Other Currencies


I. First report from the Select Committee of the House of Lords appointed to inquire into the present state of the several Gaols and Houses of Correction in England and Wales; with the Minutes of Evidence and an Appendix. II. Fourth and fifth reports from the Select Committee of the House of Lords appointed to inquire into the present state of the several Gaols and Houses of Correction in England and Wales; with the Minutes of Evidence, an Appendix, and a general index.

Two volumes ([iv], 315, appendix of [2], 174 pp.; and [viii], 427-524, [4], 395-728, [2] pp.) comprising three of the five reports issued in 1835 by the House of Lords to investigate the state of prisons in England and Wales, with the goal of researching the prospect of instituting a system which separated prisoners and establishing uniformity of discipline and diet across the prison system, to be supervised by a group of Inspectors, with interviews conducted with a range of gentlemen, including some prison workers, as well as questions posed to prisoners at institutions including Wakefield, the Millbank Penitentiary, the House of Corrections at Lewes, and Cold Bath Field Prison, and instructions for how to deal with convicts in various situations. Each volume is illustrated with dozens of tables and three lithographic plates, which include: "Ergometer - Tread Wheel - Labour. Lewes Prison"; "Tread Wheels at Petworth"; "Crank-House at Petworth"; and "Design for a Prison Chapel by Jas. Savage, upon a plan propsed by the Rev. Whitworth Russell Chaplain to the General Penitentiary Millbank in which all the prisoners can see the Clergyman and be seen by him and yet not see or communicate with each other." 4to. Modern three-quarter leather with papered boards and gilt lettering to spine, Norwich binder's label to rear pastedown of each volume. London (House of Commons) 1835.

By 1835, the threat of "prisoner culture", whereby prisoners spent time with other prisoners, sharing stories, learning from each other, and plotting, was recognized by the State. A Select Committee in the House of Lords was tasked to research a system to separate the prisoners. Six resolutions were laid out in the introduction to the first report, including a uniform system of discipline, a group of Inspectors to be appointed to visit the prisons and report to the Secretary of State, and a new rule that persons who have been acquitted or had their trials postponed should not be imprisoned. The resolutions also include the proposal for the new system of separation: "That entire Separation, except during the Hours of Labour and of Religious Worship and Instruction, is absolutely necessary for preventing Contamination, and for securing a proper System of Prison Discipline. That Silence be enforced, so as to prevent all Communication between Prisoners both before and after Trial."
One of the witnesses in the first report was Lieutenant John Siblly, Governor of the Brixton House of Corrections, who had a plan for a "solitary confinement prison" with 284 cells. Another was John Mance, Keeper of the House of Corrections at Petworth, who is credited as the inventor of the ergometer (a labor scale), a device which could quantify how much labor could be doled out to various types of prisoners, rated both on physical and mental qualifications. The ergometer was "made to show the superintending officer the quantum of labour to be executed hourly, daily, and weekly...and notifies the officer and prisoners by an alarm bell when the day's work is executed."
The final report includes new evidence from Mance, the tread wheels and crank-house that he supervised and regulated with his ergometer. Very scarce institutionally.

Book ID: 50373

Price: $2,750.00