Bodmin Jail Part 3 – Prison Conditions


Compare this to life in a modern prison.

Prison Conditions


Prison diet consisted of the following:

  • Bread
  • Oatmeal Gruel
  • Potatoes
  • Suet Pudding
  • Scouse
  • Cheese

Meagre as this diet may look in the 21st Millennium, when you look at the contents of any single meal you see that it was far worse than it looked. For instance the cheese was a single ration per week served only on Sunday. For a complete look at the daily meals look at this table


The exhibit doesn’t show any bathrooms or shower rooms so I pondered on how the prisoners kept clean. Eventually I found an exhibit describing how a proposal that prisoners have a “tepid bath” every three months was considered unnecessary by the magistrates. So I’m left wondering how this place must have smelt with a few hundred prisoners who might not get a bath throughout their entire sentence.


In 1871 the prison could hold:

▪        141 Males
▪        59 Females
▪        25 Debtors

But at that time the average daily occupancy was 102, under half of the total capacity.

To find out more about the jail go to part 4.

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