Cast iron spiral staircase, balcony, and railings. Crumlin Road Prison, Belfast, Northern Island. 1846.

Reconstruction of a typical prison cell. For most of the nineteenth century Crumlin Road Prison houser men, women, and children.

According to an information label in the former prison, when it opened in 1846 cells were “13 feet long by 7 feet wide by 9 feet 10 inches high and originally had . . . a water closet and fixed basin with ‘a perfect supply of water for each, and so constructed that each prisoner has his own supply without the power of taking from another, a hammock or bed-clothes, stool, nooks, work and shelves with comb, brushes, towel, soap, and a gas light, all in the most perfect order with hot air and ventilating flues’ [Inspectors-General of Prisons in Ireland, 1847[. Owing to frequent blockages (and to prevent prisoners from using them to communicate) all plumbing and water closets were later removed and replaced with a chamber pot. This led to the infamous ‘Slopping out’ each morning, a practice which continued until the gaol closed in 1996.”

Wrought iron railings, stairs, and walkways. [Click on images to enlarge them.]

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Last modified 8 September 2016