Exeter Prison

Exeter Prison is in Exeter, a town on the south coast of England in the county of Devon. Exeter is about 50 kilometres north-east of Plymouth and about 150 kilometres west of Portsmouth. The present prison was built in 1853 and is not the building referred to in the daily blog entry.

In 1836 there were several prisons in Exeter. These included Southgate Prison in Queen Street and the Devon County Gaol in Northernhay Castle. The Guildhall housed prisoners in a cellar and there was a Bridewell (a prison or reform school for petty offenders) in Queen Street. The prison to which the John Pirie’s seaman was sent is unknown, though it was unlikely to have been the Bridewell. Conditions were harsh in all prisons and the seaman’s sentence of 21 days hard labour may well have included working a treadmill.

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