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The Clink Prison Museum

The Clink Prison Museum Review

This medieval prison, the reason why the term clink became slang for jail, has been built on the site of the original, which was owned by the Bishops of Winchester from 1144 to 1780. The oldest of Southwark's five prisons, it was the first to detain women, many of whom were prostitutes. Because of the bishops' relaxed attitude toward the endemic trade—they decided to license prostitution rather than ban it—the area within their jurisdiction was known as "the Liberty of the Clink." You'll discover how grisly a Tudor prison could be, operating on a code of cruelty, deprivation, and corruption.

The prison was only a small part of Winchester Palace, a huge complex that was the bishops' London residence. You can still see the remains of the early 13th-century Great Hall, with its famous rose window, next to Southwark Cathedral.

    Contact Information

  • Address: 1 Clink St., Borough, London, SE1 9DG | Map It
  • Phone: 020/7403–0900
  • Cost: £7.50
  • Hours: July–Sept., daily 10–9; Oct.–June, weekdays 10–6, weekends 10–7:30; last admission 30 min before closing
  • Website:
  • Subway: London Bridge
  • Location: South of the Thames
Updated: 02-27-2014

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