What comes to mind when you think of London? For me, it’s Big Ben, black cabs, cold rain, and a notorious prison for royalty.
Because I was in London covering a white collar crime conference, I thought I’d visit the Tower of London. After all, England serves as the original foundation for most of America’s laws and its criminal justice system.
Well, before I even visited, I learned in an e-mail from the press office that “while the Tower has served as a prison, they were generally important or high status prisoners, such as [three] queens of England—Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard and Lady Jane Grey—and Guy Fawkes for the Gunpowder plot. The Tower of London was never used as a standard prison for common criminals.”
Hmm, so what did a “standard prison for common criminals” look like? Enter The Clink Museum, which stands in place of the original prison in Southwark, England (now a London borough) called “The Clink.”
Both prisons had some overlap from the Middle Ages until about 1780, when the Clink was shut down.
Tower of London
The Tower was really only used as a prison for the 16th to 17th centuries for high-end clientele. Prisoners were expected to pay for the cost of their shackles and food. So if you were wealthy, it wasn’t that bad—except maybe for the being in prison part.
According to a fact sheet from the press office, the “Duchess of Somerset, for example, imprisoned at the Tower in 1551, lunched on mutton stewed with potage, boiled beef and mutton, roast veal, roast capon and two rabbits. For dinner she again ate mutton with potage (obviously a favourite dish) along with sliced beef, roast mutton, two rabbits and a dozen larks, all washed down with either beer or wine at a weekly cost of 77 shillings.”
Where do I sign up?
Prisoners at The Clink were also charged for prisoners’ expenses, including shackles, bed, blanket, and rent, according to some signage at the museum. Food wasn’t provided and had to be brought in by families, but a portion of that was given to the prison keeper. If you didn’t have family, you begged for donations from strangers on the street.
I also learned in this museum that when the Thames River flooded, prisoners would just have to deal with it, sometimes standing in waist-deep water.
Seems to me there’s a clear class advantage here.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)