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Sketches in the Clerkenwell House of Correction, 1874

Clerkenwell, in central London, was the site of two prisons in the Victorian period - Clerkenwell House of Detention, which opened in 1847 and housed prisoners awaiting trial, and the older Coldbath Fields Prison, also known as the House of Correction, which housed prisoners serving short sentences. These illustrations of the House of Correction were published in the Illustrated London News in 1874 and show prisoners at work - picking oakum (untwisting old rope, so that the fibres could be reused) and sewing.

The illustrations show the uniforms of both the prisoners and prison guards, including the prisoners' numbers sewn on the front and back of their shirts. Religious messages are shown on the walls to instruct the prisoners to improve their ways.

This document is included in the archives of the Howard League for Penal Reform.

Sketches in the Clerkenwell House of Correction