News and Events

See below for exciting news and events connected with Prison History.


In October 2018, Prison History was awarded a ‘Highly Commended Certificate’ by the judges of the inaugural Janette Harley Prize, established by the British Records Association in memory of Janette Harley, a former BRA member. Many thanks to the BRA Committee for their kind words on and encouragement for the project, and for a delightful awards evening at The Postal Museum in London (which is, incidentally, adjacent to the site of the former prison, Cold Bath Fields!).

(Janette Harley’s brother, Iain, presenting the certificate to Rosalind Crone)


We are delighted to announce the publication of the database as a printed book, on 18 September 2018. Many thanks to Sam Clark and the team at London Publishing Partnership for all their help in producing this great title. The two-volume Guide to the Criminal Prisons of Nineteenth-Century England contains all critical information and surviving archives of the 844 penal institutions in the Prison History database, as well as a comprehensive introduction which includes a review of the current literature on penal history in Britain, an account of the methodology employed for recovering institutions and archives for Prison History, and some preliminary observations on the nineteenth-century penal landscape arising from the data assembled.

More information on the Guide to the Criminal Prisons of Nineteenth-Century England, including purchasing information, can be found by following this link.


In July 2018Who Do You Think You Are magazine published a feature on the database. In it, Rosemary Collins explained how Prison History would be of tremendous use to those looking for criminal ancestors. Many thanks to the team at WDYTYA!


Recovering the 19th Century Penal Landscape

On 6 July 2018, we officially launched Prison History at the National Justice Museum in Nottingham.

We were delighted to host a number of eminent speakers with expertise on prisons past and present, including: Prof Sean McConville (Queen Mary University of London), Dr Paul Carter (The National Archives), Prof Barry Godfrey (University of Liverpool), Dr Helen Johnston (University of Hull), Dr Maryse Tennant (Canterbury Christ Church University), Aiofe O’Connor (Find My Past), Nina Champion (Prisoners’ Education Trust) and Anita Dockley (Howard League for Penal Reform).

To download the event programme, follow this link.