Friday, April 25, 2008

The House of Correction

click photo to enlarge
The village of Folkingham in Lincolnshire is known for its wide street flanked with broad grass verges and a wonderful collection of Georgian and later houses; for The Greyhound coaching inn (currently being converted into flats); for a church with one of the best towers in this part of the world; also a shop that sells chocolates of its own manufacture, and for the "House of Correction"!

That name conjures up all sorts of dark and fanciful images. One can imagine it being the title of a novel by Edgar Allen Poe, or some writer of more salacious tomes. Or perhaps a 1960s Hammer horror film starring Peter Cushing. But in fact it's just a rather grand early nineteenth century name for a local jail! The site where it can be found began life as an eleventh century Norman motte and bailey castle constructed of earth and timber. In 1312, Henry, Baron de Beaumont converted it into a moated stone structure with crenellations. However, by 1611 much of this had gone, and a jail had been built there. In 1808 this was replaced by a new building, and in 1825 a grand and forbidding entrance in the classical style was added. It housed the turnkey and the governor's horses and carriage. It also proclaimed its purpose to the world by having the words "House of Correction A.D. 1825" carved in bold Roman letters across its facade. During the years up to its closure in 1878 a treadmill, a whipping post, stocks and a hand crank were some of the instruments used on the inmates. When the gates closed for the last time the inner buildings were converted into ten dwellings which survived until demolition in 1955. Only the entrance of 1825 remained, and this is now owned by The Landmark Trust, an organisation that preserves redundant but significant buildings by converting them and renting them for short periods. The House of Correction now provides holiday accommodation for up to four people - something of a departure from its intended use!

I took liberties with the processing of my photograph of the building, and tried, by applying a sepia and blue split-toning effect, to turn it into an image of the place of pain and menace that it must once have been. Dante's gates of Hell had the words "Abandon hope all ye who enter here" inscribed upon them. That was the effect I was after!

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 18mm (36mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/320
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: Off