The Ghosts of Newcastle Gaol: Visualising a Lost Victorian Prison

  • Shane McCorristine (Speaker)
  • Patrick Low (Speaker)
  • Lorna MacKay (Speaker)
  • Rutherford, H. (Speaker)
  • Clare Sandford-Couch (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk


With Dr Shane McCorristine, Dr Helen Rutherford, Dr Clare Sandford-Couch, Lorna MacKay, and Dr Patrick Low.

Newcastle’s new borough gaol on Carliol Square opened in 1828 and was designed by John Dobson. The Gaol dominated the East Pilgrim Street area and was a "panopticon" style prison designed to manage prisoners in a rational and reformist manner. It witnessed at least 200,000 committals during its operation and housed petty thieves and murderers as well as suffragettes, political prisoners, and "enemy aliens". The Gaol was also the scene of several executions and sensational escapes. However with national reforms to the prison system, and the reshaping of the Pilgrim Street area, the Gaol was demolished without fanfare in 1925, leaving few traces of its history behind.

A new exhibition in City Library (7 June- 31 July) will bring together some of the surviving heritage and documents relating to the prison alongside new visualisations and interpretations of the site. It will encourage a new understanding of the role of the Gaol in the social history of Newcastle and the importance of East Pilgrim Street as a hub of the city's development. This exhibition is funded by an Engagement and Place Award from Newcastle University and can be viewed on Floor 6 (Local Studies) in City Library.

Period14 Jun 2022
Event titleTalk: The Ghosts of Newcastle Gaol: Visualising a Lost Victorian Prison
Event typeOther
LocationNewcastle upon TyneShow on map
Degree of RecognitionRegional