Of the women felons’ rooms nothing has yet been said. There were two. One called Waterman’s Hall, a horrible place adjoining the postern under the gate, whence, through a small barred aperture, they solicited alms from the passengers: the other, a large chamber, denominated My Lady’s Hold, was situated in the highest part of the jail, at the northern extremity. Neither of these wards had beds, and the unfortunate inmates were obliged to take their rest on the oaken floor. The condition of the rooms was indescribably filthy and disgusting; nor were the habits of the occupants much more cleanly. In other respects, they were equally indecorous and offensive. “It is with no small concern,” writes an anonymous historian of Newgate, “that I am obliged to observe that the women in every ward of this prison are exceedingly worse than the worst of the men not only in respect to their mode of living, but more especially as to their conversation, which, to their great shame, is as profane and wicked as hell itself can possibly be.”
There were two Condemned Holds,—one for each sex. That for the men lay near the Lodge, with which it was connected by a dark passage. It was a large room, about twenty feet long and fifteen broad, and had an arched stone roof. In fact, it had been anciently the right hand postern under the gate leading towards the city. The floor was planked with oak, and covered with iron staples, hooks, and ring-bolts, with heavy chains attached to them. There was only one small grated window in this hold, which admitted but little light.
Over the gateway towards Snow Hill, were two strong wards, called the Castle and the Red Room. They will claim particular attention hereafter.