Newgate Prison

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Newgate PrisonExecution day at Newgate - a print from the 1850s
Newgate prison, though long since demolished, looms large in any history of criminality in the UK. In use from 1188 to 1902 it played host to many notorious thieves, murderers, and religious and political prisoners alike.

At one time among its walls were held such notables as Daniel Defoe, Captain Kidd, Jack Sheppard, William Cobbet and (bizarrely) Giacomo Casanova.

Executions were held at Newgate from 1783 onwards, when London's gallows were moved from Tyburn - and all Britain's executioners learnt their trade here until the abolition of the death penalty in 1965.

According to legend, the notorious poisoner Dr. Neill Cream announced "I am Jack the..." as he was hanged here in 1892. This has led some to make him a suspect in the hunt for the identity of Jack the Ripper. No contemporary sources from witnesses to the hanging have been unearthed to confirm this tantalising story. Among notable others who met their ends at Newgate was the 'Ogre of Reading' Amelia Dyer - who is thought to have killed up to 400 babies.

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Author: Ian Freud   |  Last updated: 24th September 2013 | © Weird Island 2010-2018
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