House of Correction
|The Rother Valley
West Sussex, England
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Built 1788 - - Closed 1878
In 1849, Thomas Allard was sent to
Petworth gaol for begging & vagrancy.
He died on 'the wheel' within 4 months.
He was aged 16.
One of the first results of the philanthropic Act of 1782 for regulating prisons, procured at the instance of Mr. Howard, was the building, in 1785, of the house of correction at Petworth.
The Gaol, or house of correction for this division was built in 1787, on Howard's plan, but has been altered to the prevailing system - the female part of the prison has lately been much enlarged, and an infirmary added to it; a new house has also been built for the governor. A commodious police station, with lock-ups for prisoners, &c., has been erected adjoining the gaol. The police arrangements are under the county constabulary
1839 section of Pigotts directory of Sussex
The notorious Petworth House of Correction, designed by James Wyatt, was opened in 1788 to deliver hard labour and solitary confinement to, mostly petty, criminals. Vagrancy being the most common crime of the inmates.
There was also a "silent & separate" system employed here, even the warders had to wear soft shoes. All prisoners were kept apart and had no communication with any other person. They were only allowed to speak in answer to the questions of prison officials.
From 1826 conditions for the inmates became even harsher under Prison Governor John Mance, who once proudly stated "I now have a notorious vagrant in my custody who declared to me that he would rather go three months in Lewes [prison] than one in this house, and he assures me to my great satisfaction that he will never come into this division of the county again".
As a punishment the 'wheel' was first recommended by the Penitentiary Act of 1779.
It was finally outlawed in 1898.
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