Catalogue description H.M. PRISON WANDSWORTH

This record is held by London Metropolitan Archives: City of London

Details of ACC/3444
Reference: ACC/3444

The records, ranging in date from 1847 to 1984, relate to prison administration, the prisoners, and, to a much a lesser extent, the prison staff. The earliest records are a minute and letter book, 1847-1850, and a letter book, 1848-1852, of the Committee for building a new prison in Surrey (ACC/3444/AD/01/001-002).


With regard to records relating to prisoners, the main series is the nominal registers (ACC/3444/PR/01), giving details of the name, age, trade, education, and religion of the prisoner, the date of committal, details of the offence and sentence and the date of discharge. These are in chronological order and run from 1879 to 1956, with several volumes produced each year. Unfortunately, there are only a few indexes to these registers. Those that survive run from 1940 to 1956 only (ACC/3444/PR/02).


The other important series giving details about individual prisoners are the registers of executions, 1892-1961 (ACC/3444/PR/03), and files on condemned prisoners, 1933-1954 (ACC/3444/PR/04).


Also of interest is a series of glass plates of prison officers and prisoners from 1920 to the 1930s.






Medical Records


Prison Industries




Photographic Negatives


H.M. Institution Borstal


Corrective Training Allocation Centre


Surrey and South London Discharged Prisoners' Aid Society

Related material:

The Public Record Office currently holds registers of prisoners for Wandsworth Prison 1858-1879 (PCOM2/230-289) two volumes of photograph albums 1872-1873 (PCOM2/290-291), and a register of deaths 1914-1951 (PCOM2/472).


Surrey Record Office has records of the Surrey Sessions of the Peace which include material on the Surrey House of Correction.

Held by: London Metropolitan Archives: City of London, not available at The National Archives
Language: English

HM Prison, Wandsworth

Access conditions:

In accordance with Home Office regulations, the entire collection is subject to a 30 year closure period, with the exception of some particularly sensitive series, which are subject to longer closure periods. These are all marked on the list.

Immediate source of acquisition:

The collection was deposited at London Metropolitan Archives in October 1994.

Publication note:

The Criminal Prisons of London and Scenes of Prison Life, by Henry Mayhew and John Binny (London, 1862) [Library 21.31 MAY]


Prisons and Punishments of London, by Richard Bryne (Harrap, 1989) [Library 21.31 BYR].

  • Prisons
  • Prisoners
Administrative / biographical background:

Wandsworth Prison was built in 1849 as a Surrey House of Correction and was intended for those serving short sentences. It was designed by D R Hill of Birmingham to hold 1000 prisoners, and the first male prisoners were admitted in 1851 and the first female prisoners in 1852. In 1877, when prisons were nationalised, it became a short-term prison and in 1878, it took over from Horsemonger Lane as the hanging prison for South London. It came to be used for recidivists and, after the first world war, part was taken over as the Boys' Prison for London, under a separate governor and regime from the main block. Boys were assessed here and, if appropriate, allocated to Borstals. In 1929, this function was transferred to Wormwood Scrubs. More recently, the prison has been used to hold convicted persons awaiting sentence and as the centre for allocating long-term prisoners to other prisons outside the London area.

Link to NRA Record:

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