Tuesday, 17 March 2009

500 years behind bars

Prison: five hundred years of life behind bars by Edward Marston, has just been added to the OPU collection. It is published by the National Archives and contains information extracted from the documents and photographs held there.
It is a comprehensive history of prisons, from the Tower of London through to Victorian developments and the abolition of hanging. Illustrative plates show records and photographs of prisoners, prison plans and even prolific hangman Albert Pierrepoint's request for execution equipment.
In his conclusion, Marston writes, "Prison involved loss - loss of family, loss of friends, loss of reputation, loss of earning power and loss of control. Most of all, it meant loss of liberty, and this has remained the basic ingredient of imprisonment until the present day."
This book tells how this was implemented throughout history and what impact it had on those who were behind bars.

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