Engraving Of Newgate Prison
Shelfmark: Maps K Top 24.18.a
The first Newgate Prison was built in 1188 by order of Henry II on the site now occupied by the Central Criminal Court. Newgate was enlarged and remodelled over the centuries and rebuilt in 1672, after it was destroyed in the Great Fire of London. The prison’s deceptively grand gateway, dignified with statues and emblematic carving, led to a "terrible stinking dark and dismal place".
"In Prison," wrote Defoe, "I have learnt to know that Liberty does not consist in open Doors, and the free Egress and Regress of Locomotion. I have seen the rough side of the world as well as the smooth, and have in less than half a Year tasted the difference between the Closet of a King and the Dungeon of Newgate."
The prison was rebuilt on two further occasions before being demolished at the beginning of the 20th century.