Laundry, baths, linen stores and ablutions...


In the rear of the penitentiary is the day or smoking room, provided with two fire-places to warm the room and comfort the inmates in cold weather. Further on are lavatories, fitted up with every convenience – towels, soap, combs are supplied – while beyond this are 11 baths, each separated and curtained off, provided and supplied with hot and cold water taps, which can be used at discretion.
The Mercury, 24–25 March 1870

For the first seven years after the conversion from a flour mill and granary (1856-62), this space housed four exercise yards, triangular in shape, each with shelter sheds and fireplaces. The central room housed what appears to be the major ablutions block for the building with 15 privies, 8 urinal bays and a row of wash troughs measuring nearly 10 metres long.

Between ca.1862–1877, after this entire area had undergone a major renovation, this central building became a day room. Removing the toileting facilities to the yards enabled the creation of a room for reading, relaxing and smoking. In prisons today, it would be referred to as a Rec. or recreation room. At the same time the former exercise yard diagonal
dividing walls were demolished and new shelter sheds were built surrounded by gravelled yards.

The laundry occupied the large central space to the west behind the bakehouse, the clean and foul linen stores were at the farthest end, and the baths were in a room nearest
the exercise yards.