By: Elizabeth Jack
This absorbing book provides an insight into Victorian England’s criminal past and the characters that were forced to spend time in the unforgiving environment of a nineteenth-century gaol. Focusing on the photographic documentation of convicts, the book contains over 350 images of prisoners, recording the evolution of criminal records before more modern technology, such as fingerprinting, became the norm. Using extensive archive material, Victorian Prisoners of Gloucester Gaol is a fascinating exploration of a frequently forgotten part of society.
This book demonstrates that a wide variety of people spent time at Her Majesty’s pleasure, including men, women and even children, and that no group in society seems to have been able to resist the temptation of criminal life. This volume presents a revealing picture of Victorian justice and the sentences inmates had to endure. The inclusion of a detailed database listing the prisoners names, ages, crimes, birth places and so on provides a valuable tool for those seeking their ancestors. The book will also appeal to anyone with an interest in the Victorian era or the West Country, or perhaps those who just want to delve further into the more sinful side of society.