Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Female Prison Chapel - Plans and Sketches

It's important to point out that the female and male prisons were quite separate. The image below shows where the female prison (marked F) was situated in relation to the male prison (marked M). The two prisons were built several years apart.

A recent visit to the National Archives threw up some floor plans and sketches of the female prison chapel which provide us with a clear idea of what it might have looked like. On the floor plan below you will notice that the one chapel is actually two chapels (Roman Catholic and Protestant) sitting side by side under the same roof.

The next plan shows the West and East elevations, showing the two distinct designs for Protestant and Catholic.

The final plan shows how I think the Chapel will have looked from behind. I assume there were two separate entrances for the prisoners and one central entrance for the clergy ...

Remember, all prisoners were attend chapel every morning, regardless of their faith.
It's also worth pointing out that the female chapel was a stand alone building whereas the male chapel, we believe, was attached to the prison itself. You may have noticed references to 'detention barracks' or 'Inkerman' on the plans. This is because the army will have used the original Victorian plans to adapt the prison into barracks in the late 19th century. What else becomes clear from the sketches is that the overall look of the female prison differed greatly from the ominous foreboding look of the male prison.

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