Victorian Powys for primary  schools
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Montgomery and district
Crime and punishment
  The Montgomeryshire County Gaol  
  Before the Victorian period, Montgomeryshire had a small county gaol up on the slopes of Castle Hill, behind the Town Hall (see photograph).
This old building fell into disrepair and was not big enough for all the prisoners.
Plans for a new County Gaol were drawn up by Thomas Penson of Oswestry who also designed the new Long Bridge in Newtown.
  This new building was built to a cross-shaped plan as was common at the time. The map here shows the gaol in the early years of the period. It is based on the tithe map and shows the gaol site just outside the old town walls on the eastern side of Montgomery.
The first prisoners were admitted to the gaol in December 1832, although work was still going on the following year.
This then was the gaol that housed prisoners from Montgomeryshire during much of the Victorian period.
Life in the prison was meant to be hard so that prisoners would want to avoid going back there once they had been released.
  Here are some of the rules and regulations of the Montgomery County Gaol:-  

Each sleeping cell to contain the following articles -
1 chamber pot, 1 bedstead, 1 canvas matress filled with straw, 2 blankets and 1 rug.
Sheets to be changed once a month, shirts and socks once a week
All prisoners must attend divine service
All prisoners must get up at 6 a.m. in summer and at sunrise in winter


Most importantly, the prisoners were put to hard labour. This could be breaking rocks for hours on end, or picking oakum.
Like most prisons, Montgomery had a treadmill where prisoners had to turn a great wheel with their feet for hours on end.
In most prisons this machine did nothing. It was simply designed to give the prisoners something very hard and boring to do.

  More about the County Gaol...  


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