houses." 

"Now, here's a cell," remarked our guide, as he jingled his keys, "in which four or 
Ave of the men are at work together." 

He opened the door, and we found Ave prisoners ioside. 

"They are all good men," observed the officer, " and well-oonducted, so we let them 
talk a little so long as they are together." 

" But we have to work very hard," rejoined one of the prisoners as we left the oelL 

Having visited all the cell3 in pentagons 1 and 2, we were conducted into the artasans* 
shop, where coopering, polishing, &c., are carried on. The workshop is spacious, aixy, and 
light, with a roof supported by iron rods, like that of a railway terminus. 

1ffTT.T.BANg PBISON. 253 


Many of the artisans were away, in different parts of the prison, working in parties under 
the saperintendence of officers. Some dozen men, however, were filling the place with the 
sound of their hammers, and evidences of their labours were to be seen in all directions. 

"These backets," said the officer, '^ are for Chatham. Those are for shipboard." 

Ascending a flight of wooden steps we reached ihe carpenters' shop over-head, and this as 
UBnal, was pervaded by a strong turpentiny smell of deal. On the walls were hanging 
tools, plan^, &c. In the centre of the room were some half-dozen benches ; and at the 
end was the wooden skeleton of a sofa. A few prison tables were lying about, and one of 
the prisoners was employed in polishing a table of mahogany, which was intended for the 
residence of one of the superior officers. There were also several cart-wheels against the 

At a later part of the day we passed over pentagons 5 and 6, in many wards of which 
we found the men busy tailoring in single cells. In some of those (as pentagon 5, £ 2) were 
''light-offence men," we were told — " aU under ten years' transportation," said our informant. 
In other parts (as in pentagon 6, A 1) the men were hammock-making, and bag-making as 
well; whilst in others, again, there are a few older men coir-picking; ''those that have no 
capacity for tailoring, and are dull men, we set to picking coir, for they're not capable of 
doing anything else." Again, in pentagon 5, A ward, we found two men in the larger cells 
busy weaving biscuit-bagging; whilst another was seated on a boaid on the ground making 
a pilot-coat ; and a fourth prisoner winding bobbins for the two who were weaving. 

The cells in this ward were all devoted to '' bagging," and there were generally three 
prisoners in each cell. Here the passage rattled again with the noise of the loom, like the 
pulsation of paddle-wheels. And so again in B ward of ihe same pentagon, a similar rattle 
of looms prevailed, with the whirr of wheels winding bobbins and ringing through the 
psfisagesy tlLl the din reminded one faintly of Manchester. Here, too, in one large cell, 
was a calendar machine, where all the sacking was smoothed after being made, and three 
prisoners engaged in passing a newly-wove piece through the polished metal rollers. 

The quantity of work done at this prison far exceeds that at Pentonville, as may be seen 
by the subjoined returns.* 

On another occasion we were shown over the manufacturing department, and found 
the spacious warerooms there littered with bales of blue cloth for the officers' clothing. 
(" We're going to make aU the prison officers' uniforms for the first time," said the warder in 
attendance.) There were also rolls of shirting, sheeting, and hammock-stuff and straps, stowed 
away in square compartments round the room, and shoemakers' • lasts hanging ^m the 
ceiling over-head. Up stairs here was the cutting-room, with small stacks of the brown 
convict doth, at the ends of the room ; and beside the door, were square piles of fostian, 
ready cut up for ** liberty clothing," for the prisoners. 

** What coats are you cutting now, Mr. Armstrong ?" asked "Warder Power of the manu- 
facturer. ''Greatcoats for the 'Warrior Hulk,' and Chatham and Partmoor prisons; 
they're for the officers of each of those establishments." 

The clothing for ahnost all the public works, we were told — ^Dartmoor, Pentonville^ 
Chatham^ Portland, Portsmouth, and the Hulks — ^is cut and made at Millbank. 



greatcoats No*. 24,145 








• 99 


Flannel gannents 



Jicketo (MiUtU) 

• » 


Ttouacts (ditto) 




Belts . . . Ko. 264 
Poaches . . • „ 611 
Shirts . . . „ 186 
Navy flufihiog jackets „ 3,246 
Shoes • . PaixB 1,920 
Shoes repaired . . „ 4,047 
Bificaitbags£or^^aYy,No. 414,206 

Beds . . . No. 332 
Pillows . . . „ 332 
Hammocks ... „ 804 
Miscellaneous articles „ 10,198 
Cloth woven . . Yards 2,712 
Handkerchiefs woven „ 967 
Bagging woven . „ 103,720 


<' These arc flannels, to be cat and made up for public works, too. Some hundreds of 

thousands of yards of flannel are cut up here annually. Every convict has two sets of flan- 
nels given to him directly he comes in here. The female prisoners here work for the large 
slop-shops in the city." 

In the centre of the warehouse below stood square bales of fuzzy coir, for making beds, 
and bright tins hanging against the waU. 

''What orders have you got in now, Mr. Armstrong ?'' our attendant aaked, anxious to 
glean all the information he could for us. 

''Five hundred pairs of shoes for Chatham,'* was the reply. 

** What have you here ?" inquired the other, as he placed his hand on several bales of 

** They're Ave hundred suits of clothing, packed up ready, to go down to the new prison 
at Chatham the moment they're wanted. Everything connected with Chatham-— H)lothing 
and bedding — is supplied here." 

"How many biscuit-bags are you making now weekly for Deptford?" was the next 

'' Only 3,000 now ; but in the time of the war we made 20,000 a week, and wove the 
stuff too. Those are all the hammocks for Chatham, ready to be sent down as well." 

Here the manufacturer led us to a large stock of e^oes, stored in bins, as it were, in one 
comer of the room. 

'* These with the hobnails are for Chatham, and these for 'Establishment' — ^thaf s our 
term for Millbank. Yonder*s a roll of blue and white yam, you see, ready for shirting and 
handkerchiefs. Yes, sir, our female prisoners do a great deal of work for slop-shops. We 
work for Jackson in Leadenhall Street ; Early and Smith, Houndsditch ; Stephens and dark, 
Paul's Wharf, Thames Street ; Favell and Bousfield, St. Mary Axe ; both shirts and coats 
We do for them. We do a great deal of Moses' soldiers' coats, and Dolan's marine coats, too. 
We take about £3,000 a year altogether from the slop-shops. We have had as many as 
1,000 soldiers' coats in a week to do for Stephens. Those, sir, are some of Favell's shirts," 
he added, pointing to a bundle near the door. " They're what are called rowing-shirts. 
It's only a mere trifle they give for making, them — ^fourpcnce a-piece — and just see what 
work's in them. We made soldiers' trousers for Moses at twopence-hali^nny a-piece ; but 
that didn't pay." 

From the manufactui^ers' department we passed to the steward's department next door. 

" This is the steward, sir," Warder Power said, as he introduced us to that officer. 

" I pay all moneys for the prison," the steward replied, in answer to our question, as 
soon as we entered the office, "and take account of clothing, provisions, necessaries of 
every sort, and pay all the warders, too, every week. Everything the warders require 
they must come to me for. They get an order signed by the governor, and 1 execute it. 
If the manoifacturer wants any materials I issue them ; and when he has made anyihing he 
sends it in to me, and I issue it to the officers according as it is required. This I do only 
of course upon authorized demands signed by the governor. Here is an example, you eee, 
sir : — 

" Pentagon 2. " Millbank Prison, 2Ath June, 1856. 

** Demand. No. 

"JTr. Geddes^ 

'* Supply the undermentioned articles :— * 

'' 2794, R A , to have spedacJes, ly orieir of the mtgem. 

" -4. 7F. Sutherland, Principal Warder. 

(Signed)* ''John Qamlier"' {Got.) 


**1 pay about £1,200 a montli/' the steward went on, "more or less. Sometinies I 
hare known it to be £1,600 and £1,800, but it's generally about £1,200. A great part of 
the tradesmen's biUs is paid direct by the paymaster-general. The authorities in Parlia- 
ment Street make demands on that office for such amounts. It's likewise part of my depart- 
ment to take ohaige of any money or property the prisoners may haye on coming in, and also 
to make up accounts of the money the prisoners have earned while in prison, in case of their 
going away ; not that any money passes here, for it's merely a nominal transaction, and placed 
to their credit against their time being up, when it is paid to them. Each prisoner before 
leaying here signs his account with me in acknowledgment of its being correct; and then 
that account passes on to the place where he goes. Here, you see, is such an account : — 

" 2670, J H Amount of private cash — 6d. Gratuity — none. Property 

belonging to the prisoner — 1 hair-hrush, 1 tooth-hruth, 2 combs." 

** This mau is leaving for PentonviUe to-morrow. Some men come and claim their 
property years afterwards," said our attendant. 

We glanced over the account. One man in the list of the convicts going to Pentonville on 
the morrow was down, under the head of property belonging to him, for a watch and chain, 
and many had a comb and brush, but few any money. Among the whole fifty there was 
only A». \0d. appertaining to them, and nearly the half of that was the property of one man. 
Against the name of the man who had recently been condemned to death for the murder of 
his wife, while in a fit of intoxication, on Christmas day (and who had been respited only 
the day before that appointed for his execution), there were seven books down as his pro- 

The steward then showed us round the stores. '' These drawers," said he, approaching 
a large square chest in the centre of the room adjoining the office, ^' are fdU of a little of 
everything. These are our knives, you see," he said, puUing out a drawer, fdU of tin 
handleless blades. '' Those are the best things ever introduced here," the warder at our 
side exclaimed with no little enthusiasm. '^ It's impossible to stab a man with those, for 
they double up directly they're thrust at anything, and yet they'll cut up a piece of meat 
well enough." 

"Here's the wine for the sick," the steward continued, as he drew out another drawer 
that was filled with a dozen or so of black bottles, with dabs of white on the upper side. 
" These gutta-perdia mugs are for the penal-class men ; but they're no good for cocoa, for they 
double up with anything hot, so the tins in which the breakfiist is served to the penal 
men are collected immediately afterwards." 

"Here, you see, are the prison groceries," said the steward's assistant, opening a cup- 
board, and Growing a row of green- tea canisters. .''Here, too, in the outer office, the meat 
is inspected by the steward, and weighed in his presence every morning." 

" These haricot beans," added the man, taking up a handM out of a neighbouring sack, 
** are what we serve out to the men now instead of potatoes ; they have them every other day." 

" Here are bins of cocoa, flour, oatmeal, rice ; and above, on the shelves, there are 
new cocoa cans.* In that cask we keep molasses to sweeten the cocoa ;" and, as the man 
removed the deep-rimmed wooden lid from the barrel, the place was immediately filled with 

* The foUowing is the ftuthorized dietary for this prison : — 

Dm Table. 
Breakout. Dinner. Supper 








,p|niofcoco.,«j.aowi.h 6o..»e.t(wid.o«tW ^ «"»* t'f SS^eJ^^^i^^^ 

\ o«. of cocoa nibs, } oz. and after boiling), 1 lb. - gweetened with h 

molaasee, 2 02. milk, and notatocB, and 6 oz. mola^ee, and 8 o»! 

8 ox. breod. bread. bread 

Punisbn^ent Piet:— 1 lb. of bread per day. 


the p^uHar smell of treacle. ''This store, sir, is devoted to the general line/' the assistant 
went on, as we passed into another room. ** Here are hearthstones and candles, Bath-bricks, 
and brushes, and starch, and blacklead," he added, opening the drawers, one after another, 
and pointing to the racks at the side of the store-room. " There, you see, are our wooden 
salt-cellars, and those are black coal-scuttles, hanging over-head ; indeed, we keep every- 
thing, I may say." 

'* But cradles !" added our guide, with a smile — *' though some years ago we did have a 
nursery attached to the female ward.'* 

%* Peculiar Wards. — ^In Millbank there are a number of peculiar wards, such, for instance, 
as " the penal-class ward" («.#., the men under punishment), which is situate in D ward of 
pentagon 4, and where there are always two officers on duty, and the cells are continually 
bolted up. 

** There are very few of them here now," said the warder, as we passed along the passage, 
and found the greater part of the doors xmclosed. '' The prisoners in this ward are supplied 
with gutta-percha ntensils (for the others are too dangerous for such men as we put here), 
but, with that exception, the cells and Aimiture are the same." 

At one door that we came to, there was the roister number attached, whilst on the back 

of the card was written the name, " J L— — , Penal Class." We peeped through 

the inspection slit, and saw a young man, with his coat off, pacing the cell, and reminding 
one of the restlessness of the polar bear at the Zoological Gardens. ' Then we came to another 
cell, which was occupied. Here the officer looked through the slit, and said to the inmate, 
'' What ! Bxeyou here? Why, you were one of the best-conducted lads I had in the prison. 
What did you do ?" 

" It was my own temper," was the reply. 

'* What was it for, then ?" 

" Oh, I was mutinous, and insulted an officer." 

" Did you strike him ?" asked the warder. 

"Why, yes, sir; TU tell you the truth — ^I kicked him." 

" Ah ! I thought so, or you would not have come here." 

"Well, I don't want to come here any more, that's all." 

"All the penal class," said our guide, " are between twenty and thirty. It's seldom or 
never that old men get among them. They're all able-bodied fellows." 

"Did you get your rations to-day, my man?" inquired our warder of another under 

" Yes, sir; and on Tuesday I come out, don't I?" 

" Ay," answers the officer, and closes the door. " He's one of the penal class," he adds 

" But he seems civil enough," said we. 

" Yes," was the reply, " so he is to me ; but to others he's quite the reverse." 

Before quitting this part of the prison we peeped at' another cell, and found another 
man, with his coat off and arms folded, pacing his cell in a furious manner. 


SreakfeH. — } pint of cocoa, made with i oz. cocoa nibs, i ob. molaasea, 2 ob. milk, and 6 oz. bread. 
Dintier, — (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday).— 4 o£. meat (wiUiOtat 

bone and after boiling), i lb. potatoes, and 6 ob. bri»d. 
Si^9per,^l pint of gruel, made with 2 ob. of oatmeal or wheaten flour, sweetened with i os. of molasses^ and 

8 OB. of bread. 
Viet for Dritanen under ISmishmentfar iVwon Ofineetfor terms not exeeedinff three daife,-^! lb. of bread duly. 

The foregoing dietary for the Millbank Prison I hereby certify as proper to be adopted. 

6. Gbxt. 


There are also many Catholic wards in Millbank prison. These are mosilj situate in 
pentagon 4 (D ward) and pentagon 5 (D and P wards). 

*' There's nothing particular in this ward/' says our guide, as we reach the middle floor of 
pentagon D 4 ; '' only it's a Catholic ward, and tailoring is carried on in it." 

The warder lifts up the register number at the ceU-door and shows us the name of the 
imnate, with EC, meaning Boman Catholic, appended to it. 

" Please, sir," says a little Irish boy, crying, as we reach the end cell, '* will I go away 
fipom here before IVe served all my time ?" 

The warder tells him that if he's a good lad he'll go to the Isle of Wight, and learn a 
kade, and come out a better fellow than if he was with his father or mother. 
The boy smiles through his tears, and says, ''Oh, thank you, sir." 
" Those in D ward here," says the warder to us as we go, '* are the worst class of pri- 
soners. The Eoman Catholic prisoners are generally tiie very dregs of society, and the most 
ignorant of all the convicts we get ; they keep for ever tramping through the country when 
they're out. Many of these boys will maintain five and six people outside the prison. Some 
of them tell me they get as much as forfy pounds a week, reg^arly, by picking pockets of 
fiist-rate people, and being covered by men who go out as ' stalls ' with them to receive the 
property as soon as they've stolen it." 

The Catholic prisoners go to school on Wednesday and Saturday, and receive instruction 
from their priest on Sunday and Wednesday. They're supplied with all Catholic books 
that the priest allows. 

Adjoining the school-room to pentagons 5 and 6 there is a small room for the Catholic 
clergyman, where the prisoners of that faith confess. The priest also addresses the prisoners 
in the school-room for about an hour before school begins at three o'clock. The place of 
worship for the Protestant prisoners, we may add here, is a polygonal building, situate in 
the very centre of the prison itself. It is entered by three raised passages or arcades, that 
stietch like rays from the central edifice to the surrounding pentagons. 

" The passage on the right," said the warder, " leads to pentagons 1 and 2 ; the one on 
the left communicates with pentagons 5 and 6. The prisoners from those two pentagons fill 
the floor of the chapel, and the*other passage is for the prisoners of pentagons 3 and 4, who 
occupy the gallery." We attended Divine service here, and found the prisoners both 
attentive and well-conducted. 

" This is the convalescent ward," said our warder, as we entered the place ; '' it's a portion 
of the inflrmary, where men are located when they get better, or if their disease is in any 
way contagious." 

Outside the doors of the cells here were tin tablets for the names of the inmates to be 
inserted, with the date of their admission. 

In one cell that we peeped into, through the inspection slit, we saw a man in bed and 
oihen sitting beside him, while some were lying dressed on the other beds, of which 
there were six in aU. 

The other cells were similar to the large or treble cells that we had already seen. In 
one such cell that we peeped into, we saw the wretched little deformed dwarf that murdered 
the solicitor in Bedford Eow. He was by his bedside, on his knees, apparently in the act of 
prayer. On the tablet outside was written — 

•' 2525, C W , 

Admitted 7th May, '56. 
Pentagon 6." 
The warder told us that this was a favourite attitude with the wretched humpback, and that 
he told him he knelt down to ease his head. 

"My q>inion is," added the warder, "he's insane. He's not one of the riotous 
lunatics, but one of the quiet, sullen kind." 


We were about to peep iato fuioliier cell in the next passage, when the warder pulled us 
back, saying " Be careful, sir! that 's a blackguard fellow in there. He 's broken all his cell 
repeatedly, and is one of tiie most desperate men on the face of God's earth. You 'd better 
mind, or he '11 throw something out upon you if he sees you looking." The man was lying 
down when we first peeped through tiie inspection slit, but hearing voices he jumped up, 
and commenced pacing to and fro in his cell. " He 's a young fellow, too — is n't he, sir ? 
He 's one of those uncultivated brutes we get here occasionally, that doesn't know B from a 
bull's-foot, as the saying is, and wants only hoofs and horns to make a beast of him. Yon 
had better come away, or he's sure to job something out through the inspection slit, and 
perhaps blind you for life ; nothing would please him better." 

\* Jtefraetaty and Bark Cells, — At Millbank there is one refractory cell to each pen- 
tagon, and this is always on the top floor. These have a little Ught admitted to them. The 
dark cells, however, occupy the basement of pentagon 5, and are nine in number. There are 
also nine dark cells in pentagon 6 ; but these are not considered healthy, and therefore not used. 

'' Would you like to see the dark cells ?" inquires our attendant, after he has shown us 
into the kitchen of pentagons 5 and 6, where the sand on the flagstones is worked in curioos 

Immediately the light is obtained, we sally into the entrance of pentagon 5, and then, 
turning sharply round, our guide says before we descend — ''You must mind your hat 
coming down here, sir." The officer leads tiie way, with the flaming candle in his hand. 

On reaching the bottom of the low and narrow staircase, the way lies along a close 
passage, so close that we are almost obliged to proceed sideways. Then we come to a small 
door. '' Now stoop, sir," says the warder ; and, as we do so, we enter a narrow, oblong cell^ 
somewhat like a wine-cellar, and having the same fiingusy smell as belongs to any under* 
ground place. 

'' What is that noise over-head ?" we ask. '' It sounds like the quivering of a legion of 

'' Oh, that's the weavers' looms," is the answer. 

The place is intensely dark — ^the candle throws a faint yellow glare on the walls for a 
few paces round ; but it is impossible to see clearly to the end even of the cell we are in. 

'' There's a fellow in the cell who pretends to be mad," says the warder. '' He declares 
that they put something in his soup, and that there's a dreadful smell in his cell." 

We inquire whether the cell in which he is confined is completely dark ? '' Dark ! " is 
the answer. '' It's impossible to describe the darkness — it's pitch black : no dungeon was 
ever so dark as it is." 

''A week in such a place," we add, ''must bring the most stubborn temper down." 
" Not a bit of it," returns our guide. " The men say they could do a month of it on their 
head — that's a common expression of their's. We had a lot of women down here for disor- 
derly conduct once. We couldn't keep them up stairs. But our punishment is now nothing 
to what I've seen here formerly. Our governor is so lenient and kind a man to prisoners, 
and even officers, that there's a great change indeed." 

The men are visited in the dark cells every hour, we were told, " for a man might hang 
himself up, or be sick," Eaid our infoimant. "Those round air-holes are for ventilation, 

The bed is the same as at PcntonviUe ; a bare wooden couch just a foot above the grouxid, 
the cell boarded, and not damp. 

The preceding conversation took place in a kind of dark lobby, or ante-chamber, outside 
the cell itself. Presently the warder proceeded to unbar the massive outer door, and, 
throwing this back, to talk with the wretched man, through the grated gate, imprifoned 


'* Now, my man/' said the warder in a kindly voice, " why don't you try and be a 
better fellow ? Tou know I begged you off six days last time, and then you gave me your 
word you would go on differently for the ftiture." 

" Well, I know I did," was the reply, *' and I kept my word, too, for three weeks ; 
but now I am with men I can't do with any way." And, having delivered himself of this 
speech, the wretched man proceeded to pace the cell in the darkness, with his hands in his 

" They tried to kUl me at Dartmoor," he muttered, " and now they're going to finish it." 

''Oh, nonsense!" said the warder, aside; "you behaved well enough under me when 
you were here before, and why can't you do so now?" The door was closed upon the 
wretched convict, and we ascended the body of the prison once more.* 

%* Ouariing of the Prison hy Nighty Opening the Gates, and Cleaning the CeUs and Paesagei 
in the Moming. — ^The official staff at Millbank is composed of 2 chief warders, 9 principal 
warders, 80 warders, and 62 assistant warders, in all 103 officers, so that as the ftill com- 
plement of prisoners at this jail consists of 1,100 males, there is upon an average 1 officer to 
nearly every 11 men, whilst at Pentonville the proportion of officers to men is but 1 to 18. 
One-half of the warders remain in the prison one night, and the other half the next. One 
officer is deputed by the principal warder to remain in charge of the " Pentagon (or warder's) 
Tower," and he holds the keys to answer the alarm-bell in case of fire or outbreak. The 
other officers, who remain in to form a guard, sleep in the main guard-room — a place with broad 
sloping benches, similar to those seen in t£e guard-room of barracks. There is a bell from 
all the pentagons leading to the principal guard-room, so that the officers can be immediately 
summoned in case of alarm. There are nine night officers on duty in pentagon 4, on 
account of its containing several large '< associated rooms," but in the other pentagons, there 
are only two, and in some instances but one, on night duty — ^in addition to the officer 
stationed in the tower. Besides these there is another officer under arms in the exercising 
yards of each pentagon, and two sentries stationed in the garden surrounding the prison. 

The outer guard-room, which is a kind of rude porter's lodge, on the opposite side to 
the gate-keeper's room at the principal entrance, is furnished with a stand of carbines, 
ranged in racks along one side of the wall, and a string of cutlasses on a padlocked chain, 
hanging down like a fringe below. Here the sergeant of the outer guard remains all night. 
(<« This is ICr. Lenox," said our guide, as he introduced us to the officer in question — '' he 
has been an q^d soldier himself, sir"). A rude square wooden arm-chair drawn up before 
the fire seemed to point out the veteran's resting-place. " He visits," our attendant went 
on, " the sentries in the garden at stated hours throughout the night, nor does he take 
his sentries off till it is reported to him that all the prisoners are present in their cells in 
the morning. The reporting is done in this way, sir:-— At a quarter before six all the 
warders who have slept out of the prison are admitted at the gates, and then the officers in 


with a Cat 

_j-,. . (witliaUat 

^^PJ^lwithaBinOi . . 

InHandetdb .... 

T\ t. n 11 J ^i*h BatioM . 
Dark CeU J ^ ^^^ ^^ ^^^^ 

•n * #^ « ( ^i*h Bationa . 

Kefiractory CeU J ^^ ^^^ ^^ ^^^^^ 

On Bread and Water Diet 
Deprived of one Meal 































1,001 447 1,448 


charge of the several warders' towers let them into the wards of their respectiye pentagons, 
when they one and all go round and knock at the different cells, as a notice for the prisoners 
to put out their signal-sticks — (this is expected to be done inunediately after the first beU 
nngs at five minutes to six). The warder then counts the signal-sticks, and if he finds all 
the prisoners under his charge are present in their cells, he reports his ward as all correct 
to the principal warder of the pentagon, whose duty it is to be in his tower at six o'clock. 
The principals then proceed to the sergeant of the main guard, and report ' all correct,' or 
the contrary, to him ; whereupon he communicates as much to the sei^ant of the outer 
gusffd, who at six waits at the inner gate for orders, and then the garden sentries arc 

In addition to the outer guard-room, with its stand of arms, there is also an arm-room 
at the inner gate. This is curiously enough placed in a kind of loft above the bed-room of 
the inner gate-keeper, so as to be of difficult access to the prisoners, in case of an outbreak ; 
thia gate-keex)er's bed-room is on one side of the archway opposite to the lodge in which he 
rests by day, and where there is likewise a stand of three or four blunderbusses kept 
in a rack, ready loaded, to be given out to each warder passing this gate with a party of men. 

In the little triangular bed-room of the porter we found a tall slender ladder resting 
against the wall, near the tidy white oounterpaned bed, that was turned down ready for the 
night, and a smaU trap-door let into the ceiling. The ladder was placed at the edge of the trap, 
so that we might inspect the apartment above. The hole was not large enough to allow our 
body to pass, so, standing on the top rungs, we thrust our head and shoulders into the room, 
and found the walls covered with rows of dumpy thick-barrelled blunderbusses, and bright 
steel bayonets and horse-pistols, with a bunch or two of black-handled cutlasses at the top. 
Beside the window were a vice and a few tools for the repairing and cleaning of the weapons, 
and in the ceiling above another trap was visible, leading, we were told, to a similarly- 
stocked apartment on the upper floor. 

At six o'clock the second beU begins, and this is the signal for unlocking ; whereupon 
the prisoners are turned out of their cells, and the cleansing operations for the morning: 
begin. For this purpose the men are turned out three at a time to empty their slops, and 
then to sweep their ceUs into the adjoining passage. 

The process of cleaning the prison at Millbank differs but slightly from that of Penton- 
viUc. It forms, of course, the first portion of the day's work, and is executed by the 
prisoners, each man having to clean out his own cell, and some few being ''told off" for 
the sweeping of the passages as well as the court-yards. 

One of our visits to Millbank prison began as early as half-past six in {he morning, at 
which time we found the court-yards and passages alive with cleaners. In the outer court- 
yard was a gang of men and a warder, the latter armed with a carbine, the brass barrel of 
which flashed in the light as he moved to and fro ; for it is the custom at Millbank as we have 
said, to allow no prisoner outside the inner gate, unless attended by an officer under arms. 
Here the men were engaged in tidying the gravelled area; one was rolling the ground — ^the 
heavy metal cylinder that he dragged after him emitting a loud, metallic crushing noise as he 
went ; another was drawing along behind him a couple of brooms, ranged side by side, and 
so lining the earth almost as regularly as the sky of a wood-engraviag, till it showed the 
marks of the comb, as it were, as distinctiy as the hair of a newly- washed charity boy. 

" Those men you see there," whispered our guide as we passed, '' are short-sentence 
men ; for they have, of course, the least disposition to escape. Some are ifi only for four or 
five years — anything under ten years we consider a short sentence, and such men only axe 
put to clean in the yards. Again, they are all men in association, and who have therefore 
gone through their probation in separate confinement, so that we have some knowledge of 
tiieir character and conduct before they are let out even thi^ far." 

Then, as we passed the inner gate, we came upon more men sweeping, and raUisg, and 


the other court-yardB, whilst in the passages we encountered prisoner after prisoner, 
each down on his knees, and, with his jacket off, scouring away at the flags with sand and 
holystone. On entering the warders' tower, too— the martello-like building that stands 
in the centre of the exercising yards within each pentagon — the boards of the circular 
apartment were a dark-brown, with their recent washing. ^^Here," said our informant, 
" the officers of this pentagon dine. The tower is in charge of an acting principal warder, 
and he is responsible that all doors leading to it are ' double-shotted.' "No person can go in 
and out without his permission, excepting a superior officer, who has similar keys." 

Against the walls, here, was a fanciful placard, drawn in red and blue ink, which, we 
were told, was a general roll of all prisoners located in the pentagon ; and here, too, was 
affixed, near the door, another written document, headed ** Goyernob's Obdeb — Scale for 
Cleaning TFards.*** We went up-stairs to the principal warder's room, and found the officer 
in hlB ahipi-Bleeves buirr writing out Bome official papers for tho morning. 

%* JBreakfast, Sfc. — The cleaning of the prison lasts up to twenty minutes past seven, 
and at twenty-five minutes the bell rings to prepare for the serving of breakfast. 

There is a cook-house to every two pentagons, situate on the ground-floor, at the point 
where the sides of the neighbouring pentagons join. The principal warder who accompanied 
us on our rounds, knocked with his keys against the door as we approached one of the kitchens. 
We entered, and found it a sufficiently spacious apartment, the floor of which was brown as 
the top of a custard, with its fresh coating of sand. The warder-cook was habited in the 
approved white jacket and apron, and had Ave prisoners under him, who were dressed in 
the prison gray trousers and tick-like check shirts, and had each a leathern *' stall," or pad, 
about their knees. Here were large black boilers, with bright-red copper lids, at the end of 


9th January J 1856. 

Mendajf Morning. — ^The officers of the wards will oommenoe their duties at 6*55, by seeing (between first 
Aod second bells) that all prisoners pat out signal-sticks ; and they will report to the principal or tower warder 
at 6 AJC. (when second bdl zings) if all is correct or otherwise. They will then lock the gates at the end of 
their wards, and the centre gate, leading to No. 2 passage. They will next commence unlocking the gates and 
unbolting the cells themselves in No. 1 passage, calling out prisoners throe at a time, to empty slops, taking 
care that only one at a time enters tho closet. When all the prisoners have emptied their utensils, and 
awept out their cells into the passage, they will then direct the prisoners to place their dirty linen on their 
oell-gates, and to show each article separately. Then they will take a prisoner with them, who will carry the 
linen ba