The Marshalsea Debtors Prison

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I had a day in London with some friends yesterday and as is my want decided to go and check out the remains of The Marshalsea debtors prison.

The Marshalsea stood on the south bank of Thames in Southwark for a good three hundred years or so.

It was built to house men who had been court marshalled for crimes at sea. Also men who were accused of unnatural crimes which would’ve been homosexuals and those who had sex with animals . There would politicals  and intellectuals accused of sedition and London’s debtors.

These would be a Tory dream if they were around today. The Marshalsea was run for profit, if you had the money there was a bar, a shop and even a restaurant and of course you were allowed out during the day to earn the money to pay your debts, to get a good idea of how this works watch BBC’s Little Dorritt.

Unfortunately a small debt could land you in the prison for decades as it was the creditors who decided your fate. But it was John Dickens, Charles Dickens father who was sent there in 1824 for a debt to a baker which forced to leave school at the age of 12 for a hideous blacking job in a factory and here are the remains of the prison.

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