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)
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.
Time to start the unofficial tour....
Wandering between the modern buildings within the prison grounds Let's head straight into the cells...
Single prisoner cell
Another dorm room
Mural in one of the many winding corridors
Lots of peely paint in some places
There were several styles of cell
Entrance into the prison...
Prisoner transport vehicles would park inside this area, and the gates closed behind them
The front entrance leads into this area, with a command room behind the glass
Corridors lead into the prison
Each area separated by iron gates Prisoner amenities and facilities
Entrance into the "family friendly" visitor centre.
Visitors and prisoners could be kept separated in these divided rooms
The prison had a swimming pool for prisoners to use
And gym facilities
The glazed walkway was decorated by inmates
The prison had a medical ward, including its own opticians
Covered walkway leading to the chapel. Note the high-security walls
The chapel was large but pretty basic
More inmate artwork
Mural inside one of the rooms
A room for presentations
The prison's boiler house
Exterior of the buildings within the prison walls
High fences divided the exterior areas