I’ve seen a very interesting special episode at Time Team about old gaol and the life of the prisoners, so I was keen to visit the Ruthin Gaol. Loved it!
This is what the men would have to “work” on. They had to rotate the handle a few thousands time every day. The box contained sand or it had a screw. It was meant as a form of exercise. Keeping the inmates tired meant they were much easier to handle.
At the begging the prisoners were photographed by a professional, but soon the prisons bought cameras, so they could take the picture easily and cheaper. This is a real camera that was used in Manchester to track the inmates. This was the first step to make records. Another one was the introduction of the fingerprinting in 1901, by Scotland Yard.
Women and men were kept in the same prison. After a few reforms in the system, it was decided that they will be kept separate. Also, the women worked for real, for example washing clothes, and got paid. I think was much better that the “work” men were doing: box sand or braking rocks. The men were “lucky” enough to spend time on the big treadmill.
After visiting the Gaol, we’ve been to Nantclwyd y Dre, the oldest timber town house in Wales and for a cream tea to Ruthin Castle.