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Bridewell

Bridewell. The London Bridewell, set up in 1555, was the first ‘House of Correction’ and the term was often used henceforth to describe such institutions. The 16th cent. saw a massive increase in the numbers of poor and indigent, and houses of correction, with stern regimes of hard work, were used for the punishment and reformation of petty offenders or groups who were regarded as anti-social or idle, such as players of unlawful games, fortune-tellers, minstrels, tinkers and pedlars, hedge-breakers, vagabonds, and gypsies. In 1610 houses of correction were set up generally throughout England. The distinction between them and prisons was abolished in 1865.

Maureen Mulholland

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Bridewell

Bridewell (brīd´wəl), area in London, England, between Fleet St. and the Thames River. The Bridewell house of correction, demolished in 1863, was on the site of a palace built under Henry VIII and given by Edward VI to the City of London in 1553 for use as a training school for homeless apprentices. The building later became a prison. Bridewell thus came to be used as a general term for a prison or house of correction.

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bridewell

bridewell archaic term for a prison or reform school for petty offenders. Recorded from the mid 16th century, the word comes from St Bride's Well in the City of London, near which such a building stood.

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bridewell

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