Tothill Fields Bridewell Prison

Tothill Fields Bridewell (also known as Tothill Fields Prison and Westminster Bridewell) was a prison located in the Westminster area of central London between 1618 and 1884.

It was named ‘Bridewell’ after the Bridewell Palace, which during the 16th century had become one of the City of London’s most important prisons. Tothill Fields later became the Westminster House of Correction.

In 1834 the original Bridewell was replaced by a larger prison, on a different site, 8 acres (32,000 m2) in area, south of Victoria Street and close to Vauxhall Bridge Road.

Originally the Bridewell comprised three separate gaols for untried male prisoners and debtors, male convicts, and women. However, due to poor management, the regime was changed in 1850 and the Bridewell then housed only women and convicted boys under the age of seventeen.

Westminster Cathedral, started in 1895, now stands on the prison site. The prison’s foundations were re-used for the cathedral. All that remains of the prison is a stone gateway from the 17th Century.

 

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