Echoes of Holloway Prison

  • 20
  • Aug

A new exhibition by Islington Museum explores the history and significance of Holloway Prison, the impact of its closure, and the memories of those who lived and worked there.

Until its closure in June 2016, Holloway Prison was western Europe’s largest women’s prison, holding over 500 inmates including both adult women and young offenders. Converted to a female-only establishment in 1902, the prison has housed women from all over Britain.

Notable inmates include many suffragettes in the early 1900s, when the prison became infamous for force-feeding practices and the notorious ‘Cat and Mouse’ legislation. The prison also housed internees during WW2 including Diane Mosley; and Ruth Ellis, who became the last woman to be executed in the UK when she was hanged in Holloway in 1955.

The exhibition brings together a collection of unusual and rarely seen objects related to the prison from throughout its history, as well as film, talks, events and oral histories, allowing women to tell their stories in their own voices.

There are three free walks associated with this exhibition. Find out more here.

Highlights include:

A rarely seen cell door and original sign from the Victorian “Holloway Castle”, on loan from the Museum of London;

A cell bed and signage from the modern prison as it was when it closed, collected in 2016 by Islington Museum;

Second World War collections, including an exercise book diary of an 8-year-old girl held with her mother as German Jewish enemy aliens, and an embroidery piece on loan from the Imperial War Museum, signed by fascist sympathiser Diana Mosley and other internees, on loan from the Imperial War Museum;

Prisoner artwork produced on the closure of the prison; and

Original banners hung from Holloway Prison by feminist activist group Sisters Uncut, during their occupation of the prison’s Visitor Centre in May of last year.

The exhibition, curated by Roz Currie and a team of volunteers, is funded by is funded by a National Lottery grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and is presented in partnership with Holloway Prison Stories, an online repository for people with connections to the prison, and the Middlesex University department of criminology and sociology.

Echoes of Holloway
When: Friday 13 July to Saturday 6 October 2018
Opening times: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday: 10am-5pm. Wednesday and Sunday (and public holidays): closed
Cost: Free

More Things to do
Back to Things to do