Tag Archives: prison

Harty Henry

Harty Henry came before the Surrey magistrates in August 1823 charged with stealing a hat and two umbrellas from the Nag’s head in Southwark.  A clerk, Robert Sharp, gave evidence: I was going into my master’s counting house.  I met … Continue reading

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The Exercise Yard

The journalist Henry Mayhew visited Brixton in the 1850s, when the prison was reserved for convict women.  He wrote this about the exercise (then known as ‘airing’) yards: The airing yards at this prison have little of the bare gravel … Continue reading

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The Lord Mayor of Cork and the Ten Shilling Note

The death of Terence MacSwiney was an international event that took place in the most private of places. The Lord Mayor of Cork was brought into Brixton prison on 18th August 1920.  He had been on hunger strike for almost … Continue reading

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A Doodlebug Hits Brixton

  The V1 rocket was Hitler’s revenge.  Between June and September 1944 around 9,500 of these flying bombs were launched on London – some 100 a day. Their characteristic high-pitched sound led to them being dubbed ‘buzz bombs’ or ‘doodlebugs’. … Continue reading

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Baked Beans and Air Raids – Brixton during World War II

Brixton remained a remand prison during the second world war.  Among its inmates were deportees, prisoners of war, conscientious objectors and debtors. The local magistrates still inspected the prison weekly.  Their duties included monitoring general cleanliness and the quality of … Continue reading

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The Oyster Eater – Brixton’s Hungriest Prisoner

One day he walk’d up to an oyster stall, To punish the natives, large and small; Just thirty dozen he managed to bite, With ten penny loaves – what an appetite! But when he had done, without saying good day, … Continue reading

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Resurrection Men – The Body Snatchers of Brixton

Life in the early nineteenth century was cheap.  Death could be more profitable.   On a Wednesday in November 1825, the watchman of Vauxhall Chapel, Michael Jones, was approached by three men.  After a little conversation one of them said: … Continue reading

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