Punishment

Whippings and Transportation: Surrey Quarter Sessions calendar of prisoners, 1801

For each meeting of the court of Quarter Sessions printed lists (or calendars) were prepared of the prisoners in the various county prisons whose cases were to be considered. Against each name the clerk wrote details of the verdict and sentence of the court. In January 1801 Catherine Rigby was sentenced to transportation for 7 years for 3 separate counts of theft and Robert Terry suffered the same fate for stealing a pair of silver spectacles. James Watts, however, found guilty of stealing raw coffee, was sentenced to 3 months imprisonment during which time he was to be whipped around the local streets.

The vast majority of offenders committed their crimes in the part of old Surrey which is now London Southwark, Bermondsey and Lambeth.

'An endless flight of stairs': the tread mill at Brixton House of Correction, 1822

Six tread wheels, connected to a mill for the grinding of corn, were installed in Brixton House of Correction in 1821 to provide hard labour for convicts.  The design met with the warm approval of the Society for the Improvement of Prison Discipline which blandly observed that 'the effort …. to every individual is simply that of ascending an endless flight of steps', covering 731 yards per hour.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *