The Queen's Bench Prison started in Southwark during the sixteen century as King's Bench Prison, and was primarily for debtors.  By 1653, the prison held nearly 400 inmates in its Borough High Street location.  In 1755-8 the prison was moved to a nearby site.  A local riot in 1780 resulted in the prison being burned, but it was quickly rebuilt.  During the 1840's the prison was amalgamated at its original Borough Road site with two others and renamed Queens Bench.  It remained primarily a debtors prison until the middle years of Queen Victoria's reign (1837-1901), when arrest for debt was abolished. By 1872, Queen's Bench had been renamed Southwark Convict Prison.  It was finally demolished in 1880.

The prison is identified as Queen's Bench in the 1859 map.  It was also presented as such in Davies' map of 1843, Cruchley's map of 1846, and Stanford's map of 1862.   


(Quarter Mile Section - O 20)

Source: Weinreb B, Hibbert C (eds). The London Encyclopaedia, 1993.

Site in Davies' London Map of 1843

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Cruchley's Map of 1846

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Site in Stanford's Map of 1862

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Old Ordnance Survey Map of 1872

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