A postcard dating from the 1900s of Holloway Castle. Credit: Islington Local History Centre

Islington Museum to explore memories of Holloway Prison

Rebecca Atkinson, 07.03.2018
HLF-funded project will include training former prisoners in transferable skills
A project between London’s Islington Heritage, Holloway Prison Stories and Middlesex University will see local volunteers and former staff and inmates at Holloway Prison come together to explore the gap left in the community by the closure of the prison in May 2016.

The Echoes of Holloway Prison project, which is funded through a £73,700 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), aims to ensure that stories about the prison and its impact on the borough and across the wider community are recorded.

It will see Islington Museum train local volunteers and ex-prisoners, in transferable skills such as research, documentation and using archives, blogging and web publication.

An oral history and film project will record stories from people who were held or worked at the prison, while workshops will explore what the closure means for the local area. And Middlesex University's Department of Criminology and Sociology will undertake some work in partnership with offenders' charity User Voice to investigate the impact on the women who were transfered to other prisons following Holloway's closure.

The museum has also launched a call for the public to contribute their stories, objects and photographs of the prison, which may be used to in an exhibition later this year and touring pop-up exhibits.

Roz Currie, the curator of Islington Museum, said: “Holloway Prison and its closure made a massive impact on the borough, so following the story is core to what we do. This project will tell the story of the prison for a wide audience, but we will let local people and former prisoners and staff guide us as its their story.”

The project already has 15 volunteers, including students of criminology, prison activists and ex-prisoners.

Holloway Prison was the largest women’s prison in Britain for 100 year until its closure.

Islington Councillor Asima Shaikh, the executive member for economic development, said the Echoes of Holloway project would be “truly grassroots”, with the views, memories and stories of local people at the heart of it.

“Prisons are part of the way we choose to run our society – they are the end point of our justice system,” she said. “And for that reason, it’s important to understand what happens inside them.

"It’s vital as a community that we capture the echoes of our important places before they’re gone forever.”


Echoes of Holloway Prison Wordpress blog