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Archives in London and the M25 area


Identity Statement

Reference code(s): CLA/032
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1487-1975
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 2 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Corporation of London


Administrative/Biographical history:

The administration of prisons and compters in London was the responsibility of the two Sheriffs. They in turn reported to the Court of Aldermen who issued orders and decrees relating to prison management.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records relating to the London prison system, 1487-1975. Prisons mentioned include the Houses of Correction at Westminster and Cold Bath Fields, the Debtor's Prison, Newgate, Ludgate, King's Bench, Fleet, Marshalsea, Clerkenwell, Bridewell, Holloway, Whitecross Street, Middlesex and Wandsworth as well as various Compters.

The records include accounts and financial papers; statutes and bills relating to gaols and prisons; Acts of the Court of Common Council and the Court of Aldermen; contracts; indentures; various committee minutes and papers, including reports of the Gaol Committee; petitions; regulations; papers relating to prisoner health; reports of the Commissioners of Prisons; papers relating to Compters, particularly the Committee for the rebuilding of Poultry and Wood Street compters, 1783-89 and papers relating to prison charities. Also a PhD thesis by Wayne Joseph Sheehan entitled The London Prison System 1666-1795, submitted to the University of Maryland in 1975.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

In sections according to catalogue.

Conditions governing access:

Available for general access.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright City of London

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Corporation of London Records Office.

Allied Materials

Related material:

For Corporation of London records relating to prisons see: CLA/003: Holloway Prison, CLA/028: Wood Street Compter, CLA/029: Giltspur Street Compter, CLA/030: Poultry Compter, CLA/031: Southwark Compter, CLA/032: Prisons and Compters, CLA/033: Ludgate Prison, CLA/034: Whitecross Street Prison, CLA/035: Newgate Prison, COL/CA/PCA: Court of Aldermen Prisons Committee, COL/CC/FNG: Court of Common Council Gaol Expenses and Finance Committee, COL/CC/MIN: Court of Common Council Committees includes material relating to gaols and compters, COL/CC/NGC: Court of Common Council Newgate Gaol Committee, COL/CC/PCC: Court of Common Council Prisons Committee, COL/CC/SPO: Court of Common Council Special Prisons Committee, COL/PL: Plans, including plans of prisons and compters.

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
February 2009

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