The Building and its Occupants
Edinburgh Bridewell was erected in 1791, and is described below:
"It is of what may be denominated the Bastile order
of architecture, and was designed by the late celebrated Robert Adam.
body of the building is in a semicircular form, and the walls are
perforated with a kind of loop-hole windows.
It consists of five floors. Part of the highest
is used as a hospital, and the remainder are storerooms.
The exterior of
the curves of the under floors contain the sleeping-closets, 134 in
number, with a bed and bible in each.
portions of the curves are divided into 52 working parlours, or cages,
furnished with implements suited to the capabilities of the occupants
for the time being.
are separated from the sleeping ones, by the semicircular lobbies which
give access to both.
By a kind of
Victorian screen-work the tenants of each cage are prevented from seeing
what is passing in the others - while all of them are overlooked, from
the window of a dark apartment from the centre of the curve, from which
the governor, or his deputy.
When an entrant
has passed through the required extent of ablution, and thereby been
raised to the requisite degree of purity, an account is, in favourable
cases, opened with him.
Labour, to a
modified extent is required of him, the value of any surplus exertion
being entered to his credit, and given to him on his departure.