Skip to the content
black and white pic Newcastle Gaol
Free - suggested donation £3

Newcastle Gaol: its history and its inmates

A Lit & Phil lecture via Zoom

Tuesday May 11 at 6pm FREE

FREE, but if you would like to donate to support the good work of The Lit & Phil we would be very grateful.

Suggested donation: £3

Please register your interest by emailing  You will then be sent a Zoom invitation. Note that you don't have to have Zoom installed on your device to take part.

Newcastle’s new borough gaol on Carliol Square opened in 1828. This building, designed by the leading local architect John Dobson, replaced Newgate and was described as looking more like a “palace” than a prison. The Gaol evolved and aged with the city, incarcerating a range of offenders behind its walls, from debtors and petty thieves to suffragettes, German internees, and murderers. In 1925, it was closed and demolished, reflecting the rapidly changing area between Manors and Pilgrim Street.

2019 marked the 100th anniversary of the last execution in Newcastle, when Ambrose Quinn was hanged in the Gaol for the murder of his wife. Few signs of the Gaol’s existence or the city’s places of execution remain visible today; however, Tyne and Wear Archives has rich holdings relating to the Gaol, including Dobson’s original plans and a haunting catalogue of mugshots of prisoners detained there in the 1870s.

This talk with Dr Shane McCorristine will explore some of the fascinating stories of the Gaol and its inmates.

Dr Shane McCorristine is a lecturer in Modern British History at Newcastle University. 

Suggested donation: £3


For events, news & offers...

Sign up to our e-newsletter

(You can unsubscribe at any time)