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Author Topic: Chatham Convict Prison  (Read 31564 times)

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Offline Leofwine

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Re: Chatham Convict Prison
« Reply #27 on: February 07, 2012, 22:02:44 »
Kentish Gazette - Tuesday 20 August 1861

DARING ESCAPE AND RECAPTURE
A daring and successful attempt at escape was made at Chatham, on Thursday, by a convict named John Macallum, who was undergoing a sentence of eight years' penal servitude at Chatham convict establishment. From what has transpired since the plan of the escape was so successfully carried out, it would seem that Macallum, who, although only 18 years of age, is described as being an adept in crime, was employed at the extreme end of Chatham dockyard near the river, with a few other prisoners, the work being that of removing mud and earth on the bank of the river.
Only a short time ago Macallum attempted to make his escape while employed in Chatham dockyard, and actually succeeded baffling the officers for some time, until afterwards discovered not far from the spot where had disappeared. Since that time he had been, until a week or two since, working chains beneath his dress, but his period of punishment having expired they were removed, and he was allowed to work the same as the other convicts. On Thursday Macallum determined on again attempting his escape, and there is little doubt he had admitted some of his fellow-prisoners into the secret of his intentions. During the instant that the vigilence of the convict guard in charge was relaxed by his attention being diverted to some of the other convicts, Macallum slipped away from his gang, passed round by a barge near which he was at work, and beneath a small landing jetty. Here he contrived to change his convict dress, but how he succeeded in obtaining a fresh supply of clothes is one of those mysteries which would appear to be insoluble except to convicts themselves. That he had procured some fresh clothes, however, is certain, as some portions of his convict dress were left behind. The prisoner then crawled near some timber, of which there is an immense quantity at that part of the dockyard, and before the convict warder would appear to have become aware of his being missing he had traversed a considerable space in the dockyard, and is believed to have passed through a door the most house, scarcely ever used, as this was afterwards found open. He then ascended a pile of timbers, one of which he raised against the boundary wall, by which means he reached the top. Although the part of the wall on which he now was almost faced the convict prison, he does not appear to have been perceived by any of the officials of that establishment, and, unmolested, he dropped from the wall to the ground. As he was running away, near the soldiers' rifle-ground, in the direction of Brompton, he was seen by a girl, who had observed him let himself down by the wall. The convict, however, immediately disarmed her suspicions by asking her who was the nearest doctor, as a policeman had met with a dreadful accident in the dockyard and was nearly killed, and he had been directed to get over the wall and run the nearest way for a surgeon. Macallum then ran off towards Gillingham, but was immediately afterwards missed. A search was then made for him, and Sergeant Langstone, one of the detective force and several of the warders turned out to scour the neighbourhood to effect his capture. After tracking him as far as Gillingham, all traces of him were lost, and although the officers remained the neighbourhood all day, searching the orchards, brickfields, and hedges, no tidings of him could be obtained. Intelligence of the convict's escape, with a description of his appearance, was directly telegraphed to every principal town the kingdom, and a reward of £5 offered for his capture. Late on Friday night the escaped convict was seen entering the town of Dartford by Sergeant Claddish, of the Kent county police, who immediately arrested him, feeling satisfied he was the man for whom the search was being made. When captured, Macallum had on the trousers in which he escaped made out of the blankets supplied to the prisoners for their bedding. He was in his shirt sleeves, the latter being worn as a frock. He stated that since his escape he had swam across the Medway three times to avoid being seen. On Saturday he was again safely lodged in St. Mary's prison, and placed in irons to await his punishment for being at large.
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Offline swiftone

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Re: Chatham Convict Prison
« Reply #26 on: January 24, 2012, 06:21:36 »
I would guess that Kyn's map is the 1866 map with an 1879 overlay.

Offline Leofwine

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Re: Chatham Convict Prison
« Reply #25 on: January 24, 2012, 00:13:31 »
It doesn't look much changed from the 1866 map. It is interesting to note that it still does not show the Governor's House. I do have some more images from the R.E. Library that I will have to clean up and post sometime.
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Offline kyn

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Re: Chatham Convict Prison
« Reply #24 on: January 23, 2012, 18:59:32 »
1879

Offline kyn

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Re: Chatham Convict Prison
« Reply #23 on: October 08, 2011, 23:27:30 »
27th October 1897
Such satisfactory progress has been made with the work of pulling down the old convict prison buildings at St Mary’s-Vale, Chatham and in preparing the foundations for the proposed new naval barracks which are to be erected on the site that the Admiralty have practically decided to commence the actual building in March next.  The work is expected to cover a period of six years.

Offline Leofwine

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Re: Chatham Convict Prison
« Reply #22 on: August 02, 2011, 16:38:41 »
I was in the RE Library today getting photographs and noticed both the the Warder's Terrace and Governor's house in several photos (will post them here eventually) and it seems that it was up by the late 1860s, so it must have gone up at about the time, or very soon after, the 1866 map was made.
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Offline swiftone

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Re: Chatham Convict Prison
« Reply #21 on: August 02, 2011, 08:53:40 »
I recently acquired this photograph showing the Warders' Quarters at the Chatham Convict Prison. It is about 16 cm high by about 21.5 cm wide, mounted on part of an old thin card album page with a poem written on the back. Inscribed on the album card is Prison Quarters / Brompton / Chatham.
The houses were the homes of the prison officers. A few names of officers and doctors are also written beneath the photograph: Captain Harris Govr.         Capt. Burgoyne (JBN [or W]) Dep G            Dr. Voysey        Dr. Walker     Major Pierson Dep. G.
On the right is a (later?) pencil inscription March 1887 - Oct. 1892.

Comparing it to the 1866 OS Map I think the Governor's House in the foreground was built after 1866.

(In this directory the address for each person is St. Mary’s Vale, with George Walker noted as being at 4 St. Mary’s Vale, Clement Voisey at 3 St. Mary’s Vale)

The names tie in well with the inscribed dates, so I am guessing the photo is late 1880s.


Great piece of work Leofwine. The 1881 census confirms the address as St Mary's Vale, also the row of buildings down the left were flats. The 1896 map shows the Governor's house and the buildings on the right of the photo. The 1891 census - 804 convicts - 116 officers (probably included all support staff) - No in officers families 483. I also recollect a few prison officers living in streets close to the prison eg. Mill Road, Wyles St, Medway Road etc. In 1901 Capt. Burgoyne was Governor of Durham Prison at the age of 63 - no early retirement for him.

Offline Leofwine

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Re: Chatham Convict Prison
« Reply #20 on: August 02, 2011, 00:13:51 »
I recently acquired this photograph showing the Warders' Quarters at the Chatham Convict Prison. It is about 16 cm high by about 21.5 cm wide, mounted on part of an old thin card album page with a poem written on the back. Inscribed on the album card is Prison Quarters / Brompton / Chatham.
The houses were the homes of the prison officers. A few names of officers and doctors are also written beneath the photograph: Captain Harris Govr.         Capt. Burgoyne (JBN [or W]) Dep G            Dr. Voysey        Dr. Walker     Major Pierson Dep. G.
On the right is a (later?) pencil inscription March 1887 - Oct. 1892.



Comparing it to the 1866 OS Map I think the Governor's House in the foreground was built after 1866.


I have checked the Prison staff in several Directories and have the following (I’m including them all as the information is relevant to the thread as a whole). In all cases the directory entries were in the Old Brompton section of the directories:

1867 Post Office Directory
Capt. T. Folliot Powell, governor
William Pitt Butts & W.T. Hindle, esqrs. deputy governors
J.J.D. Burns, R.N. medical officer
James Steele, L.F.R.S. assistant surgeon
Rev. John K. Marsh, M.A. chaplain
Rev. J.R. Walshaw, M.A. assistant chaplain
Robert Bruce, Steward
Edward Turner, chief warder
Philip Murphy, clerk of works
William Fraser, foreman of works

1870 Post Office Directory
Capt William Pitt Butts, governor
Capt. R.A. Leggett& Capt. Arthur Griffiths, deputy governors
J.J.D. Burns, R.N. medical officer
James Steele, M.D. assistant surgeon
Rev. W.H. Duke, M.A. chaplain
Rev. F.A. Gardiner, M.A. assistant chaplain
Rev. M. O’Sullivan, catholic visiting priest
Rev. G.B. Watson, visiting Presbyterian minister
Robert Bruce, Steward
Edward Turner, chief warder
Philip Murphy, clerk of works
William Fraser, foreman of works

1874 Post Office Directory
Major James C. Farquarson, governor
Capt. J. Christal & Henry Stuart Johnson, deputy governors
J.J.D. Burns, R.N. medical officer
Henry Mayhew, assistant surgeon
Rev. W.H. Duke, M.A. chaplain
Rev John Corr, M.A. assistant chaplain
Rev. Duentin Fleming, Roman Catholic visiting priest
Rev. G.B. Watson, visiting Presbyterian minister
Robert Bruce, Steward
Edward Turner, chief warder
Richard Weaver, C.E. clerk of works
William Fraser, foreman of works

1882 Kelly’s Directory
Capt. Harris, governor
Captain R.H. Burgoyne & Capt. G.A. Dawson, deputy governors
R. Charlton Harrison, L.R.P.C. Lon. principal medical officer
Arthur Purkiss, M.B. assistant surgeon
Rev. William H. Duke, M.A. chaplain
Rev. John Thompson Phipps, Th.A.K.C.I. assistant chaplain
(In this directory the address for each person is St. Mary’s Vale, with Arthur Purkiss noted as being at 7 St. Mary’s Vale)

1891 Kelly’s Directory
Capt. W. F. V. Harris, governor
Captain R. D. G. H. Burgoyne & Major E.G. Clayton, deputy governors
George Edward Walker, principal medical officer
Clement Bernard Voisey, M.D. Lond. assistant surgeon
Rev. Joseph Bishop Wheeler chaplain
David Hogg, steward
(In this directory the address for each person is St. Mary’s Vale, with George Walker noted as being at 4 St. Mary’s Vale, Clement Voisey at 3 St. Mary’s Vale)

The names tie in well with the inscribed dates, so I am guessing the photo is late 1880s.


The poem on the back is "Wings". "Wings" was adopted as the RE Quick March in 1870 and in 1902 the "Wings" was Officially recognised. I wonder if this means that the photo belonged to a Royal Engineer who was a warder at the prison?
It consists of two Tunes - The path across the hills (German) and Dolores (Miss Dickinson).



The words are:

Wings to bear me over mountain and vale away;
Wings to bathe my spirit in morning's sunny ray.
Wings that I may hover at morn above the sea;
Wings through life to bear me, and death triumphantly.

Wings like youth's fleet moments which swiftly o'er me passed;
Wings like my early visions, too bright, too fair to last.
Wings that I might recall them, the loved, the lost, the dead;
Wings that I might fly the past, long vanished.

[Wings to lift me upward, soaring with Eagle flight;
Wings to waft me 'heav'ward to bask in realms of light.]
Wings to be no more wearied,lulled in eternal rest;
Wings to be sweetly folded where Faith and Love are blessed.
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Offline kyn

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Re: Chatham Convict Prison
« Reply #19 on: February 09, 2011, 08:32:27 »
Those of you that are interested in the Hulks may find Keith Gulvin's new book of interest.  Its called The Medway Prison Hulks.

http://www.l-13.org/acatalog/BOOKS.html#a150

Cover by Billy Childish.

Offline Leofwine

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Re: Chatham Convict Prison
« Reply #18 on: February 09, 2011, 04:07:16 »
Similar to kyn's photo, but different enough to warrant posting I think.   The prison in the 1860s.


Photograph reproduced by permission of the Royal Engineers Museum www.re-museum.co.uk
Larger versions here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/22124479@N03/5430135172/in/photostream/
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gules

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Re: Chatham Convict Prison
« Reply #17 on: August 26, 2010, 22:29:34 »
A letter from Mariner John Walton, to his wife Catherine, from the Prison Hulk Nassau, in 1813, gives an idea on the serious threat of disease that the prisoners feared whilst held upon the hulks.  He says:

I am in prison but I am not much in want... we was taken on the first day of August and carried into the Orkney Islands... I was very sick of the fever when we arrived at Chatham I met with Brother Mason but I did not know him I was so near dead.
 This prisoner appears as no. 296 at http://www.1812privateers.org/US/Nassua.pdf

oldsunset

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Re: Chatham Convict Prison
« Reply #16 on: May 08, 2010, 07:31:19 »
CAPTION READS: Convicts labouring at St Mary's Convict Prison on St Mary's Island, Chatham, Kent, 1861. It opened in 1856 to house the prisoners from the prison hulks (floating prisons) at Chatham and Woolwich. Published in the Illustrated London News - pub. 9th May 1861

photo links;
http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/95888925/Hulton-Archive
and inside of prison here;
http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/95888796/Hulton-Archive

Offline kyn

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Re: Chatham Convict Prison
« Reply #15 on: April 16, 2010, 13:44:17 »
 :)

Offline kyn

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Re: Chatham Convict Prison
« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2009, 14:34:21 »
 :)

Offline kyn

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Re: Chatham Convict Prison
« Reply #13 on: September 05, 2009, 18:55:28 »
The brickfields were on st Mary's Island.  The prison was one the site of HMS Pembroke which is now Grenwich University in Chatham.

 

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