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Monday, 12 October 2009, 12:00AM
Museum of London

Newgate: London's Prototype of Hell

Dr Stephen Halliday

There have been more prisons in London than in any other European city. Of these, Newgate was the largest, most notorious and worst. Built during the twelfth century, it became a legendary place - the inspiration of more poems, plays and novels than any other building in London. It was a place of cruelty and wretchedness, at various times holding Dick Turpin, Titus Oates, Daniel Defoe, Jack Sheppard and Casanova. Because prisons were privately run, any time spent in prison had to be paid for by the prisoner. Housing varied from a private cell with a cleaning woman and a visiting prostitute, to simply lying on the floor with no cover. Those who died inside - and only a quarter of prisoners survived until their execution day - had to stay in Newgate as a rotting corpse until relatives found the money for the body to be released. Stephen Halliday tells the story of Newgate's origins, the criminals it held, the punishments meted out and its rebuilding and reform. This is a compelling slice of London's social and criminal history.

This is a part of the Crime and Retribution Mondays at One lecture series, which also includes the following lectures:       
       Crime and compensation in Medieval England, by Professor Anthony Musson
       Bound for Botany Bay: The trauma of exile, by Dr Alan Brooke
       Deportation, by Dr Matthew Gibney

speaker_stephenhalliday-1-370x370.jpg

Stephen Halliday is a writer, lecturer and broadcaster with a particular interest in Victorian London and in the engineers who made nineteenth century cities safe and habitable. He has written for The Observer, The Guardian and The Financial Times and has made several radio and television programmes based on his books. He also writes and reviews regularly for BBC History, The Literary review, The Times Higher and The Daily Telegraph.

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12 October 2009

Newgate: London's Prototype of Hell
Dr Stephen Halliday

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