Women prisoners being discharged from Duke Street Prison in 1909. The prison held convicted women prisoners from across the central belt of Scotland during the first half of the 20th century.
Executions were carried out at the prison from 1865 until 1928. In 1923 Susan Newell became the first woman to be executed in Scotland for over fifty years. She had strangled a newspaper boy who would not give her an evening paper without payment. She refused the traditional white hood when she climbed on the gallows. She was the last woman to be executed in Scotland.
Suffragettes were sometimes sent to Duke Street. Helen Crawford, wife of a minister, was sentenced to ten days there for smashing windows in 1914. She refused to co-operate in having her photograph and fingerprints taken for registration and went on hunger strike, for which she was received an increased sentence. She was eventually released on a doctor's recommendation.
Another prisoner whose political activities resulted in a stay at Duke Street was Scottish nationalist campaigner Wendy Wood. Her subsequent protests at conditions for the women prisoners contributed to the decision to close the prison in 1955. It was demolished in 1958.
Reference: Heatherbank Museum of Social Work, print 4013a
Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow Caledonian University, Research Collections, Heatherbank Museum of Social Work
civil disobedience, Duke Street Prison, executions, gaols, hangings, hunger strikes, jails, murder, political activists, political prisoners, prisons, Scottish nationalists, shawls, suffragettes, window smashing, women prisoners