Tothill Fields Bridewell

Prison in/near Westminster, existed between 1618 and 1884

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Prison · Westminster · SW1P ·
August
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2017

Tothill Fields Bridewell (also known as Tothill Fields Prison and Westminster Bridewell) was a prison located in Westminster between 1618 and 1884.

Wood engraving showing mothers, with their children, exercising at Tothill Fields Prison, London. Shelfmark: Crime 9 (64)
Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9228986
It was named ’Bridewell’ after the Bridewell Palace, which during the 16th century had become one of the City of London’s most important prisons. Tothill Fields later became the Westminster House of Correction.

Like its City counterpart, the Westminster Bridewell was intended as a "house of correction" for the compulsory employment of able-bodied but indolent paupers. It was enlarged in 1655, and during the reign of Queen Anne, its regime was extended to cover the incarceration of criminals.

In 1834 the original Bridewell was replaced by a larger prison, on a different site, 8 acres in area, south of Victoria Street and close to Vauxhall Bridge Road. The new prison, designed by Robert Abraham and costing £186,000, was circular in plan (following Jeremy Bentham’s ’panopticon’) so that warders could supervise prisoners from a central point, and had a capacity of 900 prisoners. After it was completed, the old prison was demolished.

At the back of Middlesex Guildhall in Little Sanctuary is the 17th century ’The Stone Gateway’, positioned there by the Greater London Council in 1969. This is the only visible remnant of the prison.

Originally the Bridewell comprised three separate gaols for untried male prisoners and debtors, male convicts, and women. Inmates were put to work oakum-picking and treading the treadmill, and it operated on a silent/separate system. However, due to poor management, the regime was changed in 1850 and the Bridewell then housed only women and convicted boys under the age of seventeen.

The second prison was closed in 1877, when prisoners were transferred to Millbank Prison, and was demolished in 1885. Westminster Cathedral, started in 1895, now stands on the site. The prison’s foundations were re-used for the cathedral.

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Wood engraving showing mothers, with their children, exercising at Tothill Fields Prison, London. Shelfmark: Crime 9 (64)
http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9228986


Pauline jones
Pauline jones   
Added: 16 Oct 2017 19:04 GMT   
IP: 86.136.68.202
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Post by Pauline jones: Bessborough Place, SW1V

I grew up in bessborough place at the back of our house and Grosvenor road and bessborough gardens was a fantastic playground called trinity mews it had a paddling pool sandpit football area and various things to climb on, such as a train , slide also as Wendy house. There were plants surrounding this wonderful play area, two playground attendants ,also a shelter for when it rained. The children were constantly told off by the playground keepers for touching the plants or kicking the ball out of the permitted area, there was hopscotch as well, all these play items were brick apart from the slide. Pollock was the centre of my universe and I felt sorry and still do for anyone not being born there. To this day I miss it and constantly look for images of the streets around there, my sister and me often go back to take a clumped of our beloved L

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Westminster

Westminster - heart of government.

While the underground station dates from 1868, Westminster itself is almost as old as London itself. It has a large concentration of London’s historic and prestigious landmarks and visitor attractions, including the Palace of Westminster, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and Westminster Cathedral.

Historically part of the parish of St Margaret in the City and Liberty of Westminster and the county of Middlesex, the name Westminster was the ancient description for the area around Westminster Abbey – the West Minster, or monastery church, that gave the area its name – which has been the seat of the government of England (and later the British government) for almost a thousand years.

Westminster is the location of the Palace of Westminster, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which houses the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

The area has been the seat of the government of England for almost a thousand years. Westminster is thus often used as a metonym for Parliament and the political community of the United Kingdom generally. The civil service is similarly referred to by the area it inhabits, Whitehall, and Westminster is consequently also used in reference to the ’Westminster System’, the parliamentary model of democratic government that has evolved in the United Kingdom.

The historic core of Westminster is the former Thorney Island on which Westminster Abbey was built. The Abbey became the traditional venue of the coronation of the kings and queens of England. The nearby Palace of Westminster came to be the principal royal residence after the Norman conquest of England in 1066, and later housed the developing Parliament and law courts of England. It can be said that London thus has developed two distinct focal points: an economic one in the City of London; and a political and cultural one in Westminster, where the Royal Court had its home. This division is still very apparent today.

The monarchy later moved to the Palace of Whitehall a little towards the north-east. The law courts have since moved to the Royal Courts of Justice, close to the border of the City of London.

The Westminster area formed part of the City and Liberty of Westminster and the county of Middlesex. The ancient parish was St Margaret; after 1727 split into the parishes of St Margaret and St John. The area around Westminster Abbey formed the extra-parochial Close of the Collegiate Church of St Peter surrounded by—but not part of—either parish. Until 1900 the local authority was the combined vestry of St Margaret and St John (also known as the Westminster District Board of Works from 1855 to 1887), which was based at Westminster City Hall on Caxton Street from 1883. The Liberty of Westminster, governed by the Westminster Court of Burgesses, also included St Martin in the Fields and several other parishes and places. Westminster had its own quarter sessions, but the Middlesex sessions also had jurisdiction. The area was transferred from Middlesex to the County of London in 1889 and the local government of Westminster was reformed in 1900 when the court of burgesses and parish vestries were abolished, to be replaced with a metropolitan borough council. The council was given city status, allowing it to be known as Westminster City Council.

The underground station was opened as Westminster Bridge on 24 December 1868 by the steam-operated Metropolitan District Railway (MDR) (now the District line) when the railway opened the first section of its line from South Kensington. It was originally the eastern terminus of the MDR and the station cutting ended at a concrete wall buffered by timber sleepers. The approach to the station from the west runs in cut and cover tunnel under the roadway of Broad Sanctuary and diagonally under Parliament Square. In Broad Sanctuary the tunnel is close to Westminster Abbey and St Margaret’s church and care was required to avoid undermining their foundations when excavating in the poor ground found there.

The station was completely rebuilt to incorporate new deep-level platforms for the Jubilee line when it was extended to the London Docklands in the 1990s. During the works, the level of the sub-surface platforms was lowered to enable ground level access to Portcullis House. This was achieved in small increments carried out when the line was closed at night.
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