Illustration: “Female prisoners’ own clothes store at Tothill Fields Prison” 1862

This came up on FB. Please see The Museum of London’s description:

Book illustration showing the female prisoners’ own clothes store at Tothill Fields Prison, from page 363 of ‘The criminal prisons of London and scenes of prison life’ by Henry Mayhew and John Binny. “At Tothill Fields prison the warders in charge of the prisoners’ own clothing are wont to indicate the female characters incarcerated there by the style of bonnet intrusted to their care.” So, for example “This silk and blond … trimmed with ruches and with roses, and geraniums inside, is in for pickpocketing, and this purple velvet one, with feathers at the side, has got twelve months for shoplifting”. The warders point out “a grand Leghorn, with a fall of bugles” which belongs to an actress “who has four calendar months for stabbing her husband”. All the clothes were fumigated before storage, causing the colour to fade, but the warders reported they were as careful as possible “for it would be hard, indeed, if we spoilt their clothes when they came here, as very few that we see in this place have more than they stand up in.”

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Published in: on December 21, 2015 at 2:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

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