Making and Mending

The boys have served more than half their sentences. Less than a fortnight to go. Today they work doggedly on their reading and spelling for over two and a half hours. The teacher is delighted. Since they are keeping to her Rules, she will stay true to her [...]
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‘Improved’

16 January 1840 Walter Tunmore, who has been alone and tearful  in his cell, is back with the boys and the prison visitor finds them bright and cheerful.  ‘They conducted themselves today, quite as I wished’, she writes later. ‘The difference for [...]
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The Prisoner’s Tears

15 January 1840 Yesterday, when the boys’ lesson was over, Walter Tunmore was sent to bed so the surgeon could treat a puss on his side. Passing by his cell, Sarah Martin heard the boy sobbing and went to speak with him. He pleaded with his teacher to [...]
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‘Thus were the Rules again broken’

Tuesday 14 January 1840 The Gaoler stops the prison visitor on her way to teach the boys in the House of Correction, informing Miss Martin that, once more, her young scholars have been in trouble. Only yesterday, the boys signed up to a set of rules drawn [...]
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Making their Mark

Monday 13 January 1840 Today the prison visitor must chide ‘the little boys’ again: ‘it made me very unhappy every day I came to find either one or other had been put into the cell or behaving ill this way or that’.  ‘[I]f they wished me to teach [...]
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‘They always ask to have the little books’

Sunday 12 January 1840 Sarah Martin gathers her strength to deliver her Sunday morning sermon in the prison chapel. Rarely does she miss a visit to the gaol but yesterday she regretted, ‘I am compelled by a bad cold to remain at home.’ In her absence, [...]
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‘Them two boys have been shut up in the cell’

Wednesday 8 January 1840 Today, as soon as Sarah Martin appears at the door of the dayroom in the House of Correction, Walter Tunmore flies forward to take his teacher’s paper case. ‘Them two boys’, he blurts out, ‘have been shut up in the cell for [...]
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‘Oh, what beautiful books!’

Tuesday 7 January 1840 Yesterday the boys in the House of Correction were restless and quarrelsome. Today, when Sarah Martin arrives to teach them, she asks ‘are you all prepared for me?’ ‘Yes, yes’ they cry. The prison visitor shows them ‘a [...]
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‘Not Forced to Learn’

Monday 6 January 1840 ‘The young Boys have been very Idle’ the prison visitor Sarah Martin writes today in her Everyday Book.  As wardsman, the inmate John Bevington is supposed to supervise the boys in the House of Correction and report any bad [...]
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Trouble in the Family

Sunday 5 January 1840 On Friday, Sarah Martin wrote of a sixteen-year-old factory girl imprisoned for stealing clothes from three women: ‘Martha Tan is improving in working and reading. Her manners are improved.’ Today she observes in her Everyday Book: [...]
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