Results 1-4of 4 Reviews
London, United Kingdom
June 28, 2011
From journal Historic Places in London
October 10, 2009
From journal London Museums
January 12, 2006
The most interesting thing I learned here was how this dark place has lent its name to the English vernacular. Jails are often called 'the clink' today because so many prostitutes and other criminals were once thrown into the dank confines of the Clink Prison in London. Begun in Saxon times, The Clink also housed heretics who disagreed with the powers that be (not necessarily God) and unfortunates who couldn't pay their debts. It was ruled over by the Bishop of Winchester who had a palace nearby.
So what was the attraction like to visit? Well, in all honesty, it was just okay. This is a fairly small museum that won't take you long to get through. While the history is certainly interesting, the presentation was a bit... uh... lacking. You simply walk through and read the signs for yourself. There is some concentration on the torture used on the poor prisoners, and you get a sense of how awful it must have been to be housed with masses of others in such a small space. Yet, you somehow won't be able to shake the feeling of hokey.
Is this a good family attraction? Small children would be bored. My eleven-year-old son thought it was okay but not all that memorable. At five pounds per adult, it seemed a little expensive to me.
With all that said, The Clink is one of the few museums that operates seven days a week including during holidays when much of the rest of London is shut down. Open from 10AM-6PM, it'll take less than an hour to see. The little booklet you can buy with your ticket is worth the extra quid. I found it to be more interesting than the museum!
Check http://www.clink.co.uk for more information.
From journal Lads in London
May 16, 2003
The southbank was a grim place in the middle ages - prostitution was rife and legal, and bare-knucklefighting, gambling, bear-baiting and cockfighting commonplace entertainment and the Bishops of Winchester were the guardians of medieval morals and behaviour. There were still debts to be paid and standards maintained and so the Bishops established a prison next to the Episcopal Palace (whose rose window can still be admired next to the museum entrance on Clink Street) for debtors, thieves, heretics and general ne-er-do-wells to work out their time and, more importantly, pay off their debts.
Not altogether surprisingly, history (and the incarcarated) record it as having been a thoroughly nasty place, although the strains of a stay there were generally alleviated by bribing the guards for food, blankets, clean water, the services of a "friendly" visitor...On top of which, prisoners had actually to pay for their board and lodging in the Clink so the Bishop made a tidy sum in running the place.
Earliest records show that it held prisoners from around 1151 until it was closed down in 1780 and various local luminaries are allegedly to have stayed or frequented the place including Shakespeare who visited an old schoolfriend.
The tour takes you through poky little cells and displays of original and reproduction "restraining and torturing devices" and lists of transportation victims and the like and, whilst the dingy, stinking hole that it must once have been isn't entirely replicated (thank goodness), the place goes some considerable way to giving a feeling of the confinement and misery that inmates talk of in letters and diaries during imprisonment. As usual, the guided tour is heavy on the statistics of gore and torture and the Tussauds' style waxworks have been done before, but it's quite evocative and the dressed-up guides throw themselves into it with a well-judged blend of humour and enjoyably grisly detail.
From journal Ambling around London pt 1 - southbank of the River Thames