1851 Prisons in County Louth

 

 

 

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The following account of the condition of the jails in Dundalk & Drogheda, and the Bridewell in Ardee, is taken from Thirtieth Report of the Inspector-general on the General State of The Prisons in Ireland 1851, Dublin 1852. Photographs are taken from Tempest's Jubilee Annual 1859-1909. Dundalgan Press, Dundalk. 1909.

 

 

COUNTY OF LOUTH GAOL, AT DUNDALK – VISITED 6TH AND 7TH JUNE, 1851

 

 

State and Accommodation

 

I LAMENT to observe that the annexed report exhibits an advance of 28 in the number of prisoners, as compared with the return furnished at the last inspection. There is an increase of 10 in the aggregate of debtors of both classes; but the remainder must, I fear, be carried to the account of crime. Among the untried were several committed for offences of the gravest character, exhibiting great social disorganization. There were no convicts. It is unnecessary for me to enter into the local details of this defective and insecure building, as the transfer of prisoners to the new gaol will have bee made before the next inspection, and no alteration of, or expenditure upon, the existing one is required. Each prisoner bears a label numbered, and corresponding lists, giving the name and offences, are furnished in each class; a very useful and commendable arrangement. There is a patrol at night in the corridors. The clothing and bedding were cleanly and in fair repair. The punishments were 22 during the current year. Number of commitments during the past year, males, 816; females, 325; - re-commitments, males 72; females, 35; - greatest number in gaol at any one time, during the past year, males, 115; females, 49. Average males 84 157/365 ;  females, 31½.

 

 

Classes

Males

Females

Master Debtors

5

-

Pauper  Do.

9

1

Felons Convicted

28

11

Misdemeanants Do.

10

3

Felons Untried

27

19

Misdemeanants Do.

1

-

Vagrants

2

-

Soldier Tried

1

-

Revenue Laws

1

-

Committed Summarily

14

4

Total

98

38

 

 

 

 

Employment and Schools

 

Employment consists in making up clothing for the use of the gaol, the manufacture of cocoa-fibre mats ,opening rope, carpentry, weaving and winding, besides stone-breaking and the ordinary duties. There is but one trained handicrafts-man among the turnkeys – a cabinet-maker. I trust that in the new establishment care will be taken to select, as vacancies occur, persons capable of giving instruction in various trades, as furnishing the best means of internal discipline and economy, and enabling prisoners on their discharge to earn their bread. School instruction is given for one hour daily, and a registry of progress if kept.

 

 

Female Department

 

The want of adequate accommodation here prevents any classification; but order is maintained, and the females are engaged in making clothing, sheets, shirts, bed-ticks, &c., spinning, carding, knitting, opening rope, besides washing. They are instructed for two hours daily,

 

 

Dietary

 

 

 

First Class

Second Class

Third Class

 

Males

Females

Children under 18

 

 

 

 

 

4 oz. Oatmeal

3½ oz oatmeal

2½ oz. Oatmeal

Breakfast

4 oz. Oatmeal made into stirabout

3½ Indian meal made into stirabout

2½ Indian meal made into stirabout

 

½ pint new milk

½ pint new milk

½ pint of new milk

 

 

 

 

Dinner

14 oz. Bread

12 oz. Bread

10 oz. Bread

 

1 pint new milk

¾ pint new milk

½ pint new milk

 

 

 

 

 

-

-

4 oz. Bread

Supper

 

 

1½ naggings new milk

 

 

Contracts. – Bread, per lb. 1d.’ oatmeal, per cwt. 11s.’ Indian meal, per cwt. 8s. 3d.; new milk, per gallon, 8d.; salt, per stone, 2s. 6d.

 

The provisions are duly inspected by the chaplains.

 

 

Books and Accounts

 

I suggested some improvements in the form of the abstract of daily consumption. The surgeon’s books are very carefully kept, and afford a most satisfactory check upon the diet, which falls within his control. I had no opportunity of inspecting the works accounts. The Inspectors-General hope to be able shortly to issue one uniform system of keeping accounts, which will enable the Board of each gaol to measure their own management with that of others of a similar class.

 

 

Officers and Salaries                      

 

 

 

 

 

 

£

s.

d.

Rev. J.H. Allpress

Local Inspector

50

0

0

Do.

Protestant Chaplain

36

18

6

Rev. James Beatty

Protestant Dissenting do.

36

18

6

Rev. Michael Kieran

Roman Catholic do.

36

18

6

Edward G. Brunker Esq.,

Surgeon, (paid for his attendance here and at the County Infirmary)

 

 

 

Mr. Francis Scott

Apothecary

15

0

0

Mr. Francis Lamb

Governor

176

15

6

Henry Slone

1st. Turnkey

40

0

0

Thomas McCullagh

2nd do.

30

0

0

James Kelly

3rd do.

30

0

0

Thomas Gilliard

4th do.

30

0

0

William Dysart

5th do.

30

0

0

John McCullagh

6th do.

30

0

0

William McCue

Schoolmaster, &c.

30

0

0

Mary A. Mangin

Matron

30

0

0

Mary A. Stewart

Hospital Nurse

20

0

0

 

 

Officers’ Visits

 

 

Local Inspector and Protestant Chaplain

364

Roman Catholic Chaplain

103

Surgeon

231

Roman Catholic Chaplain, by substitute

89

Presbyterian or Dissenting Chaplains

213

 

 

 

The turnkeys wear a neat uniform, and are an active and intelligent body, wanting only in a thorough knowledge of trades.

 

 

Hospital

 

There were but two male patients here. The account of medicines, which were furnished from Dublin, for the last three year, stands thus:-

 

 

 

£

s.

d.

At Spring Assizes

1849

8

6

8

Do.

1850

3

10

4

Do.

1851

6

2

1

 

 There are no lunatics.

 

 

Board of Superintendents

 

 

The meetings of the Board are now held monthly, and each member in turn, i.e. once a month, inspects the gaol; a very prudent and effective regulation.

 

 

Right Hon. The Earl of Roden

Edward Tipping Esq., J.P.

Thomas Fortescue Esq., J.P.

John Townley Esq., J.P.

Frederick John Foster, Esq.

James O’Callaghan Esq., J.P.

Graham Johnston Esq.

Thomas Coleman Esq

John James Bigger Esq., J.P.

John G. Coddington, Esq

James W. McNeale Esq.

John Black, Esq., J.P.

 

 

 

General Observations

 

I visited the gaol on two successive days, and was gratified to observe that cleanliness, discipline, and order were carried out by the Governor, who is an anxious and zealous officer. I devoted a considerable time to a thorough inspection of the new gaol, during which I had the advantage of being accompanied by Mr. Neville, the county surveyor, who furnished the plan. There appears to have been some delay on the part of the contractor, but he building is now proceeding towards completion. The design is highly creditable to Me. Neville, who expressed the greatest readiness to receive any suggestion as to some minor points of security &c. It contains 130 cells, fitted for the separate system, and has been judiciously constructed, so as to be capable of further extension, if it should be required, without interfering with the existing arrangement. It is my duty, and a most pleasing one, to express my admiration of the liberality, the public spirit, and the foresight exhibited by this small county, in thus dealing vigorously with the principles of amended prison discipline; a policy which contrasts favourably with the apathy, to use no stronger term, which too generally prevails throughout Ireland; and I sincerely trust that this auspicious beginning will be adequately followed up, and that the new establishment will be sustained in such a manner as to secure for its management the same high praise which is justly due to its foundation.

 

 

 

 

Bridewell

 

ARDEE - This bridewell I found in a very creditable state of repair and cleanliness. The bedding in good order. The sewers effective; an adequate supply of water raised by a forcing pump. A day-room, &c., for each sex; 3 cells and 1 drunkard’s cell for males; and 2 for females. It is furnished by the keeper; an incorrect practice, and in contravention of the Second General Rule annexed to the 109th Section of the Prisons Act. There were 70 prisoners confined here in the last quarter; and there were usually about 12 for quarter sessions. The Local Inspector seldom visits. The registry and committals correct. Petty sessions held fortnightly, and transmitted regular. The salary of the keeper, a respectable and intelligent man, formerly in the constabulary, £50 a year.

 

J. Corry Connellan, Inspector-General.

 

 

 

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COUNTY OF THE TOWN OF DROGHEDA GAOL - VISITED 7TH JUNE, 1851

 

 

State and Accommodation

 

The subjoined table exhibits, I am happy to state, a diminution of 9, as compared with the return given at the last inspection:-

 

 

Classes

Males

Females

Master debtors

-

1

Felons convicted

11

7

Felons untried

4

2

Soldiers tried

2

-

Total

17

10

Of whom sick in Hospital

1

0

 

 

The accommodation consists of 16 single cells, 2 solitary cells, 4 rooms with beds, 5 day-rooms, and six yards. The pumps have been repaired and rendered effective, and water is now supplied by pipes to every yard. The privies too have been put in order, and the old sewers cleansed. The bedding was good, and sheets and bolsters are used. There were no convicts. The commitments during the past year were, males, 319, females, 252; - re-commitments, males 142; females 176;- greatest number in gaol at any one time during the year, males 32; females 16; - average males, 19; females 10. There was no entry in the punishment book since last August; the mere threat in the solitary cell having been found sufficient to repress insubordination.

 

 

 

Employment and Schools

 

 

This heading might be omitted, for the employment is limited to picking oakum and stone-breaking, and there is no school.

 

 

 

Female Department

 

There is no classification of the females at present, all being placed together indiscriminately, but works are in progress for effecting a division, and a separation of the better conducted from the more depraved, will be carried out. Knitting, sewing, and washing form their employment.

 

 

Dietary

 

Stirabout and buttermilk for breakfast, and brown bread and buttermilk for dinner. The bread was unexceptionable; one complaint was made of the stirabout; which I was satisfied was unfounded after communication with rev. Mr. Hanratty, a very zealous and humane officer, who is Local Inspector and Roman Catholic Chaplain.

 

Contracts;- Bread, per lb. White, 1¼d.; brown 1d.; oatmeal, per cwt. 10s. 6d.; Indian meal, per cwt. 8s. 2d.; new milk, per gallon, 6d.; buttermilk, per gallon, 2d.; salt, per stone, 3d.; straw, per ton, 25s.; candles, mould, per lb., 6d.; dipt, 5d.; soap, per stone, 3s. 2d.; coals, per ton, 12s. 6d.

 

 

Books and Accounts

 

I found that the accounts were not kept with neatness or regularity; but certain omissions were attributed to the temporary illness of the Governor’s son, to whom, with his father, the duty is assigned. There were some necessary checks wanting, particularly that of a gate-porter’s book, which I pointed out.

 

 

 

Officers’ Visits

 

 

Local Inspector

135

Protestant Chaplain

126

Surgeon

109

Roman Catholic do.

145

 

 

I regret to state, that though my colleague had occasion in his last inspection to animadvert upon the neglect of the Protestant Chaplain to fulfil the requirements prescribed by the 69th section of the Prisons Act, this dereliction still continued, and the Board of Superintendence had found it necessary to pass a resolution to that effect. The Governor appeared anxious to discharge his duty, but is evidently wanting in that activity and energy, &c., which is essential to the carrying out of improved prison management.

 

 

 

Officers Salaries

 

 

 

 

£

s.

d.

Rev. Patrick Hanratty

Local Inspector

10

0

0

Rev. George Needham

Protestant do.

30

0

0

Rev. P. Hanratty

Roman Catholic do.

30

0

0

Robert Pentland

Surgeon

-

-

-

James Hughes

Governor

80

0

0

William Tolten

Turnkey

20

0

0

William Lowres

Do,

20

0

0

Margaret McDonnell

Matron

6

0

0

 

The Governor, the two Turnkeys, and the Matron, are on gaol allowance.

 

 

 

Board of Superintendence

 

 

The Board of Superintendence meets fortnightly. The smaller contracts are paid with the funds in hand, by orders upon the Treasurer. Those for bread, milk, meal, &c., are discharged at the assizes, after an examination by the Grand Jury.

 

 

Anthony Keapock, Esq, Chairman

Patrick Boylan, Esq.

Thomas Carty,Esq., J.P.

John Drew, Esq.

James Matthews, Esq., J.P.

Patrick Beahan, Esq.

Christopher Jordan, Esq., J.P.

Feliz McCabe, Esq.

H.R. Fairtclough, Esq., J.P.

Robert Hardman, Esq.

 

 

 

General Observations

 

 

My report of this gaol would necessarily be very unfavourable if it applied solely to its existing condition of accommodation, but I am bound to state, and I do so with pleasure, that since the last inspection greater regularity is observed, that some material evils have been abated and that a spirit and intention of immediate improvement and extension prevails among those charged with the management. I was accompanied at my visit by the Local inspector, and by Mr. Boland, and Dr. Drew (members of the Board), and from them I received an assurance, corroborated by a letter subsequently addressed to me by the former gentlemen, that a presentment would be put forward for a chapel, hospital, dry-loft, and laundry – all of which are wanting in the building as it now stands. I trust, therefore, that no difficulty not delay will be experienced in completing these indispensable additions. I would therefore impress upon the Board the necessity of giving some educational instruction, and some useful employment, such as tailoring, shoe-making, and weaving, as a means of discipline, of remuneration, economy, and of subsequent benefit to the prisoners on their discharge. These advantages, which could be obtained at a comparatively inconsiderable outlay, would place the establishment upon a creditable footing.

 

J. Corry Connellan, Inspector-General.

 

 

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