Duke Street Prison

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Duke Street Prison

Postby escotregen » Sun Jan 18, 2004 1:04 pm

The lack of folklore and artifacts around the old Duke Street prison and the site it stood on has always struck me as odd. Even old retired police officers I have spoken with know nothing of it... perhaps this is part of the neglected role and place of Scottish women as it was a womens' prison? Many suffregette protesters weel imprisoned there. I have some photo reproductions that confirm my very young childhood memories of passing a gaunt and forbidding edifice, by then shut up. The site is behind the junction of High Street and Duke Street with John Knox Street running up the other side. It now contains a 'slab block' 1960s council scheme but not many people know that the thick stone wall enclosing the scheme are all that is left of the original prison walls. I can recall my Dad showing me the walls as a wee boy and pointing out where bullet holes marked the walls from an IRA attempt to 'spring' some prisoners from a black maria in the 1920s. I also know of the legend of the sparrow tree and the condemned prisoners... however, neither of these stories are consistent with it being a womens' prison, and yet I know of at least one other well authenticated story concening a male prisoner in the 1920s! Does anyone elso know more about the prison or about any other remaining relics or atrifacts on the site or held elswhere?
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Duke Street Prisson

Postby Pgcc93 » Sun Jan 18, 2004 2:30 pm

I think there are some artifacts held in the Peoples Palace regarding Duke Street Prison, It's been a while since I was visited though, IIRC they had a mock up cell etc. Anyone one been there recently that can confirm this.?
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Postby Sharon » Sun Jan 18, 2004 2:33 pm

Definately a cell in the peoples palace. Theres also a flogging table! Although i don't know if thats from Duke Street.

But the ledgend of the sparrow tree and the condemed prisoners... please pass this piece of folklore on! :)
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Postby escotregen » Sun Jan 18, 2004 3:05 pm

Well... the legend has it that one of the condemned prisoners was gazing out from the condemned cell from which he could see only a tree. On the tree, wee sparras flirted about and chirped away. He confided to his wardens (or confessor?) that he so regreted what he had done with his life and how that had led him to this place that he would be willing to trade it all to try again - in even it it was just to be 'wane ae they wee sparras' .
Quite touching, but there again there were the cynics who said it was a case of 'impending execution concentrating the mind wonderfully'!
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Postby Sharon » Sun Jan 18, 2004 4:44 pm

Just tried a search of Virtual Vitchell for Duke St prison and have turned up this pic:

Image

Duke St prison and goods station

Area Central
Street Duke St
Date n.d. ?c.1930
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Postby Sharon » Sun Jan 18, 2004 4:46 pm

Image


Image

Duke St prison 1955
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Postby Sharon » Sun Jan 18, 2004 4:49 pm

Image

Inside Duke Street prison Apr. 1959

I LOVE the virtual mitchell site!
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Postby Sharon » Sun Jan 18, 2004 4:53 pm

Image

Prison gate

Image

Doesn't look too solid!

Image

Image

Duke St prison during demolition

Area Central
Street Duke St
Date 24 Apr. 1959


Image

Prison gate 1960
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Duke Street prison ...

Postby Ronnie » Sun Jan 18, 2004 6:35 pm

... was built in 1825, on the site of the city's House of Correction, as the City and County Bridewell. When Barlinnie Prison opened in 1882, Duke Street became largely a women's prison, which it remained until it closed in 1955. Information from the wonderful "Glasgow Encyclopedia" by Joe Fisher. There may be more, as well as illustrations, at <www.TheGlasgowStory.com>.
Best, Ronnie

PS If you do visit The Glasgow Story, check out my three articles on Glasgow graveyards through the years.
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Postby escotregen » Sun Jan 18, 2004 6:42 pm

Sharon, superb, really superb. The only thing is that the photographs seem to illustrate an almost mediaeval institution from an earlier age that makes me feel ancient because I can say I can remember seeing it before it vanished! Now; I've got my anorak on for this next bit... you see the bus stop on the last image?... well that bus stop is still there in that exact spot. Not the actual pole you understand, but the stop is still there (who said I don't live an exciting life?)
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Postby Kirsty » Sat Feb 14, 2004 10:22 am

Hi Guys,

There is a wee bit of info about the "IRA Spring" in the Polic Museum in Turnbull Street. The retired polis in their know loads of interesting stuff. My Mum lives in Drygate now and she says that there is a female ghost wanders rattling keys. I also heard that the last woman in Scotland to be hanged was imprisoned there.

dunno if this is true.


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Postby Fossil » Sat Dec 04, 2004 2:29 pm

Check this pic number (TP15-6) escoty

http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/lo/features/7015513.html

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Postby escotregen » Mon Dec 06, 2004 6:22 pm

Fossil thanks for drawing my attention to this. It comes from what seems to be the only set of photographs of the prison (I think it was Sharon who first put me onto them. It still interests/baffles me that there is so little archive or folklore material about what was one of the biggest civil undertakings in 19th and 20th centuries in Scotland.
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Duke Street Prison Images

Postby gordonuk » Fri Dec 17, 2004 3:09 pm

content removed <Admin>
Last edited by gordonuk on Wed Dec 22, 2004 2:53 pm, edited 8 times in total.
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Postby AMcD » Fri Dec 17, 2004 3:24 pm

They are great photos Gordon.

Great shot of the High Street Goods Yard as well, it's huge!
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