GeoGuessr 2 – Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (Debtors’ Prison Door)

To add a little history to our GeoGuessr trip, we went for a short while to the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, a location that I visited a few months ago.

This prison door is from the long since demolished debtors’ prison which was located on the High Street in the city. A panel, which itself looks old, on the door reads:

“This debtors’ prison door stood in High Street, Birmingham, depriving many a poor creature of liberty. Note the bars thro’ which charitable passers-by dropped coins to the inmates”.

The door dates from the eighteenth or nineteenth century, but there’s a disappointing lack of information about the exhibit and how it came to be in the museum. A book from the mid-nineteenth century described what it would have been like in the prison:

“The debtors’ prison consists of two parts; one occupied by poor debtors who have lodging free, and the county allowance of bread. The other by master debtors who pay two shillings and sixpence per week each, for their beds, and supply themselves with coals, candles, furniture for their rooms, and every other requisite. Eatables of all sorts are admitted. Ale is limited to one quart per day, or a pint of wine to each man, spirits of all kinds are prohibited. The debtors are locked up at nine o’clock in winter, and half-past nine in summer, but have access to each other’s rooms.”