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View of the Old Jail at Dorchester

View of the Old Jail at Dorchester

Engraver: Andrews, H.

Medium: Etching, coloured

Date: 1793

Shelfmark: KTOP XII

Item number: 7b

Length: 20

Width: 24

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Topographical Drawing

The entrance to the old gaol at Dorchester which stood on the high ground on the north side of the town, on the grounds of the former castle. It was built in 1790-2 and its design by architect Mr William Blackburn was approved by prison reformer John Howard. Inside the gaol there was a Chapel, infirmary, gaol keeper's house, and single cell accommodation for the different categories of prisoner: females, debtors, felons, convicts, condemned. This gaol was run on two principles of industry and reflection. Firstly the prisoners were encouraged to work and allowed to earn a small wage from the proceeds of their industry. Secondly the solitude of their cells would cause them to reflect on their crimes to 'restore them to society in an improved state'.

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