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The Clink Prison Museum

1 Clink Street, London, SE1 9DG. Tel : 020 7403 0900

The Clink was the popular name for the prison attached to Winchester House, the palace of the Bishops of Winchester from the 12th century until 1626. Protestant and Catholic prisoners of conscience were held here during the 16th century.

The Clink Prison is considered to be the oldest prison in England for men and women, which had been functional from the 12th century up to 1780. The life at the Clink revolved around brutality. The conditions were appalling and the prisoners were treated very badly.

Those who had money paid the jailers in order to make their stay better. The jailers themselves were paid very little and very unhappy. Therefore they made a living out of providing luxuries to the prisoners who could afford to pay. Those who are poor had even sold their clothes to buy food.

The prison was burnt down twice by rioters at seperate occassions in 1450 and 1780 respectively. It was rebuilt the first time around but not after the destruction in 1782, thus bringing to and end a long era of brutality.