Daily Chronicle, February 9, 1903

1 [A writer in “Household Words,” speaking of Brixton Gaol, dilates on the wonderful amelioration of the convict’s lot that has taken place there of recent years.]

If comfort you are fixed on,
 Just take my counsel, do.
Go straight away to Brixton.
 That is the place for you.
Don’t talk about the “Cecil,”
 Do not drag in the “Grand.”
They’re good hotels; but this’ll
 Beat any in the land.

The food is really splendid;
 Of that there’s not a doubt.
The port may be commended
 To those who know not gout.
No stint of works of fiction
 The convict’s pleasure mars.
Life runs with little friction
 Behind those prison bars.

If e’er you’d give an order,
 You press the nearest bell,
And instantly a warder
 Waits on you in your cell.
Obsequious is his glance; he
 Is so polite and nice.
You tell him what you fancy,
 He brings it in a trice.

So, friends, take up your jemmies,
 Your drills and keys of crime,
Who labours hard with them is
 Bound to succeed in time.
Of scruples make a clearance,
 Your moral qualms dismiss,
A little perseverance,
 And then—consummate bliss.

P. G. W. 




“At Brixton Gaol,” says a writer in “Household Words,” the old convicts marvel at the thoughtfulness of their custodians. They have clear glass windows commanding a view of the outer world; they have under their control a window which they open to admit fresh air, or close to prevent draughts; they have iron-framed spring bedsteads, with a coil mattress, a blanket, two sheets, a counterpane, and a pillow in white case . . . they can have novels, or bound volumes of high-class magazines from the library; they can receive daily papers, have their own food in, consume a half-pint of wine or a pint of beer a day.” (Lincolnshire Echo, February 9, 1903)

John Dawson