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The History of Newgate Prison (Paperback)

True Crime General History Social History Women of History

By Caroline Jowett
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 127
ISBN: 9781473876408
Published: 20th February 2017


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As the place where prisoners, male and female, awaited trial, execution or transportation, Newgate was Britains most feared gaol for over 700 years. It probably best known today from the novels of Charles Dickens including Barnaby Rudge and Great Expectations.

But there is much is more to Newgate than nineteenth-century notoriety. In the seventeenth century it saw the exploits of legendary escaper and thief Jack Sheppard. Author Daniel Defoe who was imprisoned there for seditious libel, playwright Ben Jonson for murder, the Captain Kidd for piracy were among its most famous inmates.

This book takes you from the gaols twelfth-century beginnings to its final closure in 1904 and looks at daily life, developments in the treatment of prisoners from the use of torture to penal reform as well as major events in its history.

A great insight to life inside prison life throughout history. I find the treatment of poor prisoners unbelievable. It is very interesting that there was a taproom and that families would move in together to save on rent. I am saddened that the prison is no longer standing because it would be a great teaching tool.

NetGalley, reviewed by Jennifer Coleman

I found the book to be very interesting and informative without getting dry or academic in tone. Overall, I'd recommend this book to those interested in learning more about the goal/prison system in England during this time period.

NetGalley, reviewed by Deborah White

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley, stared by Kristine Fisher

Newgate jail is known for its cruelty and unhealthy conditions that could kill the confined before they even got to court. Through the research of the author there was also found compassion. Interesting facts about the penel system and people of England during the timeframe of the notorious jail.

NetGalley, reviewed by Debra Taylor

I learnt a lot from this book.

NetGalley, reviewed by Lisa Feld

An excellent starting point for someone with an interest in historical crime and punishment.

NetGalley, reviewed by Book Rogue

This is a very enlightening and well researched book. It starts in medieval times and ends with it being pulled down. There are articles about famous people, as well as events that developed as time went on. The sometimes horrific punishments and sometimes for sins that you would never realise was a crime. I was shocked that debt was an imprisonable crime?

This is a fantastic book and would recommend to anyone who either loves history and true crime.

NetGalley, reviewed by Liza Murray

The best compliment I can pay is that I found the book almost impossible to put down. It is an engrossing read, well written, and a fascinating piece of British history.
Read the full review here.

Britain Express, David Ross

I enjoyed the information. It was fascinating to know that the prison had originally been built in the 12th century and to learn a little bit about the landscape of London throughout the centuries. It was also interesting to read about what types of punishment were considered appropriate as time went on, as well as to read about the beginnings of prison reform. I also found it interesting that such famous names as Daniel Defoe, Casanova, and William Wallace were inmates.

NetGalley, reviewed by Erin Gallob

This book provides a thorough and detailed look at the prison and the things that went on behind the walls. It also shows which books this prison was used in or which literary authors based some of their settings in their novels on Newgate.

A fascinating read!

NetGalley, reviewed by Kirsty Hanson

I am a huge lover of historical non fiction and true crime so obviously this book was just made for me! I thought that it was a well researched book that was told informally enough to make it an interesting read and you weren't drowned in footnotes, quotes and historical references. It covered a long period of time and also featured famous people that have spend time within Newgate Prison. Thoroughly enjoyable read.

NetGalley, reviewed by Donna Maguire

As featured in

Essence Magazine

This was a very well-researched and very well-written look at the history of one of the world's most infamous prisons. This is a must read for anyone interested in the history of crime and punishment. This book is also a great reference point for reading any English literature, such as Dickens, who frequently uses gaols and criminality in his works.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

NetGalley, reviewed by Jenny Mills

It's an easy read and also enlightening.

NetGalley, reviewed by Deb Nollett

I found it very informative, interesting, plenty of great information. The book is great for students if it's necessary a research, but also for all the people in love for History.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

NetGalley, reviewed by Anna Maria Polidori

About Caroline Jowett

Caroline Jowett is a journalist and former Arts and Literary Editor of the Daily Express where she has written about everything from badgers to ballet, etiquette to Italy.
Shes been a fan of the eighteenth century since discovering the work of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer and loves the periods sheer exuberance for life. She later discovered that the complexity of its history is even more beguiling than the fiction of its novels.
When not writing about the Georgians she is working on a novel of her own.

Perfect Partner

Britain's Most Notorious Prisoners Victorian to Present-Day Cases (Paperback)

Prison is an unknown world for most of us. It is a place where time stops and lives are held in suspension, taken out of circulation. Amongst the gaol population are the dangerous inmates: killers and rapists, gang 'hit-men' and serial offenders. They are the most notorious, their reputations sometimes enhanced by glamour, horrendous tales of their misdeeds and by their very incarceration. Britain's Most Notorious Prisoners tells the stories of some of their lives inside the 'Big House' where prison culture becomes a strange, unreal community and where the prison service has had to learn to cope…

By Stephen Wade

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