Dark History

Doing time in The Clink

Doing time in The Clink
Staff Writer

The Clink

The Clink in south London is so old, the medieval gaol is now another word for prison. You can throw yourself “in the clink” any time you want as it is now a fantastic tourist attraction.

A few months back I visited The Clink in Southwark. Paying £7 I was able to go where for hundreds of years, poor wretches did everything to keep themselves out from – the worse prison imaginable.

The Scold's Bridle

The Scold's Bridle, seen here at The Clink, was used as a punishment device for primarily women, who were rude, argumentative or "who spoke their mind".

There has been a prison on and around the site of The Clink in South London for more than 1000 years.

The Clink Prison Museum, on aptly named Clink Street, was built upon the original site of the Clink Prison. The Prison dates back to 1144 making it one of England’s oldest.

Ever since the Bishop of Winchester discovered he could make such cash locking up poor blighters, the notorious Clink Prison was used to control the Southbank of London known as “The Liberty of The Clink”. (The prison was burnt down in 1780 and never rebuilt.)

This area surrounding The Clink housed much of London’s entertainment establishments including four theatres, bull-baiting, bear-baiting, inns and many other darker entertainments. This, of course, was the area frequented by William Shakespeare and is known to have visited The Clink (for what reason I do not know.)

Ghostly figure at The Clink (or a strange photo - you decide!)Like most prisons in olden times, only prisoners with money could treated humanely, ie. got food and bedding. Those without, were treated no better than dogs – inhumanely-treated dogs, at that. As such, the museum is filled with wonderfully barbaric torture devices – well worth the price of admission to see!

The Clink Prison Museum isn’t the biggest tourist site you can visit in London and in fact, it doesn’t take too long to get around it.

The torture exhibits are fun and gruesome and you can try some out (to a point) to see what the poor inmates had to endure in less-enlightened days. Visitors can see and hear the amazing stories of the inmates and the notorious Southbank.

Interestingly, the day I there, I took a photograph with my sister standing next to one of the staff dressed in costume. When I returned home, I discovered the photograph was rather strange – it looked like the staff member was actually two-dimensional, where as my sister was definitely in 3D!

What this means I don’t know, but with such terrible pain and suffering having happened on the site for almost a millennium, The Clink must be a good candidate for being one very haunted house!

For opening times and admission costs, please see The Clink Prison Museum’s website here 

The Spooky Newsletter

Click to add a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Dark History

More in Dark History

Medieval Witches

How the Samlesbury Witches escaped the hangman’s noose

Barry McCann28th March 2015
Fornham All Saints

Don’t disturb our ancient dead at Fornham Henge

Staff Writer26th March 2015

Ghostly Dunwich and Coastal Horrors

David Senior18th March 2015
The Hampstead Murder Mystery

Mary Pearcey, the Hampstead Murderess

Jon Rees14th March 2015
Execution of Catherine Wilson

Catherine Wilson, the killer nurse

LH Davies13th March 2015
Madeleine Smith

The Strange Case of Madeleine Smith

MJ Steel Collins11th March 2015
Eileen Atkins as Mother Sawyer

Elizabeth Sawyer, The Witch of Edmonton

Jay Hollis11th March 2015
Statue of Grace O'Malley

Grace O’Malley, the Pirate Queen of Ireland

Ann O'Regan10th March 2015

Elizabeth Stile, Witch of Windsor

Guest Writer9th March 2015
Lizzie Williams

Jill the Ripper? 5 women accused of being Jack

Jon Rees9th March 2015

Wicked Women Week

Staff Writer8th March 2015
A mortsafe (the 'coffin') and watchhouse (wee building in front of the church) in Cadder Cemetery, Bishopbriggs, just outside Glasgow

Suzie Lennox reveals Britain’s Forgotten Bodysnatchers

MJ Steel Collins5th March 2015