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

Engraving depicting a witchtrial

Islandmagee, Witchtrials, Devil Worship and Paranormal Investigation

Guest Writer26th February 2015
Site of the Chapel of William of Norwich

The Boy Martyr of the Woods

Guest Writer26th February 2015
Pendle HIll 1612

Who were the Pendle Witches?

LH Davies23rd February 2015
Mary Kelly's shocking remains after the hands of Jack the Ripper

13 things you didn’t know about Jack the Ripper

Jon Rees21st February 2015
Bridget Cleary and husband

Ireland’s Top 5 Strangest Murders

Ann O'Regan21st February 2015
Spontaneous Human Combustion

Is Spontaneous Human Combustion Real?

Nia Jones16th February 2015
Little-Red-Riding-Hood

10 werewolf titbits to make you howl!

Kaja Franck11th February 2015
Sawney Bean

Cannibal! 13 things you need to know about Sawney Bean

MJ Steel Collins10th February 2015
Bram Stoker

Bram Stoker and the Legend of the Bisley Boy

Nia Jones20th January 2015