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What was life like for Victorian child criminals?

Plague in prison

By Justina, 13, , Belfast, Northern Ireland

The year 1665 was bad for us girls in prison. each meagre meal, durin' th' plague, stri'tly speakin', consisted o' nothin' bu' a slice o' bread , and on Sunday, two slices with a bit o' drppin' an' 'am. The rats bit me tha' firs' day, an' I caught th' plague bad. The day I wen' in - well, le' m' tink, must o' b'n Frid'y. O' an' by th' way, m' name's Victoriana. Bit gran' I know, comin' fro' St. Giles. I'd b'n char'd wi' thievery, bu' th' baker as said i' hated a' educated poor girl. Men these days on'y fink us gals 're fi' for coun'n a coupl'o 'a'pennies. I was sixteen, an' new ter prisink. Th' diy I was stru' dow' was awful. Matron says I can' st' 'ere. And now, four ' undred centuries on, I remember th' suff'rin' I went through, as I lay there, on my deathbed , knowin' tha' I would never meet my maker.
(June 2003)


The Day

By Kim, Della and Joel, 10 & 11, Bosworth School, Nottingham, UK

The cell was small and the walls felt like they were caving in. If we knew we were staying, some of us might have passed out. The darkness was worrying to some but the braver didn't mind. But in a way the fright was exciting. Now we knew how the young Victorians must have felt -maybe even worse.



By Dean, Troy & Usman, 9, 11, Bosworth School, Nottingham, UK

The first time I was locked inside the cell I was horrified.
There were rats and it stank.


My First Day

By Liam, Grant, 10/11/10, Bosworth School, Nottingham, UK

When the cell door slammed shut everybody screamed. It was cold and smelly. We all rushed out of the cell to the laundry room and the soap was hard. Most of the walls were very damp.


Isabella's first day

By Casey, 11, Bosworth School, Nottingham, UK

SLAM! The door shut behind me and I felt lost and unwanted. I knew that I had done something wrong but I didn't know what. I knew I had done something otherwise I would not have been put away.



By Dean, 11, Bosworth School, Nottingham, UK

As the door shut behind me I felt petrified inside the horrible and smelly prison. Prisoners were scarred to make themselves look hard and scary so they didn't get beaten up.


First Day in Prison

By Christos, 11, Bosworth School, Nottingham, UK

As the door slammed behind me I felt lonely and grim. It smelt like rotting bodies. It was so dark - I only had a crack of light gleaming through the crack in the wall. I knew that tomorrow and the following days were of hard labour.


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