Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Woking Invalid Convict Prison - A Thieve's Palace

The following was written by a gentleman called Chas Cook who visited a number of prisons in the late 1800s:

Add to the above that I have visited all our convict
prisons and all our London prisons, from gloomy
Newgate, with its many old and historic reminiscences,
and through whose precincts a Jack Sheppard and a
Jonathan Wild have wended their way, to the more
modern and well-ventilated and comfortably warmed Pen-
tonville, containing some eleven hundred prisoners ; from
Dartmoor, bleak and barren, where the Claimant served
nearly seven years, to Portsmouth, where he resided in an
extra large cell, and where also Benson, of the 'Turf Frauds '
notoriety, whiled away his time mending stockings in the
' Doctor's party ' ; from Woking, truly called the ' Thieves'
Palace,' where I have seen the recreation room with its
draughts, dominoes, sofas, and paintings on the wall (not
to mention an aviary) ...

An AVIARY?? In a prison?? No wonder they shut it down so quickly!!

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