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White, Jerry, 1949-

Mansions of misery : a biography of the Marshalsea debtors' prison / Biography of the Marshalsea debtors' prison. Jerry White. - xvii, 364 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

The Marshalsea became a byword for misery; in the words of one of its inmates, it was hell in epitome. But the prison was also a microcosm of London life and it housed a colourful range of characters, including Charles Dickens's father. This book introduces us to the Marshalsea's unfortunate prisoners, rich and poor; men and women; spongers, fraudsters and innocents. We get to know the trumpeter John Grano who wined and dined with the prison governor and continued to compose music whilst other prisoners were tortured and starved to death. We meet the bare-knuckle fighter known as the Bold Smuggler, who fell on hard times after being beaten by the Chelsea Snob. And then there's Joshua Reeve Lowe, who saved Queen Victoria from assassination in Hyde Park in 1820, but whose heroism couldn't save him from the Marshalsea. Told through these extraordinary lives, This book gives us a fascinating and unforgettable cross-section of London life from the early 1700s to the 1840s.

9781847923028 (hardback) 184792302X (hardback)


Marshalsea Prison (Southwark, London, England)


Prisons--History--England--London--18th century.


London (England)--History--18th century.
London (England)--Social conditions--18th century.
London (England)--Social life and customs--18th century.

365.9421