The Clink Prison Museum is a museum based on and located on the site where Clink Prison originally stood in London. The atmosphere inside the museum has been designed to replicate the conditions of the prison with gloomy candle-lit cells and sawdust-covered floors. Sound effects including groans from the waxwork figures complement the exhibits of torture implements. The museum has mixed reviews from visitors with some finding it not worthy of the entrance fee and others finding it a convincing and realistic portrayal of medieval prison life.
Clink Prison housed male and female inmates from 1151 until 1780. Life in the prison was harsh and cruel with prisoners having no rights and being subject to torture and abuse. Prisoners who had money or connections on the outside were able to bribe the jailers and so serve their sentence in more humane conditions, for the time in question at least. Those who were not so fortunate were lucky to leave the prison in one piece or at all.
Visitors to the Clink Prison museum can try on some of the equipment used to torture the prisoners such as the balls and chains and the scolds bridal. Pictures and articles placed around the cells are designed to give visitors a good idea of what life was like for prison inmates. The hands-on philosophy of the Clink Prison Museum allows sightseers to experience some of what the life of a medieval prisoner was like.
Each of the cells address a different period in time and information boards relay relevant information. The Clink Prison Museum is small but visitors who take the time to absorb the information available will feel the admission price was worth paying. Educational groups have the option of using the tour guide service. The aim of the educational tours is to impart a sound knowledge of everyday life in the time period the prison was in use with personal histories of some the actual inmates bringing an added reality to the scene.
Other London sites nearby also offer a taste of detention in the past are the London Dungeon and the London Bridge Experience. Situated close to the London Bridge, on the South Bank of the Thames, the clink Prison Museum is within walking easy distance of public transport. As it is small, the museum is not wheelchair accessible or stroller friendly and due to the somewhat macabre nature of the exhibits, may not be to everyone's taste, especially small children.