Parkhurst & Camp Hill Prison Snippets

A succession of dots …… at the end of any report denotes there is much more to the story and if anyone wants the full details, please just contact me.

16 Oct 1852 – DEPARTURES .. Twentyone boys embarked from this prison on Wednesday for Van Dieman’s Land, on board the “Oriental Queen”, lying in Cowes Roads.  (IW Observer)

 16/10/1852LETTER FROM AN ANXIOUS RELATIVE .. I read in The Times of Wednesday a letter from Colonel JEBB regarding the prison over which he is inspector. To one sentence in it I would like to call attention in your valuable journal. He states “From the tons of letters addressed by the convicts to their friends, they appear very generally to appreciate the opportunities of the instruction afforded to them”, Unfortunately for himself, a relation of mine was transported for seven years, and is, I understand, now confined in Parkhurst Prison, but on writing to him, I received an answer in return, stating that convicts were not allowed on any account, to correspond with their friends. Now, how is this to be reconciled with Colonel JEBB‘s statement, quoted above? (IW Observer)

16/10/1852 – LETTER FROM J.JEBB, Lieut-Colonel .. “Rules for regulating correspondence at different civil prisons:- For Parkhurst – When a boy has passed through the probationary ward and has been four months in the general or junior wards with a good character, he is permitted to write home, the letter being, as in the case of all other convicts, read by the chaplain. At intervals of three months he may obtain permission to write again, and to receive letters at the same intervals of time.” (IW Observer)

15 June 1861 – ESCAPE & CAPTURE OF PARKHURST BOY .. On Tuesday one of the “reformed urchins” escaped from the vigilance of his keepers, but  only had one night on the island before he was captured. The escape by one or more of these juveniles has become such an ordinary occurrance that the public have got accustomed to it  …… He was captured by a man by the name of GROVES at Gurnard Marsh early next morning and conveyed by him to the police.  IW Observer)

10 Apr 1862 – REMOVAL .. Convicts from the Barque “Celerine”, which went ashore at Grange on Wednesday 2nd and were taken to Parkhurst Prison, left for Millbank on Saturday morning last, except the sick who will remain until sufficiently recovered to be removed.  (IW Times)

19 Feb 1863 – REFORMATORY .. George HALL Esq., the Governor of Parkhurst Prison has received a communication from the Secretary of State, for the arrival of 150 female prisoners on Monday morning next, who will be located at the lower prison, in consequence of the repairs going on at the juvenile or upper establishment, where they will be ultimately placed.  (IW Times)

7 May 1863 – FEMALE CONVICTS .. On Saturday about 40 female convicts were landed at the Commercial Wharf on their way from Millbank to Parkhurst Reformatory.  To all appearance they seemed very well satisfied with the prospect of a change from the dark atmosphere of Millbank, to the pure air of their future Island home.  We believe this is the fifth party that has been brought to the Island, and the draughts from the great London prison will be continued until Parkhurst can hold no more. (IW Times)

16 July 1863 – ARRIVALS .. Another batch of female convicts was landed at the commercial wharf on Tuesday at noon and conveyed from thence to Parkhurst.  The number landed was 30 and they appeared from their manners, to be of a rather superior kind, to many of our importations from Millbank. (IW Times)

3 Apr 1869 – We hear that all the female convicts at the prison are to be removed within the next fortnight and by the end of April it will be tenanted with male convicts. (IW Observer) ~15 Jan 1876 – DEATH BY BURNING .. Sarah JACKSON, wife of a Warder at Parkhurst Convict Establishment, was filling a benzolene lamp with oil in her back yard, when it overflowed and some spilt on her dress and caught fire.  John PRENDAGAST, a Warder, who had known Mrs JACKSON for about 16 years, said he heard screams coming from the yard, he tried to beat out the flames with a cushion ……
(IW Advertiser, Ryde & Ventnor Times)

29 Apr 1876 – A CONVICT .. Attempted to escape from Parkhurst Prison on Tuesday morning, the prisoner whose name is John WILSON and who is 25 years, was at work in the grounds near the Chaplain’s house and watching his opportunity, he bolted, clearing several fences.  The civil guard fired at him but missed, the runaway rapidly ran in the direction of the river.  An alarm was promptly raised and the usual steps were taken to recapture the convict. Officers were sent in all directions and after some hours search it was reported that the mans heavy boots had been found in a copse near Dodner.  Late in the afternoon, the prisoner was found lying in a wood at Wellow and taken back to Parkhurst.
(IW Advertiser, Ryde & Ventnor Times)

28 Apr 1877 – MURDEROUS ASSAULT .. On Thursday a warder names PAYNE was in charge of a gang of convicts at Parkhurst Prison, when one of the men,  armed with a hammer with which he had been working, sprang at the warder and struck him two fearful blows on the head, knocking him down senseless.  The convict had lifted the hammer with the intention of dealing another blow, when other prisoners rushed to protect the warder thereby in all probability, saving his life, his assailant was in irons at the time for previous misconduct.  PAYNE was seriously injured.
(IW Advertiser, Ryde & Ventnor Times) *

24 Nov 1877 – ESCAPE & RE-CAPTURE .. Saturday on the land of Parkhurst Prison when a gang of convicts at work were about to return, it was found that one of them favoured by the mist, had escaped.  Notices of the escaped convict, Henry HAMSTEAD, age 30, height 5ft.4 and half, with description were issued and a number of Prison Warders were ordered to scour the country round.  Tuesday morning traces of the convict were found in an outhouse close to Parkhurst Forest and he was captured on Kitbridge Farm.  He appeared suffered much from hunger and evidence was found of his fishing for morsels in a hog-tub.  (IW Advertiser, Ryde & Ventnor Times)  *

13 Dec 1884 – SUMMONED FOR ASSAULT .. Thomas BENNETT and Jacob COOK, of Northwood, were summoned for assaulting John Russell ABBOTT, a civil guard at H.M. Convict Prison Parkhurst — Complainant deposed that on the 29th of November, at 11.15pm, he was returning to Parkhurst from Newport. He had two parcels in his hand. When opposite the lower prison he overtook the two defendants, another man and a woman. One of the men with an oath, said he would knock witness’s two eyes into one. No sooner was that said than witness was knocked senseless to the ground …… (IW County Press)

17 Apr 1886 – ARRIVALS .. Not a little excitement was caused at Cowes and on the road towards Newport, on Wednesday, by the arrival of no less that 40 convicts en route for the prison here. They were secured by chains as is usual on such occasions, and were conveyed from the steamer at Cowes to Parkhurst in four large conveyances.  Nine other convicts arrived from London on Tuesday and fortyfour more were expected to arrive to occupy the new buildings.  (IW County Press)

24 Apr 1886CONVICT ESTABLISHMENT .. Last week nearly a hundred convicts arrived at this prison, and more are coming nearly every day. It is stated that over a dozen of the officials at Pentonville have been ordered to join here, where duty is now very heavy. It is said that the large prison at Woking is to be devoted to the reception of lunatic criminals after the manner of Broadmoor, hence the influx of prisoners to Parkhurst. (IW County Press)

8 May 1886 – ARRIVALS .. More convicts have arrived recently at the prison, making a total of 120 in three weeks.  The duty is consequently very heavy, as up to the present time the staff of warders has not been increased.  (IW County Press)

4 Feb 1888 – PRESENTATION .. On the retirement of Mr John WEIR, clerk of H.M. convict establishment, Parkhurst, his brother officers have presented him with a handsome silver tea service as a mark of their esteem. (IW County Press)

30 Mar 1889 – NEW GOVERNOR .. Capt JOHNSON, late governor of the convict prison at Dover, has been appointed governor of H.M. Prison, Parkhurst, in succession to Capt Talbot HARVEY, deceased. (IW County Press)

30 Mar 1889DEPUTY GOVERNOR .. Mr W.H.RUSSELL, the highly esteemed deputy-governor at Parkhurst Prison, is about to be transferred to the convict prison at Portsmouth. Mr RUSSELL will be much missed at Parkhurst, where he has done all in his power for the wellbeing of the officers and families…… (IW County Press)

23 Feb 1895 – The funeral of Principal Warder-cook MANSFIELD, a popular member of the Convict Prison staff, took place at Carisbrooke Cemetery on Sunday afternoon, the Vicar of Carisbrooke (the Rev. A. W. MILROY) officiting.  The mourners included the Governor of the Prison (Col. PARTRIDGE) and a large number of deceased’s fellow officers.  (IW County Press)

10 Oct 1896 – ATTEMPT TO ESCAPE .. Accidental discovery of a well arranged and cleverly worked out plan of escape, which had been carried to such a state of completion by one of the convicts, as apparently to be on the point of execution …… (IW County Press)

17 Oct 1896 – NARROW ESCAPE .. On Monday last during the storm of wind then prevailing, a high wall at the Upper (or old) Prison at Parkhurst was blown down, and a party of convicts working near had a narrow escape of being buried in the ruins.  The officer in charge of the gang was struck by a falling brick, but he was not seriously injured.  (IW County Press)

11 Feb 1899 – PRESENTATION .. Mr. James WEDLOCK, late steward at Parkhurst Prison, has been presented by his brother officers with a handsome oak drawing-room clock and a silver mounted walking stick on the occasion of his retirement after 43 years service.  Col. PLUMMER made the presentation, a fuller notice of which will appear next week.  (IW County Press)

31 May 1902 – ATTEMPT AT ESCAPE .. The guard on the outer gate of Parkhurst Prison, leading to Horsebridge Hill, had his suspicions aroused by the approach of a man dressed in light trousers with grey shirt and cap, when challenged the mysteriously dressed individual said he was going for a doctor, closer examination revealed he was a convict in disguise …… (IW County Press)

31 May 1902 – PRISON MISSION .. Parkhurst Prison is included among the convict prisons at which the Church Army will conduct a mission during the summer.  (IW County Press)

04 Feb 1911 – ATTEMPTED MURDER .. Two convicts from Parkhurst Prison, Henry WINTER and Frederick MURRAY, were on Tuesday charged with the attempted murder of Henry H. LIVINGSTONE, a warder at Parkhurst Prison.  There was another convict present, a man named JONES, to whom the warder, LIVINGSTONE, probably owes his life…… (IW Observer)  A large report is available.15 July 1911 – Assistant-Warder Nurse Henry Herbert LIVINGSTONE,  the officer at Parkhurst prison who was injured in a murderous assault upon him by two convicts in January, is to be pensioned off.  LIVINGSTONE would probably have been killed but that a convict named JONES, who ran to his rescue armed with a broom and drove the assailants away.  (IW Observer)

17 Oct 1911 – PARKHURST’S NEW PRISON .. The first block of the new Prison which is being erected at Parkhurst for habitual criminals is making good progress and the first lot of prisoners will, it is expected, be moved in by the beginning of April.  Altogether the building will consist of four prison blocks, each to accommodate 50 prisoners, these being of two stories, and new features are that there will be dining halls, where the prisoners will assemble for meals etc., and that the cells will have familiar cottage windows of clear glass, though protected outside by stout steel bars.  (Observer)

24 Feb 1912 – EXAMINATION SUCCESS .. Nurse E.ALLAN of H.M.Prison, has again been successful at the Templar’s Institute Examination. Last June he passed for the associate’s degree with honours in each section. This time he has passed for the membership degree with honours in each of the four sections. Nurse ALLAN who is well known in local temperance circles, organised the Firm Star Lodge (military), L.O.G.T., in the Worcestershire Regiment in January of last year. (IW County Press)

30 Mar 1912 – THE NEW STEAM LAUNDRY .. whihch has just been set up at Parkhurst Convict Prison to deal with the work of that establishment and also of the Camp Hill Prison, is the first of its kind to be provided in the prison service.  (IW County Press)

30 Mar 1912 – CAMP HILL PRISON .. The occupants of the new prison for habitual criminals at Camp Hill are steadily increasing in number. 19 arrived from Dartmoor on Monday. (IW County Press)

6 Apr 1912  – AN ATTEMPT AT ESCAPE .. was made by a convict from the old  Prison, who was working at the new Camp Hill Prison on Saturday morning. Whilst a contractors cart was passing through the gate the prisoner slipped out on the side opposite to that at which the guard was posted and dashed down the road through the forest towards the Yarmouth road.  The warders and workmen had joined in the short-lived chase, when guard CANTELO brought the prisoner to bay by firing over him to frighten him.  Prisoner at once threw up his arms and shouted “don’t shoot any more, I will come back”. He was secured without further difficulty and taken back to Prison.  (IW County Press)

18 Apr 1914 – The Rev. C. E. B. FRIPP, who was recently appointed Chaplain at Parkhurst Convict Prison, has taken over the duties in succession to the Rev. S. P. H. STATHAM.  The Chaplain of Camp Hill Prison, the Rev. T. L. KEMBER, will be leaving the Island shortly.  He was until recently the Assistant Chaplain at Parkhurst Prison.  Assistant Chaplains of Convict Prisons, as vacancies occur, will in future be replaced by Church Army evangelists.  (IW Observer)

7 Nov 1914 – AMBULANCE MAN’S SPLENDID WORK AT THE FRONT .. Lance-Corpl. E.J.BARTLETT of the 1st Batt. of the Buffs, a prison warder at Parkhurst, who has returned home to Newport on sick furlough, after three weeks fighting in the trenches near Soissons, mentions that he was splendidly attended by an Islander when in hospital, Mr Percy WILLIAMS, son of Mr F.WILLIAMS, station-master at Mill Hill Cowes, an orderly in the R.A.M.C.  Patients and the military doctor and Mr WILLIAMS had narrow escapes before they could get out of the danger zone …… (IW County Press)

6 Feb 1915 – DEATH .. has occured of Mrs Mary Ann PRICE, aged 84, who had to her credit over 34 years efficient service in H.M. Female prisons.  She joined the prison at Millbank as Assistant Matron in 1862 and was subsequently transferred to Parkhurst when the establishment was used for women. She afterwards went to Woking when the women prisoners were transferred from Parkhurst to that place.  Before her retirement in 1896 she had attained the position of Chief Matron …… (IW County Press)25 Feb 1922 – Chief Officer J.SIMPSON of Camp Hill Prison, has been promoted to 1st class chief officer at Parkhurst Prison. He served in the 11th Hussars from 1886 to 1894 and joined the prison services at Borstal in 1894. The good wishes of the Camp Hill staff go with him.

The people below, although not having an obvious connection to Parkhurst Prison, were in residence on the Island, but linked with Portland & Aylesbury prison establishments.

13 May 1899 – MARRIAGE .. At St Pauls Church, Mr Edward Alexander PURKIS, son of the late Mr E.J.PURKIS,  warder at Portland Convict Prison, was married to Miss Ada E.GIBBS, youngest daughter of Mr W.J.GIBBS, formerly principal gate keeper at Aylesbury Prison.  The bride was given away by her father ……  (IW County Press)

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