Bad girls a history of rebels and renegades

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bad girls a history of rebels and renegades

Bad Girls: A History of Rebels and Renegades by Caitlin Davies

Society has never known what to do with its rebellious women.

Those who defied expectations about feminine behaviour have long been considered dangerous and unnatural, and ever since the Victorian era they have been removed from public view, locked up and often forgotten about. Many of these women ended up at HM Prison Holloway, the self-proclaimed terror to evil-doers which, until its closure in 2016, was western Europes largest womens prison.

First built in 1852 as a House of Correction, Holloways women have come from all corners of the UK - whether a patriot from Scotland, a suffragette from Huddersfield, or a spy from the Isle of Wight - and from all walks of life - socialites and prostitutes, sporting stars and nightclub queens, refugees and freedom fighters. They were imprisoned for treason and murder, for begging, performing abortions and stealing clothing coupons, for masquerading as men, running brothels and attempting suicide. In Bad Girls, Caitlin Davies tells their stories and shows how women have been treated in our justice system over more than a century, what crimes - real or imagined - they committed, who found them guilty and why. It is a story of victimization and resistance; of oppression and bravery.

From the women who escaped the hangmans noose - and those who didnt - to those who escaped Holloway altogether, Bad Girls is a fascinating look at how disobedient and defiant women changed not only the prison service, but the course of history.
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Published 13.12.2018

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Caitlin Davies

Book review: Bad Girls: A History of Rebels and Renegades by Caitlin Davies

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The land had been intended for use as a burial ground for victims of the recent cholera epidemic, but the epidemic had subsided, and the anticipated dead had not arrived. Men and women occupied separate wings and had separate tasks: women did the laundry and men and boys worked the treadwheel that supplied water to the prison this was dangerous work — the treadwheel at Aylesbury Prison was removed in after three prisoners were crushed to death in a single year. The women, most of whom had been found guilty of prostitution or drunkenness, lived on F Wing, on the eastern side of the prison. Each cell wall had a list showing the daily prison routine. The day began at 5. Bad Girls: A History of Rebels and Renegades (Audible Audio Edition): Caitlin Davies, Rose Ackroyd, John Murray: Books.
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H MP Holloway opened in as a house of correction for both men and women. The female inmates were decanted. In a groundbreaking inquiry into women in prison published more than 10 years ago, Baroness Jean Corston demanded a radical rethink of female incarceration. But this has always been the case, and still is today. They introduced education and skills and encouraged staff to show humanity. Corston argued for sentences served in the community and for help to be given to address trauma and addiction.

As a six-year-old, she recalls being enchanted by the magical, almost medieval castle jail with its high turrets and Gothic battlements. Clearly, London-born Davies, was an imaginative and curious child, the eldest of three children of award-winning novelist and biographer Margaret Forster, who died of cancer two years ago aged 77, and prolific journalist and author Hunter Davies. She is the author of 11 books and her latest, Bad Girls: A History of Rebels and Renegades, is a rich, superbly researched, definitive history of Holloway Prison, which closed in , and of the many disobedient, defiant, dangerous women and girls incarcerated there. We meet at her north London home, which she shares with her newspaper photographer partner, Nigel, and her year-old daughter, Ruby, from whose African father Davies is divorced. Her house is a minute walk from the prison. In , she entered the jail -- not as an inmate, I hasten to add -- as part of her teacher training.


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