HM Prison Holloway, London

HMP Holloway Prison London

HMP Holloway was the largest women’s only prison in Europe until its closure in 2016. Rebuilt in the 1970s, the prison's design was recognised as a failure.

Visited August 2018  UK North London, UK Closed

HMP Holloway was the largest women’s only prison in Europe until its closure in 2016. Rebuilt between 1971 to 1985, the prison’s design was intended to produce an atmosphere more like a hospital than a prison. This design was recognised as a failure in the 1980s as its lack of traditional wings or landings, and a maze of corridors, means warders had difficulty monitoring inmates.

Entrance to the rebuilt prison (CC Licence)​
Entrance to the rebuilt prison (CC Licence)​

The history of Holloway dates back to 1852 when the original prison opened as a mixed-sex establishment, but due to the increasing demand for space for female prisoners, it became female-only in 1903. Inmates of the original prison included Oscar Wilde, and more recently Moors murderess Myra Hindley from 1966.

The original Holloway Prison (public domain image)​

Holding female adults and young offenders either sentenced by the courts or being held on remand, the prison consisted mostly of single cells, but there was also various dormitory accommodation. In January 2016 an inquest into the death of Sarah Reed, a paranoid schizophrenic being held on remand, identified failings in the care system. The prison was closed in July 2016, with plans for it to be sold for housing.

Holloway Prison - Wandering between the modern buildings within the prison grounds
Holloway Prison – Wandering between the modern buildings within the prison grounds

Let’s head straight into the cells…

Holloway Prison - Dorm room
Holloway Prison – Dorm room
Holloway Prison - Single prisoner cell
Holloway Prison – Dorm room
Holloway Prison - Another dorm room
Holloway Prison – Another dorm room
Holloway Prison - Mural in one of the many winding corridors
Holloway Prison – Mural in one of the many winding corridors
Holloway Prison - Twin room
Holloway Prison – Twin room
Holloway Prison - Lots of peely paint in some places
Holloway Prison – Lots of peely paint in some places
Holloway Prison -There were several styles of cell
Holloway Prison -There were several styles of cell
Holloway Prison -Bars and gates inside the prison
Holloway Prison -Bars and gates inside the prison

Entrance into the prison…

Prisoner transport vehicles would park inside this area, and the gates closed behind them

Holloway Prison - Prisoner unloading area
Holloway Prison – Prisoner unloading area
Holloway Prison - The front entrance leads into this area, with a command room behind the glass
Holloway Prison – The front entrance leads into this area, with a command room behind the glass
Holloway Prison - Corridors lead into the prison
Holloway Prison – Corridors lead into the prison
Holloway Prison - Each area separated by iron gates
Holloway Prison – Each area separated by iron gates

Prisoner amenities and facilities

Holloway Prison - Entrance into the "family friendly" visitor centre.
Holloway Prison – Entrance into the “family friendly” visitor centre.
Holloway Prison - Visitors and prisoners could be kept separated in these divided rooms
Holloway Prison – Visitors and prisoners could be kept separated in these divided rooms
Holloway Prison - The prison had a swimming pool for prisoners to use
Holloway Prison – The prison had a swimming pool for prisoners to use
Holloway Prison - And gym facilities
Holloway Prison – And gym facilities
Holloway Prison - The glazed walkway was decorated by inmates
Holloway Prison – The glazed walkway was decorated by inmates
Holloway Prison - The prison had a medical ward, including its own opticians
Holloway Prison – The prison had a medical ward, including its own opticians
Holloway Prison - Pharmacy
Holloway Prison – Pharmacy
Holloway Prison - Covered walkway leading to the chapel. Note the high-security walls
Holloway Prison – Covered walkway leading to the chapel. Note the high-security walls
Holloway Prison - The chapel was large but pretty basic
Holloway Prison – The chapel was large but pretty basic
Holloway Prison - Inmate artwork on a staircase
Holloway Prison – Inmate artwork on a staircase
Holloway Prison - Mural inside one of the rooms
Holloway Prison – Mural inside one of the rooms
Holloway Prison - A room for presentations
Holloway Prison – A room for presentations
Holloway Prison - The prison's boiler house
Holloway Prison – The prison’s boiler house
Holloway Prison - Exterior of the buildings within the prison walls
Holloway Prison – Exterior of the buildings within the prison walls
Holloway Prison - High fences divided the exterior areas​
Holloway Prison – High fences divided the exterior areas​
Author: Andy Kay | Facebook | Flickr | Instagram

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